Written by: Abbygail MiddletonMiddleton_Abby

After one of the longest weeks of my life, rush week, the overwhelming excitement of newfound sorority life was all I could think about. The possibility of relaxation came closer and closer until I heard four unfamiliar words “mandatory freshman pep rally.” We made our way towards Bud Walton Arena, and I was completely unaware of the events about to unfold. Thousands of freshmen piled in single file and sat as the band played music and we called the hogs. Many speakers spoke about various subjects, and of all of them one stood out to me for some reason. It was coach Jimmy Dykes, the head coach of the Razorbacks Women’s basketball team. He gave a speech about how our freshman class was the largest in Arkansas history and the one that can make the greatest difference if we put forth the intention. At the end he challenged us with his motto “BE ARKANSAS” and a tweeting contest: tweet him a positive quote or positive tweet and whoever he chooses as his favorite by the end of the week will win a lunch in his office with a friend. Normally not a person of luck, I decided to chance things and participate in this contest. I tweeted him one of my favorite Bible verses from the book of Romans, which says “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” I decided even if I didn’t win the contest, I still had another opportunity to share the Word with my twitter followers, which in my view was still winning. As the week drew to a close, my chances of winning the contest slimmed. With a resume consisting mostly of volleyball and not much knowledge of women’s basketball, I was very discouraged. Towards the end of the week, my phone buzzed and I was surprised when I saw the name @CoachJimmyDykes on my screen with a message, but quickly opened it. He had messaged me saying the verse I shared was one of his favorites as well, and lunch was on him for a friend and me a day that next week. Shocked that I had won something for once, I quickly responded and scheduled lunch.

Filled with nerves and excitement, my friend Ali and I walked up the steps to Bud Walton and into the doors of the basketball area. Footsteps came down the hall, followed by a tall shadow, and a friendly face emerged from the doorway. It was the coach Jimmy Dykes, and I was in disbelief that this moment was actually happening. We greeted and shook hands, then walked back to his office where he had Chick-fil-A waiting for us. With his gentle composure, he told about how he came to the University of Arkansas and we shared a little about ourselves. We then talked about life, Ali and I’s plans of a career in medical missions, and some more quality conversation. He was so humble and respectable for someone with such a great job title and resume. After we finished eating, he showed us around Bud Walton and then invited us to their basketball games to support them. I am so blessed to have met such a great man and coach, and look forward to cheering on the Razorbacks this coming season!