What Dreams May Come: A Letter to the Newest Crop of Buckeyes

By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 30, 2014 at 10:45a
Ohio State's Dream '14

Dream '14 image by Walt Keys

71 Comments

Hello, incoming freshmen football players at Ohio State.

Wow, look at you. You're college men. It's finally happening.

It's quite possible that as a child you grew up always dreaming of playing for the Buckeyes and 2014 is that dream becoming your reality. Perhaps you didn't start dreaming until Ohio State began recruiting you a couple of years ago. Either way, you have now entered the dream.

Dreams are funny. They never stop playing tricks on you, bending time and causing the best ones to end abruptly while the worst ones seem to last forever. The truth about dreams is they're all about the same length: Short. Every night you sleep for hours but only dream for minutes. 

That's exactly how college will feel but you won't realize how cruel this is until you wake up someday soon and you're no longer college men. Granted, a few of you may be jarred awake by multi-million dollar signing bonuses - but you'll still be closing the chapter of your life when your body was at its most forgiving, your mind was never as curious and everybody knew your name without you having to tell them first.

You'll only be reminded of your STAR ranking when your position coach rubs it in your face after a teammate with fewer stars kicks your ass in practice.

You're all famous teenagers. You're child stars. That's both exciting and terrifying because even naive, teenage you already knows how this football dream will end: Some of you will flame out. Some of you will soar. Some of you will disappear. And it will all happen very quickly, because that's how dreams work.

Speaking of stars, that precious recruit ranking that identified you over the past two years is now a liability. You will never love those stars as much as you did when you were in high school because if you're as good as you're supposed to be you'll never hear about them again. You'll only be reminded of your star ranking when your position coach rubs it in your face after a teammate with fewer stars kicks your ass in practice.

Ed-die Ed-die Ed-die
Eddie George holding another one of his trophies.

You may not realize it yet, but you're among some guys who will be in your wedding, your kid's birthday, your second wedding, your vacations and your funeral. You'll be present at a lot of that stuff for them as well. Childhood friends are a function of geography; college friends are a matter of choice. Some of these guys will be your best friends for life. You'll be old men together. You'll laugh decades from now while reliving what's about to happen to you.

Maybe you're the first in your family to go to college. Maybe you're the 17th. That doesn't matter, because older and possibly wiser people are going to give you advice on seizing this opportunity, taking nothing for granted and a whole bunch of other platitudes. 

So you'll get plenty of that elsewhere. Over here you're only going to get a short list of practical tips for college life:

1. You're an Ohio State football player. Everyone in Columbus already knows who you are, especially at places that require identification to enter.

2. You're going to screw something up. It's inevitable. Make it small and correctable. Take ownership of what you screwed up, correct it and don't do it again.

3. You can still have a lot of fun after 10pm, but try to be indoors, far from heavy machinery and with far more people you trust than people you don't know. That ratio will never stop being important.

4. At some point you'll meet Eddie George. He rushed for 314 yards against Illinois his senior year, but ask him about the Illinois game his freshman year instead. He'll tell you. Ask him about Michigan. Despite owning a Heisman Trophy and having his name permanently on display in your stadium, he has college regrets. You'll have regrets too. Just don't let them eat you. He became who he is because he didn't.

5. Walk away. Just ask Tracy Sprinkle. Google him. That's what forever looks like, and it only took him a few misguided minutes to make it happen. Walk. Away.

6. Study whatever you like, but embrace it. Most students pay tens of thousands of dollars every year for what you're getting from Ohio State in exchange for your football potential. These students walk among you. They're in your classes. They're have huge debts. They admire you. They resent you. If you squander this academic gift, you'll eventually resent you too.

7. It will end up on the Internet, and it will never go away no matter how many great things you do. Ask Peyton Manning.

8. None of you will have had Kenny Guiton as a teammate, but he's one of the most beloved Buckeyes this century. He was a career backup. Everyone loves him because of how he carried himself. Hopefully you'll see the field more than he did, but regardless - be that kind of teammate.

There's a lot more, but some lessons are better learned on your own. Hopefully when this dream ends, the number you were wearing in it will be a bigger deal for the next kid who enters. 

Good luck, college men. Keep your eyes open. Here's hoping you shed your black stripes with great haste, and may you always wake up smiling.

...in the end zone. With the ball. We'll all be there too, screaming.

71 Comments

Comments

Tater_Schroeder's picture

Should be required reading for all incoming Buckeyes. Great write-up!

How Firm Thy Friendship

+30 HS
Habu71's picture

My thoughts exactly. Would also be beneficial for others outside of sports. Great letter!

+3 HS
MAVBuck's picture

I get the feeling we all could've used this letter when entering college.

