They Can't Vacate Memories

By Jake on June 29, 2011 at 1:00p
33 Comments
It's still the ugliest stadium I've ever seen, though.A beautiful sight on January 4th

I didn't know it at the time, but my short stay in New Orleans was an epilogue of sorts. It was the last game of the Tressel Era, Terrelle Pryor's Swan Song, and an end to our Age of Innocence. It's a cruel irony that the end could feel so sweet.

I flew into the city the night before the game, meeting Luke and Jason from the site on Bourbon Street after a long bus-ride from the airport. Luke had a cup of absinthe waiting for me when I arrived.

The mood was electric. Gaggles of fans moved in giant, amorphous blobs through the close-set alleyways of the French Quarter, bellowing taunts and songs at volumes dependent on their level of intoxication.

While traveling from one bar to another, we saw two thick-necked Brosefs fighting in the street, one wearing a Buckeye jersey, the other a bright red shirt with a pig on it. A horse charged up and the cop barked a few words I couldn't hear over the noise of the crowd wandering the streets. By the time we passed them they were hugging. The horse took a celebratory dump in the street.

The day of the game Luke and I grabbed a couple of Hurricanes and set out to find the best Cajun food we could find. We got lost, naturally. We wandered through downtown mansions, the docks, several alleyways, and even the Metalocalypse part of town (New Orleans hipsters listen to Mastodon, presumably). We eventually found a hole in the wall, a discovered a delivious crayfish platter and Abita's Purple Haze.

We met Jason at the stadium, rounding up our tickets and heading into the monstrous Superdome, like fish in a current. Our seats were stellar, and surrounded a mix of Buckeye and Razorback. Behind us were two younger Razorback fans, from Little Rock. Incredibly nice, and not particularly knowledgable about college football. They left at the half. In front of us were two New Orleans locals, Buckeyes originally from Ohio. They left during the 3rd Quarter.

It's amazing to me how monstrously unfair the whole experience of going to a game can be sometimes. The best seats are often held by the least of fans, especially at places like The Coliseum at USC where celebrities get top billing. Ohio State shunts its students up in the nosebleed bleachers and back behind the endzones, while huge donors and corporations buy sideline seats to hand out like patrons in the Roman Republic. Just another example of the rot at the heart of college athletics, sadly.

About three rows down was the loudest, most obnoxious Razorback fan we encountered the entire night. He looked like this guy, from Beverly Hills Cop 3, and by the 4th quarter his sullen silence had turned into loud and frequent insults hurled directly towards any Buckeye fans in his vicinity. Needless to say, the S-E-C chant we took up shortly thereafter was made all the sweeter by his red-faced anger. 

During the post-game celebration, Luke, Jason, myself, and a couple of others met up at a bar on Bourbon street, where we met the first in what would become our very own motley band of revelers. Arkansasbro loved Arkansas, and hated Ryan Mallet. He felt the Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis backfield was the best of all time, and Houston Nutt was a complete idiot. We couldn't disagree. 

I couldn't tell you the name of the next bar, but I do know our little company was at least 12-strong by that point; a mix of jubilant, if slightly nerdy Buckeye bloggers, random other Buckeyes, and several Arkansas fans we'd met along the way. We even met one of the two Arkansas fans who had sat behind us in the Stadium. His friend was too busy moping in his hotel room to make it out, but he was ready for an Irish Wake. 

I think it's easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of these off-season traumas, when the not-knowing is almost worse than the knowing, and the hits seem to keep on coming. Yet at the end of the day, what draws us to the Buckeyes are as much the memories we create with the people we share our common fandom with, as it is about the game itself. We're a community. 

No matter what happens going forward, on that front, we'll only come out stronger in the end. 

33 Comments

Comments

Bucksfan's picture

Nice post.  Every year I go to the Indy 500 with my dad.  I haven't missed one in 20 years.  Every year building up to the race is a lot of anticipation and excitement.  Once the race is over and we're walking back to the car again like so many times before I think how I have to wait a whole year to do it again, which is a little sad.  But what picks me back up is the fact that there WILL be an Indy 500 next year, and the year after, and the year after, and it's been this way for 100 years (with the exception of the world war years, of course).

Whether one is optimistic, excited, destroyed, depressed, or angry, or a little bit of all of those, Ohio State football is going to take the field this year.  12 games are going to happen, and they're probably going to win quite a few of them.  The games are going to sell out, and there are going to be quite a few cheers.  Fans are going to travel to Lincoln and Ann Arbor and try to represent.  I know I'm already planning how to deface a badger in effigy, and the divisional rivalry technically hasn't even started yet.

Anyway, maybe it's acceptance of the fates awaiting.  I'm angry at Tress, and I'm angry at Gee.  I'm angry at college athletics and the NCAA.  I am still dedicated to the fact that they need to clean it up.  But, I'm still going to tune in.  I might not have a tailgate party every Saturday like in years past, but I'll definitely be watching.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

"No matter what happens going forward, on that front, we'll only come out stronger in the end."

This is what the collective fanbase needs to start focusing on, not whether we think Tressel is being unfairly portrayed in the media. Sure, the mantra of "What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger" won't provide us with much comfort when we're watching other teams go bowling. However, I'll take a couple of down seasons if it means we get the opportunity to objectively look ourselves in the mirror and right the wrongs of a culture that has run rampant for decades. Only good can come out of this.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

"He felt the Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis backfield was the best of all time, and Houston Nutt was a complete idiot."

