Tuesday, October 4, 2011

If this is the end

There's no reason to place blame now, just time to reflect. It's the dreaded delay between a death and the funeral that follows where making sense of what's occurred is next to impossible.

Is the Missouri/Kansas rivalry really going to end this way?

The University of Missouri announced Tuesday their Board of Curators had voted unanimously to explore other options as it relates to the school's conference affiliation.

Translation:  The more-stable Southeastern Conference is right next door, ready and willing to welcome Mizzou with open arms.

So, if this is the end, what do we make of it?

With Texas and Oklahoma around, the Big 12 will survive. With Gary Pinkel around, Mizzou will be just fine.

But what about Kansas City?

The MU/KU rivalry is a part of the city's culture. Without it, a piece of what makes it home to us will be lost forever.

Families divided, couples split, co-workers spending most of their day on the job arguing about their rival school's recruiting classes. We love it and we take it for granted.

It's gone.

You can say goodbye to Big 12 tournament week, when the Kansas City Power & Light district is booming with entertainment and tourists from neighboring states visiting to root on their team and enjoy the city we call home.

Sports-talk radio will take a hit as well. Instead of the upcoming Missouri/K-State matchup dominating the talk this week, picture this:  Next year, you'll have to decide between a KU/BYU preview on one station, or an MU/Vanderbilt preview on the other.


There'd be no more rivalry games at Arrowhead Stadium, so if Missouri leaves, this Thanksgiving weekend will be the last football game between our local schools for quite some time.

This would be MU's last go-round in the Big 12 altogether, so we're facing just one last ESPN college hoops Big Monday, when our city and schools are on center stage for two hours showing the country what the greatest rivalry in the land looks like.

Kansas and Missouri, students and fans alike. The hate will always be there, but because of the Kansas City connection, the need for eachother has never been more apparent.

Right now, saying goodbye just doesn't feel right.

If this is the end, know there will come a day I'll tell my future children and grandchildren about a once-great college sports rivalry, and the effect it had on the city I've grown to love.

I'll tell them about Roy Williams' tears and Mario Chalmers' miracle. I'll tell them about Gary Pinkel's visor and his unstoppable offenses, too.

I'll tell them about the night the whole country was watching on national-television as both school's top-ranked football programs squared off under the lights at Arrowhead.

There was Reecing's pass, Taylor's lay-up, Maclin's speed, and Collison's dominance.

There was a rivalry in which no amount of money could ever replicate, and in which its future is in great peril.

Kansas City was at the center of it all. And for a city where the professional sports teams never cease to disappoint, it's sad to think it could get any worse than it already is.

If this is the end, it surely will.

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