'The Sports Trail': Pay-per-view okay deal for Hog game if money spent with friends

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"I sure wish they would televise the Razorback football game this Saturday," I said to my wife, Alice, as I shoveled in birthday cake provided by our aging host.

The head of a friend popped up at that thought and our eyes met. "I get pay-per-view," he said, which was promptly met with a "I'll go halves" from yours truly.

So it was set. We'd grill burgers on the deck, the wives would fix all kinds of tasty stuff we probably shouldn't be eating, then we'd venture down to the game room for the kickoff and watch the Hogs whip the daylights out of whomever we were playing.

It almost went just like that, except for a few minor hitches.

Alice and I arrived late through no fault of our own. We always take a nap in the afternoon and our bodies didn't know we were supposed to wake up early.

I should have known better than to trust my internal clock after going to junior high and high school football games on Thursday and Friday nights.

But hey, Alan was just taking the burgers off the grill when we arrived, and Sherry had the table set, so it was shake hands and sit down.

The burgers were perfect, the weather was cool, and combined with a little history lesson from Samuel Adams, things couldn't be better.

"Well, can't linger over the food," Alan said around a mouthful as we both checked our watches, then pushed away from the table.

"Can we help you girls?" we asked as we dashed through the kitchen and down the stairs.

"No, we'll get it," came faint voices drifting down the stairwell.

A giant screen HD television awaited and we only wasted a little time grabbing some munchies and a hunk of lemon cake for dessert.

The screen flickered, War Memorial Stadium came into view, and the players jogged through the band -- silently. Yep, no sound. But Alan is a die-hard fan, so a radio was easily within reach.

It was fun listening to the radio announce the play five seconds before the television screen showed the action. At least we knew where to look until the sound came back on.

The game started and Michael Smith was ripping off big run after big run. We cheered, expecting a touchdown any second. It didn't happen. Instead, field goal tries missed, special teams made mistakes, and the Hogs found themselves down 10-6 at half.

"They'll get it together at the half," I said as we loaded up with food. But it went from worst to 24-6 and it looked bad until the Hogs made it 14-27.

"Hey," I said. "We score two more touchdowns and we win, 28-27." I didn't get encouraging looks from Alice or Alan, but it sure seemed simple enough. And it was, if you have a cast iron heart.

We huffed, we puffed, we walked in circles, we clenched the arms of our recliners, working almost as hard as the players -- sorta. When the Hogs pulled out the win, we could barely walk back up the stairs.

"Well, that was certainly a great time and worth every penny," I said as I forked over the cash to Alan. "But I think I'll skip the free CBS coverage of Arkansas' Texas game this weekend." Not really. I'm too cheap.

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