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Mizzou and the Cultural Fit

Mizzou charges the field after a win, which gives them a leg up on Kentucky (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Mizzou charges the field after a win, which gives them a leg up on Kentucky (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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There's been a lot of speculation on whether Missouri is a good "cultural fit" for the SEC. I've never been to St. Louis, but I've been to Kansas City, so it'll have to do. While I know one city on the western edge of the state hardly represents Mizzou and its alumni, Kansas City does pass the basic test of whether it is a Southern city:

  1. It has its own style of barbeque;
  2. It is oppressively hot; and
  3. The citizens of the town were uniformly friendly while also possessing an incredible large chip on their collective shoulders.

Hey, I'm all about carrying a collective grudge against all of the Yankees who look down on us as a bunch of provincial hicks. That's one of the great parts of being a Southerner - hating New York.

So the good people of Kansas City mercilessly booing Robinson Cano throughout the All Star weekend for the barest of perceived sleights is not only an action I completely endorse, it is one that made me feel that these are people who belong in the SEC. Obsessive fanaticism despite onfield success expressed as barely coherent rage?

Yeah, I know Kansas City isn't a strict Mizzou town, but that pretty much sold me on this state. They can deny it all they want, but Missouri is full of Southerners. Need more proof? Fine.

They invented homecoming.

Seriously. Even better, they scheduled their bitter rival, Kansas, as their homecoming foe. So it is an open question whether they inventing trolling, a good eighty years before the internet. When we are busy beating the snot out of Direction State U, remember to pour one out for Mizzou to thank them for such a fine football tradition.

Their mascot has roots in the Civil War.

OK, so it was against the Confederates, but it was still really cool. Guerilla bands, especially those of "Bloody" Bill Anderson, were threatening Columbia, so the good people of the town fortified the city square and successfully defended themselves. The name of the company was the Missouri Tigers. Now, that's pretty bad ass.

Oh yeah... and while fictional, the Outlaw Josey Wales was from Missouri.

They carry a grudge.

Like good Southerners, they remember losses for a very long time and memorialize the games with clever nicknames to remind them of the pain. I admire that kind of dedication, but seriously, don't walk up to a Mizzou fan and say "Fifth Down" or "Flea Kicker" and expect to not get punched in the face.

They are fanatical.

When Team Speed Kills asked for nominations for the SB Nation College Hall of Fame, the site was flooded with the votes by Mizzou fans for Brad Smith despite Smith, you know, never playing in the SEC. Smith crushed the field on the online poll. Mizzou fans came hard in a meaningless poll, even before they had officially joined the conference.

I was so proud. Fighting as hard as you can to win a meaningless battle that you didn't even need to engage in the first place? What could be more Southern? Welcome to the SEC. Mizzou, you are one of us.