As I read over everyone's recollections of expectation and heartbreak, of disappointment and redemption, I find myself thinking of what a beautiful role this phenomenon of Buckeye football plays in so many of our lives.
It's like an epic poem, something from Homer, that follows us through our lives. So many of my life experiences are hooked on to Buckeye football. It's insane to anyone who doesn't get it.
My mom passed last July, and the season for the first time seemed completely inconsequential. I tried to care when Braxton went down, I tried to be excited when Darron Lee scooped and scored against Navy, I knew I should be mad when Va Tech bullied our inexperience. But it wasn't there.
I remember watching so many games alone, out of duty, out of tradition, out of necessity. And then I was out one night at a bachelor party for a lifelong friend when Penn State happened. And as my friends caroused and drank, I found myself frantically refreshing my phone, staying behind at bars to see the next series. I was on the street when Bosa happened. It reminded me of 02, when I was sitting at the Domino's on High when Gamble happened vs. PSU. It was an injection, an IV of enthusiasm.
I finally ventured to an OSU viewing party for the game in East Lansing. Another injection. This team brought my spirit back, slowly.
The night of 59-0, I was riding a school bus back from a basketball game I coached. A friend texted me about a ticket that wasn't spoken for. I made it from the west side of Columbus to Indy in two hours.
In so many ways, the way this team responded to a chance to break showed me that I could not allow that for myself. The beauty of sport, that those universal lessons are so concretely represented in a score, did not apply to me, but the truth of the matter, that quitting is a cowardly and faulty course, did.
There was something about the Alabama game that seemed otherworldly to me, as I watched it play out. I suppose we are all prone to personal hyperbole when something means so much to us. But what are we if not prone to hyperbole about this idea, this team, that means so much to so many?
Oregon was the final catharsis. I could not keep from caring. They were too superb.
For 2015, I expect greatness. We all do. We are blessed now, as we have been so long, with a coach who understands what this means. But I cannot expect anything like last season, and that team, that through their audacious enthusiasm and their unapologetic success in the face of adversity reminded me of the type of man I want to be.