I took a much-anticipated trip with my 9-year-old grand-buddy and two other friends to Fayetteville. I had been to Fayetteville several times, but this was my first trip to actually hang around for an entire weekend.
Our mission was to watch the Razorback baseball team play LSU. Mission accomplished. The Hogs dropped two out of three games, but it was a blast to watch the games in Baum Stadium, the finest college baseball facility in the nation. There were almost 10,000 folks there at each of the three games, but you never felt crowded. And yeah, they had plenty of stuff to spend money on.
I have been to many Hog football games, but the atmosphere at a baseball game is so much different. For the most part, the fans, even the opposing team, are very polite and there is a lot of visiting. You have a lot of time between innings or when a team brings in a new pitcher. We almost always struck up a conversation with a stranger wherever we sat.
We stayed in the hotel with the LSU fans and players. This allowed more visiting. We enjoyed talking in the lobby before and after games about the different facets of the game. The conversations were so much more cordial than football or basketball. Nobody threatened to kick anyone’s anything.
We took time to visit the U of A campus. While I wouldn’t call it a beautiful campus, it is certainly interesting. We took time to stop at the football stadium, where the football Hogs were in the middle of a practice. We stood at one of the openings and watched a bit. We were told by one of the "guards" that we could watch a minute, but needed to move on because it was a closed practice. Seemed a bit silly, but we complied.
We then visited Hog Heaven, the Hog paraphernalia store housed in Bud Walton Arena. They now refer to it on the front façade as "Basketball Palace of Mid-America." Sounds like a self-imposed moniker.
One of the highlights of the visit was our time on Dickson Street. We ambled up and down a several-block area and noticed that almost every other storefront is a bar and/or restaurant. It has definitely been upgraded beyond the beer joint days. We dined at one place specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches. Really. And they offered over 25 varieties. Excellent food. Grand-buddy liked it a lot.
We also stopped in for a Sunday brunch featuring a couple of jazz guitarists. Very nice. There just seems to be an energy about the area. A 5K run was going on, music was blaring, lots of folks just milling around, and a national touring production of "Anything Goes" in the Walton Arts Center. Got to get back up and see a production there. They seem to get a better schedule than we do.
But the highlight of Dickson Street is the Dickson Street Book Shop. What a wonderful adventure! I have no idea of how many thousands of used books are there. There is every genre you can imagine, some collectibles and oddities, all stuffed and stacked into an amazing maze of alcoves. The smell was incredible and the prices are amazing.
It was a great trip. Made me want to be 18 years old again and start over. Hey college students, these are the good years. Enjoy them. Thank your parents for helping get you there. Have some fun, but study hard.
See you on the Boulevard. Oh yeah, Pig Sooie.
Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.