Mike Goldsmith hasn’t left his Nifong Boulevard apartment in three days. To everyone who calls or texts, he insists he’s fine.
“Never better!” he responded to his girlfriend, Shannon Thompson, Monday morning.
“So chill, dude,” he texted to his brother in Springfield.
His Google searches tell a different story.
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Privately, Goldsmith admitted that he is as confused as he has ever been.
“Last year was so easy,” he said over a cup of chai tea. “Mizzou football looked like my high school team. Kim Anderson’s basketball team might have actually died and rotted through the court. Hell, I wouldn’t know. I stopped going the moment it was clear they weren’t going to go better than .500. Basically, I cheered for J’den Cox, because, you know…well, I don’t know a thing about wrestling, but that Cox guy was a winner.”
In the years before that, Goldsmith had split his time between a successful Mizzou football squad and trying to find a way to re-open Cool Stuff.
“I mean, it was cool stuff, you know? Who doesn’t want that? Arnie Fagan took one look at me and…oh, it doesn’t matter” Goldsmith said and asked to be left alone to “do some research.”
Thompson, Goldsmith’s girlfriend since shortly after Mizzou’s 2014 SEC championship loss to Alabama, said their relationship had been solid since Mizzou’s sports teams took a turn for the worse.
“Mike didn’t go to one game,” Thompson said. “He laughed when I suggested we even go to a tailgate. He said, ‘Why go if they aren’t going to win? What’s the use?’ So, he had a lot of time for me. We took spin classes together.”
This year, however, Goldsmith has found it nearly impossible to plan his weeks.
“Oh, he was first in line for the basketball opener against Iowa State. He went out and bought a basketball jersey. He put one of those damned tails on his car antennae,” Thompson said. “He hadn’t been to a football game since Missouri State, and suddenly he’s screaming M-I-Z when we’re in bed together. He called me Michael one night.”
Goldsmith is one of thousands of Mizzou fans caught in a virtual revolving door of fandom.
“Best we can tell, this has been the most confusing year for a fair weather fan in the last decade at least,” said University of Missouri professor Wayne Brekhus. He teaches Sociology of Identity this semester. “After the Michael Porter Jr. announcement, we saw a surge of self-proclaimed die-hard Tiger fans. They came out for the first football game, but we didn’t see them again until the basketball season started. Now they are spinning in circles. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.”
Goldsmith, who agreed to answer some more questions by text, wrote, “Odom’s squad looked good for a hot minute at the beginning of the year, but by September, why bother, right? Then Cuonzo’s guys play the Jayhawks close, embarrass Iowa State, and then…you know what happened. But by that point, Odom was screaming and firing people up, and I was having a tough time trading my basketball tickets for football seats. It was embarrassing. HOW TO TELL GIRLFRIEND ABOUT BUMPS. Sorry, wrong window.”
Thompson said the basketball team’s game against West Virginia Sunday night was one of the worst nights of her life.
“First half, Mike is walking around the apartment singing the fight song and doing that (expletive) dance The Antlers do. First eight minutes of the second half, he’s calling in favors to get on the Zou Crew. But the second the Tigers lost the lead, Mike switched over to a recording of This is Us and cried into his Vineyard Vines tank top.”
Goldsmith texted, “Basketball? LOLZ. I might watch Kentucky or something. I’m just carpin all those diems, brother. All good.”
Thompson said she was going to give the relationship one more shot.
“We’re in a bowl game, right?” she said? “Maybe if there is a good t-shirt, Mikey will be okay. I sure hope so. God, I hope we win. I already bought him Mizzou boxers for Christmas.”