My path to Buckeye fanatacism.... - NEWBrutus
In 1979 I was 8 years old. I likely didn't care a whole lot about football prior to September of that year. I certainly don't remember anything about football prior to then. But 1979 was the first year I went to an Ohio State football game. My parents who were season ticket holders (and still are) were able to get four seats together to the home opener vs. Syracuse. Honestly I remember little about the trip. The one thing I do remember is that Mom and dad had a thermos with a pump handle. In the thermos they had filled it with Coke and some ice so we would have something to drink during the game (At that time, you could bring just about anything into the stadium with you). And I remember drinking flat, not very cold, watered down coke a few times during the game.
As the season progressed, I really started to get into Buckeye football. Schlichter quickly became the guy the little kid wanted to be in the back yard (he did finish what second or third in the Heisman voting that year?). They weren't on TV very much back then. Mom had an Ohio State Marching Band Album (Buckeye battle Cry I believe) Which we wore out during the fall. I would scour over the programs Mom and Dad would bring home from the games.
But it all came to a head in Late November that year. It was The Game. Ohio State was 10-0 and headed to Ann Arbor. I only recall two details about that game. I was sitting in Dad's recliner, when This Happened. I remember jumping up when Todd Bell Scored and my hands hit the ceiling. When the game was over, I remember my sports hero at the time, Art Schlichter, being swallowed by a crowd of buckeye fans charging the field. And ever since it has been a growing obsession.
From then on guys like Marcus Markek, Glenn Cobb, Cal Murray, Tim Spencer, Mike Tomczak, Jim Laughlin (he blocked the punt, and was on the cover of one of the programs in '79), Jerome Foster, Doug Donley, Gary Williams, Mike Lanese, John Frank, Chris Carter, Kieth Byars, and Chris Spielman were all my sports heroes. I watched whenever they were on TV, and when they were on the road, Dad and I listened together on the radio.
From that point on, I went to one game per year with my Dad, and my brother (who never, and still couldn't care less about football) went to one home game per year. When it came time to join the school band in Jr. High, I selected the Tuba, because I was going to Dot the I (which regrettably, I never even tried out for TBDBITL).
My disdain for the Corn and Blue grew through the years, because I knew my father despised them. And if he did, then I needed to as well. In 1986, my parents somehow were able to get 4 tickets for The Game. The outcome was not a favorable one. But the atmosphere that day, was unlike anything I had ever seen in that stadium. The result, just made my passion for Ohio State burn brighter, and my complete and total disdain for the team up north, boil with intensity.
I went to Ohio State in the fall of 1989, having applied only two places. My other "option" was a private school and I had been awarded a partial academic scholarship. But they were missing one thing, One very important thing. I couldn't get season tickets to Ohio State football if I didn't attend Ohio State.
Dad and me at The Game in 2010
I've been to every home version of the Ohio State _ichigan game since 2000. And tomorrow, My dad, who is now a season ticket holder for 50 years, and I will go again. He still gets more excited for this one than any other. He yells and screams along with everyone else. I don't take for granted for one minute how lucky I am to get to spend this day with him, because they won't last forever. My childhood heroes of years gone by, still exist in my memories, but tomorrow is a very special day. I get to go with my real hero, to the best event, in the biggest rivalry, in the greatest venue, in all of sports.
The height of confidence is standing up in a hammock.