COLUMBIA — Congratulations. Coach Gary Pinkel just gave you a last-second spot on the Missouri Tigers roster before the game against Tennessee.
You attend pre-game meetings and then hop on the team bus to drive over to the Mizzou Athletic Complex, where hundreds of screaming fans await your arrival. Pinkel steps off the bus first, then you and your teammates follow.
Nervous but elated, you begin the Tiger Walk across the Providence Road bridge. People reach out their hands. They offer high-fives, they grab you without shame and they slap you on the back.
“Good luck tonight!” they say.
You are now a part of the No. 9-ranked college football team in the nation, and Columbia loves you. Kids and adults alike wear black and gold jerseys. You pass by them wearing a team-issued black sweatshirt, sweatpants and a backpack.
Some of your teammates stop to speak with people they know. Your friends yell your name, and you wave to them.
As you finish the long walk across the bridge, another large crowd of fans awaits. One woman hugs you as you pass by.
“Go get ‘em!” she says.
After the final stair, the Golden Girls are on your left splashing their pom-poms. The marching band is tearing through the fight song on your right. The cheerleaders form a walkway that leads you from the blast of sound, and then you’re in the home stretch.
All you have to do is make it down the precarious hill into the bowels of the stadium without tripping.
Then it’s on to the locker room to prepare for the Volunteers.
Relive your experience with the video above. If someone you know was among those in the crowd, you can point them out, too.
Good luck tonight.