Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
So much to be thankful for right now
Today is one of my favorite days of the year, probably second to Christmas, only Thanksgiving doesn’t have the presents pressure.
It is about family, friends and food. Lots of food.
We started cooking and prepping at noon Wednesday, and we’ll continue this morning, then we’ll take about 30 minutes to eat and clean up will take forever.
Still, it is a time to reflect on all the good things in your life, and every year I write a column about something that isn’t just sports.
Although, there is plenty to be thankful for in the world of perspiring arts.
This sports part is not about me, although it is much more fun to cover a winner in the state and for the fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
• Such as Hunter Yurachek, Jon Fagg and Steve Cox taking the time and effort to interview several candidates before hiring Sam Pittman.
It would have been easy to call up a powerful sports agent like Jimmy Sexton and ask who he’s got available. That’s how the Arkansas Razorbacks got Chad Morris, and they weren’t going down that road again. When all four men got face to face, it took about an hour to get the deal done.
No one wanted to be Arkansas’ head coach more than Pittman.
• Yurachek was just as careful before hiring Eric Musselman. No doubt Yurachek wanted Kelvin Sampson. That was a natural. They had a relationship from the University of Houston and Sampson is an excellent coach. When it became apparent he wasn’t coming, Yurachek compiled a list and went through it until he met Musselman and his family.
• I’m thankful the UA is now going to play in-state teams. I’m hoping the Arkansas State football game will be at War Memorial Stadium.
• I’m thankful that the state of Arkansas has an abundance of good schools, not just for sports, but for education and making our state a better place.
• I’m thankful there is an emphasis on health in our state that includes hundreds of miles of biking, walking and running paths from Fayetteville to Little Rock. They are free to use and pay great dividends.
• I’m thankful for all our beautiful state parks. People come from all over the country to stay in these parks and enjoy our natural resources.
• This should be obvious, but I’m thankful to live in this wonderful state. It may not be perfect, but its closer than any of the others.
• I’m thankful for my family. Today my daughter, Whitney, and Katie will be at our house with Monica’s parents and stepson Patrick. They won’t ask, but they will wonder why I bought a 22-pound turkey.
• Our second Thanksgiving will be Sunday when my extended family gets together for the first time since before covid-19. My mom and sister have both gone on to heaven, but they will be smiling down on us.
• I’m thankful for my church, Pinnacle Church of Christ, and its great pastors, Chuck Monan and John Philips, and our leadership as we prepare for the future.
• I’m thankful for the handful of real friends I have, who are sports fans but rarely discuss it with me at our weekly meetings.
• I’m thankful to be blessed to work for one of the truly great newspapers in this country. We’ve changed with the times and technology without sacrificing any ethics. That’s great management.
• I’m thankful for the sports staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. They’re the hardest working group of people in the whole country in my opinion.
• I have a lot more I’m thankful for, but there just isn’t room to list them all but wish I could.
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