The 2003 and 2015 celebrations represented different emotions for me as an OSU alum, but also a lifelong Columbus resident.
Growing up here, in the 80's and 90's, there were minor league teams like the Clippers and the Chill. We loved going to the games, but the only game in town was The Ohio State Buckeyes. The only time Columbus was on TV, it was because of the Buckeyes. Boy, there were great teams in the 90's. We would get pumped in school talking about Buckeyes. The quietest days in school during my childhood was the Monday after The Game because we were heartbroken by another loss.
It was all those heartbreaking losses that made 2002 so special. It was the first championship for any of my favorite teams. It was my hometown team and I was in school at OSU when it happened. There were years of emotions that let out at that point.
Now, I was not able to go to Tempe in 2003, but I did go to Dallas this year with my dad. After the game, I run into a buddy of mine from grade school who lives in San Diego. He runs across the plaza and jumps to give me a hug. He is one of many guys and gals I went to grade school with who just go nuts about the Buckeyes and they live elsewhere now. Many of them didn't even go to OSU.
This year, with the NHL All-Star Game going on the same weekend, it was a sign that Columbus is now a big player on the national scene. It is a little shocking for someone who grew up near a two-lane Bethel Road in northwest Columbus. Columbus has grown up a lot in my lifetime, but I think we will look back on January 2015 one of the biggest months in this city's history. The reviews from people from outside this city are phenomenal. The NHL folks were even in awe of the celebration crowd. For years, it was Ohio State that made Columbus. Now, I think we are entering an era where Columbus is doing big things for Ohio State. A strong Ohio State is good for Columbus. A strong Columbus is good for Ohio State.
For me, the celebration in 2003 was a culmination of childhood dreams growing up in Columbus. The 2015 celebration was a realization that Ohio State and Columbus have entered an era where some very big things could happen.