Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buckeye Fever

There's something about living in Ohio that you can't help but catching a little Buckeye Fever. OSU fans are fanatics. It's the only time your family can leave the house in matching clothes and no one thinks twice. (We all went to Sam's club on Saturday in OSU paraphernalia.) In fact, the entire city is wearing matching clothes. People seriously go shopping with faces painted. Stores shut down during game time. And the ones that remain open have the game on. We were at the zoo last week during the beginning of the game, and we could hear it playing all over the zoo. It's amazing how easy it is to catch on. I've never attended OSU and I still take ownership...referring to the Buckeyes as "Our Team" and I say things like "We Won." I am now and will forever be a Buckeye.

Thanks to my dear friend Abbey, I got to attend my first game on Saturday. I went to a school with a lousy football team. Students got to go for free and full priced tickets were only $12. Tickets to a Buckeye game are not so easy to come by. The tickets Abbey gave us were $120. She could have easily sold them for more. A generous gift, I know. If it weren't for Abbey, I would have left Ohio never having attended a game. It was the experience of a lifetime.

It started the minute I stepped out of the car...which we had to park on a lawn somewhere because tailgaters overcrowded parking lots for miles and miles. The air immediately smelled of stale beer from the massive crowds who had begun drinking the night before in preparation for this major event. There were brats being fired up every where and corn hole tournaments from the parking lot to the stadium. There was scarlet and gray as far as the eye could see. Excitement was everywhere.

It was fun to watch the "Horse Shoe" (stadium) slowly fill up to a scarlet sea. The 'shoe' fits 100,000 people. I'd say only about 1% were rooting for Illinois. The population of a whole city was in the stands yelling O-H-I-O in sync. There is no sound like it. I can't imagine what the opposing team must feel like. Every time they stepped foot on the field there was a booming BOOOOO from the crowd that I'm sure could be heard from space.

I feel I have to mention the fans again. OSU attracts fans from all walks of life. I was amazed to see all the types of people attending the game. There were of course the fanatics who are willing to go shirtless in 40 degree weather and who wear scarlet and gray wigs and whatever else. And there are of course the jocks, too. But you also find (I'm using labels because of a lack of another way better describe them) pretty boys, punks, soccer moms, slackers, bubble gum snappers, preppies, the kind of girls that come in high heels and creased jeans, rich old women with their diamond encrusted Buckeye jewelry, and yes, even the uber cool like you Jeff...I don't think even you could avoid catching Buckeye fever. Old and young alike. Although, not too many young. With tickets priced so high, few can afford to take their kids? I sat next to a cute elderly man who you could hardly understand because he mumbled in the way old men do, but he wanted to commentate the whole game. All these groups came together...united in purpose for one night. It was awesome. You could yell anything you wanted and no one cared. Mostly because they were yelling, too and couldn't hear you anyway. Spencer leaned over to me in the third quarter and said he's never had such a great desire to yell out swear words. I was grateful he restrained. Everyone hi-fives perfect strangers when something good happens and booo's as loud as they can when something bad happens.

Everyone booo'ed except Coach Jim Tressel. He was as cool as a cucumber. Even when we lost his only comment to the other team was "Hats off to Illinois." In the post game press conference, he only talked about the positive things his team did rather than dwelling on poor plays and missed opportunities. I say hats off to Coach Tressel.

And the band is worth getting there early and staying in your sit during half time for. They are known as the "Best Damn Band in the Land." Excuse the language...I didn't coin the phrase. I'd have to agree. The formations were impeccable. They have a famous "Script Ohio" formation that was fun to watch. And the half time show was dedicated to Veterans Day so the music was really fun.

As I mentioned before, the Bucks lost the game. Our first game all year which knocks us out of our first place ranking. It was an exciting game. Our first drive was all the way down the field right at the beginning. Second drive followed shortly behind. And the game never got better than that. It was a close game, but highly disappointing. We lost 28 to 21.

It was a long somber walk back to the car. The tailgaters that once filled the air with so much excitement, were now packing up there gear in dead silence. It was a sad sight.
Regardless of the loss, watching a game in the Shoe was the experience of a wonder people are willing to pay so much for tickets. Obviously, it was worth it. I have more to say about the atmosphere than the game itself. So THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to Abbey who not only gave us tickets, but watched our kids as well.



Lauri said...

It sounds like A LOT of fun; I don't think I've heard you write so descriptively since high school English (thanks to Mrs. Hippie).

I was sad when I saw the news last night that the Buckeyes had lost because I knew you had been at the game. Glad you had a good time.

Traci Elizabeth said...

I can totally relate. I served my mission in nebraska (go huskers). They don't have any pro sports in Nebraska so everyone is obsessed with the Huskers. Tracting on a game day was a joke, all people would talk about at the door is that they were missing the game and that we were too!!! One of my life goals is to go to a Husker game in Nebraska!! I am glad you had so much fun!!!!!

DKALC2007 said...

I am sooooo glad you got to go to an OSU game before you left Ohio! I wrote in my blog yesterday am that there is nothing else like it in the world, and I am glad you thought that too! I so love being in the stadium- I have been in all types of weather, through wins and losses, and it will never change, Buckeye fans are still the "Best Damn Fans in the Land!" I love Ohio State, it is engrained in me, and I am apparently not the only one- I think I am the "Soccer Mom" type, though much more stylish in my OSU garb and cool OSU jewelery! Glad you had fun- it was not fun at home! Dana yelled the words I think Spencer restrained from- well you know, the "softer" form, like "Dang it!" He's such a wus! Just kidding!

Jessica said...

That is awesome you got to go to a game. There is nothing like true team spirit. I love the fall especially because of college football. I wish I could say I am sorry that they lost but misery loves company and if the USC Trojans have lost a few games this year I like to see the other top 10 teams lose it improves their chances for a bowl game.

jeanine said...

How fun! I'm glad that you got to go to a game. One of these days I'll go to an OU game here. Rich has gone a few times when we've been given tickets. Football is crazy here too. When we lived in Norman (home of OU) we experienced the same thing. In fact, that was when I would plan my grocery shopping trips because the store was EMPTY! So nice.

SHIRLEY'S said...

WOW!! that IS quite the experience. we have friends here in CO that went to OSU and have claimed the Bucks as their own too! But i love how you describe the atmosphere! You are a great writer. They got 2 dogs recently and her husband wanted to name them scarlet and grey. he only got scarlet. TOO FUNNY!

Autumn said...

Wahoo!! I'm so glad you got to go-and so glad Abbey made it possible! You really would have missed out if you hadn't gone. Jim is THE MAN. Seriously, he has it together as a coach AND on a personal level. The guy has so much integrity. I too had an urge to swear-mostly because the guy behind me KEPT swearing and its hard not to think those things yourself when everyone is saying it! So glad you had fun.