Alumnus urges students, fans to show Lion pride

Since I graduated from Missouri Southern in 2010, I’ve had the joy of attending a number of sporting events here, at Mizzou and schools around the state.   

While there is obviously a big difference between 70,000 fans at Faurot Field in Columbia and 5,000 fans at Hughes Stadium in Joplin, one thing is universal at any university. 

A community united behind one cause: victory. 

Saturdays in the fall are a celebration of togetherness, best exemplified in the use of the word ‘we’ to refer to the concept of school unity, even by those who have never stepped foot on a field, court, diamond or pitch: “We are 3-1 this season. I can’t wait until we play Pittsburg State in November. We have a lot to look forward to this year.”

It’s an exciting time to be at MSSU. The football program has a fresh start under new Head Coach Daryl Daye, the team started off 3-0 for the first time in six years, and the school is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The Lions also have an amazing amount of talent on the field this season. Wide receiver Landon Zerkel was named to two Division-II All-American Teams and defensive tackle Brandon Williams was named to five All-American teams and even mentioned by NFL Draft Guru Mel Kiper as one of the players to watch for D-II.

One of the great things about college sports is that the crowd has the opportunity to make a difference in the game. Each and every person at Hughes Stadium or the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center can make Southern one of the most intimidating places to play, where opposing players, coaches and fans get knots in their stomachs on the ride into town. It has to start somewhere, and it can start with the student section.

While watching the Lions’ nail-biting heart breaker against Southwest Baptist, I noticed a lot of fans sitting down, conversing rather quietly amongst themselves.  That’s no way to put fear in the hearts of men. The students should be leaders. You should stand and cheer, make noise the entire time we’re on defense, try to disrupt the concentration of the other team by screaming your heads off like fanatics, let the Lions know we appreciate their efforts on first downs and of course, stand and clap during the fight song as tens of thousands of proud Lions have before you.

Homecoming festivities are coming up and the student body at Southern has the opportunity to show generations of Lions the school spirit that lives in every member of the MSSU family, waiting to be unleashed. 

We can make it an electric environment, we can get into the heads of our opponents and we can get a victory on Saturday afternoon. 

So next Saturday, stand up, be loud, wear green and gold and cheer on our Lions.