Tim Jackson has an entire backyard surrounded by Spoofhound spirit.
Last year during the Maryville High School football Spoofhounds' state championship run, Jackson decided he wanted to show his support for the hometown team in a big way. So, taking a page out of Tom Sawyer, he painted his fence.
Well, actually, like the character in the Mark Twain novel, he had his fence painted for him. But instead of whitewash, Jackson asked Dale Dennis of Perfection Painting to do it in glowing Spoofhound green with gold trim.
Then, deciding that a plain green fence just wasn't Spooficious enough, he got hold of Mike Cothran, a local man known for wielding a mean can of spray paint.
The result was an extravagant, graffiti-style tribute to the MHS mascot and the prowess of the student athletes the mythical dog-like creature represents.
The word "Spoofhounds" is spelled out in giant letters along the entire fence with paw prints standing in for the "Os."
Another set of paw prints contains the initials "TJ" and "CJ" along with the numbers 45 and 61. Each print is a nod to Jackson's sons. Tyson Jackson is No. 45 on the Maryville Middle School basketball squad, and Cody Jackson wears the No. 61 jersey as a freshman defensive lineman at Maryville High School.
Jackson's third son, Logan, is currently a fifth-grader at Eugene Field Elementary School, which is just up the street from the family's trim, split-level home in the 600 block of East Second Street.
A third paw print, added last year after the Spoofhounds' Class 3 victory over John Burroughs School in St. Louis, proclaims "State Champions 2012."
Beyond simple fandom, Jackson had the fence painted because he thought his children would enjoy it. A single dad, Jackson's wife, Wendy, died of cancer two and a half years ago at age 35. But despite tragedy and the challenge of raising three boys on his own, this is obviously a guy who has a major-league sense of fun.
He laughs easily and often, has a sparkle in his eye, and the pride he takes in his three boys is palpable. In addition to Spoofhound pride, the fence seems to be a kind of symbol for all of that: for moving on, for relishing life, for getting the most out of the way things are and enjoying the ride.
An ardent MHS fan, Jackson makes as many sporting events as possible and mans the concessions grill during home football games, cooking up hamburgers, bratwursts and hotdogs for the folks in the stands.
As for the fence, he said a student called him up the other day and asked if she could have her senior picture taken in front of it. He said he'd be proud to oblige and has urged other MHS seniors to follow suit.
Page 2 of 2 - "Just stop by any time," he said.