Cool thread seeing the variation of in person game experiences, from zero on up to well over 100. Shows the diversity of the fanbase. I started reading stuff on 11W probably 3 years ago, but didn't join and start commenting until recently. I always thought my love for Ohio State was a unique story, but many on here have some as well.
Born in Columbus, but moved to Austin, TX when I was 2 years old. My parents lived in Columbus for 10 years, but weren't originally from Ohio or had any connections to Ohio State. My oldest half brother enrolled at Ohio State the year we moved here, and my Dad would always tell me about the atmosphere in the Horseshoe from going to games while we lived there. I was a huge college football fan, and the games here in Austin left a lot to be desired before Mack Brown showed up. So my Dad told me all throughout the 90s that he would take me to a game in Columbus to experience it.
So fall 1997, my freshman year of high school, I was able to go to my first game in Columbus and have been die hard ever since. I was a huge fan before, from about the time I really remember and understood sports in late 80s up till then, but that's when it changed. We went again in 1998 to the Penn State game, and then again in 1999 to an Iowa game (we went to games in October to enjoy the fall weather).
Didn't go to another game until my family went up in 2005 to the Texas game. My other brother went to Texas, and my Mom is more of a Texas fan. Great experience, and great game (even though we lost).
A few years later when we played Texas again in the Fiesta Bowl, one of my friends from Austin who went to Texas had an idea for a few of us to take an RV to Arizona and go to the game. I was the token Ohio State fan, and went with three Longhorns. Again, even though we lost, it was a cool game to go to. Tailgated and partied with a bunch of Buckeyes and Longhorns. And yes, of the three games that Ohio State and Texas played, the only one I didn't go to was the one is Austin that we won in 2006. Sad.
I then had a friend who lives in New Orleans, and went to see us beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago (yes, it happened). Got to spend about 5 days there, went to the Saints game on Sunday (Sugar Bowl was Tuesday), and had an amazing time there.
Finally we get to this season. Up until this season, I had only been to 6 games in my life, as living in Austin made it difficult to get to many. My wife and I got married in the summer of 2013, and before we had kids wanted to have some fun traveling. Fortunately, she is a huge college football fan like me (Longhorn first, Buckeyes second) and we planned on going to the *ichigan game in Columbus (my first). As luck would have it, one of my best friends is an officer in the Navy, and from the spring of 2013 until this past December he was an instructor at the Naval Academy. So we made a trip out of the Navy game to visit him and his wife and kid.
That was supposed to be it, but then the Sugar Bowl happened.. Free flight with points, free place to stay (same friend in Nola), and scored face value tickets through another friend who had connections to the Sugar Bowl committee. I wasn't going to go to the Championship game in Arlington thinking tickets would be well over $500, but I was able to get a ticket for less than $400.
Going into this year, I had only been to 6, but was able to go to 4 games from this magical season and couldn't be happier about it. All tolled, 5 in Columbus (4-1 record), one Neutral/away in Baltimore (won), and 3 bowl games plus the National championship this year (4-0). The Sugar Bowl this year would have to be the most memorable of all, but they all are special since I haven't had the opportunity to make many. Best news: wife would like to make a game every fall if possible in Columbus. She loved it there.