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Author Topic: I think Oedipus said it best....  (Read 285 times)

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IntegrityHog

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I think Oedipus said it best....
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:11:37 am »

In the Oedipus at Colonus, an Athenian tragedy by the great poet Sophocles, the titular Oedipus is nearing the end of his life.  His daughter Antigone is leading the blind Oedipus as they approach Athens, and he starts to reflect on his life since he knows his death is at hand.  He says:

“Who will receive the wandering Oedipus today?  Not with gifts but a pittance….it’s little I ask and get still less, but quite enough for me.  Acceptance – that is the great lesson suffering teaches, suffering and the long years, my close companions….”

I think a lot of Hog fans have finally reached this point with their support of the program.  We’ve had our share of suffering, and now acceptance is setting in.  I’ll try to recap a little of both below:

THE SUFFERING

1.  We hired a dirtbag coach who cheated on his wife with a student-athlete half his age.  He got caught, and was fired for this at the worst possible time – April, 2012.
2.  We hired an interim who concealed the fact that he left numerous investors holding the bag for tens of millions of failed real estate investments.  Dealing with this, on top of his own questionable level of competence, led to a distracted, disastrous, and wasted season in 2012.
3.  We hired a man of integrity to re-build the program, but his offensive, defensive, and recruiting philosophies have not been successful soon enough for some fans.
4.  We play in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the history of intercollegiate athletics.  Our opponents routinely outspend our program on facilities and amenities.
5.  Most of our SEC brethren cheat, some at spectacular levels.  We run an honest program.
6.  The University is located in the middle of a recruiting wasteland.
7.  Our current coach inherited a minimal amount of talent, and what the talent we had was wildly unbalanced.
8.  All of the above issues led to results on the field that are not acceptable to some portions of the fan-base, particularly those who grew up during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, when the program was focused primarily on wins and losses.

THE ACCEPTANCE

1.  Arkansas is never going to win a national championship in football.
2.  Arkansas is never going to win an SEC Championship in football, and will seldom if ever be in the running for a title.
3.  The primary purpose of the football program is to generate revenue for the University.  This is accomplished primarily by that big check we get from the SEC every year, but there is also significant revenue from box seats and suites – hence the “luxury”-only NEZ expansion.
4.  An important secondary purpose for the football program is to educate and develop young men, so that they will graduate, represent the University with class and integrity, and become productive members of society.
5.  CBB is not going anywhere.  Jeff promised him 6 years.  We just finished year 4.
6.  Even if Jeff wanted to relieve CBB of his duties, there is no way we could pay the $18 million for his buyout, plus, the assistants, plus the buyout and salary of a new staff we would poach from another school.
7.  Even if we did get rid of CBB, we would never be able to attract another coach of his caliber, as we did not give CBB enough time to rebuild a complete dumpster fire of a program.  We would be looking at up-and-comers like Mark Hudspeth, who has his share of ethical issues.
8.  The majority of our fan base is more concerned about integrity and doing things the right way, as they should be.  Just look at the attendance numbers this year – nearly full stadiums (other than the Little Rock stadium) for every home game, even though we weren’t having a great year in terms of wins and losses.

In short, fans of the program have been through a lot.  Nothing is going to change in the short-term (next 3-4 years), and a lot of these issues might only turn when the conference starts to go through another cycle of Eastern-Division prominence.  This won’t happen until several years after Saban retires, which itself is several years off.  This is why you have seen Jeff refocus the brand of the University, emphasizing student achievement and gameday experience, rather than wins and losses (Wilson had a great post recently about the academic milestones that were reached this year -  that's a must-read post if you haven't seen it already). 

I propose that the fan base follow the example of Oedipus.  He knew that his life was not going to get markedly better, but he bravely faced his fate and literally walked into the storm.  As fans, fighting our fate is not going to change anything, and doing nothing is not an option.  I think we also have to accept our destiny like Oedipus, and take that walk. 
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