It is(n't) my university. (long) - HINYG8
Carmen Ohio often brings a tear to my eye and I'm never ashamed of that. Seeing images of the campus and all the wonderful things the students, representatives, and fellow alums do to better the world brings me great pride. It is truly core to me, it'a tribal to a degree -a fraternity - and extends far, far, beyond football Saturdays.
I have it pretty dang good and have no real cause to complain, though I occasionally do so anyway. Billy Joel has a song lyric that I've long identified with: You can get what you want or you can just grow old. If I have set my mind to it and focused on something or truly *needed* something: I've pretty much gotten it. I have been very fortunate in life. Certainly there are many reasons for this... but OSU is perhaps the most visible one. It opened so many doors and it brought me so many friends, accomplishments, and great memories. I wear the block O proudly and literally on my sleeve, on my car, and and it flies on the large flag pole in front of my house. It's often part of how I introduce myself to people.
Paying it forward..winning with people; these are not just slogans, but instead they are standards and values that I truly believe in. A term I've used here in the past is that OSU is a part of my moral compass..and this remains true today.
I would imagine some of you here can relate to my love of the Ohio State University. I know there are many fans, and many alums, but I feel as though I personally have a very deep rooted admiration for Ohio State. I know I am not alone, but I also know I have particularly acute thoughts and respect for my alma matter. Given the time we each spend here in this online community I would expect many, if not all of you, share my driving enthusiasm for Ohio State. It isn't just casual..and I suspect many here can relate to what I am trying to convey. It goes beyond the logo, the team, and my diploma... and it is *mine*.
The only stronger bond in my world is family..and earlier this week I had these two guiding markers come together. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday on campus with my wife and my son as he participated in freshman orientation. I was so very proud of how much he *got it*..and is already a Buckeye, already one of us.
During this day and a half I saw the campus with a completely new perspective. Things that have always been there but largely went unnoticed or unappreciated caught my attention. Things that were there during my time as a student were still clearly present... Independence Hall is still a massive lecture hall (Classics 222 - who screwed who, anyone?), Mirror Lake..University Hall.....The Oval, the towers...of course they are still there.
But there was also a lot of new... and a lot of change. For example it was some what surreal to go to the Thompson Library or the Ohio Union to see it was there...but changed. Larkins has given way to the RPac (holy crap...now I realize what a dump Larkins was!). And so it was across all of campus..the tradition still there next to new greatness. Time and Change..side by side.
Of course I knew this and had seen these changes before...but it was different this visit. Different because I wasn't looking at my Ohio State.
I was seeing HIS Ohio State.
This was a powerful realization..that made everything more remarkable to me than ever. Such a legacy...such a gift..and even now, a day or two removed from the experience, and still in awe of those moments. This thing that has been so important to me is now his. That is a simple sentence to read...but hiding in it is so much pride as a father, so much joy as a Buckeye, and so much appreciation for what he has done and the potential in front of him. I feel as though I have paid something forward to him that I wouldn't dare dream being able to give to anyone. The power of Ohio State..the tradition...the people... membership to the tribe. I could never pay back what it has done for me and what it means to me, and I didn't dare ever imagine being able to give that to someone else to cherish and own. But sometime Tuesday morning when he belted out an I-O in response to the speaker's O-H..it happened. He clearly added 'Buckeye' to HIS compass.
So many challenges and adventures await him..landmark days are just ahead and also on the horizon...and each of those moments will make me even prouder of him, and also an even bigger Buckeye. My affinity for OSU has moved to another level. I love that university. But..it's not my university any more.
And my friendship with it has never been stronger.
Hey Woody, I've paid my very best forward. Go Bucks and good luck son.
The height of confidence is standing up in a hammock.