A New Razorback, a Widow, and a Resurrection?
-by Chaplain Steve Sullivan
“The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.”Matthew 22:23-28 ESV
It seems that this Biblical challenge to Jesus is worthy of re-examination in light of the Hogs’ recent hire of Sam Pittman. The Sadducees, presumably not big fans of Jesus, concocted a problematic hypothetical situation based on a custom of that time.
A widow was to be handed off to the deceased husband’s brother. But what happens when the next brother dies and so on, until all seven are dead? Jesus was faced with a scenario not dissimilar to that of Razorback Nation.
We were all metaphorically widowed when we lost Bobby Petrino to a motor accident in 2012. After a brief mourning period with John L. Smith, the Razorback widow was quickly wed to Bret Bielema for quite a reverse-dowry. Within a few years, we lost the marriage to Brother Bret and were widowed again. The next “brother” up came and went in less than two years. This SEC Coach Chad died childless and winless and once again the Razorback widow was alone.
Now, it seems, the skies open again. And Brother Sam Pittman re-descends into our presence after wandering in the Georgia wilderness for a few years.
Before we follow the Torah protocol again, we must stop and consider advice the fictional widow should heeded herself after signing the 3rd or 4th contract. Why do all these husbands keep dying? What is it about the widow that needs to change?
Tips for the Razorback Widow in this new relationship
Take it slow. Why do we quickly jump back into long-term commitments and expectations? Presumably, the Hebrew widow could have pumped the breaks before marrying the next bro in line, maybe dated around a bit, “just been friends”, or at least lowered her expectations for the next relationship. This would have kept her from the perils of “rebounding” — something we Razorbacks want on the hardwood, but isn’t so good in long-term coaching relationships.
Be willing to hold off on the ring. Granted, we needed a coach ASAP, and it’s hard to get one without a 5-year pre-marital commitment. But we need to be patient. There’s nothing worse than paying multiple alimony checks. Pittman’s new Razorback contract reflects a similar concern from the wiser widow Hunter Yurachek in the form of a unique buyout clause. He wants to make sure this Brother Pittman isn’t in it just to bring home the bacon, so to speak.
We Razorbacks tend to “put a ring on it” fast and think that every new relationship is THE ONE, the Messiah who will turn our betrothal ring into a handful of SEC championship rings.
But we have to realize that we’ve now had five coaching husbands in eight years. I’m sure the widower’s brothers each entered into their new marriage a little less excitedly than the dead brother before.
Likewise, new Razorback coaches probably see the cardinal red wedding ring as a little less shiny each go-round. We need to be careful or someday nobody’s going to be excited when we go down on one knee anymore — except the Zale’s associate.
Let go of the old rings. I can imagine that with each dying husband, the widow in Jesus’ time would long for more of the good ole’ days of the first husband she lost, or any that gave rings other than the wedding variety. I was born in 1964, so I’ve literally spent my whole life hearing about the glory days of ’64 and ’94.
We’re still so proud of those rings that we can’t shut up talking about them. We should have learned by now that past accomplishments in previous relationships have little to do with how coaches and programs fare in new ones. Let’s not obsess about Sam Pittman’s past profiles on the allegorical Match.com, good bad or otherwise.
Nothing is more of a turnoff for a new spouse than to be forced at every turn to be reminded about how awesome we used to be shortly after the Bay of Pigs invasion or in ‘69 with President Nixon on hand.
In fact, Nixon was interviewed in Fayetteville at halftime of the 1969 Arkansas-Texas game:
I travel a lot and talk sports with Uber-driving fans of different programs. The more winning a program is, the less time fans spend talking about past programs and championships. Let’s let the glory days remain in the past, and who knows — they may just return to us.
Love the one you’re with. In our haste to to find the one who will lead us to the promised land, we don’t really love the coach we’re with. In recent times, I can’t remember the last time we all were generally supportive of our coach in basketball or football longer than the life of an Eddie Sutton perm.
We’ve got to learn to put aside the past and the future and just love the one we’re with for awhile. It can’t make things worse, and it certainly won’t cost us as much money. In some ways, it feels like we’ve recently been doing penance for failing to fully appreciate and enjoy all those 8- win seasons and Liberty bowls that suddenly look so good now.
Fortunately, unlike the widow in Matthew 22, the Razorback widow isn’t dead yet. We’ve got a strong fan base, tons of resources and opportunities, and a seemingly good new coach. Let us enter this next relationship with a foam finger of wisdom, lest we soon be widowed again.
-Chaplain Steve Sullivan