The Opposite of Love

By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 9, 2013 at 11:30a
dane sanzenbacher

[lights candles]

[puts on How Deep is Your Love by Luther Vandross]

Yeah, you've been smitten before. An angelic, special someone sinks its talons into every part of you that has feeling - and you allow it to happen, with pleasure. It throws off your schedule, your sleep, your thoughts and your focus. You're too happy to care. You're spinning.

The disruptions don't matter because you're in love, sailor. Everything in your life is upgraded by those talons digging into your soul: Food tastes better. Music sounds richer. You radiate this weird energy that other people notice, and as a result they treat you differently. You have powers.

Of course, those crushes can turn on you quickly. All it takes is one lousy prom, a summer that finally ends or a little getaway to Glendale that goes unexpectedly south and ruins everything forever.

Last week while rummaging in my basement I rediscovered a commemorative football given to me celebrating the 2006 perfect regular season. It's signed by Jim Tressel and lives in a rectangular glass display case in a dark corner by some suitcases. It sits there specifically so that nobody - me, mostly - has to see it regularly.

That team carries arguably the toughest memories in Ohio State history. It wasn't like the 1996 edition that blew it against Michigan but later won the Rose Bowl, or the 1970 one that choked the fourth quarter and a national title to Stanford, or like so many celebrated Buckeye teams with one or two blemishes.

No, the 2006 team was unique. It actually started its ascent the previous October when everything started clicking, all the way through 617 yards of offense against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl to the preseason #1 ranking to beating #2 Michigan as a play-in game to the BCS championship.

Troy Smith said while still in Tempe the Buckeyes planned on returning to Arizona his senior year for the title game. He was smiling. Everyone was. Those talons began squeezing in earnest. Those Buckeyes threw off our schedules, our sleep, our thoughts and our focus.

We were too happy to care. We were spinning.

Of course, 19 consecutive wins were capped by that catastrophically invalidating loss, upon which the entire SEC superiority narrative that still bleats loudly today was originally constructed. It's the most damaging loss in program history (before the protests begin - the 1969 loss in Ann Arbor was not a national reputation killer; it was simply hideous).

Bellioops.Just keep telling yourself you don't care. It makes disappointment hurt less.

The searing pain from that game only started with how pitiful the Buckeyes were that night. What made it truly burn was how much better food tasted, music sounded and the stadium radiated during the 19 games that preceded the Florida one. It wasn't just a crushing loss. You had to break up with football entirely for awhile.

But you wouldn't change a thing prior to that night - and you shouldn't. College football is so much better when you care more than you should.

We're now 12 games removed from Ohio State's most recent loss. The Buckeyes took up residence in the top 10 in mid-October last season and shouldn't be leaving anytime soon. Planning on Indianapolis in December and Pasadena in January is somewhere right between optimistic and realistic.

Then there's Urban Meyer along with Braxton Miller, Bradley Roby, Carlos Hyde, Ryan Shazier and a whole bunch of really, really likable players. Guys who tolerated the Tatgate punishment they didn't cause.

Guys who ran the table with nothing to play for last season. Guys you would really, really like to see win everything that they are eligible to win this season. And they can they can do it. You're happy. You're spinning.

There are two ways you can go with a team already on a 12-game winning streak with title aspirations: All-in, or with caution. All-in gives you the higher highs, the tastier food, the better music and the weird energy. It will also pay off the richest should the Buckeyes extend their streak by 14 more games.

College football is so much better when you care more than you should.

All-in will also bankrupt you faster than five minutes at the craps table, as the risk/reward for love is high. Bracing for disappointment and proceeding with caution is safer and less satisfying, but really what you're trying to do with that is convince yourself that you just don't care that much.

That's the opposite of love. You might have thought the opposite of love is hate. It isn't. It's detachment. It's disinterest. At its worst, it's genuine indifference.

That's what you're trying to feign when you fake that you don't care quite as much as you really do. There's no honor in playing coy, sailor. Let the talons dig into your soul. You deserve to radiate some weird energy for the next few months.

