By Kurtis Seaboldt
We’ve all heard the story of the overly optimistic child who, upon finding his Christmas stocking filled with horse manure, proclaims excitedly that there must be a pony hiding somewhere in the house. Missouri fans are the antithesis of that child. If Tiger fans saw a pony, we’d start looking around for manure.
It’s not like we don’t have a good reason to be skeptical of prosperity. Our collective sports disasters have been well chronicled. And from it has been born our own special brand of fatalism.
Initially it was adopted to prevent us from getting our hopes too high, sheltering us from the impending doom that was certain to follow. It has recently added an additional quality; it entertains us to no end.
Much like comedians and the “Aristocrats” joke, Tiger fans take great pride in concocting the most bizarre fashion in which our school can rescue defeat from the jaws of victory. It is a bonding ritual that has become almost therapeutic.
So, when it was announced that the nation’s top football recruit was going to choose between Missouri and Arkansas in the same week that Missouri hosted Kansas in basketball for perhaps the last time ever, Tiger fans sounded like the writers for SNL at a pitch meeting. Dorial Green-Beckham announcing that he would go to Kansas and then somehow suiting up Saturday and dropping 30 on the Tigers would have placed no higher than fourth in the competition.
But then something weird happened; the kid they call “DGB” stood before the ESPN cameras and raised a hat to his head that said “MIZZOU” on the front. There had been reports in the last week that Green-Beckham was going to pick Missouri but, with the Matt Painter fiasco fresh in our minds, we were still on pins and needles. The voice that said, “Arkansas”, just seconds before the hat came out did not help.
But, Missouri got the big win. Tomorrow they will go for another one that carries just as much importance. It is big for all the things it would give the Tigers: a first-place tie atop the league, validation of the amazing season they have had to this point and the joy of beating their only rival in perhaps their final regular season meeting ever.
It’s also big for the things it would deny Kansas, like the elimination of Missouri from their final Big 12 race. It would also prevent the Jayhawks – who closed out the Hearnes Center with a win – from walking out of Mizzou Arena as a winner in their final trip there.
And, combined with Wednesday’s win, a win tomorrow would go a long way towards curing Tiger fans of their fatalism. It would take away much of our humor, but I’ll make that trade any day.
Two wins, one off the field and one on it, could greatly alter the futures of Missouri’s two most important programs. This could be the biggest four-day span in the history of Missouri athletics.
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