Editor disheartened by opposing fans, urges University pride


Jordan Larimore, associate editor

Jordan Larimore


I hate to be the jackass who points out a negative aspect of such an admirable event as this past Sunday’s One State, One Spirit Classic. It really doesn’t give me pleasure to point out the thing that disgusted me Sunday.

I have even reviewed photos of the game, days afterward, to make sure that I did indeed see what rubbed me so wrong as I walked around the gym. Photographs only confirmed my suspicions and unease.

Black and gold.

Black and gold in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. 

I realize that there are several fans of the Missouri Tigers in Joplin. And it was never more evident than Sunday night. But how approximately half the crowd at L&P could have the audacity to walk into the Lions’ backyard wearing Tigers all over their bodies, cheering vehemently for every Mizzou basket, yet giving only forced, almost consolation applause of any Southern points or plays, absolutely baffles me.

I’ve thought about it, frantically looking for an explanation, more than once daily since Sunday. 

How, especially after a tragedy like the May tornado this very game was designed to help our community recover from, can so many people feel so apathetic about the school that’s been in their backyard longer than many families have? It’s absolutely sickening. A friend of mine, and student-athlete at Southern, put it best standing next to me courtside on Sunday, “Man, to go to someone else’s home and get applause like this? I want these guys’ lives. How nice would that be?”

And my friend is right, I’m sure Kim English and Marcus Denmon felt like superstars while the youth of Joplin hounded them for autographs, completely ignoring the talent of the likes of Keane Thomann or Marquis Addison. Or the absolute heart of a lion (no pun intended) Jason Adams displayed to get on the floor and play 25 minutes, less than three weeks removed from back surgery.

Several of these offenders were people I’ve known all my life, as we’ve both been members of the Joplin community for a lifetime. More than one, I know for a fact, holds a degree from Southern. Still, I saw Tigers painted on faces, plastered on T-shirts, jackets and everywhere else you could imagine. 

Maybe Southern hasn’t given those people a whole lot to be proud of in their time affiliated with the University. I can understand that to a small degree. 

But whose job is it to create a campus atmosphere students, alumni and faculty can all be proud of? I’ve only been on this campus a little over two years, but I’ve been in Joplin well over 20. I know how the mindset is; I’ve seen how people in this community think. Everyone wants to be just like a little school 30 minutes down the road to the northwest. But no one wants to take the initiative to make it happen.

I don’t care if you’re a student, alumnus, instructor or custodian, you can have a part in making this University into something to be proud of. 

And several of us are proud of our school, just because we love it. I asked a Southern graduate who is now pursuing a law degree at Mizzou, “Which color did you pair with gold for this game?”


An off-duty fellow media member wore a Lions shirt to the game. 

People like these two give me hope. They’re the silver lining. The shot Southern has at changing the minds of the masses. All it takes is a few people, leaning to either side, to take a few small steps, in order to significantly change a culture. 

So, yes, if you wore Mizzou gear on Sunday, I’m calling you out. 

There are, of course, certain exemptions. At one point during the game, one of my closest and oldest friends found me. I’ve known her and her wonderful family since kindergarten. Their family has decades of history at Mizzou. Her parents met at MU. She is a model student at MU. I told her and her family, “You guys are allowed to wear black and gold.” 

So is anyone else with a similar connection to the Tigers. I would expect such people to show passion for their team. So if that’s you, don’t bother getting puffy; I actually respect your loyalty and dedication. Hell, I applied and was accepted to Mizzou before I did Southern. I wanted to be a Tiger. But I eventually decided the opportunities for me were better here than in Columbia

All I’m trying to do is put a foot in the door. 

Whether we’re hiring embezzlers to teach accounting, winning a regular season MIAA Championship, dividing ourselves to the point of taking a vote of confidence in our leadership, or becoming a rock of stability for the community after one of the worst natural disasters in American history, we should all be proud of our school.

Pride starts with initiative.