+1 HS
shortbus20's picture

Great article  Ramzy.  If only they will listen.

  • shortbus20
+6 HS
0therion0's picture

Whoops! Here you go, Ramzy. You dropped this: Science.

I stopped being cool before it was cool to not be cool. #TrendSetter

+8 HS
CALPOPPY's picture

Dropping science like Galileo dropped the orange.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

+6 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Automatic Paul's Boutique upvote protocol engaged.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
apack614's picture

That's it, I'm on my way to Baltimore right now. I'm going to take my seat and wait for the game to start.

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+14 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

luckily I caught you a mere 20 minutes into your journey, they actually won't let you in yet. Very sad I know, but that stadium is actually used for other things sometimes other than OSU v Navy games, and they won't let you wait through everything else. Life's unfair.

+3 HS
apack614's picture

Those bastards! You mean their life doesn't revolve around Buckeye football???? Haha!

"If we worked half as hard as our band, we'd be champions." - Woody Hayes

+3 HS
OSUpawn's picture

Nice Ramzy.

We get to watch these boys become Men!  Make us proud!

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+2 HS
What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Somebody post the .gif of the audience rising to their feet in spontaneous ovation.  Seems appropriate here.

Edit:  Thanks guys.

+4 HS
jedkat's picture

“The teams that don’t respect their coaches and don’t trust their coaches are the teams that go .500"
~Zach Boren

+9 HS
kyo's picture

This should be a thing.... randomly starting unnecessary slow claps (I've seen it before and it is awkward)

buckeyedude's picture

At first I thought maybe Coach Coombs wrote this article, then I realized it was the Master Blaster.

 

 

+1 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

Awesome as usual, Ramzy. 

+2 HS
ab1993's picture

Over half of this applies to all college kids in general

Class of '16

+5 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

Ramzy, another HR! That list should be required reading for everyone entering college (with appropriate redactions)!

+5 HS
ohiowhitesnake's picture

Gif fail...damn my work and the shitty reception. Looked just like the gif I wanted to see, just no movement.

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

Great stuff Ramzy - Love the Eddie George example - and made me think of Troy Smith, too (who had a few bumps in his road along his way to greatness).  Both showed what it meant to grow up under the public eye, to embrace it, and to flourish.  So here's to flourishing as great Buckeye men!

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+4 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

Maybe the best piece you have ever done.  It should be mandatory reading for all incoming Frosh.

New York Buckeye

+4 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

More proof that bourbon actually increases brain capacity/writing ability. Great job as usual, Ramzy!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+7 HS
Catch 5's picture

Now, that was fantastic.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

+3 HS
Jbucks's picture

we didnt come here to play school! haha great write up, hopefully these kids take everything they can from these experiences

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

+2 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

1. You're an Ohio State football player. Everyone in Columbus already knows who you are, especially at places that require identification to enter.

Try telling that to the bouncers at Midway and Big Bar.

7. It will end up on the Internet, and it will never go away no matter how many great things you do. Ask Peyton Manning.

Was really expecting that to link to Manningface

But then I realized that I'm probably safe outside of /r/nfl.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
Angry Panda's picture

Dare I say it.....that was Beautiful man...

+3 HS
Burritos Noches's picture

A few changes to match the audience and this is life advice for everyone.

"3 yards and a cloud of dust" - Woody "Pow Right In The Kisser" Hayes

+3 HS
Blackbeards Delight's picture

DAMN SON!

Crunchy Peanut Butter Bitches.

- Me

 

+3 HS
KBonay's picture

Beware of Summer. Just hibernate....

+6 HS
Matt M.'s picture

This is how you write an article. Thank you, sir. I can feel the Tressel seeping through your writing. I'm sure Urban wouldn't mind printing this and handing it out.

+5 HS
iamcbs's picture

Great Letter Ramzy, but there'll be at least 3 in this Class who have no interest in your sage advice or the advice of anyone and will be gone before the Dream can realized. It's not my hope, but the realist in me knows and understands it will happen. We want them all to succeed, that's why we are Fanatics, but we know what will happen. The Dream will turn to reality very quickly!!

I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep, I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion~Alexander the Great

+2 HS
gumtape's picture

Remember fellas, you ARE here to play school too.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

+5 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Absolutely amazing! */dumb joke coming/ Quick - someone tweet this at all the '15 & '16 guys too... ;)

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Truest words ever: Walk Away.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+3 HS
Barnsey69's picture

The picture of Eddie with his degree is awesome. It took me 24 years (long hiatus in the middle) to get mine, and I wouldn't have the job I have now, or the quality of life for my family without it. All great advice, but one message that needs to be clear to these young men is that they cannot play football forever, and/or it can be taken away very quickly...but a degree cannot.

