Cal Tobias: Tiger Rapture

Artist Statement

The great sportswriter Steve Rushin once wrote a column, titled “Wrigley Rapture,” a beautiful first-person account of a Chicago Cubs day game at Wrigley Field, during which he hears this interesting exchange:

A cell phone bleats behind first base, and the shirtless man who answers it says, "What? I can't hear you. No, I'm at Wrigley, watching these *&@#%! losers lose." But the complaint sounds insincere, halfhearted.  

Some are used to watching their team lose. Mizzou men’s basketball fans, who were treated to a 25-win season last year and an NCAA Tournament appearance, now are forced to endure a 14-game (and counting!!!) losing streak.  

If someone calls a Mizzou fan who is at a game, and the fan answers, “No, I’m at Mizzou Arena, watching these *&@#%! losers lose,” would it be insincere or halfhearted? Perhaps the losing has gotten so bad that the fan would be truthfully answering, meaning every bit of what he says, unlike the Cubbie fan.  

Those who, like me, who have watched every excruciating game, know what has taken place. We have seen the players lose hope. We have seen the coach cuss and scream in vain. We have even seen the mascot– joyous Tiger that he is– join in on the misery.  

In this photo series, gathered by me at the arena as I cover the men’s team for the sports blog Rock M Nation, I explore the experience as close to the action as anyone can get– as a credentialed press photographer on the court.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: Tiger Rapture
  • Medium: Photojournalism covering the Missouri men's basketball team.
  • Student's Name: Cal Tobias
  • Major: Journalism
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: 26-May
  • Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
  • Student's Mentor: Karen Steger
  • Mentor's Department: Journalism