September is finally among us, and what comes with September? Football. But even more specifically and exponentially more importantly: OSU football! Nothing compares to the very first experience of attending a Buckeye football game. As an alum of The Ohio State University and diehard Buckeye fan, let me give a quick perspective…
The day starts off in the morning, a few hours before kickoff at noon. You link up with your bros’ (or girls, or family and friends) and hit up any one of the various tailgating spots that are littered throughout the massive parking lot that lies next to Morrill Tower (if you lived in Morrill Tower like I did my freshman year, the stadium was literally a simple 30-second walk away). Grilled food, brews, and fellowship are all taking place in this parking lot mosh pit of Buckeye fans that surround you.
Once the laughs have quelled, the food is gone, and the chants have quieted to a murmur, everyone closes down their tailgating spots and heads towards the stadium. And although most will walk leisurely through the turnstiles, late arrivals can be seen power-stepping the terrace mere minutes before kickoff to get to their respective seats. Almost every time I enter the stadium I find myself doing a complete 360 trying to fully take in the sea of 100,000+ individuals decked in scarlet and gray. After long refreshment lines and a bit of (unintentional shoving) me and my friends finally find our seats and mentally prepare for the impending battle on the field.
The initial whistle blows and the ball gets kicked off to the opposing team. In which the entire crowd responds with “O-H-I-O, rip his f-cking head OFF!” in unison as the OSU kicker launches the ball off his foot. The first two quarters of the game proceed to play out, filled with exciting plays and gutsy performances. OSU’s famous “Hang on Sloopy” song is eventually played and sang, along with the “Buckeye Bounce”, and others.
Come halftime, the Best Damn Band in the Land takes the field and performs the world-renowned Script Ohio, a calculated, seamless operation involving hundreds of band members who march in perfect synchronization and weave in and out of each other through various lines and shapes as they use their individual bodies to scribble out a cursive “OHIO”. To top it all off, the last band member who is a tuba player (although occasionally instead of the actual tuba player, it is a guest appearance by someone of fame or importance) marches out last to “dot the I”. The entire performance is an age-old tradition that dates back all the way to the 1930s and is done at every halftime at home, along with other lesser pieces.
Once halftime is over, the rest of the game proceeds to unfold with the Buckeyes winning in dramatic fashion, as usual of course. With the victory in grasp, all the OSU players stand arm-in-arm on the field, the fans replicate the gesture in the stands, and everyone sings the Alma Mater “Carmen Ohio” in conjunction. Once the game is over everyone leaves the stadium chanting merrily “We don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, ‘cus we’re from OH-HI-OH”, and make their way to celebrate the win in whichever way they see fit. Whether that be going back home and relaxing or going out to grab drinks, happy OSU fans litter the entire campus and city of Columbus in joyful unity.
Though these mere words do not do the OSU football experience the justice it deserves, they are an honest depiction of the gameday reality that is Ohio State Football. And if, for whatever reason, you are still a virgin to the experience, I highly suggest you change that as soon as possible, as you truly do not know what you’re missing out on. It is a remarkable event. One that you will remember for a life. Unless, that is, you’re a *ichigan fan, in which case I’d elect to say “Please stay your ass at home”.