Block O Table – El Caballo’s “Better Know A Buckeye Fan” Edition

Posted by Vico in Block O Table |

Block O Table
April’s Spring Game recap, courtesy of reader Ken, served as May’s Block O Table.  However, with the calendar of this ever shortening 2009 flipping from May to June1, a new “tabling” (if I can call it that) is in order.  Fortunately, El Caballo de Sangre volunteered to handle responsibilities for this edition.  You may have come across El Caballo in your travels in the Buckeye blogosphere.  He is one of the most notable commenters both at this blog and at Eleven Warriors, always with insightful commentary on either a blog posting or another reader’s reaction.  El Caballo is a lifelong Buckeye fan, having spent 25 of his almost 40 years on God’s green earth within a 2-3 mile radius from Ohio Stadium — the cradle of civilization as we know it.  An Ohio State alumnus and father of two, he hopes to pass on the same Buckeye spirit to the next generation of Caballos, but admits that they’re too young to tell if it’s going to resonate.

When El Caballo e-mailed me this topic, I had to make sure he followed through with it.  If you remember some of the “extra credit” questions I asked in the previous features, it’s basically something I’ve tried to extract from you all in small doses: to share something about yourself and your experience as a Buckeye fan.  El Caballo’s theme accomplishes what I was hoping to accomplish through a series of these features.

El Caballo requested this as an avatar. I would have gone with El Kabong.
Without any further ado, I’ll turn it over to him.

Greetings, all – right at the top I want to thank Vico for opening up the blog to us readers from time to time. He often modestly passes this off as saving him work, but I think including reader-generated content (even if it’s just bumping comments up) is one of the things that can elevate a blog from random Intertubes spewings to something that feels more like a community.

This Block O Table is going to go a little bit ‘meta’ – the name I came up with for it is BKABF(an). We spend a lot of time and effort and verbiage talking and arguing and worrying about the Buckeyes of the moment, but precious little talking about our own Buckeyeness. Well, no longer. This Block O is all about us and our lives as fans of The Best Damn Team In The Land.

Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?

Please don’t just say,”Grew up in Ohio, lifelong fan” – the details are almost never quite that simple and are almost always more interesting…where in Ohio? Did you get it from your folks? Your friends? Did you love another team until you went to OSU? Elaborate, please. Myself, my Dad was a professor here from ’72-’80 and took my brother and me to all kinds of games that included lots of crazy memorable stuff – Archie in the ‘Shoe, Magic Johnson in St. John, Hockey (lots of Hockey) in the sweet old rink, indoor track meets at French Field House, etc. But the fandom didn’t start to get really crazy until my Mom remarried and moved us up to NW OH in ’78 (I was nine then) – my late stepdad was an undergrad and dental school OSU alum, flew a Block O flag most days, and blasted TBDBITL 8-tracks and LPs turned up to 11 starting at 7 AM every football Saturday. His Dad was in TBDBITL. On top of that, the part of Ohio around Toledo is a bit of a battleground between OSU and TSUN – perverse at that might sound; it’s still Ohio, after all – and that seems to have a polarizing effect that intensifies one’s fandom. That sealed the deal. I like to say that I was brought up to be a Buckeye fan and that’s the way I like it! So – what’s your story?

#2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

Maybe it’s the fact that I live in Columbus, but I just don’t run into them much anymore – in fact, the last genuine full-of-shit, hater I ran into was at the bar I went to to watch the MNC Game vs. Da U. I’ve never enjoyed taunting someone (as a direct result of watching a kid on TV get his knee folded in half – is there anything as sweet as schadenfreude?) so much before or since. I have met a few sort-of SEC partisans the last couple years – I find the easiest thing is just to acknowledge the Gator beatdown (what else can you do?), point out that the LSU game wasn’t all THAT bad (see: Beanie’s breakaway; plus Todd Boeckmann was our QB; plus we probably shouldn’t have been in that game anyway – turning it into an anti-BCS thing rather than anti-OSU), smile tightly, and walk away. I’m especially interested to hear answers on this from those of you in the diaspora, given that you’re more likely to run into this stuff than the rest of us (I’d like us all to take a moment here to pray for – or wish for, if praying’s not your bag like it isn’t mine – Vico to someday be delivered from one of the deepest holes there is in SEC country. I’ve been to Alabama, and I’ll just say that I weep for him, to be punished with residency in such a benighted place (ed. *sob*)).