Welcome Gents and GO BUCKS!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+3 HS
airbuckeye's picture

I was thrilled to read this Ramsey WOW Great write up and i to think it's one of your best yet. This is so true about life in General that makes this a must read for all.

+4 HS
CTBuckeye's picture

Great article - wanted to follow up on one point you made:

8. None of you will have had Kenny Guiton as a teammate, but he's one of the most beloved Buckeyes this century. He was a career backup. Everyone loves him because of how he carried himself. Hopefully you'll see the field more than he did, but regardless - be that kind of teammate.

Guiton didn't become that way overnight - if you remember Meyer didn't even like Guiton that much when he first got to Ohio State.  So don't let the past determine your future either - even as a 3rd or 4th year player there's always a chance to turn it around and make a name for yourself.  Kenny Guiton is the perfect example of that...

And doing this won't hurt either:

"Because we couldn't go for three"

+9 HS
NitroBuck's picture

Simply an outstanding piece, Ramzy.  Words to live by.

Ferio.  Tego.

+2 HS
Buckeye BadDog's picture

Great post.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
- Albert Einstein

"Nothing that comes easy is worth a dime." - Woody Hayes

+4 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Ramzy, this article should be mailed to Urban Meyer and used/added to the material given to incoming football players.  This list of practical tips is wonderful - lessons to live by for all OSU football players, for sure.

Thank you, sir.  We are in the midst of one of the greatest writers of our time.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+7 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

We are in the midst of one of the greatest writers of our time.

No doubt!

+3 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Hear, hear!

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Outstanding.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Now that's what I'm talking about.  I'm juiced.

Buckeye in Texas

+2 HS
NOW Buckeye's picture

It's articles like this that make this the best Buckeye site on the Internet. And as a recent convert from other sites and first time poster, I can say I am consistently blown away by the quality and scope of the articles and discussions here.

+11 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Welcome, NOW. And a UV on your first post!

+2 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Now - just gave you another UV.  I, too, visited other sites that shall remain nameless.  They wanted you to become a member, some to pay $10  a month, and NO OTHER sites have any writers NEAR THE TALENT this group has.

Again, my hat goes off to Ramzy and the entire 11 Warriors writer crew.  I will be following you the rest of my days upon this earth.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

airbuckeye's picture

Nutty i did that has soon as i read it this morning . I hope that was ok with Ramsey without first asking him but i felt that someone there needed to read it.

+2 HS
Horvath22's picture

Great and timely piece, Ramzy.

+2 HS
Rogabone's picture

"Who is that madman?" the new arrival asked St. Peter.

"That's God," St. Peter replied. "But he thinks he's Woody Hayes."

+2 HS
sivaDavis's picture
 The truth about dreams is they're all about the same length: Short. Every night you sleep for hours but only dream for minutes. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+6 HS
DoubleB's picture

Bravo, thank you.

Because I couldn't go for 3.
-Woody

+2 HS
BURGEYE's picture

Great, great stuff.  With your permission I'm going to plagiarize much of this when my kids are ready to head off to school.

My only suggestion has nothing to do with your exceptional writing.  In the picture, I believe it would be more appropriate to put Urban's mug on one of the lads in the window pulling a 19th century photo bomb...

+2 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Edit : Comment removed.

Such a great article Ramzy for all the future uses of this for all incoming Freshman Football Buckeyes.

Go Bucks!

TatumRuled's picture

Not only "walk away" but "never enter" is also good advice.

I remember the OSU football players who lived on my freshman dorm floor, and they NEVER went out to the bars or parties. Because they knew it would only take one drunk frat guy to instigate a fight and that's it - career ruined.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

+4 HS
Ashtabula's picture

I can't believe you don't do this for a living. You are an amazing writer and I'm not easily impressed.

+2 HS
ECSAGESTER's picture

I wrote this half-kidding, and now I wish I could delete it. The way Robin Williams spoke about life through his movies actually stuck with me growing up. No actor conveyed life more poignantly than Williams and he did so in so many movies. Damn, I feel like an asshole.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I took care of it for you, buddy.

ECSAGESTER's picture

You're the man, Ramzy. 

Rob Reese's picture

That's exactly how college will feel but you won't realize how cruel this is until you wake up someday soon and you're no longer college men.

No truer words have been written.  The best -- and fastest -- four years of my life; right there on the Olentangy.

+1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

Very nice!

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Shangheyed's picture

Like Joe Walsh said back in the James Gang Days... WALK AWAY!

+1 HS
Young_Turk's picture

President Tressel is going to have a chapter focusing on these rules for Winner's Manual Part Deaux.  Awesome job.

+2 HS
cjmgobucks's picture

Just another gem....

"When I look in the mirror, I want to take a swing at me."
Wayne Woodrow Hayes