I know quite a few people – dozens even. Many of them are sports fans, be it professional or collegiate. Some even follow high school sports teams despite not being in high school or having any kids who are either. Why would people do that? It isn’t for me personally because high schoolers are comparatively terrible at sports, covered in acne, and well… mostly children. However, a lot of people though just love to cheer for their hometown team or old high school team, which makes sense.
The aforementioned college sports fans that I know have varied preferences when it comes to the colleges or universities they root for. Living in Missouri, I know fans of Mizzou, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas as well as the classics like Duke, North Carolina, and many more. When people ask me who my favorite college team is, be it basketball, football, or whatever, the answer is the same: the Missouri State Bears. For some reason, people often just snicker and ask for my actual favorite team. My response is always the same: the Missouri State Bears. I don’t necessarily understand why that is so strange.
Now, it should be noted that I’m not the biggest follower of college sports. As I’ve pointed out in the past, I strongly prefer professional sports over all else because it is the game being played at the highest level. That being said, you can’t be a big pro sports fan without being relatively familiar with the college sports scene – that’s where all of the pro prospects come from after all. Getting back to the question of my favorite college team… My answer really confuses people. The reason is of course that MSU isn’t a well-known sports school. They have all the major sports teams and are division I in each. They don’t play in a power conference and haven’t seen a substantial amount of national success. Why be a fan?
I am a fan of Missouri State athletics for much the same reason that many people spend their Friday nights at their old high school. I went to Missouri State and feel a strong sense of school pride. No, I didn’t play collegiate sports or even always do my part in filling the seats for every game. I still spent four (maybe four and a half) years there walking the campus, taking courses, and wearing a lot of maroon and white. We Really, it would be strange for me to claim any other school than Missouri State when asked who my favorite college team is.
I know a lot of diehard Mizzou fans that have only been to the campus for a few football games, nothing else. I know some OU fans who have most likely never even left the state of Missouri before. People can be fans of teams for random reasons, I get that. I probably only prefer the Cardinals to the Royals because my Dad did. I am a Thunder fan because not long after I became an NBA fan, they relocated to OKC from Seattle, becoming the closest NBA team to me. I also understand that not everyone goes to college, but many are still college sports fans for the fanfare and run-through- a-brick- wall mentality that isn’t always as apparent in pro sports. The point I’m trying to make here is that everyone is entitled to their favorite, so I am justified in having Missouri State as my favorite college team for sports. I may not get to see them on ESPN very often and the football team doesn’t always come out on top, but those are my teams.
The highs and the lows might not include phrases like “national championship” or “one-and-done”, but you just have to adjust your expectations. You don’t expect your hometown class 1 high school team to compete with a class 5 high school team. I don’t expect MSU to beat Alabama in football. Missouri State is clearly too focused on things like the College of Business and academics in general. My alma mater is still my favorite sports school and always will be. Go Bears!