Collegiate athletics – more so than any other sport – are a family affair. Teams are passed down from generation to generation so frequently that almost everyone can lay claim to one. I'm part of a Mizzou family. My girlfriend belongs to a Tennessee family. It's one of the oldest instincts we know. We're bred to accept the torch when it's passed to us so that the family flame may continue on.
Take the Lock's history at the University of Missouri, for instance. Jerry Lock started the tradition; sporting the black and gold from 1961 to 1962. His son Andy followed suit, lettering as an offensive lineman for four years. He grabbed his father's torch, carried it valiantly, then started prepping to pass it on again. His son was born in Columbia, and raised on a healthy diet of Mizzou fandom. Eventually that young man would take up the torch that his father inherited from his father before him. He started for most of the season in 2015, and he's poised to make big strides in 2016. Drew Lock is more than just Missouri's staring quarterback. He's a legacy. I asked Andy what it was like to watch his son follow in his footsteps
I have no idea what I have done to deserve the cards I have been dealt. I am literally the luckiest dad in the world. I have two wonderful kids.
I have always thought of myself as a teacher, leader, and a mentor to my kids, but I did not know I could learn from them.
Last year, I learned what tough and resilient really meant from an 18-year-old that grew from a boy to a man in eleven games.
Fandom is hereditary. For Drew, it started with his grandfather. For me, it also runs through the paternal line. Both of my parents graduated from the University of Missouri, but it was my father who dyed my blood black and gold. The procedure was as safe as it was effective. I wore out the Brad Smith jersey he bought me. I had the fight song memorized before I could recite the fifty states. I could correctly pronounce "Faurot" instead of sounding it out phonetically like all the other dumb kids in my class at Patterson Elementary. I'm a Tiger, and I have been since birth.
That said, I always had the option to take my cheers elsewhere. Even though it brought him immense joy to root for Mizzou together, my dad would have been 100 percent supportive if I'd decided that I was a Michigan Man. When the time came to select a university to attend, he made his feelings abundantly clear. The choice was mine. There would be no pressures to follow in his footsteps. A degree from Missouri would make him just as proud as a degree from any other school. Yes, even Kansas. The enemy. The great blue and red menace to the west. If I packed up and moved to Lawrence, he would still visit me, send me money (important), and he would definitely, absolutely still love me.
Luckily, that wasn't a bridge we had to cross. He handed me the same torch he'd been carrying since he graduated in 1982 and off to Columbia I went. Three years later my brother followed suit, rounding out the rooting foursome.
I'm exceptionally proud to be a Mizzou legacy, and I can't thank my father enough for instilling my Mizzou fandom in me. I'm sure a lot of you have stories like mine. If you do, please share them in the comments. Let's all celebrate our poppa Tigers.
Happy Father's Day, Rock M Nation.