Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

September 11, 2012

Pokes, Hogs suffer bad losses

Kolby Paxton's Four Quarters: Starting off with state schools.

The list of things that I like about my apartment is short. It includes items like air conditioning and windows.

To say that my living conditions are primitive may be an overstatement – they may not be. Admittedly, I was spoiled by my accomodations in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Fayetteville, Ark. Still, taking into account factors such as neighbors and functioning garbage disposals, one could make a strong argument in either direction, I’m sure.

Anyway, on that relatively brief checklist of pros, is my proximity to a convenience store. I feel confident in saying that I could consistently lob a baseball from my balcony to the back door of this establishment, provided the absence of a headwind. Good news as it pertains to the availability of potato chips and beer. Bad news as it relates to my checking account after a week of Hunt Brothers pizzas.

I’m there all of the time. It’s too easy not to be. Gatorade? Fifty yards away. Caffeine? Fifty yards away. Paper towels, cheese, candy bars, charcoal, all just a few first downs from my front door. Over the course of my frequent patrondom, I have developed a friendly acquaintanceship with an employee named Paul.

Paul reads my column faithfully, and for that I am grateful. He’s a generally knowledgeable fan of sports – particularly football, I’ve noticed. Our conversations routinely last beyond the point of sale, irritating the foot-tapping, thumb-twiddling customer standing behind me. Last week, however, I drew the ire of Paul, an Oklahoma fan, for giving the Razorbacks clock on first and second down.

“If I want to read about Arkansas, I’ll pick up a Southwest Times Record,” he told me.

My argument? Simple. The University of Arkansas is nearer to Tahlequah – 57 miles – than any of the in-state schools, including Tulsa.

The truth? I’m an Oklahoma alum. I attended TU, as well. But I was raised in Springdale, Ark., just minutes from the Fayetteville-based campus. My mother has two degrees from the school. My girlfriend will join her on the sidewalk in eight months. Arkansas Media Relations Director Zack Higbee, a Tahlequah-native, gives us far better access than OU – where I was locked out of Notre Dame, and force-fed FAMU and Kansas State (instead of KU and Baylor) in spite of the fact that I’ll be in town for neither.

Gun-to-head, I’d probably have to admit to caring more about the Hogs. This is the Tahlequah Daily Press, not the Times Record, or even the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. But as long as I’m here, Paul is going to have the read about the Razorbacks from time to time.

This week, though, at the urging of the man behind the counter, I will not spend first down on Arkansas. It has nothing to do with losing to someone called Louisiana-Monroe. I’m just taking the feelings of a reader into consideration. I’m not avoiding the subject of John L. Smith, just trying to courteously avoid playing favorites.

Honest.

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