#3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?

For me, at least, the answer is a resounding “yes”. But – given that we’re all a product of our experiences – that may be mostly attributable to the fact that I was a full-grown, fully-engaged OSU fan for the entire Cooper era. It’s easy to not be too triumphalist during this current era of Buckeye dominance when you carry the searing memory of those horrible years with you. The wheel will spin, and not always in ways that favor us. Plus, there’s lots to admire (I think) about the Wolverines – if you’re going to extol Woody, then you have to give props to guys like Bo and Carr: Coaches with character who tried to do it right, who cared about and stood up for their players. If the rivalry is what we think it is – an institution to be respected – then the respective schools/teams are to be respected in turn. It also bears mentioning that the better they do, the more it means when we beat them. All that said, though, I’ve indulged in, and continue to, all kinds of Michigan-induced irrationality – for just one example, I’ve never worn anything yellow and blue, or, for that matter, anything yellow WITH anything blue (including jeans) since I was old enough to pick out my own clothes. So – if you just hate hate HATE those fuckers and wish them nothing but failure and misery, feel free to vent; and if you’re in the camp that wants them to win every game other than THE GAME, tell us why. There are no “wrong” answers here.

#4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans? Do you just let them know upfront that there are three or four hours on Fall Saturdays that you’re just not available, or during which the TV has to be yours? Is it a deal-breaker if they don’t go along with that? Following on that, there are always going to be obligations in life that conflict with the Buckeyes – do you feed the Buckeye monkey or bite the bullet? Or are these questions moot in the age of the DVR?

I’ve been lucky in that all of my significant others have been women that either shared or understood the obsession. Most of my extended family is also in the Buckeye Nation, so that has also worked out well – in fact, me and my ex were married on a Sunday following a home football Saturday; it was just about the best way we could be sure that everyone we wanted to be there would be in Columbus. There has actually been only one unavoidable family commitment that caused me to miss watching a Buckeye game – unfortunately, that game turns out to have been the crazy-ass 70-7 (70-7!!! Turns out there were some things to love about Cooper after all) win over Rice/Michael-Wiley-coming-out-party in 1996. That was back in the Dark (read: pre-DVR) Ages, so that burned a little, but other than that my need to see the games live has been pretty much unmolested. Like I said, I’ve been lucky – what about you?

#5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

When I was younger and me and my brother would visit my Dad in D.C. after he moved there, we’d always hit some kind of historical/tourist thing – the Capitol, the National Archives, the Lincoln/Jefferson/Vietnam Memorials, the Smithsonians (over and over), Colonial Williamsburg, Antietam, Gettysburg, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Chincoteague/Assateague, etc., etc…and I would always, ALWAYS be sure to be sporting Buckeye gear wherever we went. Even now, I often sport at the very least the Woody cap whenever I travel outside of Ohio. This question, of course, gets to the fickle nature of the subject – my group of good buddies had a joke in the mid-to-late ’90′s: “Let’s meet in front of the ‘Shoe – I’ll be the guy in the #45 jersey”. So – what do you wear, and when and where, to tell the world you’re a Buckeye?

Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

I have two: A hockey stick signed by the entire ’79-’80 team – Dan Mandich, the Pooleys, Mike Blake, Larry Marson etc…also there’s a football program (which I can’t seem to find at the moment so you’ll have to forgive me not knowing exactly which year/game it’s from) that’s autographed by Mike Tomczak, Tim Spencer and Gary Williams. Also by some reserve offensive lineman named Mike Pahlaniuk (sp?), who was in my Dad’s “Rocks for Jocks” class and got the program(s) signed for me and my brother.

Thanks again to Vico, and to all of you who care to respond-

El Caballo de Sangre

  1. Jesus, it’s June already? []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


13 Responses to “Block O Table – El Caballo’s “Better Know A Buckeye Fan” Edition”

  1. 1 Ron

    #1: Why are you a Buckeye?

