Sandy Nickel is a Missourian reader and Tigers basketball fan.
To the 2011-2012 Missouri Tigers Basketball team:
I have been a lifelong fan of Missouri sports. My fanship reached new levels this year watching the Tiger basketball team.
You won my heart in the preseason and and gained respect and admiration throughout the conference schedule and the conference tournament. You demonstrated team spirit, perseverance and good sportsmanship all year, not to mention superb basketball.
I wanted to attend the NCAA first game in Omaha to support you in person. Upon arrival, I was amazed to find a good Missouri crowd, but not a great one. Perhaps this was due to tickets being divided between four different teams, however, people were selling tickets for five and ten dollars outside.
When the first half ended in a tie, I was confident that you would have a great second half and prevail.
Unfortunately, after halftime, a whole new group of people entered the arena. The tide turned and chants of "We love NSU" overpowered anything our fan base could do. Very few of the newcomers were from Norfolk State. We know that it is true that fan support can energize a team. On Friday, sadly, the fan support flowed to Norfolk State.
From great loss, great learning should occur. I apologize to each member of our wonderful team for not supporting you in person all year.
I urge all Missouri fans to make the effort to attend as many games in person as possible. When Missouri returns to the NCAA Tournament next year, wherever they may be, Mizzou Nation must rally.