DEAR READER: So much Missouri athletics, so little time

Saturday, December 7, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:44 p.m. CST, Monday, January 13, 2014

Dear Reader,

I almost feel sorry for the Missouri volleyball team.


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34-0. Ranked fourth in the country. Playing on its home court with the real possibility of being the first MU team in almost half a century to win a national championship.

It is the first volleyball team to go undefeated in the history of the Southeastern Conference. I don’t care if the game is Little League baseball or US Youth soccer; going undefeated at any level is almost impossible and requires an astounding level of focus. It is an accomplishment worthy of loud, long celebration.

As the late, great broadcaster Jack Buck would say: Go crazy, folks. Go crazy.

Columbia would — if only there weren’t so much competition for the hearts, minutes and dollars of its residents.

Going into the weekend, the Missouri football team’s chances of playing for a national championship were approximately equal to the odds of MU’s newest chancellor exchanging his bow tie collection for the more mundane neck sort.  (Missourian sports reporter Alex Smith gave the team a 10 percent chance, which was overly generous.)

Yet there will be more Missouri fans at the SEC football championship game in Atlanta than at the first NCAA tournament volleyball games in the Hearnes Center.

Nobody ever said sports were fair. (Oh, wait: Someone probably did. That someone was wrong.) Football fans still in Columbia could make Saturday night's volleyball match. But I'm skeptical they will.

There’s plenty more to blear eyeballs and deaden butt muscles of Mizzou nation. A wrestling tournament will be held in, of all places, Jesse Auditorium, home of ballet and musicals. A nationally televised men’s basketball game will tip off at a time better suited for eggs and bacon than brats and popcorn. One newsroom editor referred to it as a high dollar game; the price of a ticket goes up when you play the likes of UCLA.

Want a non-visual picture of audience fragmentation? Put the M at the beginning of this sentence to explain the audience fragmentation and leave the U way down here toward the end.

Has there been a bigger weekend in Missouri sports? I don’t think so.

So what’s the Missourian to do? Cover it all as best as it can. I’m writing on Friday afternoon, just after the weekend planning meeting. The goal is to be where you can’t, to watch what you wished to, and report back.

Did I say big weekend? Big. Big. Big.

A new comic strip is coming.

On Tuesday, the Missourian will feature WuMo. It’s a single-panel cartoon by two Danes, writer Mikael Wulff and illustrator Anders Morgenthaler. According to Universal Uclick, the U.S. distributor, the duo have produced Scandinavia’s biggest comedy website, an animated television sitcom, and an illustrated cookbook. WuMo is carried in 240 newspapers in the United States.

I hope you like it.

To make room, F Minus has been canceled. I’m sure there are fans of Tony Carrillo’s strip in Missourian land, and I’m sorry it can’t be continued. I hope you’ll find WuMo to be an acceptable substitute.

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