[blows out candles]

[puts on Yeezus by Kanye West]



AndyVance's picture

Amen, Ramzy. My heart still bleeds thinking about that season.

216ToThe614's picture

The last line made me actually laugh. Brilliant once again, Ramzy!

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!

Boxley's picture

I was sitting in a mess hall in Baghdad, Iraq, watching the Notre Dame game, best time I ever had as a Buckeye while overseas. Then the shaming in 2006, that was so hard to take, we were clearly overmatched or under prepared, overconfident, whatever. We got beat in a very humiliating fashion. 
That pain will never go away, but I do not see any team coached by Urban Meyer to come into a game not prepared, and we have our own recent bowl history to remind us of what happens when you are not ready.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

I still remember watching the entire game, knowing we had no chance to win.  It was like watching a horrific accident.  It was so terrible I couldn't look away, even though I wanted to go to bed.  I hated Urban Meyer, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow's jump passing nonsense and the entire state of Florida that night. Sadly, until we make it back to the title game and beat an SEC team, the shame will still linger, the same way it lingered after an LSU game that we coulda woulda shoulda won.  

It's not that hard to be a good apprentice.

OHBuckInCA's picture

That loss in 2006 still stings...  I was a student at the time.  I literally went home and did homework after that, not because it was due the next day, but because I couldn't bear putting on the TV and needed something else to distract myself.  Alcohol didn't have the same appeal that it had when Teddy ran back the opening kickoff.

"The time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect." - Woody Hayes

cbusbuckeye's picture

I remember telling myself that we were still in it, still could come back and pull it took the game ending for me to realize it wasn't happening. I hope I never have to live through another game like that again. 

albinomosquito's picture

now i have that Lumineers song stuck in my head..

"It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love's indifference"

AltaBuck's picture

Hah....I was thinking of the Oh Hello's song Hello My Old Heart

"because nothing lasts forever
some things aren't meant to be
but you'll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free "
Edit: Added link

I am Groot - Groot

Tim's picture

We found love in a hopeless place back in 2005/2006.

Maestro's picture

All in

vacuuming sucks

ARMYBUCK's picture

Oh how I vividly remember that night.  I was on a deployment also and I got into a fight with an Alabama fan who decided he was going to be the spokesperson for the SEC that night...its over, Im ready to radiate with some weird energy.

vitaminB's picture

I'm currently deployed, and surrounded by Alabama Fans.  I've already begun beating the drums.  This year's triumph shall erase all bad memories!

Stinson's picture

"[Blows out candles]
[Puts on Yeezus by Kanye West]"

Hahahahaha I'm dying.

I don't even want to talk about the '06 NC game. I was all-in. I'm still all-in. I'll always be all-in.

The talons feel good.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I always laugh when I read some bitter angry Gator fan spewing venom that all Buckeye fans hated Urban until he became our coach.  My comment has always been that no, I hated his guts that night for those 4 hours - but before and after, he has always been a Buckeye man! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

rekrul's picture

I was in Vegas with a bunch of friends to watch the NC game and ugh, it still annoys me.  Florida fans where everywhere talking about it at the craps table, black jack table, around the pool area, there was no place to go...  After about half a day I felt like this....

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

Savage45's picture

I love the shiny gray pants in that Bellisari picture!

CC's picture

Funny, a lot of people have said that but I really dig the matte grey pants of today.

hodge's picture

I've said it once, I'll say it again, and I'll continue to say it as long as he keeps writing:  Ramzy's penchant for wordsmithing is absolutely stunning.

