Valparaiso (66) vs. Missouri State (84) 02/12/2022

Game #105 of 358 29% complete

So why is he in Missouri now? My daughter and husband along with my grandson moved from Manhattan to Joplin for a career move. What better way to visit than to go to an Operation351 game on my visits to see the family!

As I walked up to the stadium, I saw a statue of a woman basketball player which a first for me. Jackie Stiles was the darling of college basketball in 2001. She led Southwest Missouri State (the old name) to a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bears made it to the final four eventually succumbing to Purdue in the semifinal game. Unfortunately, her pro career fizzled after numerous injuries including 13 surgeries. In her brief time in Camelot, she was a superstar bringing big time notoriety to a small school in the Midwest.

I was very impressed with the JQH arena. Spacious and modern looking, I was surprised to see such a sleek place for a small school like MSU. One feature that I liked and have not seen before was a digital scoreboard at the scorer’s table thus saving the old necks from continuously looking up at the scoreboard.

Isiaih Mosley finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. I was looking up on my phone to see if he was related to Mosley brothers from UCLA. A man in front overheard me mumbling and stated that they were not related. He did say that Mosely will wear an NBA uniform in the future. He was smooth and an excellent shooter. It could happen.

I am all for free swag tossed into the audience by the cheerleaders. Free shirts with a team logo are cool in my book. During this game, the cheerleaders tossed capes into the crowd. Capes? Where are you going to wear a cape?

The ride from Joplin to Jefferson took about an hour. Beforehand, my son in law, John, took me on a brief tour of the city. As you may know, the city of Joplin was pulverized by a tornado in 2011. 158 people were killed and some 1,150 were injured. I asked to see where the tornado had landed in the city. The path today can be determined by the path of new buildings and the absence of trees in a mile wide path through the busy downtown area as you can see below. Their new house has a safe room surrounded by steel should this ever happen again.

I am closing this season out for Operation 351. Due to family obligations and a new kitchen occupying my time, I am unable to take any more trip this season although I will be attending a couple of UConn home games.

Best of health to all! See you next season!

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