A Kickoff 50 Years in the Making
The Missouri Baptist University football team took the field for the first time in the school’s 50-year history, and the MBU community was there to see it happen.
Photo by: Reid Cure
St. Louis, Mo. – Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, was a day that will go down in history for MBU.
A school rich in athletic tradition made a new wave as the Spartans ran out onto the field in Cape Girardeau, Mo., underneath the lights of Houck Stadium.
There was no shortage of adrenaline and many in attendance knew what this day meant.
Following the introduction of the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks, the Spartans took the field in a rush, sending chills surging through many of the MBU fans.
The crowd, though small in number, let out a roar that must have been bottled for half a century.
Spartan football had arrived.
Along with the faculty and students in attendance, much of our MBU Timeline staff came out to support the Spartans as well.
“The opening ceremony was enough to give anyone in the crowd goosebumps. The sound of motorcycle engines echoing off into the distance made fans go wild,” said Molly Carver, MBU Timeline’s social media editor. “Watching the Spartans take the field for the first time was a moment that would be hard for anyone to forget.”
From the crowd to the sidelines, MBU Timeline had staff covering every moment of the game.
MBU Timeline writer and Spartan Cheerleader Hannah Ballard was only a few feet away from the action.
“For cheerleading, the first football game was much different than what we have been used to doing. We were more in the game than we had been for any other sport,” said Ballard. “My favorite feeling of cheerleading is looking up in the stands and seeing them packed full of people cheering on the team with us. The fans were more involved than ever before.”
Not only did MBU Timeline have a cheerleader on hand, but another member of the staff, Stacey Biermann, had traveled down as a member of the dance team.
“Dancing at the first football game was an unforgettable experience. It was an honor to be able to be a part of a night that will go down in school history,” said Biermann. “I have performed at all types of events throughout my life, but the energy and excitement when the boys took the field was unlike any other. The support Missouri Baptist fans showed the Spartans was unwavering, regardless of the distance, weather or outcome of the game.”
Although the score may not have gone the way of the Spartans — a 77-0 loss — the energy certainly never surrendered.
Down by more than 50 points, the Spartans’ faithful fans were still on their feet.
With zero tradition, no history and almost no expectations, supporters headed down to the corner of Missouri full of hope for the future and pride for the school.
There was a never-say-die mentality among the players and fans.
As the MBU community returned Thursday night to St. Louis, fans realized they were coming back with more hope and pride, even after the team’s tough loss.
Entering the gates of Houck Stadium meant you were witnessing something special, but what many MBU fans didn’t realize was that this was a start of a tradition. A tradition not of dominance on the field, not of tributes pouring in or trophies piling up, but a tradition of passion and persistence.
Thursday night an important lesson was taught to all those supporting MBU.
Being a member of the MBU community is more than outcomes. Being a member means more than conference titles, more than points, stats and All-Americans.
Being a Spartan is about heart, pride and passion.
These qualities were beautifully displayed in the presence of every spectator and body sporting MBU’s school colors, navy and white.
No matter the circumstances, the opponent or the final decision, we know we can all count on each other; a family bonded on that cloudy night.
Now, more than ever, we all stand proud as Spartans.
Filmed and edited by: Jeffrey Jones