The late baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti once famously wrote of his sport, “It’s designed to break your heart.”
Hog fans surely have to think that the Razorbacks were designed to break their hearts (in truth, probably every college fan feels that way about their team—even the Tar Heels and Dukies of the world).
From the loss in the Game of the Century to the last-second defeat at the hands of Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979, the tales of pain and suffering are legendary.
With the sleepy and suffocating summer months upon us, and Hog news items few and far between (OK—so there is this little thing called the College World Series going on), I thought it would be interesting to hear what you consider the most heartbreaking defeat of your time as a Hog fan.
I got my first real dose of Razorback-induced pain when I was seven years old, at the end of the 1979-80 basketball season. That was the first year that I followed any Hog team.
After my dad took me to an early-season contest in Little Rock’s Barton Coliseum, I was hooked, and every game was cause for extreme excitement.
So, when the season came to a crashing halt courtesy of a 71-53 bloodletting at the hands of Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, I was devastated and promptly burst into tears (I think I stopped reacting to losses in this way sometime in my mid-20s).
However, I don’t consider that the most heartbreaking defeat—not by a long shot. For me, that “honor” goes to the loss to UCLA in the 1995 NCAA title game.
I so desperately wanted Corliss, Scotty and the guys to win back-to-back titles and write their names in the history books as one of the very few teams to do so.
If they had won that game, then I think they would be part of the discussion when people talk about history’s all-time teams. Not at the center of the debate, but at least in the mix. That would have been very satisfying.
The loss is also painful when you consider that it marks a clear demarcation line in the history of the basketball program: The Hogs have not been a national factor since.
Enough from me. What are your thoughts?