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 lifetime...no 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.