Time for some good old-fashioned nostalgia, featuring the Rock M
Late last week, Peter Baugh put out a phenomenal post on my favorite paid subscription site, The Athletic, about the rock M. You know what I’m talking about... that giant block M made up of a bazillion stones — whitewashed each year by members of the freshman class— that is positioned in the (cursed?) north end zone. Did you know that it’s been around since (checks notes)... 1927 when members of the freshman class carved them from stone leftover from Memorial Stadium’s construction? Newsflash- I didn’t. Regardless of if you know how it got there, you know you have a memory of it.
Missouri football might not have the history of a powerhouse program — it’s never won a national championship or boasted a Heisman Trophy winner — but it has a beloved fixture in the end zone. It’s a monument to which fans cling, a constant in a stadium that’s seen plenty of change.
Not only is getting a picture near the Block M a necessity for any fan, young or old, but taking a physical piece of it with you, as the seniors get to do at the end of every season, is a tradition that many hold on to forever. Head Coach Barry Odom (LB, 1996-99) keeps his in his office. Former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon keeps his, which Barry told him to take in 2016, at his Clayton law office.
Former TE Sean Culkin remembers picking a boulder-sized one and then climbing on the shoulders of Paul Adams and Alec Abeln after a comeback win against Arkansas in what was otherwise a disastrous season.
He reflected on the workouts he’d done next to the M. He thought about how much he’d grown since the first time he saw it. In that moment, Culkin wasn’t thinking about the team’s underwhelming record. And when he looks back on his senior year, he thinks of that night — a near-perfect ending.
“I would go as far as to say if we lost that and that didn’t happen, I would look back on my experience at Mizzou completely differently, as crazy as that sounds,” Culkin said. “But it had a huge effect on players that love Mizzou for what Mizzou stands for.”
Despite how disappointing this season turns out, and yes — there’s no denying that feeling we likely all have, just like the one Sean Culkin and his teammates undoubtedly had — I love that those that have given their time and energy to this University (players, band members, cheerleaders, student trainers, etc) get to take a piece of history with them.
You can read this damn delightful piece of nostalgia right in full right here... if you’re a subscriber. As I continue to shout from the mountaintops, if you haven’t tried out The Athletic yet, here’s a link to a seven day free trial— http://theathletic.com/freetrial. I highly recommend it, and NO, I don’t get a kickback.
On to the links!
(By the way, if you’re wondering why you’re seeing my byline on Tuesday, Josh is on vacation and I’m filling in, so I may not be going quite to the normal Karen levels of extra-ness... semi-apologies)
Yesterday at Rock M
- Josh told us how Mizzou’s final football game won’t really tell us much about the team one way or another.
- Sammy asked if the Tennessee loss was the nail in the coffin, so to speak, for Barry Odom.
- Ryan had a new depth chart for us, with the “OR” disclaimer added in case of the injured players. Here’s to hoping me actually get to see Acy & JJ play in what could be their final college games. (daily reminder: the NCAA sucks)
- Site Manager Sam posted a new FanPulse. Guess what, all? Fans continue to have a lack of confidence in Barry Odom, but really like candied yams/sweet potatoes? Excuse me while I go be sick.... (wretching noises)
- Josh previewed a very well-rounded Butler team. Sigh.
- New Matt (haven’t yet figured out how I will distinguish the two basketball Matts) recapped that sometimes expletive-inducing Butler game.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: BenFred said that the numbers involving Barry Odom are getting harder to explain and ignore, according to his “BenFred’s 5” weekly piece.
- (more) STL P-D: Jeff Gordon’s Tipsheet talked about how the Razorbacks are hoping to have a little fun at our expense, and gave some quotes from national writers about the CFB landscape as a whole.
- PowerMizzou: Gabe posted his Ten Thoughts for a Monday Morning for subscribers. And for the freeloaders (like me): Gabe posted audio & a transcript, while Mitchell Forde posted a Notebook from Barry Odom’s media day press conference.
- KC Star: Souichi Terada posted a preview of the Arkansas game, as well as 5 things to know, such as the Tigers are facing an interim coach, and oh yay (!), it’s another quarterback TBD situation! He also recapped Barry Odom’s press conference.
- Columbia Missourian: Nick Kelly compiled a Notebook from media day, and said that Selection Sunday may be the cutoff on hearing from the NCAA. He also published an SEC Roundup about cupcake consumption leading into Rivalry Week. AND (Nick was busy, y’all), he also wrote another piece about KB’s injuries... plural.
- 101 ESPN: Bernie, taking on the curmudgeon role of his former PD colleague, Jeff Gordon, had some stuff to say about Mizzou. (confession— I stopped reading after a few sentences)
- Saturday Down South- Adam Spencer wrote that what the NCAA is doing to Missouri is criminal.
- MUTigers.com previewed The Battleline Rivalry game, along with sharing some cool facts about the team and the “rivalry.”
- The Athletic ($$): Peter Baugh posted some takeaways, asking if the misery ends for Barry Odom and his Tigers on Friday.
Well... that didn’t go like anyone was hoping. Dru was great, doing Dru things, but many others that we have come to count on? Let’s not continue those performances, ok? The good news is— they get to play again tonight at 6pm vs Oklahoma! (side note: if Bryce Drew is going to call that game too, can he please learn to say Cuonzo’s name?)
Final— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) November 26, 2019
Butler 63, Mizzou 52
Back at it tomorrow here at the Sprint Center. pic.twitter.com/Ha47AlDknV
- PowerMizzou (free): Mitchell had a nice piece on X-Man’s strong start and his maturation. It’s a great piece about one of my faves to watch. Gabe also had a preview of the Butler game where he told us to look for the following keys: Lock it down (defense), make outside shots, and win the “battle of the stars.”
- Phenom Hoop Report interviewed Top 50 7-foot post player, John Butler, who mentioned Mizzou as a place he’d like to visit.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Matter wrote about how the hoops team is looking for quality wins in the HOF Classic. We’ve got quantity, y’all, but we need some Quad 1 wins to build up the ol’ resume early on since the SEC is looking might soft these days!
- Choose Your Own Butler Gamer: Gabe DeArmond‘s “And One” piece (PowerMizzou). Dave Matter (STL Today). Souichi Terada (KC Star). Joseph Hernandez (Missourian). My advice? Choose none at all and live in blissful ignorance... I kid.
- Nadia Green got her first career start for the Tigers on Sunday, and showed out with all sorts of career highs!
- Special Olympics participants were guests at the women’s game on Sunday. Love it!
Other Mizzou-related news:
- Softball: Look good, play good.
- Cross-Country: Thomas George wrapped up his NCAA season with a 124th place finish in the NCAA Championships. Said his coach, “Thomas battled hard today after a fall off the starting line. He got himself up into the top 50 at 2k. The course conditions were tough for everyone today and hats off to those that beat Thomas...” Read more on MUTigers.com.
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