Poison nuts's picture

At the risk of angering those who hate comments that simply say "agreed"...agreed.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

pjtobin's picture

I also would like to say agreed. Yet I will refrain, and say ditto. My hope is that both words will not offend. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

45buckshot's picture

What actually burns me about that game now is not the sec narrative spewing but the what-could-have-been story that is Troy Smith. Had he won that game, I think you could have made a case for him to be the most successful Buckeye ever: he would have won a Heisman, won a NC, won 3 B1g titles and 3-0 vs meatchicken. That would have been a pretty bad@$$ resume.
Great article, but for me the 06 game doesn't sting as much as the 98 game--and I crashed my car into a tree after the 96 game. I'll tell you why...
the 06 game stung and stung and stung until last year--somehow, watching ND get pasted by Bama took some of the sting off. Basically, I don't think sec fans have to talk about 41-14 anymore; they have short term memory and are going to talk about their more recent humiliation of a national program. That was a beating. Long may they prosper.
and the 98 loss for me still hurts, because, as in all long lost hurt loves, it broke a promise: Cooper basically promised us a MNC, and that was the year it should have happened. JT never promised us one, but gave us one anyway. Cooper promised, but never delivered: no MNC, only 2-10-1. It's still hard not to be bitter. Other than draft picks, sometimes it's hard to see the sunny side: a lot of wins that in the end amount to nothing.
But it's fun to wallow in that pain now, because the Urbanator will heal all wounds... Vivat Rex ;)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

CC's picture

Technically he would have 2 national titles.
Also the woulda, shoulda, coulda game always has to start with MoC and continue through TP.  Troy had his chance and did really well but the bar at OSU is really high to be considered the most-successful ever.

harp35's picture

It's true about divorcing from football, remember I did A total sports blackout for 10 Days after that.

BuckeyeSki's picture

That game was nightmare fuel. No need to rehash. However, the next day I walked into work fully expecting to get blasted, and make no mistake there were many jabs thrown my way, but the majority of real sports fans I spoke with gave me tons of credit for showing up that day wearing my Block O backwards hat and Ohio State Football hoodie. #RealFansDontWaver

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

shadybuck's picture

Cheers to you brother, the 06 season was my first year at OSU and i remember some of my dorm mates asking how i could still sport an ohio state t-shirt the next day (besides the fact that 90% of my wardrobe was ohio state) but it didnt matter if we won or lost or got humiliated if front of everyone because thats the people we are.  we had some pretty good teams in my years and we did finally go on to win a rose bowl and a sugar bowl over an SEC team, the good days definitly outweigh the bad

Michibuck's picture

All in. Let's go.

zhamilton05's picture

Ah, the 2006 Nat'l Championship game! It was a doubly awful night because my fiancee and I were sorting through a bad patch, so I had that hanging over me the whole game (she was watching it with me and some other friends). So the love analogy rings especially true!
As much as I would love to be all-in this season, something in my gut tells me that everything will come up roses. By that, I mean that I fear the Buckeyes will go down once, recover to win the B1G championship in Indy, and head to the Rose Bowl. 13-1 (if we beat Oregon or Stanford in Pasadena) would be bittersweet, but it might keep some underclassmen from bolting to the draft, and give the Buckeyes a good shot in 2014, too, in the inaugural playoff.

doodah_man's picture

Somehow the sting of the 2006 Championship game was not quite as great is you lived through the John Cooper era. You expected the unplanned loss or to have your holidays ruined by a loss by the Buckeyes.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

TheShookster's picture

As I did every game my freshman year at Dayton, I watched in the lobby of Stuart Hall...for those of you not familiar with it, the former all-male wing was called Meyer Hall. After the game I went back to my dorm on the 6th floor and my neighbor was blasting the Florida fight song. The next day someone had put up a sign that said "Urban" above the sign for Meyer Hall. Not a good day or two. But I'll always be all in, and I always have been. As the great butler Alfred said "why do we fall down? so we can learn to pick ourselves up." If he would have been in Glendale that night, maybe the team could have rallied. Probably not though

He ain't even stretch doe!!

Evansvillebuckeye's picture

Damn, that ham sandwich for lunch sure tasted better than yesterday.....all in!