    I was born and raised in the greatest city on the planet: Cleveland Ohio. I grew up in the flats (projects on West 7th street). My older brother was a football lunatic, and listened to all the OSU games on the radio. Listening to the games on radio was a little boring back then, you know, Otis off-tackle, Otis off-tackle, Kern keeper, Otis off-tackle, etc… I came to the university after a 3 year stint in the Army, and got an engineering degree 4 years later (BSEE, ’79). Griffin, Johnson, Cousineau, Brown, et. al. were a fun group to watch. Practices were open. I used to see Woody traversing campus all the time, and even ran into him from time-to-time. It seemed there were more Griffins running around the campus than you could shake a stick at.

    Unlike so many Ohio diaspora here in Southern California, I still embrace my roots. It was my ancestors that carved the paths through Northern Ohio, but unfortunately, can also be blamed for opening land routes to “the wilderness up north”, as it was referred to back in the day… little did they know… These same ancestors tried to join the southern cause at the outbreak of the Civil War, because they wanted to attack “The North”. They agreed to join the Union only after it was promised that Abolition would extend to the state of michigan. We are all deeply disappointed, and still pissed-off, that this promise was never kept. We celebrate every victory over the state of michigan to this very day.

    #2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

    I don’t so much meet haters, as I meet ignoramuses, especially USC fans. USC fans are both obnoxious and ignorant. Wild claims abound. Did you know that every one of their linemen can run a 4.6 40? Golly! I have a personal rule: Never educate the criminally ignorant.

    #3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?

    The entire state of michigan needs to go away. I would recommend using it’s borders to extent the shoreline of tlun/Lake Huron (the lake up north, as it should be called) and creating a huge fresh-water reservoir, and 1 less Great Lake (5 is too many to keep track of). I would be willing to allow the relocation of tsun to another state (except Ohio, let’s keep Ohio great!), or perhaps even Canada, under a 99 year probationary contract, after which it must be plowed under. All former michigan residents must be sent to the countryside for political re-education. They can grow rice, and buzz sheep, until non-michigander status can be assured. Mandatory sterilization may be considered.

    #4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans? Do you just let them know upfront that there are three or four hours on Fall Saturdays that you’re just not available, or during which the TV has to be yours? Is it a deal-breaker if they don’t go along with that? Following on that, there are always going to be obligations in life that conflict with the Buckeyes – do you feed the Buckeye monkey or bite the bullet? Or are these questions moot in the age of the DVR?

    My wife is a college football fan (and reader of this blog). She wants the Buckeyes to be victorious all the time, so at the very least she doesn’t have to deal with stormclouds that seem to gather over the house after a Buckeye loss. My brother-in-law is an all-everthing gator fan. We don’t talk football.

    #5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

    My work lanyard is a TOSU scarlet and gray lanyard. I have a Block O pin on it, along with my 20/25/30 year service pins. I have a large Block O flag hanging on the office wall. 75% of my T-shirts are Buckeye/Ohio related, the other 25% got horse stuff on them (I own 3 horses and a donkey). I used to wear Buckeye hats all the time, but have totally pitted them all out with sweat, and now only wear them around the ranch. I need more. I even had an ATI T-shirt, which I wore proudly for many years, until it had to be put “out to pasture”. One of my horse halters/leadlines (found it at Walmart) is scarlet and gray. Buckeye horse equipment is very hard to find. Once during a trip to Columbus, a few years back, I went the the OSU stables to inquire about OSU horse stuff: blankets, saddles, bridles, flymasks, etc… Oddly, nobody has any. That sucked!

    Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

    My son possesses my 70′s era “Beat Michigan” pin. I also have a couple old game programs.

  2. 2 bup bup bup

    okay, i’ll bite:

    “Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?”

    to be completely honest, i didn’t really get into OSU football (or football in general) until 8th grade. in my family, only a few of my (much older) cousins ever attended OSU, and neither of my parents like football at all. there’s even a blasphemous picture of a 7 year old bup bup bup in a michigan sweatshirt somewhere in the house. despite that, as an ohioan i’ve always implicitly supported Ohio State, and when i decided in 8th grade that OSU would be the college i wanted to go to, for a bunch of reasons, i started to really get into OSU lore and started following the team religiously. three memories really jump out at me: watching the 1997 rose bowl with my dad, coming home after my youth soccer games on saturday mornings and watching OSU every weekend in the fall, and watching the 2003 NC game on a little 3 inch portable TV on the team bus after a high school swim meet, surrounded by about 15 of my teammates.

