While it's no secret to those who regularly keep up with the women's gymnastics program at Arkansas, the thousands in attendance last week at Bud Walton got a close-up look at how tight-knit this year's Gymbacks team actually is.
This is a group of young women who love to have fun together, which is something an LSU gymnastics podcaster (yes, apparently that is actually a thing) who goes by @BenSLASports found out first hand when he proposed the addition of a Golden Boot equivalent to spice up an LSU-Arkansas rivalry in gymnastics.
LSU vs. Arkansas, Friday 8 p.m., SEC Network
Former Gymback Hannah Renno jumped in on the fun in an extreme, much to the delight of current Gymback Kennedy Hambrick. And the point being made isn't the worst idea.
Clearly there is a desire to have something to add even more fuel to the fire between Arkansas and LSU.
So the next question is whether there is a gymnastics variant of David Bazzel somewhere in the depths of the multiverse who is willing to make this happen.
Obviously, it can't be the human-sized monstrosity that takes multiple linemen under tremendous strain to dangerously lift above the heads of several players. While gymnasts are incredibly strong, it not only would be unsafe, but it just wouldn't capture the spirit and personality of young ladies dressed in shimmery fabrics gleefully acting out their teammate's floor routine from the floor's edge while in progress.
Once Jalen Catalon and Bumper Pool show up on the Hogs sideline in nylon lycra covered in Swarovski crystals and start pretending to run a bootleg next to Sam Pittman, then maybe a less industrial looking trophy will make sense, but until then, Pittman will continue to sit on a throne perched next to a twist of metal that reflects what happens on the field.
Now, as a male, I am not going to step into the massive bear trap that would snap up if I tried to suggest or describe what a women's gymnastics trophy could possibly look like, but it's definitely something to consider.
The tension last Friday as Arkansas and Auburn took turns one-upping one another with nothing on the line other than conference pride in front of a record-setting crowd was as thick as any football or basketball game.
Adding a trophy into the mix for a meet between No. 4 LSU and No. 11 Arkansas can only ramp up the back and forth of a natural rivalry.
While it's probably a sore spot for Arkansas coach Jordyn Wieber's team, just imagine if a rivalry trophy had been on the line when LSU's Kiya Johnson hit a perfect score with her floor routine to narrowly take down the Gymbacks 196.550-196.350 at the Pete Maravich center this time last year.
That's the kind of moment that had the situation been reversed and the Hogs' Bailey Lovett completed the comeback with a 10.0 on floor to knock off LSU in Bud Walton, the roof not only would have gone off the place, but ticket sales would lock into the five digits for the next three meets.
Casual viewers of gymnastics get glued to their TVs when something is on the line, namely medals and national pride. If Wieber and her staff can some how team up with LSU to put something on the line, the pride that comes with beating a ranked LSU team will give the Gymbacks a local equivalent to taking gold medals away from Russia, China and Romania.
Beating LSU is something all Razorback fans can get behind. Add in one of the most lovable teams on the campus and you've got unlimited upside.
Now, someone get these young women a trophy to fight over.
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