Baroclinicity's picture

That day after was my second day of work at my current location. I'm not overly superstitious, but you can imagine the "I made a huge mistake moving here" thoughts I had to go with that debacle of a game...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Buckeye06's picture

Well I was at that game in 2006, and wore my OSU stuff proudly the next day.  I'm a fan through the good and the bad, and will always be so
Also, this story made me reserve my hotel for CA January 3-7; I will be there

MassiveAttack's picture

I'm all in! <jumps up and starts pacing around>
That 2006 championship game was so unbelievable because the Buckeyes looked so good on offense for almost that entire win streak (minus the Illinois game).  Then to have Ted Ginn run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, I was expecting OSU would win the game.  I certainly not expecting them to get beat like they did until Urban called off the dogs.
I still wore my OSU polo to work the next day, and answered questions about the game all day.
Overconfidence did them in. 

  • 3 trips to Glendale for one class? 
  • A Florida team that needed two blocked kicks to win one game? 
  • The Heisman winning QB on our team? 
  • Besides all the talent, all the experience on that team. 
  • Wire to wire #1 ranking during the season  

How could we lose?  One ridiculous, ankle-fracturing celebration in the end zone is all it took to make us one dimensional enough to lose.  I expected us to at worst lose like Miami did to us in 2003.  Nope, our team was never in the game after the first quarter.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

73buckeye's picture

Ramzy: I really enjoy reading your articles and I usually agree with your observations, but this is one that I need to contest. I personally experienced the hideousness in AA (it was my first OSU/TTUN game). I also endured the Rose Bowl loss to Stanford and Jim Plunkett in 1970 (my only Rose Bowl attended), and obviously saw the loss in 2006 on TV. I can assure you that the first disappointment was the worst. The 69 team was obviously the best team in the country. They were undefeated through 68, beat OJ, were national champs, undefeated in 69, and on the way to another NC. Losing all that to an inferior team sticks with me to this day like it happened yesterday. The only good thing that came from that game was the 10 year war.
I also think the 70 loss was worse than 06. The Bucks had gone undefeated again and humiliated TTUN 50-14 in the process, We went west with a lot of confidence, but  lost again to an inferior team, and another NC that seemed in the bag.
Perhaps I was numb from all the near misses and disappointments from the prior 30 years when the joyous 2002 season happened. No doubt 2006 was a huge disappointment, but for me personally, the first was by far the worst.


Oldschoolbuck's picture

Yes, the 2006 NC game was painful, disappointing, shocking ... The game that tore me up, however, was the 1980 Rose Bowl when Charles White of USC ran over, around and through our D to score in the final minute for a 17-16 Trojan win. We, of course, were undefeated in Earle's first year, having beaten scUM up there. I watched it at my future in-law's house and still wonder how they let their little girl marry me after the string of profanities I let loose and the outright meltdown they witnessed!

Iwearmocs's picture

ugh.  I watched the '06 title game with a bunch of SEC fans, and man, it was brutal.  I think we would've lost even if Ginn didn't get hurt, b/c their lines absolutely trashed ours.  Biggest disappointment to me about that game was the playcalling.  I've never rewatched it, but I remember pulling with 10 points, or a touchdown (maybe 24-14?) when Pittman just ran one in for a score, and I really wish we would've stuck with the run game and tried to manball them, instead of get fancy and try and play catch up.  Oh well.

Iwearmocs's picture

I made this a different post b/c its a different topic, but I also think that 2007 was worse then 2006 when it comes to national perception of Ohio State.  We shouldn't have been in the title game anyways, but getting beat down two years in a row was terrible.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The worst part of that 2006 game was the fact that I lived in Scottsdale at the time!  Uff - I was around more drunken fucking gator fans than I care to ever be around again!  Not sure if my ratings meter was broken due to the drubbing or that their stupidity and arrogance factor was just that high!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

theOSUdug's picture

Was in the party plaza outside the stadium in Tempe of '06.  After we ran back the kickoff, my buckeye necklace I'd had since freshman year broke in the celebration....I should have known it was an omen. 
After the loss, drunk off my ars, walking alone back to the car to find my ride, I had two gator fans obnoxioisly gator chomping in my was more than I could take.  One swift move and I knocked the one gator out and snoring on the ground; his buddy stood there aghast "what did you do?!".  I took off running and didn't look back.....not my proudest moment, but still a funny ending to a horrible night in the desert.  
I too refuse to take the Tressel signed 06 national championship jersey out of the closet.....if only the ex gf could of gotten any other jersey to sign....