    “#2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?”

    i generally just shrug it off, unless it’s someone with no reason to talk trash. my sister went to vanderbilt for college, and a tennessee fan tried to say something to me as i was helping my sister move out, but the response of “when was the last time tennessee did anything anyone cares about?” is a pretty good one, especially if it’s someone who’s a fan of an SEC school that’s doing so poorly they have to root for their conference as a whole rather than their own team. if it’s a florida or LSU fan, then i really think all you can do is shrug and say “yep, i guess you got us” and know that what goes around comes around. college football has fans with extremely long memories (and in the case of michigan fans it’s damn near elephantine), so i just wait until the pendulum swings back the other way.

    “#3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?”

    of course, and it’s something that i’ve always insisted on as an OSU fan. michigan as a school is a great institution with an excellent academic reputation and amazing resources. ann arbor is a nice and pleasant college town. but their fans, their stadium, and their general attitude of smug superiority toward everything in life is the complete antithesis of everything that’s good about college football. here’s a really goofy preview i wrote for a OSU/michigan game on a friends’ message board:

    “the university of michigan represents not only everything that is wrong and foul and terrible about college football, but also about humanity. they are the sneering elitists who live without passion or joy: indeed, they seek to extinguish fun and laughter wherever they find it, through their slow, plodding funeral dirge of an existence. they are indifferent to winning but revel in defeat, as if failure is their preferred state of being. their heroes are cynical and bitter, and reflect the darkness in their hearts.

    The Ohio State University is the epitome of life. Optimistic, joyous, and bright, we are the antithesis of michigan’s dreary mindset. Football is celebrated here, not endured. Ohio State is a place where the underdog and the everyman are held up for acclaim; anyone can be a star, be it an undersized walk-on engineering major or a tough as nails molecular biology major. all that matters in this egalitarian mindet is that you share our passion for the game. Humbleness, heart, and toughness. With these three qualities you will live on in our lore forever. ”

    that pretty much sums it up for me

    “#4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans?”

    pretty much everyone who knows me even a little bit knows of how much i love Ohio State and how much i enjoyed my time there. i really don’t care if my family/friends/significant others are OSU fans or not, but i treat it like any other thing someone might enjoy a lot or is important to them; don’t be a dick about it when they say it’s important to them. if someone was WAY into making socks out of grass and sawdust, i’d respect that and understand if they’d want to schedule things around a weekly grass and sawdust sock show on tv or whathaveyou. and it’s the same way with OSU, i don’t care if you like the school or football or not, just understand that it’s important to me and we’ll get along fine.

    “#5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?”

    REP OSU WHEREVER YOU GO. NO EXCEPTIONS. i’m leaving to go teach english in japan in a few months, and you can bank on it that i’ll be wearing my OSU stuff while i’m over there, whether anyone knows what it’s about or not.

    “Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia?”

    easy. i actually have an autograph by Jim Tressel, but my actual very favorite piece of buckeye memorabilia is a coke can my grandma gave me that commemorates the 2003 NC. right now it’s sitting next to a 7Up bottle from 1976 and a WWII shell my grandpa gave me.

    thanks to El Cab for the questions, and OHD for hosting and being an awesome website. go bucks

  3. 3 Ed

    Ok…….here we go……

    #1) I am a Buckeye because it’s in my bloodline ( 2 Uncles and some cousins ) who are Alumni. I was born in Columbus , but unfortunately at the age of 10 my folks uprooted me and my brother and moved to South Florida ( I had no say in the matter folks ). I have awesome memories though during my younger yrs, going to games with family , or getting together at my grandmas with everyone on game days. I got to shake and greet Art Schlietchter’s hand after a game as he was leaving the field ( back when the field was turf ).And no , I don’t remember him having a parlay sheet in his other hand either…LOL. I have one daughter who will be 4 yrs at the end of this month ( June ). She reconizes every damn song TBDBITL plays ( thanx to me ), and on Saturday monrnings I ask her what day is it? And she tells me with a grin……..” Game Day daddy “. You have to start your little ones young if ya know what I mean.

