Sunday, I sat in the Hog Pen at Baum Stadium for five hours and got a royal sunburn. I was close to the front and my splendid assistant editor picked our seats next to a large pack of LSU fans.
The game started off with the Tigers taking an early lead, and you bet your bottom dollar that those LSU fans to my left let us all know about it.
The hoops and hollers were almost unbearable. It doesn’t feel good when the opposing team’s fans get to celebrate while you sit back and grumble over a missed double play.
However, the Razorback fans got to celebrate quite a few times later. There were a few perfect innings and three runs to tie the game.
What ensued was a really great game, as far as entertainment goes. Haley and I remarked to each other multiple times that this would have been a perfect game to watch on TV if we had no emotional stake in the outcome.
The game was tied 3-3 going into the ninth inning, and the LSU couple to our left went up to the railing to watch the top of the inning in hopes that their Tigers would get a run and win the game.
Of course, they had to withstand some heckling for standing in the front with thousands of people sitting behind them. In response, they did their best to squat until the Tigers were retired, and then they returned to their seats.
The Razorbacks were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth, and the game moved into extras.
When LSU scored their first run in the top of the 10th, one of the LSU fans turned around and made a few derogatory remarks to the Razorback fans sitting behind me.
I called him rude, but as I was about to turn my attention back to the game, his girlfriend told me something very shocking.
“That’s rude?” she said. “They were throwing rocks at us down there.”
I was appalled. I apologized to her on behalf of the Razorback fans in the Hog Pen and told her that whoever threw the rocks was not representative of Arkansas.
But the more I think about it, the more it bothers me.
This goes beyond Southern hospitality. This isn’t about giving the opposing team’s fans drinks out of your cooler or your shirt off of your back.
This is about treating people with dignity and respect as human beings. This is about upholding the code of sportsmanship that Arkansas uses.
I don’t care how many drinks fans have had through the duration of the baseball game. I don’t care if they are hot and sweaty and their team is losing. Nothing excuses throwing rocks at the other team’s fans.
Not even if those fans berate you, call your intelligence into question or say something mean about your mother would it be acceptable to throw rocks at them.
Stand on a higher ground, Arkansas fans. Keep the rocks on the ground, and stay focused on the game and supporting the team and state you love.
Kristen Coppola is the sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Thursday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.