Heritage and Tradition

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture
August 4, 2011 at 4:10a

On a cold December night, a woman is wheeled into a delivery room at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.  After winning the fight with the nurses, she clung to an ashtray with a grey football attached to its center like it was going to protect her from the coming pain.  As the spasms of childbirth wracked her slender frame, she refused any help that would remove her concentration.  No, this was her moment.  Her whole purpose for going through this scary and painful night was not going to be deterred by a well-meaning nurse or doctor.

Finally, as she was wracked by the spasms and the feeling she was passing a bus, there was a final push, and then the sound she was waiting to hear...the cry of a newborn.  Now!  Now was the moment she was waiting for!  And she looked at the small talisman she brought with her, and found the little lever on its side.  She moved the lever and the unmistakeable sound played out of the music box. As she sang the words to herself and the nurses cleaned up the newborn, she smiled.  Across the Field was the first sound her new son heard.  Later in her life, not only her grandchildren, but any members of the local Alumni Association would all call her Grandma Buckeye.  That woman was my Mom.  That baby boy was me.


As young children, before we could even understand why, Saturdays in the fall were important in our house.  While my friends were watching Pixie and Dixie confuse Jinx the cat, and while Sky King and Roy Rogers were rounding up the bad guys, my sister and I were listening to the early LP releases of The Ohio State University Marching Band.  My Mom played those records over and over until Marv Homan or someone came on the radio to broadcast the only football game that mattered that weekend.  To this day, the tune from Nationwide Insurance brings a smile and a memory to my face as my Mom and I sat and listened to the broadcast together.  If we were lucky, once in a great while, Ohio State would show up on TV, but I have no memory of any of those days.  I remember sitting and listening to the radio.


As my Dad's practice grew and they could afford to go, they would travel the long drive down Rt 42 from Cleveland to Columbus to see a game.  Next to Woody Hayes, the biggest thing to help Ohio State football grow into the monster it is today was the completion of Interstate 71.  A two day drive suddenly became two hours down and two hours back.  Suddenly, attending the game became something we could all do.


Our next door neighbor, who I grew up calling Uncle Bob turned out to be, along with his wife Aunt Ginny, the best friends my parents ever had.  Uncle Bob had one flaw.  Every Saturday, just to bust my Mom's chops, whether he needed it or not, Uncle Bob would cut his grass wearing an old dark blue football jersey.  You see, Uncle Bob was the blocking fullback for Tom Harmon.  


I was doomed.  No matter where I went, Ohio State football was so ingrained into my soul by my Mom, that to this day my wife complains that while we do attend church on Sunday, the pilgrimmages I make on Saturday to whereever I have to go is my real religion.  As I have gotten older, I think I have started to find a balance that has saved my soul.  Summers like this one, might be purgutory on earth, and Ohio State football is still my number one hobby, but I have passed the torch to my children.  You see, all six times I was in the delivery room, I continued the tradition my Mom started.  I didn't have that music box.  But I did have my voice so each time the doctor handed me a new born so that I could place them in my wife's arms, I first sang a little tune to each of my children

"We don't give a damn for the whole state of michigan, the whole state of michigan, the whole state of michigan

We don't give a damn for the whole state of michigan, we're from O HI O"


My daughter claims that all 6 kids are cursed. Because it would be so easy to turn away from a program that has suffered through the In and Out Burger Bowl,  The Mad Hatter Bowl and the summer of our discontent.  But they can't.  No matter what.  Its their heritage.



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