    #2) When I meet a hater , I grin. Especially to Hurricane fans . I have a couple Canes fans at my work. And when the discussion starts I point to either a hat thier wearing, or some sticker on thier car and ask them……………” Did a pasifyer ( baby binkie ) come with those items ? ”

    #3) Without a doubt it is very possible to hate, dispise, ridicule……….whatever. I put out an old Michigan jersey I got yrs ago on my front doorstep mat in September and keep it there til November ( a couple washes in between to keep the wife happy ). I want every guest that comes to my abode to salute TSUN with a nice wipe of thier feet. Even if people come to my house for games, and my garage is open they normally enter through there………..but I tell them………” AHH AHH AHH………..back out there , gotta wipe your feet at my front door step before you crack open your first cold one. Hey, its a rule I have.

    #4 ) Well this question really hits home for me. My wife is a Florida Gator , as is her in-laws, nephews , nieces. And most of my friends from high school are Miami Hurricane fans. And I handle all of them accordingly. I don’t really need to tell everyone how my Christmas was back in 06′ do I ?? Although back in 2002 I watched the NC game with about 20 Hurricane fans. Before the game they were putting the Champagne on ice, and grinning from ear to ear……..yada yada. The only Buckeye fans there was me ( and my wife ) giving me support because Gator fans cannot stand Hurricanes as well. I will never forget the tone the Buckeyes set from the outset , physical …….hit everything that moves. The looks on my friends faces were priceless. I told a few people that if we end up pulling this out ………I am outta here, will have to make some phone calls. And that is what I did………….that was a great night.

    #5) Everyone knows on my street when there is a Buckeye football game on. I always have my stadium flag up ( on my 20 ft flag pole ) , and depending on how important a game is I stick Brutus ( 8ft) out in the yard as well. I also have wireless speakers I put out in the yard as well and play a variety of Buckeye tunes……….especially after wins.

    X-tra Credit…….

    I have a huge selection of Buckeye photos( cherry wood frames) from yrs past to present on a wall in my living room. And also on that same wall I have a couple cherry wood shelves that has an assortment of bobble heads , beads , towels , beer stiens , helmets ………etc. But , my all time favorite item is a photo I got of myself and Archie………I mean I have that photo on my wall , and I carry a copy of it in my wallet . Its a great conversation piece when I meet new people who are buckeye fans. I got that photo taken with him back in 2004 at an Atlanta Alumni golf outing. That was a fun 4 days …………..

    Thanx as well El Cab for the questions as well……………….” Is it September yet ? “

  4. 4 Ed

    sorry Vico , El Cab……… answer to #4) I meant my wifes parents ( not her in-laws ). My bad.

  5. 5 Ken

    To get things started, this is good stuff El Caballo. I enjoyed my Block O Tables experience, I’m sur you will, too.

    1. Born and raised in the hotbed of sports, Gnadenhutten, OH, so being a Buckeye fan was as natural as breathing. My parents were avid sports fans in general, and Ohio teams (Buckeyes, Browns, Indians) in particular. My grandparents (both sides) followed local (Ohio) sorts as well. To this day, I’ll have to be aware of what games (incl Cavs) are televised before I call Ohio to talk with my 84 year old Mom. When we couldn’t get the rabbit ears to tune in the games out of Columbus, we’d resort to our trusty transistor radio.

    2. Not many ‘haters’ in WNY, they are more ingnorant of college football. I’ve gotten blistered after the last couple MNC fiascos, but I tell them “if they knew anything about college football, then I’d be worried.” With their frame of reference of Univ of Buff, Buffalo State, and Canisius College (oops, I forgot, Canisius dropped their football program), I brush off their barbs.

    3. I guess it’s possible to hate them rationally. Keep in mind I did not attend tOSU, but was down the road at Muskingum College, so my perspective is a bit different. I generally have a good deal of respect for the Michigan program*, probably becasue during a lot of my “formative” years the coaches were Woody & Bo. My ideal season would be for both teams to enter the Game undefeated and highly ranked, then tOSU proceeding to kick UM’s ass up and down the field for the next three hours. Ahhhh!
    * Exception most recently with the hiring of the imposter from WVU. Fuck ‘em.

