My CFP National Championship experience. Too long. - KatManDo
I debated on whether to do this, but after reading most of them and enjoying them, I decided to post.
I live in Austin, TX, so there was very little doubt I would go to the game, but checking prices immediately after the Sugar Bowl left me wondering. Most prices for the worst seats were $800+ each and that is just too much. However, prices continued to drop and when many upper deck tickets began dropping below face, my wife and I decided that we would get two tickets. The only issue was who would go. We have 3 kids. My son is 11 and has the attention span of an 11-year old, so as much as I would like to have gone with my son, he was out. Our middle daughter is our most luke-warm fan, she likes pleasing her Daddy, but could really care less. Our oldest daughter is 17 and for her 16th birthday wanted to go to Aaron Craft's senior night against MSU (which we did). We also toured the campus and she is in love with tOSU. I'm afraid my brain-washing may have gone too far and my oldest will be far from home soon despite never living in Ohio.
She kept asking and we finally told her that it was very unlikely she would get to go since the game was Monday night and she had school. She bawled, legit disappointment crying. By Saturday tickets prices seemed to stabilize and/or rise so I bought two upper deck, 2nd row, corner seats just under face. We had now had to decide. My wife had started to get a little wishy-washy about going and my daughter's disappointment led to us deciding that if she got all of her homework done over the weekend, went to school Tuesday a.m., she could go. She was thrilled. My wife laid out the conditions, including no complaining about being cold. I looked at her and said, "why would she get cold". She said, "the temperatures were going to be in the 30s". I said, "it's in a dome". She said, "What? That changes everything!". In my head I invoked the "if you don't know the game's in a dome, you can't go rule", but actually invoked the "we already told her" rule. It was funny.
I checked her out from school at 1:30 and we were off. We stopped in West, Texas for gas and kolaches (<--do this if you go thru West). There were 2 other groups of Buckeyes in the store on the way. It was nice.
We arrived in Arlington at 4:45 p.m. and parked in the Lincoln Square Mall. Based on advise from here, I'd pre-purchased the parking for $45 and got a $40 gift card to Olive Garden (I know). We didn't take the shuttle, but walked. It was very cold, but seeing all of the Buckeye fans, the Stadium, and the anticipation kept us warm. We walked straight to the stadium and went to the BTN broadcast area. We moved to where we knew we might get on TV in the background. I texted my wife, tape BTN, we are on. She texted back..."What Channel?" Another reason. She did get it taped though and we are in the telecast, barely.
The gates opened and we went straight in. It was crowded, but the stadium was beautiful. We walked straight to where we could see the field. Took a few pictures and then went up to our seats. We took pics from our seats, tried to post them to various social media sites and realized our previously fully charged phones were already half charged. The wireless network was clearly struggling to handle the volume and every picture took 10 minutes to load really draining our devices.
We decided to go get some food and drinks. We bought a program, souvenier cup (lemonade). I wandered into the Bacardi club to get a Rum and Coke. I couldn't justify paying $9 for a Miller Lite and I was only going to get 1 drink pre-game since I was also driving home. While in line, an Oregon fan came up and said, "do you guys always travel like this?". I said, "Yep, everywhere, everytime". He said, "No one has really been rude, but it's overwhelming". I told good luck and sorry if you encounter any idiots, most of us aren't. We stopped by the in-house production area, as a crowd had gathered. On the set were the Boz and Jim Tressel. Got a few pictures, watched for awhile and walked away thinking "JT being here is a good thing". Everything began to move fast. Pre-game, script Ohio, kickoff.
The game and fans were great. The big screen was amazing. I only watched it when the game was on the far end (Oregon End Zone) and replays. If you were directly facing it, it would be hard to ignore. The first drive made me a little nervous, but this Buckeye team was down 21-6 to Bama...I had a lot of faith. Then it happened, her phone died. She looked at me and said, "what am I going to do". I replied, "it looks like you're going to have go 'real world' for the next 3 hours". I showed her how to High 5 the strangers around us, watch the game, and just think about the amazing SnapChats and Tweets she could be doing. It was great to have her all to myself the rest of the game.
The rest was total domination, the offensive line, Zeke, the defense, D Lee, J Bosa, the band...the only thing we lost was the cheerleader battle. Even at the quietest moment after OU pulled within 1 at 21-20. My daughter was very nervous and all I could say was "well, we're -4 in turnovers and still winning, I think we'll win still". The game immediately turned and O-H-I-O rung throughout the stadium. I caught brief glimpse of Buck-I_Guy in the next section over in the upper deck. When Zeke scored to make it 35-20, I thought out loud, "is this really happening". It was an awesome experience to know you were going to win and enjoy that last 8 minutes.
We stayed and watched the whole post game. It was all surreal. When Carmen Ohio finished, I noticed it was a bit dusty and told my daughter it was time to go. We had a 3 hour drive home. We walked quickly back to car. With the cloudy cold weather, nothing but Buckeye fans, and O-H-I-O ringing it felt like I was in Columbus for the walk to car. It was less than 5 minutes, we were on the road. Phones charged up. Calls to my wife, Dad, Uncle were made. Daughter re-connected to the social machine. We stopped at a McDs for a hamburger and shake (my voice/throat were almost gone and needed it). She went to sleep, not sure how, and I listened to ESPN XM radio all the way home. The quickest 2:45 minutes down I35 I've ever experienced...probably could have drive another 2 hours listening to all the Buckeye love. Home safely and nothing but sweet dreams.
Thanks to Urban, his coaches, the players, TBDBITL, and The Ohio State University for a top 10 lifetime moment. Go Bucks!
The height of confidence is standing up in a hammock.