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Team loyalty is something you can't teach. It's developed over years of becoming a fan. Most likely it gets started because your parents are fans of the team. Many times it's started to spite your parents. You might have played for that team in recreation sports and found a link to that same pro team. It may have developed because they come from your hometown or a city that you lived in when you were younger.

However it gets developed, once it's ingrained in a person, it's hard to change.

We have a very good friend who currently lives in Georgia who we've accused of having a team identity problem. He moved to Georgia after college because he received his Master's Degree from Georgia Southern University and stayed in the town where he did his student teaching. We'll give it to him if he wants to root for Georgia Southern or even Georgia.

He grew up as a youngster in the St. Louis area so as long as I've known him he's been a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. We didn't give him any grief when he rode the Cardinal coattail this year all the way to the World Series nor have we given him grief over the four or five times they've done the same since we left college.

To his credit, although he graduated from high school in Florida and calls Newport Ritchie his hometown, I don't believe I've ever heard him say he's a fan of Florida, Florida State or Miami nor any of the many pro sports teams that hail from Florida. But recently he's decided to become a fan of the Missouri Tigers and we're calling his bluff.

Since I've known him, I can't ever remember him wearing any sweatshirt or hat flashing the Missouri Tigers logo nor hearing Mizzou come from his lips in any form of support for "his" team. I don't remember him going out of his way to get tickets to a Mizzou football game as he did this past year when he met another friend of ours in St. Louis for game four of the World Series.

For some reason, he's chosen this year to become a Mizzou fan, in all likelihood because of their success on the gridiron. He's taken great exception to us calling his bluff mostly because we like to get under his skin, but partly because we never heard him mention being a Missouri fan when they were out of the national spotlight for all those years.

I guess I'll allow him this one year of rooting for "his" Missouri Tigers as I sit here rooting for the Towson Tigers as I watch them compete in the National Championship. I've not rooted for Towson before this and really only am interested because of some former students that are now Tigers or because my buddy Pat Stoetzer has always been a fan.

However you look at it, it's loyalty that makes the difference. We bust our friend's chops because it's fun, not really questioning his loyalty. As American author Napoleon Hill wrote, "Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life."

At least our friend cares.

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