    4. Anyone that knows me is well aware of what I am, so if they aren’t Buckeye fans, it’s fine with both of us. One brother-in-law is not a Buckeye fan (or college footbal in general, for that matter) but during the Fall he’ll occasionally ask how the Buckeyes did, with the same interest as you asking an acquaintance how he’s doing, but not particularly interested in the answer. This works out fine, since I’m not a hockey fan, I’ll go through the same dance with him regarding the Sabres.

    5. Not shy at all about Buckeye regalia. I have a couple ‘Ohio State’ t-shirts that I’ll wear to the gym, just to show the Colors. When I golf, I’ll often wear my OSU cap, and of course every game day (except when it’s hot) and a lot of general purpose days, I’ll be sporting my red Tresselvest.

    Extra Credit; In my way younger years (mid-late ’70′s), my roomie at the time and I would proudly show off our collection of Buckeye Beer cans. I think it was a special run by Rolling Rock Brewery, with the back of the can emblazoned with a lithographed team photo of our beloved Buckeyes. What a babe magnet that was! You had to drink the beer ice-cold or colder to numb your tast buds, but the cans were great pop-art.

  6. 6 Todd (not Boeckmann)

    Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?

    My late mother, known to one and all as Grandma Buckeye owned the original 33 1/3 OSUMB record when Jack Evans was the director. Every Game Day, the records played from when my sister and I awoke until kickoff. Then, Mom gave us a choice: sit by the radio and listen, or go sit on our bed’s with the door closed until the game was over. Not a hard decision for a 4 year old. The first song I learned to sing was the Buckeye Battle Cry. So in a way, I didn’t have a choice in who I was going to become a fan of. I was doomed from the start. I have carried on the tradition with all six of my children. When the doctor handed each of my kids to me immediately after they were born, i would sing “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan” so that the first sound they heard would be a pure one.

    #2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

    If they are a “fun” hater, then I will bust balls with them. If they are just an asshole, I will ignore them.

    #3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?

    It would be irrational NOT to.

    #4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans? Do you just let them know upfront that there are three or four hours on Fall Saturdays that you’re just not available, or during which the TV has to be yours? Is it a deal-breaker if they don’t go along with that? Following on that, there are always going to be obligations in life that conflict with the Buckeyes – do you feed the Buckeye monkey or bite the bullet? Or are these questions moot in the age of the DVR?

    I broke up with a girlfriend because she didn’t care if we missed the ramp entrance. I married into a Notre Dame family. Much to the constirnation of my out-laws (UAW democrats to boot), I really converted my sweet princess. She not only turned from the darkside of football fandom, but she’s a card carrying Republican!!!!!! My firends know that its a free country. That they are free to have their weddings whenever they want. If they want me there, there are 9 valid months from which to find an open weekend.

    Its one of my favorite jokes, but my wife claims it will some day be autobiographical.: Man decides to go at the last minute to the tOSU-wolverweasel game. But he can’t find a ticket. Looks everywhere. Not even a scalper. Finally right at kickoff, he is able to find one ticket in 14C. He gets to his seat and there is an empty one right in front of him. He’s flabbergasted. Finally, it bugs him so much that he taps the old man on the shoulder who its apparent owns the ticket. “Sir, are you aware that there are people clamoring outside the shoe for a ticket. You could’ve made a shitload of money if you had sold that one.” The Old guy responded, “I know (sigh). The ticket belonged to my wife, but she died.” The nosy fan felt sheepish. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. But wouldn’t your wife have been happy to know that another family member or friend used her ticket so it wouldn’t go to waste?”

    Another sigh. “Probably. But they are all at the funeral.” My wife is convinced that that old guy is ME!

    #5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

    Growing up, all I ever wore was scarlet and gray. Mom made sure of that. She never got over the fact that i went to St Ignatius and their colors were Blue and Gold. She actually asked Fr Powers if they would consider changing the colors. At least half my leisure wear has a Block O on it. I wear a Scarlet jersey with Gray pants to every game.

    Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

    Before my parents died, they gave me their original lithograph of Woody on the sidelines with his arm around Rex. It hangs in my den. My Dad was a doctor. one fall, on a road trip, the band was hit with a flu bug and my Dad was at the same hotel. The next year, the band awarded my Dad a Band Hat from one of the kids he took care of and they gave my Mom a beret at a skull session. I don’t think I was ever prouder of my parents as a kid than I was that day. The hat sits in a place of prominence in the den as well. We buried the beret with Mom.

