April 24, 2012
"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone, all that we send into the life of others comes back into our own." — Woody Hayes
Ask yourself one question. "What makes me a Buckeye?"
For most, it's an educational or familial connection. For others, it's a deep feeling of togetherness. For others still it is more than all of that. One thing is for sure, everyone answers the question in their own way. To me, this is what being part of the Ohio State family is all about. We all came to the family in our own way, but once we were accepted by getting our first "I-O" in response to that "O-H," there was nothing that could sway our loyalties. All that matters is your loyalty.
I wanted to bring this discussion to the first official article for UnScripted Ohio because it's a discussion that is very near and dear to me. This article is your official introduction to me and what makes me a Buckeye. So as you watch this video before reading the rest of the article, just remember one thing. Even the most die-hard Buckeye fans, fans like myself, have not experienced all that Ohio State has to offer.
"I want to walk into Ohio Stadium and see the grass for the first time."
I have never seen the Rotunda with my own eyes. I've only been to the Columbus campus one time and still did not make the pilgrimage to The Horseshoe. I have never seen the Buckeyes play in person. I have never had the joy of seeing Script Ohio. I have never heard Hang On Sloopy played by The Best Damn Band In The Land. I have never tailgated in the parking lot before The Game. I have never seen the team run up the ramp or start The Hive. I have never experienced the spine-tingling chills that come from hearing 100,000+ sing Carmen, Ohio.
And yet, none of that matters. Despite my lack of real world experiences of these time honored traditions, I am a Buckeye. You may ask how I can be so passionate about a team that I have never seen in person. I will simply respond with "How can I not?" For this is the true measure of Buckeye Nation. To embrace those that may seem like outsiders at first, but bleed Scarlet and Gray just like any other student, faculty, or alumnus. This is what it means to be a Buckeye. It means that you believe in something greater than yourself. It means celebrating the wins and enduring the losses. It means never losing faith in THE Ohio State University. All that matters is your loyalty.
If Buckeye Nation were a country, the population would outpace many actual countries in the world. We have the largest fanbase and enrollment of any University in the country. More people root for Buckeyes week in and week out than subscribe to Comcast cable. There are more Buckeyes than there are Christian Scientists. More people pack into the Shoe to watch the Buckeyes play an April scrimmage than there are at an average Cleveland Browns game.
As Jim Tressel once said to a prospective QB recruit, "The two most important people in Ohio are the Governor and the Quarterback of the Ohio State football team, and the Quarterback is number 1." This epitomizes the zeal that Buckeyes around the world have for their athletics programs. This is the same zeal that I have, despite never going to school there, not having any blood ties to the University (my dad adopted me), or even being in the rotunda for even a second. All that matters is your loyalty.
It is likely that the first time I will see the Buckeyes play in person will be September 15th, 2013 when they make the trip to the new Memorial Stadium to take on the Golden Bears of Cal. I will cherish every moment, screaming with my fellow faithful at the refs when they miss holding calls.
I will lock arms with the two people next to me and start a Hive. I will make sure that our chants of "O-H-I-O" will be heard from Berkeley to San Jose. I will watch Script Ohio with 25,000 of my closest friends and cheer like a wildman when the sousaphone player Dots The I. I will make Heisman poses when Braxton Miller runs for a touchdown. And when the final whistle blows, I will join my Buckeye family in singing our Alma Mater at the top of my lungs, despite not having the vocal talents of Cie Grant. But that doesn't matter. Not to me, not to Buckeye Nation. All that matters is your loyalty.
Some may call me crazy for my undying love and loyalty to a University that I did not attend. But again, I remind you to ask yourself what makes YOU a Buckeye. Is it a diploma? Is it that feeling of pride the first time your dad took you to the Shoe? Is it a lifelong devotion to the best state east of the Mississippi?
Becoming and staying a Buckeye is a lifestyle choice. It's a decision to be ridiculed about 2006 and 2007 every time you wear your gear outside the house. It's a decision to be reviled by most of the nation because they're jealous of our National Championships and Heisman Trophy traditions. Most of all, it's a decision to be a part of something larger than yourself. There are not many things to hold on to when you're the third generation of military men. So I glommed onto the Buckeyes early on. They have been the one constant in my ever-changing world. I came to the Buckeyes of my own free will. Others came to pursue an education. Others still came to achieve athletic greatness.
Whatever brought you to Buckeye Nation is immaterial. All that matters is your loyalty.
Welcome to UnScripted Ohio.