There is no easy way to begin a story such as this, as it is more like a chapter in a series of epic literature. This story is the kind that involves a single game, and a single winner. It is what we, as participants, players, and onlookers ourselves love to hate and hate to love.
I was one of over 66,000 people to attend the Missouri vs. Illinois football game tonight. I was with a group of Mizzou fans, yet sat in the Illinois section. I received these tickets from my uncle, an Illinois alum. The division of fans in the stadium was obvious from the sea of gold and black countering an ocean of navy and orange – we were obviously not in the right place.
The game began long before the clock started on the field. In order to reach the entrance, we found ourselves swimming through endless crowds chanting “M-I-Z!” and subsequently ending by the opposing team’s fans, “I-N-I!”. There were ambulances and stretchers lining the streets of downtown St. Louis aiding victims of too much tailgating and other endless situations.
As the pages turn, I once again found a familiar place as I jumped, cheered, scowled, and put my head in my hands play after play. Although surrounded by people that consistently had the opposite reaction to mine, I found myself loving every sparkling moment of suspense. This was because I knew this was, once again, the start of something big. It was the start of another season of Mizzou football.
As we cheered, we were pelted with peanuts from angry fans from the opposing team. But as we jumped to our feet in ecstasy, we saw a monumental statement that the sea of gold across from us was celebrating. The roars resembled those of only true tiger fans, and the message that they were saying seemed to declare, “Keep playing, Tigers. We’ll keep cheering, and you keep playing.” A recipe for success.
This deal between the MU fans and the Mizzou football team was sealed in the last few moments of the game, as the final score was 52 to 42…you guessed it, Mizzou.
If this story is any indication of what the rest of the Mizzou football season will look like, I can’t wait to see the creation of the next chapter in the series.