Introduction to Buckeye Poetry and "Ode to the Undrafted"

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture
July 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Fellow Buckeyes -
First, a few words about what I hope to contribute. 
I had the great honor of receiving my Creative Writing MFA from Ohio State.  My three years in Columbus were very special and are a big reason (if not the only reason) that I was able to fulfill my long-term ambition to teach college English.  (I'm hoping for a full-time position somewhere; feel free to help me out!) 
One of the things I love most about Buckeye sports (and football in particular) is that there is a strong literary tradition in the program.  One of my Ohio friends is an attorney whose parents were friends with Woody Hayes and I've heard a million stories about how much Woody loved literature and history and military history and science...just about all fields of learning.  Jim Tressel is also known for relating storytelling and literature to sports.  

I won't be writing too much about the Xs and Os; those are not my forte.  I do hope to train my critical eye on the events of the 2013 football season and to contextualize the grand narrative that will unfold before us.  (Hopefully concluding with a championship.)  Some folks on 11W offer you brilliant technical analysis of what you see on the field.  I hope to use my facility with words to capture what those events mean to the Buckeye faithful.  (Think NFL Films, but with poetry instead of slow-motion running.)
The past few years have been a remarkable time for the Ohio State football program, with as many successes as there were setbacks.  The NFL Draft came and went in April, leaving some very talented Buckeyes off the board.  These young men were key figures during our recent joys and heartbreaks; I thought it fitting to commit my thoughts about them to verse.
In the spirit of Buckeye fellowship, I present...

Ode to the Undrafted

Kenneth Nichols

They represent the tumult of a time
That saw the Buckeyes swapping highs and lows.
Fiesta, Rose and Sugar.  Investigation. 
Fond farewell to Tressel.  Six and seven. 
Then an undefeated Urban renovation
That ended in the ‘Shoe instead of Sun Life.

These young men leave Columbus in bittersweet glory
Befitting the era of Buckeye football they shaped:
A perch atop the summit with the need
To prove once more that they deserve the view.

Jake Stoneburner has Rodgers’s safety in his sights
And Goebel joins Laurinaitis on the D.
Zach Boren (a Buckeye brother) attacks the ball
At any position the coaching staff requests.
Will Travis Howard be a shutdown corner in Houston?
Can Nate Williams stop the play action for the Vikes?
Best safety lies in fear of Orhian Johnson
Holding down the Texans’ secondary.
Etienne Sabino will reach his full potential
As linebacker for the New York Football Giants.

To be left undrafted only stokes the fire.
A Buckeye’s heart is forged; it’s not acquired.


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