Eddie-Eddie's picture

Ramzy - great work!  Lovin it!!

unholy bucknut's picture

Im all in im spinning baby. Lets do this.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

2006 was the worst by far; however the most painful loss to me had to the Texas bowl game.

That ridiculous play in the final seconds caused me to punch a hole in my bedroom wall and break my hand. Painful indeed.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

PaulRobertson's picture

You actually broke your own hand?

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Sadly this is true. Called a Boxer's Fracture. I lost the match.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Maestro's picture

I don't even ask when I see a patient with a 5th metacarpal fracture.

vacuuming sucks

BierStube's picture

To quote Larry the Cable Guy,"Git'R done"!

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

OKBuck's picture

I was in Glendale and that beatdown did indeed hurt, however, in my opinion the 1969 debacle in AA, was far worse.  The 1969 team was very likely the best team in the history of college football, up to that point.  They were, of course, defending national champions on a historic win streak.  Everyone on campus thought the Purdue game was the big test and the Bucks had rolled.  Then to watch our seemingly invincible team lose to a hated rival and their upstart coach was awful beyond explanation.  That is when I understood what this rivalry was all about  and why my blood boils every November at the very sight of those hideous helmets.   National championships are rare and wonderful things.  They are a product of great teams, luck and circumstance.  Our 34 year gap between national championships is evidence.  Our rivalry with the Weasels is an every year thing.  While the whole world watches for the NC, the cross border war is intensely personal. Watching, perhaps, our greatest team fall at the hands of a hated enemy is pain which has not faded over 44 years.  Just my opinion.

harleymanjax's picture

It was worse for me, I lived an hour from Gainesville, behind enemy lines, surrounded and horribly outnumbered! I still wore my Buckeye gear the next day to work!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Silver_bullet_tex's picture

I can't think of a time in my life where I went from so high to so low in such a small amount time.

pjtobin's picture

I repress hurtful memories. My head is not able to recall any of that game. Except for Ted  Ginn Jr's kick return. That's the last thing I wanted to remember. I am a all in kinda guy. It was a painful few days for me back then. Now that we have the coach who orchestrated that butt whooping , I am glad. 
I love those scarlet jerseys!! I want one. Those helmets got to go. IMHO. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

buckeyefanatic's picture

I sooooo LOVED this cartoon - I don't remember where I found this but I has it printed and framed going into the MNC game.  I posted it everywhere and sent it to all my ^&* UF loving friends.
I was all in and I definitely needed to divorce CFB for a while after that.  HAD to.
PIC smashed and trashed in offseason.

How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

vitaminB's picture

That two year stretch where we lost two NC in football and one in Basketball still haunt me.  Not to mention I am also a Bear Fan who lost a SB in that timeframe as well.

63tinman's picture

All in for the Buckeyes, always, and regardless of outcome.  You had me at lights.  

Haybucks's picture

Having to go into work to fix a broke dick machine when the 2006 MNC game started, then a year later scheduled to be in Chicago the following morning, but staying home to watch the 2007 2nd half self-destruction, pack and drive to Chicago listening to the XM sports know-it-alls exclaim the ineptness of the Buckeyes was sickening.
The Buckeyes came out and out-hit LSU and knocked the Tigers off the ball. Todd Boeckman showed poise handling the ball, Chris Wells looked all-world every time he touched the ball and the offensive line took control with excellent pass protection. The defense for LSU was being manhandled.
I am a masochistic homer. I truly thought we were the better team before, during and after that miles infested Tiger team took our crown. SEC SEC SEC. I hate that mind boggling, stupid chant. I'd rather eaten puke than listen to that tobacco laced, talking head drivel.
I can't wait for the 2013 version!

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain