Somewhere in a dump in southwest Ohio there are the remains of a chair that, during the course of its career, was torn to bits after a decade of bearing witness to loss after loss by Ohio State at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. Year after year I sat in that chair at the end of November, trying to figure out why that team with the cool uniforms and and the silver helmets could never seem to beat those other guys in blue. It made me mad, not because I was such a huge OSU fan (I wasn't), but because I felt that if you were from a place called Ohio State, then therefore you must represent all of Ohio. In other words, these jerks were making me look bad.
So the chair took a beating. I pounded the armrests, tore at the cushion, and punched every square inch of that piece of furniture throughout the 90s. Every year Ohio State lost, the more irritated I got. If this game was half as important as everyone said it was, why couldn't the Buckeyes just win the damn thing?
Some of the kids at school started wearing Michigan Starter jackets, mostly for the same reason they had fifteen Dallas Cowboys t-shirts and 8 pair of Chicago Bulls sweatpants. It made me mad at the time ("But you're from OHIO!!"), but hey, kids like a winner.
I kept watching the Game though, and started following OSU football more closely as the years went on. By November of 2002 it was my senior year of high school and I was pretty excited for the OSU/UM game; I had watched the Buckeyes every week, knew all of the players, and had even applied to Ohio State a few days earlier.
I also fully expected Ohio State to lose. I mean, hell, it's not like they had ever won an important Michigan game since I had started watching sports on tv ten years or so before that. I sat myself in that stupid chair and braced for the worst.
And then they won. Somehow, they won. And it was awesome.
My point is that what I'm thankful for this year isn't just the wins. I'm thankful for the years of losses and Starter jackets and smug kids on Monday, because it was all part of that one incredible victory against a hated rival at the end of the season. This year is no different. Should Ohio State win on Saturday, I'll be happy because of the win and also everything that came before it. Here are some things I'm thankful for this year in Ohio State football:
- I'm thankful that before the season started, Jason gave me the awesome opportunity to write for this site and write insane posts about A Confederacy Of Dunces and Nostradamus in between interviewing players and attending games as a member of the press.
- I'm thankful that Brandon Saine was able to rush for over 100 yards at least once this year, and then as his production fell off was able to handle his transition to a different role with class and leadership.
- I'm thankful that Eleven Warriors has awesome friends and fans, who helped us put on an amazing tailgate before the Miami game.
- I'm thankful that the Eastern Michigan Eagles are coached by a former Michigan coach, which helps me feel a lot less guilty about dropping 73 points on them.
- I'm thankful for Terrelle Pryor, because by alternating between infuriating and incredible (in a number of ways), reminds me that patience is always a virtue.
- I'm thankful for Wisconsin beating the living hell out of Ohio State and cleansing our souls.
- I'm thankful to my friends for getting excited about what I do here, and giving me some pretty great post suggestions.
- I'm thankful that the defense has been able to mostly withstand the loss of several starters.
- I'm thankful that the NCAA's daughter had a wedding, and could not refuse a favor on behalf of Jim Tressel with regards to Tyler Moller.
- I'm thankful for my family for supporting me no matter how insufferable I am to be around on a game day.
- I'm thankful for Jim Tressel being one of the most consistent and incredible coaches in the last 10 years of college football.
- I'm thankful for the seniors on the team, for being excellent leaders and setting an example for everyone else.
- I'm thankful for Matt McGloin running his mouth, then briefly looking like he would back his words up, and then collapsing like a house of interception throwing cards in the second half. Delayed schadenfreude is the best schadenfreude.
- I'm thankful for Iowa being good enough to force a comeback late in the game, but not good enough to prevent the Buckeyes from winning.
- I'm thankful that an amazing fall was able to be punctuated by a new football game every week.
- I'm thankful that some Michigan fans say that they "don't care about the game at all" this year. Because when you claim to be indifferent, that just makes me care all the more. Thanks for being the same smug, condescending, holier than thou know it alls you've always been. Thanks for being the best nemesis we could ever ask for.
- And finally, I'm thankful for the Game. A single game between two rivals can connect people in ways nothing else can. It connects us to the past, and will stretch far into the future beyond us. Good or bad, win or lose, by being connected to it we are a part of a rich history that helps make us who we are. I like that.
Anyway, those are just some of the things I have to be thankful for this season. If you guys get some time, go ahead and post in the comments section what you're thankful for today. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.