It's been ten years and I still remember the date of the most memorable game I never went to. On November 22, 2002 my 21 year old drunk self decided at about 2am I'd be making the 100 mile drive to Columbus for The Game. My beloved Buckeyes were 12-0 and a win assured them a trip to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the mighty Hurricanes. I didn't have tickets or any money to get myself a ticket to The Game, but I was determined to at least take part in some tailgating and enjoy the festivities of the day. So, going on about two hours of sleep I woke up on the floor of a friend's house, stopped to pick up a friend, and headed up 71 to get to campus.
We dropped our anchor (Our Coleman Cooler full of Silver Bullets) at the Game Day Set. We decided with no tickets, this would be the ideal place for viewing the game. We were right. There were few people there at 9AM when we first got there, but come gametime it was packed full of people. I don't know how many exactly, but we went from having plenty of room to no room on the grass and people were climbing trees to get a place to watch the game from. It was quite a scene.
I'm not really going to get into the details of the game because most of us saw it and to be quite honest, I don't remember a whole lot about the actual game. It was close and I was really nervous the whole time, and from the feel in the air so was all of Columbus. One silly detail of that day I remember were the Ohio State tins of altoids thrown out to us at the Game Day set. I also remember idiots in Michigan garb standing up on something with a little elevation and acting like fools, then consequently getting pelted with beers and those tins of mints that everyone got.
The amazing part of this day that I'll never forget was what happened when Will Allen caught the interception to clinch the win. The pure joy I felt, the joy of everyone around me. We were high fiving and bear hugging people we didn't know at all. It was awesome. In the area around the set it was raining altoids and beer. Several hundred people were shaking up their beers, cracking them and launching them in the air. I know it doesn't sound like fun getting pelted with mints, tins, and empty beer cans while we're being showered with that beer, but to me it was like being in the locker room of a team after they win a world series and you see the champagne flying all over the place. The most amazing thing after that INT though, was the sheer volume coming from the whole city really. I once had a professor tell me the most incredible thing he's ever been a part of was sitting in a bar in Dakar Senegal when they beat their former colonizer France in a soccer game. He said the whole city of 6 million people were all screaming at once. I always though man that would be pretty neat. Well I got a little taste of it that day. The noise was like a wave. You heard it come from the Shoe first and it just got closer and closer then hit the set and went on to Lane street. It may not have been 6 million but I bet it was about 500,000 screaming at the same time. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
Being the 10 year anniversary and this team going for 12-0 I thought it was appropriate to take this trip down memory lane. The atmosphere of that day was amazing, and it was only my 2nd time on campus so maybe it was even more amazing to me because it was a pretty new feeling. I'll never forget November 23, 2002, and it will always be one of my favorite memories from a sporting event.