Jennifer is a senior at Shawnee Mission East. She enjoys country music, cowboy boots and cowboys. Mainly the last one. She is also a vital member of the Broadcasting Dream Team. Read Full »
In a less than 11 very short months from now, I will be moving into my new dorm at the University of Missouri. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the chance to call myself an official tiger. I will finally live in a place where wearing black and gold is encouraged, not booed.
But for now, that is not the case. Moving to Kansas in second grade was a bit of a culture shock for me. I went to kindergarten at Sweeny Elementary School right off the plaza, and I was homeschooled my first grade year before we made the jump over the state line. For most families this would not have been a big deal. But for mine, it was huge.
You see, we’re tigers through and through. Even moving a block into Kansas was like a dagger through my parent’s hearts. Don’t get me wrong, 10 years later I’m very glad they gave me the opportunity to have a good education, and wonderful home to live in. But it came at a price.
It first came slow, mainly because we were too young to care. I would wear my black and gold on the Corinth playground blissfully unaware of what others might have been thinking. I didn’t care about the football or basketball games. I was just following my family’s lead in being a fan.
Then came Mission Valley. The pond got bigger, and so did the Kansas fans. There were more of them. They multiplied. On game days, it was like I was a goldfish in a sea of sharks. I began to follow football. Heck, we were number one in the country during my 8th grade year. I had to care. But Kansas was number two. So, I wasn’t the only one who cared.
Since middle school the Kansas-Missouri rivalry has gotten crazy. Everyone now knows I’m a tiger fan. It feels like I constantly get ribbed about my school. There are people that make Missouri jokes constantly, and frankly it’s annoying. Sometimes it gets to me, sometimes it doesn’t. Generally that depends on whether or not we won the previous weekend.
But in the past year or so I have learned to not be ashamed, but take pride in Mizzou. My brother Alex is a sophomore there. He is the first member of the sixth generation of tigers in my family. One of my ancestors was the second woman to graduate from Missouri just because her name was second in the alphabet. Mizzou is my heritage. I am proud of that.
I won’t ever root for another college team. I won’t ever follow another football team as much as I follow the tigers. I just can’t. The tigers are too ingrained in my system to ever rid me of it. Now that I’m going to be a tiger I can’t imagine life any other way. I could live in Kansas the rest of my life, but I’ll always wear my black and gold. It’s what makes me, me.