Seven-year-old Jack Clark has never visited Missouri State.
His dad, Steve Clark, was an equipment manager for the baseball team and keeps in touch with coach Keith Guttin, during his time at the school. Mom, Karen, is a Mizzou grad who isn’t necessarily consumed with sports.
But the couple likes to joke in front of their child about where Jack will go to school. Mizzou? Missouri State?
On Wednesday morning, as Jack and his mom prepared for Wear Your Favorite College T-shirt Day at Valley Park Elementary near Ellisville, Mo., Jack made his choice clear.
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The Mizzou shirt had to go.
“I want Missouri State,” he wailed, as he sat on his bed in a gold Mizzou shirt his mother had dressed him in. “It’s not fair.”
Steve, who had been in the bathroom when Karen Clark dressed their son in the problematic shirt, heard the commotion. He joked to his wife about trying to brainwash his son. But the truth is, Clark said, if anyone is guilty of brainwashing, it’s him.
“I want him to be a Bear more than anything,” Clark told The Star.
So he decided he just had to film the moment.
“What do you want?” he asked his son, whose face was buried in a pillow, in footage he posted to Twitter.
“Missouri State,” Jack said. “Because that’s the school that Daddy went to.”
“That’s right,” Clark said triumphantly.
It didn’t matter to Jack that his mother’s outfit choice had more to do with his Missouri State shirt being in the dirty pile than any diehard school allegiance.
Clark helped his son find the shirt downstairs. It smelled OK.
Mom shrugged. Missouri State, it was.
As it so happens, the Internet took over from there.
Clark said the video quickly picked up steam. First, Missouri State picked it up. Then, a Springfield reporter asked for his cell phone. He called coach Guttin, who shared the video with other coaches and school administrators.
His father’s video has been viewed more than 8,000 times since Wednesday morning.
Kevin Agee, who runs Missouri State’s Twitter account, reached out to Clark and offered to send some more Missouri State gear.
The Missouri State admissions office also offered up some items.
As for Jack. He was unaware of all the buzz.
His mom, who works at Jack’s school, snapped a picture of the happy child in his Missouri State shirt in a hallway, smiling ear to ear with his fist in the air.
“Yes, he was happy,” Clark said. “He stopped crying. and all was right in the world again.”