(COLUMBIA, Mo)- Ten-year-old Sammy Martin waits for this week every year. Each November, teachers at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School assign students to write a letter about why they are thankful. Each November since he could hold a marker, Sammy has written about his love for the Mizzou Tigers.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Sammy asked over his morning cereal. “It’s Mizzou. If you can’t be thankful for the Tigers, what can you be thankful for?”
It would be the perfect Thanksgiving story but for the fact his father, Matt, refused to read it for the second straight year.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Matt asked. “Have you read it? Have you? He sounds like a child. Only a child could be so happy about Mizzou right now.”
Sammy said his dad’s school spirit has been wavering in recent years. Last week’s loss of star recruit Michael Porter Jr.was his breaking point.
“He said some words I shouldn’t say,” Sammy said. “But that’s okay. I know he loves the Tigers just as much as I do.”
While his dad has introduced Thanksgiving to a new kind of Grinch, Sammy’s story has taken a heartwarming turn.
Upon hearing that his father once again refused to read his Mizzou Thanksgiving letter, Sammy vowed to make sure every other Mizzou fan saw how thankful he was. He started by walking up and down his block, knocking on doors, and reading it aloud to neighbors.
“One guy told his dog to bite me, and Mrs. Haseltine threw a pot of water on me, but people have mostly been good…except for the three houses that called the police. Dad wasn’t happy about that.” Sammy said. “I don’t know if they know that Mizzou Thanksgiving Spirit is as important as Christmas Spirit. Hey, it’s okay. If one person reads this and cheers for Mizzou this weekend, I’ll be happy.”
After hearing Sammy’s story, Mizzou News editors decided that, in the best Sammy Martin Thanksgiving Spirit, to republish his letter here.
“Cool,” Sammy said. “You think you could get a hundred people to read it? That would be awesome!”
When asked for his permission to publish his son’s letter, Matt Martin shrugged. He said, “Go ahead. I don’t care. If you do, maybe that optimistic little (expletive) will write about something different next year. Maybe the Chiefs, you know?”
“I’ll be thankful for the Chiefs when Andy Reid learns to manage the clock,” Sammy said.
Here is the full text of Sammy’s letter. Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Mizzou News.
I AM THANKFUL FOR…
TRUMAN THE TIGER…who never stops dancing, even when we’re losing
DAN DEVINE…a man who knew how to turn losers into winners
NORM STEWART…who never stopped being a leader
GARY PINKEL…because he made my daddy cheer when I was little
SHAKESPEARE’S PIZZA…because all other pizza sucks
THE ANTLERS…who always show up win or lose…and are better dancers than the Golden Girls
BARRY ODOM…because he doesn’t give up
CUONZO MARTIN…because I’ll get to see him coach at Mizzou when I go to college
MICHAEL PORTER JR….who will be a Tiger hero even if he never plays at Mizzou again
MY MOMMY AND DADDY…they may not believe now, but they made me TIGER, and I won’t stop loving MIZZOU!!