It was hard not to notice Tyler Lee.
The two-year-old, who was perfectly coordinated in his Missouri tracksuit, was after something.
With his white sneakers moving almost too quickly for his little legs to keep up, Lee looked over and said “He’s my friend.”
He did not point to his friend, but it was obvious Lee was trying to play follow-the-leader with a 6-foot-plus tiger.
Lee was on the trail of Truman the Tiger; Missouri’s mascot.
After he found him, Lee did not let Truman out of his sight.
Lee ran through the excitement of Saturday’s Tiger Festival at Mizzou Arena to chase down his tiger.
The festival took place inside the arena before the women’s game against Kansas. It went from 11:30 a.m. until the 1 p.m. tipoff time.
The festival featured face painting and an array of inflatable apparatuses.
They included a basketball shooting game and a tiger trampoline.
Lee refused to be distracted by any of it.
His reason for showing up was simple; just to see Truman.
Chasing after this boy in wonder were his grandparents Kevin and Janice Hinshaw.
Janice heard about the festival on the radio and told Kevin about it.
The Hinshaw’s knew how much Lee wanted to meet Truman, so it was an easy decision.
Kevin Hinshaw said these outings with his grandson happen a lot, especially going to basketball games.
Lee was not fazed by other friendly competition — kids swarm Truman wherever he goes, and Saturday was no exception.
Truman greeted other kids, took pictures and gave hugs, with Lee standing closely by his side. Timidly, Lee would reach out to touch Truman’s fur coat.
He tried to outrace a girl, who was going to pull Truman’s tail, but lost.
Missouri’s eighth-straight loss, 60-42, made no different to Lee.
He met Truman and that is all that mattered.