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.



Comments Show All Comments

BuckeyeSki's picture

That's awesome man

*slow clap*

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

Nappy's picture

Awesome.  I got chills reading the 2nd paragraph.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Jason Priestas's picture

Great stuff, Todd. Thanks for sharing this.

Rfahncke's picture

What a fantastic family tradition!  Good or bad, it brings a family together, and that's what it's all about!  My story is similar yet ends poorly.

A year and a half ago my wife went into emergency labor with our first child...in Atlanta...we live in Cincinnati.  3 days later my only son was born. 7 days later, while I was holding him for the first and last time, he passed away to my wife and I slowly singing/crying "Accross the Field".  I wanted him to know who he was.  That even though he lived his whole life in Georgia, he was born a buckeye.


Cooper James Fahncke  1/22/10 - 1/29/10

"Have you earned your buckeye today?"

Pam's picture

I am so sorry for your loss.

RBuck's picture

No one should have to bury their own child. There is nothing I can say to console you. I know.


Carrie: December 21, 1973-December 2, 2009

Long live the southend.

thetruth's picture

Pathetic, that these kids have to hear their father curse and spew hate as they take their first breath on this earth

William's picture

You know what is really pathetic? That you choose to post such degrading comments on a blog post about a man's family tradition.

Denny's picture


I mean, Todd put it out there, and I personally find it a bit odd. That being said, calling this pathetic certainly isn't a reasonable response. Conversely, just because something is a 'family tradition' doesn't mean it should automatically get carte blanche.

Also, being mad that someone uses swearsies around an infant is silly because babies don't know words.


William's picture

Denny you've obviously never watched Baby Geniuses.

Denny's picture

I watched that 'Genie In a Bottle' video a lot is that what you are talking abt


William's picture

Here you are Denny. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118665/ Absolutely terrible lates 90s movie.

GoBucks713's picture

Truth, you really are a heartless prick, aren't you. Go somewhere and do the world a favor and lift your head up high and blow your brains out.

-The Aristocrats!

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Pathetic that your arrogance deems your value system is better than mine.  Where I come from, that's usually a sign of an inferiority complex.  Either that or you are too stupid to get it.


CJ, truly you have my sympathy and prayers.  I can't even begin to imagine the thoughts and feelings that go through your head after suffering a loss like that.  


On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

buckeyedude's picture

First off, I was really touched by both Todd-Not's story and RFAHNCKE's.


But I have to say, you are the pathetic one, "Truth." And you are a wimp. This whole country is turning into a bunch of girly-men because of people like you. I hope to God you're not a school teacher. Get your panties out of your butt crack. 



Denny's picture

I bet you can bench press a lot.


buckeyedude's picture

I'm an older version of Irricoir. ;)



GoBucks713's picture

That's a great Piece Todd. The first thing I sang to my newborn daughter to sleep was I don't give a damn for the whole state of michigan. We even bought the tiniest pink buckeyes jersey to have her first pictures taken in. In 30 days Quinn (named after Quinn Pitcock) will witness her very first game. My youngest son has not witnessed a loss to TSUN. I'm just glad that my kids didn't have to live with a family full of TSUN fans during the Cooper Era.


RFahncke - I feel for your loss. A parent should never have to go through that. Just know that He will be enjoying the games with the best seats in the house, and probably on Woody's knee.

-The Aristocrats!

303 Buckeye's picture

Truth is probably just a modern day USC or Miami fan. He doesn't understand tradition.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

Great read Todd, thanks for sharing. My wife and I make the 3.5 hour drive from Indianapolis to Columbus for every home game. Some people think we're nuts and maybe we are. But they just don't get it. I guess you just have to be a Buckeye, a real Buckeye.

The Ohio State University Class of 2001

BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering