In re: The Game

[Note: This is the second part of a series outlining my experience at the Ohio State / Michigan football game]

Half hour until kickoff and we assemble our crew and start heading out to the stadium, walking down Wood Hayes Dr, across the Olentangy River and into the parking lot that surrounds the stadium. People are shouting out ticket requests and the lot is packed, more people, more tailgates than a usual Saturday. Reaching the ticket takers took a few minutes, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. Climbing up the steps to C deck (the upper deck) didn’t seem to take as long as usual and before I knew it, I was standing in our section, in the north (closed) end, at about the 30 yard line staring out in the sea of scarlet. To anyone who hasn’t seen 105,000 people dressed in scarlet and cheering for one goal, it can be quite a site.

Today it was like I had never seen it before, taking a second to absorb the sound and the image and started down to secure our seats (with student sections, and no seats it can be a battle for spots). No one had taken my seats yet and we stood up against the rail, first row of the C deck, what I consider the prime seats (I’ve sat down low before, but I really enjoy the perspective up high, of course being in row one means nothing spoils your view).

Kickoff seemed to have been delayed as the Michigan band still hadn’t taken the field yet, going through their little M routine always impresses me a bit and makes it feel like a real Big Ten game – what real football is about. Before I knew it Script Ohio was being performed, what may sound silly to someone from the coasts, but anyone who spends time around here has to develop some kind of affinity for – as evidenced by the thousands of flashbulbs as the ‘i’ was dotted.

Michigan received the ball first and before I could catch my breath and settle in, they had marched down the field, at will scoring a touchdown and sending me into a panic. I should add right about now that one of my perpetual fears is that that day somehow we’ll just forget how to play. I mean – really forget – not hold on to the ball, not catch, not score, not tackle and until we get a couple completions going and a couple yards rushing I can’t let go that today will be the day when everything collapses. Thankfully, Ohio State came right back and putting up 7 of their own allowed me to finally relax and enjoy the game. And oh boy, what a game it was to be.

It was stressful, it was an emotional roller coaster, sending us jumping and screaming throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Every time OSU was set to break away from Michigan we fumbled or a penalty was called keeping the Wolverines in the game. I just wanted a blowout, sure its fun to be at a good game, but not when your emotionally invested in Ohio State Football in an unhealthy manner, where you feel a loss for a week.

The rest of the game was a blur, never getting a moment, except the bands half time performance of hollywood movie themes (actually done quite well, smoke coming out of the Titanic’s smoke stacks).

With the time ticking away at the end of the game I wasn’t sure what to do, had we really won?  I let go my grip of the towel I was clutching and breathed a sigh of relief


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