It still amazes me that McFadden and Jones were first round picks, and Hillis is the first one to grace a Madden cover.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

NeARBuckeye's picture

Arkansasbro lives in the town I work in. His drawl is kind of ridiculous.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Still remember Sanzy recovering the fumble in the endzone, the bomb to Posey, the strong running by Boom, Cam and the defense torturing the Arkansas offensive line, the blocked punt, Tress's face after the blocked punt, and the interception by Thomas to seal the game like it was yesterday. Great article and Buckeye Nation will still stand strong after all this is over. We are a reflection of our defense. Bend but don't break.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

buckeyedude's picture

"Cam and the defense torturing the Arkansas offensive line"

I agree. It was nice to see our defensive line make an SEC line look slow for a change. B1G speed! Hell yeah!

 

 

poop's picture

That Sugar Bowl was one of the best halves of football followed by one of the worst halves of football I've ever seen. I can't rewatch that game because the second half makes me want to throw stuff. Almost a choke for the record books.

Nappy's picture

The horse took a celebratory dump in the street.

Actually, that was Charlie Weiss

Fan of bacon since 1981

Lucys Daddy is a Buckeye's picture

+1000

...And when we win the game, We'll buy a keg of booze....And we'll drink to old Ohio til we wobble in our shoes...

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

My opinion, which doesn't amount to a hill of beans, is that no matter what penalties await, a Sugar win being vacated is not one of them. The BCS would have to levy that punishment and the NCAA cleared the players to play even after the 5 game suspensions were handed out. As far as other wins being vacated, Cowherd put it best when he said it would be like taking your kids to Disneyland and then telling them a few months later that it never happened.

BuckeyeChief's picture

FTW; I got the hat and DVD and wore the hat yesterday.

Things fall apart. Like I told this cat at the gym yesterday, who was coming to a bitter and dissapointing end (he got busted from E-6 to E-5 for someone else f*cking up under his watch and couldn't catch up before he retired) to a 20 year career, after awhile, you'll only remember the good times.

 

Cue the "They have cats in the Navy?" jokes.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

biggy84's picture

His retirement will be for highest rank achieved?

BuckeyeChief's picture

retirement pay= high 3; rank= E-5.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

biggy84's picture

Gotcha. Been a while since i was in.

BuckeyeChief's picture

What branch? If Navy, what rate?

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

biggy84's picture

I was in the Navy (worlds greatest). I served from 87-89. I was in the sea college program. Not in long enough to get an "A" school, so i was undesignated. I was a boatswain's mate striker though. I had a blast!

buckeyedude's picture

Great article Jake. I have an Uncle and Aunt and numerous cousins from Nawlins. Been there many times. One of my counsin's 23 year old son was murdered in the French Qtr. after leaving his gig playing saxophone at one of the pubs there(a couple years after Katrina). The thug was never caught. One has to be very carelful there. Glad you had a good time.

My son is having brain surgery at the Cleveland Clinic(still in shock) in July to have a benign tumor removed, and I vow to take him to Ohio State's next bowl game, wherever it is. I just hope it isn't too far in the future!

 

 

BuckeyeChief's picture

Good luck with your son and his surgery; I hope all goes well.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

buckeyedude's picture

Thanks, Chief. I really appreciate it.

 

 

BuckeyeChief's picture

I just sent you a pm.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

buckeyedude's picture

Don't laugh Chief, but where do I view my PM's on this site?

 

 

BuckeyeChief's picture

It is in your e-mail.

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

741's picture

Slightly nerdy?

I keed.

Abe Froman's picture

I get to watch an Kentucky Fan wear an OSU hat when he comes to C'bus in July so that HE can buy the round of golf.  I won't rub it in much, but the fact that he was willing to wager the hat wearing makes it okay.  If I could only rake him for $100/round on Scarlet, that would be nice....

I'll probably have to hit the Golf Club of Dublin or the Cooks Creek. 

Interestingly enough, he didn't want to get much on the BBall game.  Like most, he thought OSU was the best all around team in the tournament. 

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

tampa buckeye's picture

Mike Vrabel is the new Lb coach at Ohio State.  Great News.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

I was at the Sugar Bowl, and the Rose Bowl. My first Ohio State bowls ever. Needless to say, the experiences were euphoric, and the memories will always be cherished. 

The irony I feel, however, is that I don't think we win either one of those games if we have a QB other than Pryor. Honestly, who knows who we'd have if Pryor never committed. But for these two games, some of the greatest Buckeye wins, he was largely responsible for the outcome. 

It's ironic, because so many have now demonized him and completely separated themselves from that train wreck. But honestly, how can you hate on him and love these memories? They wouldn't have existed for us had he not been here.

I'm not sticking up for the guy, he screwed up, just as the others did. But I have a hard time not rooting for him and hoping he succeeds. He'll still always be a Buckeye, and the Buckeye that helped us win two of our greatest games.

The Ohio State University Class of 2001
BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

Pam's picture

We don't even go to the Sugar Bowl if TP hadn't gotten the 4th and long against Iowa.  He literally put the game on his back and willed the win. I too acknowledge his screw ups, but I sincerely hope he does well whether it is in the NFL or somwhere else. He is a Buckeye.

Irricoir's picture

Truth

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

biggy84's picture

Agree Pam! I don't forget the joy of the 2 BCS bowl games he directed either.