Book Report: Tales from the Missouri Tigers by Alan Goforth (2003)

Book coverWell, gentle reader, when I bought this book in 2021, I said:

I am thinking of giving this to my mother-in-law for Christmas, but we might already have done so. Which might lead me to justifying keeping it for myself.

I know you have been waiting in suspense lo these almost three years, but I did not end up giving this to my mother-in-law. Well, not yet. I think I shall take it over to her apartment to let her read it. Because I might not be a giver, but I can be a lender.

Also, gentle reader, I must admit that I’m playing fast and loose with the 2024 Winter Reading Challenge categories. School Setting appears on the list of categories, but one gets the sense that the categories might be skewed to younger readers these days. I don’t read many books set at schools. This book deals with a university’s athletic program, so it will have to do. If not, I have a similar book from Michigan State (I think). Maybe even by the same author.

The author breaks the book into two parts plus some appendixes. The first trips through some reminisciences from basketball players from the Tigers in the 20th century (and a couple of years into the 21st) focusing on coaches (and Norm Stewart, who was a two sport man at Mizzou before becoming a storied coach much later) and some of the better players. The second part, which is most of the book, does the same with football players. Appendixes include memories from the sidelines–including a section that includes Dan Meers’ memories (I read his book Wolves Can’t Fly last summer).

I say the book “trips through” because it’s written in that blocky style that skips between memories and interview bits from players, staff, and whatnot (including a guy who had attended/reported on the Tigers since the 1930s, seventy years by the time this book came out). Surely You Can’t Be Serious and Louder than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal both used this technique, which makes it easy to read in snippets since the snippets are two to three paragraphs long. Why bother reading whole chapters? Why bother writing the connective tissue between topics? Just lay in a couple of centered asterisks and move on.

It’s 191 pages with appendixes, and it proved to be a pretty quick read. It gave me some sense of the history of the sports programs and their successes that I previously had lacked. I should have taken better notes, I suppose, because Mizzou sports facts are not uncommon at trivia parts around here. But I only have retained so far the things that especially resonated with me. That Norm Stewart played baseball and football for Missouri state; that Dan Devine coached Missouri football before the Green Bay Packers, and…. Well, that’s all that comes to mind right now. I can only hope that other information might rattle out if needed, but that’s probably too much to hope for. Beaver Cleaver’s first name did not rattle out on New Year’s Eve even though I’d just read Why We Watch: Killing the Gilligan Within.

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