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Kincanons take Missouri defeat in stride

The family has followed Tigers teams for three generations.
Monday, May 7, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:53 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Eight-year-old Douglas Kincanon, left, watches Sunday’s softball game with his father Philip and grandfather Eric. The many Missouri teams the family has followed have created a bond with the family and the program.

From the stands behind home plate, you could barely see the three of them sitting just beyond the left-field wall.

It was there, on the grassy patch that sits even with the top of the outfield fence at University Field, that three generations of the Kincanon family sat Sunday and did what they enjoy most.

They watched a game together.

This time the Kincanons were cheering on the Missouri softball team, which was playing Nebraska with a share of the Big 12 Conference Championship at stake.

The Tigers lost 3-1, but that makes little difference to the Kincanons.

Eric, 69, his son Philip, 42, and Eric’s grandson Douglas Kincanon, 8, go to games together because of their love for sports and each other.

Cheering on a winner sometimes just makes it all a little sweeter.

“Whether our team is winning or losing, we still go to the games because it’s a fun time,” said Eric Kincanon, who also goes to St. Louis Cardinals games with his son each time the team plays at home on a Wednesday. “Losing can get to be a little disappointing sometimes, but it’s awful hard to win a championship every year.”

Eric Kincanon knows a thing or two about rooting for championship teams.

Before moving to Columbia from Baltimore in 1976, Eric Kincanon saw Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts win the NFL Championship back in 1959.

A few years later, he watched Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson lead the Baltimore Orioles to their first World Series title in 1966.

Since moving to mid-Missouri, the eldest Kincanon has become a Tigers fan and follows all of the school’s teams.

The rest of the Kincanon family has followed suit, with Douglas Kincanon being the newest Kincanon addition to Tiger nation.

“Douglas doesn’t get too caught up in what is at stake,” Philip Kincanon said. “He just likes watching the games.”

Philip Kincanon remembers what it was like to be a young Tigers fan, though he went about attending Missouri sporting events in a slightly different fashion than his son.

When Philip Kincanon was a student at Jefferson Junior High School, he often convinced his bus driver to drop him off near the Missouri baseball field on his way home from school so he could catch a few innings of baseball before going home, something his mother never found out about.

“My bus driver was a great guy and he would just drop me off there if I asked him,” said Philip Kincanon, who laughed with his father while recalling his mischievous days as a youth.

The numerous Missouri teams the Kincanon family has followed over the years have forged a bond between the family and the university’s athletic program.

When Eric Kincanon discusses the state of Missouri athletics, he speaks with pride, even though Missouri has struggled mightily to win Big 12 championships.

“We’re a very honest program that gives fans a great variety of sports to choose from,” Eric Kincanon said. “Although it seems whenever we get a halfway decent team, something always seems to go wrong. It has been that way for years.”

While Eric Kincanon may seem to have a pessimistic outlook on the history of MU athletics, it’s for good reason.

He can still remember attending games from what he calls “the painful Woody Widenhofer years” of MU football, referring to the former coach who compiled a 12-31-1 record over four years, including a loss to Northwestern in the first game of his tenure.

“If you can sit through a game where you’re getting beat by Northwestern, you can sit through anything,” Eric Kincanon said.

While the losses may mount and the years may go by without a Missouri team winning any more Big 12 Championships, one thing is certain.

The Kincanons will be watching.

Together.


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