I know it’s just a game.
But if you grew up in Ohio, you know it’s more than that, too.
It’s who we are.
My favorite day of the year, even as a kid, was never Christmas or the 4th of July. It was Ohio State Michigan.
Some of my most vivid memories from my childhood are Ohio State games. I’m convinced I once received a pretty substantial scholarship because I wore a scarlet and gray tie to the interview and talked to the panel about Joe Germaine’s drive in the ‘97 Rose Bowl. (A game I watched when I was eight)
I’ve skipped weddings.
I was an Ohio State student for 10 years as I worked toward my degrees. It was my home for 7 of them, and I was an employee for 6.
When my dad and I talk, we talk about Ohio State. Not exclusively, of course, but enough that the conversations are noticeably longer in Autumn.
As someone who’s scared as hell to become a father in a few months, one thing that brings me genuine excitement is that I’ll be teaching my little guy all of our traditions, and what it means to be a Buckeye.
In a time when pro stadiums are torn down and replaced every few decades, The Shoe has stood tall since 1922. It will still be hosting football games long after I’m gone. Ohio State is bigger than us. It’s generational. Your dad taught you what his dad taught him, and you pass it on to your son, who will one day pass it on to his.
It is constant.
Buckeye heroes become legends. I was born in ‘89, but can tell you all about Archie Griffin. Who was President in 1974 and 1975? I honestly have no idea.
In a world where so much changes so fast, every Saturday in Autumn, The Buckeyes will don those classic scarlet and gray uniforms, and they’ll charge onto the field as melodies we’ve sung since we’ve known how to speak blare from brass instruments. Not even World Wars could stop The Buckeyes from drive, driving on down that field.
On August 11th, when the season was cancelled, my wife said to me (in all seriousness) “I’ve never seen you this sad.”
She was right.
You might think that’s dramatic, but it’s true. I can’t fully explain it. Maybe it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back after months and months of turmoil and loss... but I think it’s something else...
This is the one thing that’s always supposed to be there. Buckeye Football IS the fall. It’s invinceable. It would be like canceling the sunrise.
I realize these are atypical times and much more tragic losses are happening all over the world, and I think if we were doing EVERYTHING we possibly could as a society to stop this, it might be easier to accept that there will be no Ohio State Football this year.
But we’re not.
Half of college football is still playing.
All high school sports are still playing.
The pros... playing.
Ohio State dorms are full.
Soon, Ohio schools will be, too.
And I’m not saying that’s right or that’s wrong, I just don’t know why, out of all these things, the one arbitrary stand had to be The Buckeyes... the one thing that’s supposed to always be there.