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FROM READERS: A perspective from an Arkansas native, Mizzou student

Monday, November 19, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. CST

Whitney Sommers is currently studying magazine journalism at MU.  She is originally from Jerusalem, Ark. Whitney played basketball in high school, and now works as an office assistant for the Missouri men's basketball team.

In Arkansas everyone is a Razorback fan. From Fayetteville down to El Dorado, and from babies up to adults, everyone loves the Hogs and sports the red and white. It’s just the way it is down there.

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I grew up in central Arkansas in the tiny community of Jerusalem; I spent the first 18 years of my life there before coming to MU for college. Needless to say, I was literally born a razorback fan and have been “calling the Hogs” for as long as I can remember.

When I came to Missouri, no one back home really knew or cared what Mizzou was. And now, just three short years later, we’re members of the same conference. I have to say I never saw it coming. After all, as a true Southerner, Missouri just doesn’t seem like part of the South to me. I mean, in most restaurants here in Columbia, they don’t even serve sweet tea, which is nuts to me! I thought everyone drank sweet tea.

All of that aside, I am happy Mizzou made the move (and I’m happy I moved to Mizzou). We now have the chance to become an elite football program in the best football conference in the country. And we’re going to get some great recruits because of it (i.e. DGB). It’s no secret that we’ve got some dues to pay and perhaps a few rocky seasons ahead, but I have no doubt that the Tigers will rise to the challenge.

As a die-hard basketball fan and used-to-be player, it’s the next four months that most excite me as far the move to the SEC, and it has everything to do with Arkansas. As an office assistant for the men’s basketball team here at MU, I had the privilege of working for Mike Anderson and his staff for two years. I had a close relationship with the entire staff and still keep in touch with them, especially assistant coach, Matt Zimmerman.

It was hard to see them go, and it’s going to be almost as hard to see them return to Mizzou Arena on March 5 wearing red instead of gold and coming out of the visitor’s locker room instead of the one I watched them exit for two years.

Still, I am excited for their return. Even though I am friends with those guys, I am now a member of Frank Haith’s staff and no one has more “faith in Haith” than me. Just as I surrendered my red and white when I moved to Missouri in 2009, I surrendered my allegiance to Anderson and his staff when they moved back to my home state in 2011.

We can be friends off the court, but when they step into Mizzou Arena next spring, it’s all about Haith and the Tigers. And you better believe, Anderson’s victories on Norm Stewart Court ended a long time ago.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.


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