Billingsley_JM_8w.jpg (copy)

Running back DK Billingsley wears the uniform of the only ‘Troy’ that really matters in Memorial Stadium on Saturday. But ‘Troy University’ isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when people play the name association game.

Troy owns something few, if any, other FBS schools can claim: A name that means different things to different people.

For some, an ancient civilization might come to mind. Others think of people named Troy, some famous, some not.

On Saturday in the hours ahead of the kickoff between the Tigers and the Troy Trojans, the question was asked of fans and others on the University of Missouri campus: What does ‘Troy’ mean to you? The responses varied greatly.

When Paul Forman of Chesterfield hears the name Troy, he thinks of two people: Troy, the kid from grade school who was less than kind. And Helen of Troy.

“That’s it,” he said. “Helen Of. That was her name, right?”

Scott Brown of St. Louis also mentioned the woman from that ancient society.

“It’s the only person I know from Troy,” Brown said. “And I don’t really know her that well.”

Not close friends? Lost touch?

“We stopped hanging out a while back,” Brown said, grinning.

Of course, time has been a bit of a barrier for Brown and Helen to be staying in touch. She’s a staple of in Greek mythology and the person the Britannica Encyclopedia calls the “indirect cause of the Trojan War.” The fight between the people of Troy and the Greeks, which Homer wrote about in the Iliad and the Odyssey, came up often in Saturday’s conversations.

Almost all of the 15 people with whom the Missourian spoke mentioned the ancient city and people.

Cooper Grant, a third-year MU student from Sikeston studying history, spent most of our time discussing the war, but then turned his attention to people named Troy.

“The only person I can think of is Troy (Bolton) from ‘High School Musical,’” Grant said, “and I hated that show.”

Yep, the Troy Bolton portrayed by Zac Efron in the 2006 hit Disney Channel movie. That answer was more of an outlier among fans Saturday, though.

The famous Troy mentioned more often was a real Troy — Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current FOX commentator.

“Probably the greatest quarterback the Cowboys have ever had,” said Kevin Berry of O’Fallen.

A few of the more senior fans thought of late actor Troy Donahue as well.

Then there were those who localized their thoughts of Troy. As they wracked their brains for more Troy references, many couldn’t help but think of the town in Lincoln County — Troy, Missouri.

The 2010 census listed Troy, Missouri, as having 10,540 residents. Many fans Saturday knew of it, but most had not been there. Only one of the 15 who spoke with the Missourian has visited it. She has a friend there.

Most of the conversations stayed on the name Troy and the associations it brings up. However, some fans, unprompted, ventured briefly into what comes to mind in reference to Troy’s mascot.

“Trojans has a lot of … connotations to it,” said Greg Valeti of Chesterfield.

His friend, Forman, quickly chimed in.

“You went there!”

Yes, yes he did.

  • Nick Kelly is a Missouri football reporter for the Columbia Missourian. A native of Minneapolis, Minn., he is studying magazine writing and business. Previously, he covered sports for The Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic.

Recommended for you

Join the conversation

When posting comments, please follow our community guidelines:
• Login with a social account on WorldTable.
• Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language or engage in personal attacks.
• Stay on topic. Don’t hijack a forum to talk about something else or to post spam.
• Abuse of the community could result in being banned.
• Comments on our website and social media may be published in our newspaper or on our website.