  7. 7 Vico

    Yay, my turn:

    Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?

    I graduated from there. To be honest, I converted to The Ohio State University when I knew I was going to attend there. I grew up in Los Angeles. My dad went to Ohio State, but he never forced anything on me. Still, when I was getting ready to graduate from high school, I knew I wanted out of LA. Seriously: LA stinks out loud. There’s very little to do in that city — Getty aside — and it takes all day and all your money to do it. I can’t imagine a more depressing experience than being on the Sepulveda Overpass during peak hours. I’ve had to do it once or twice. My dad does it everyday for work. Ouch.

    Anyways, I wanted out of Los Angeles. I wanted some nice winter weather for a chance (I love the snow) and I knew I wanted to go to the Midwest. I looked at all the Big Ten schools, sans two: Nerdwestern and Michigan. Nerdwestern cost too much money and Michigan cost just as much money in spite of being a public school. Little did I know at the time that I was immediately writing off the nerd factory (as I refer to them now, because it allows me to hate them) and, of course, the greatest source of evil our generation will ever know respectively. I eventually pared it down to Iowa and Ohio State, and I was really wanting to go to Iowa. At the time, I thought I was into politics and thought there would be a career to be had in that caucus/primary thing that becomes a statewide circus every four years (of course, now I hate politics and am glad I got out). However, I could not drive at the time since insurance for a young guy my age (spotless record, 4.0+ GPA, valedictorian) was astronomical ($2,400 a year, I believe). It would be easier to fly into Columbus, Ohio than it would be to fly into a place like Chicago or Lincoln and then hope for a puddlejumper over to Iowa City. It was honestly my second choice, but I was still geeked out. After all, my dad was an alumnus, so I always knew about it. That, and what really sealed the deal for me to go to Ohio State was being flown in, by the university’s minority scholars program, for a visit. I got to see everything first hand and fell in love with it. I also picked up my first Buckeye nut there (when the university actually used to have them.. seriously, what happened to them?), and I still carry it around, the same Buckeye, in my pocket for good luck.

    Sure enough, the decision to attend The Ohio State University was one of the best — if not the best — I’ve ever made to this point in my life. The friends I made, especially my freshman roommate who helped me with a lot (being from nearby Reynoldsburg), I’ll always cherish. I learned a lot from my classes at Ohio State, setting me up to be a star on my job and the apple of my bosses’ eye. Seriously, they love me, even though the coworkers don’t. That, and the football experience was fantastic. My first year there was the national title year (fall 2002). I never was a part of anything like that growing up, and it felt fantastic to be front row in Block O, cheering myself hoarse with a whole bunch of people I would otherwise never talk to or have anything in common with.

    So really, I’m a Buckeye because I finally felt a part of a special social network when I attended Ohio State, which has become stronger since I graduated. During that time, I became a bit of a student of the mythology and lore of Ohio State football, becoming convinced that there’s just nothing quite like it. From it’s humble origins as a backwater ag school, to its rise prominence, to glory under Brown and Woody and to a household name in the latter part of the 20th century, there’s just nothing like Ohio State. This holds for the university as well as its tackle football team. I’m a Buckeye because I feel a part of it. I feel an attachment to those symbols, to those general aesthetic themes: the scarlet and the gray, the Block O, the Alumni O, the Buckeye stripe, the Buckeye pride sticker, Woody’s glasses, his Block O cap, Archie’s ‘fro and Heisman collection, Bruce’s fedora, his skin tight scarlet polos, white belts and gray pants, the THE in THE Ohio State University, The Best Damn Band in the Land (no sissy woodwinds allowed), The Horseshoe, the Sweatervest, the Incomparable Script Ohio and anything else the band does. I don’t think many schools/programs have as many identifying markers as Ohio State has. I feel they and the experiences I had define me, and I want to be part of that experience through ups and downs… hopefully more ups. Mama needs another national title.

    #2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

    I’m a nonconfrontational person at heart and don’t seek haters. That said, living in Tuscaloosa, AL, I’m stuck. I can’t hide from them. Further, their reasons down here are quite petty. They find thrill that Florida and LSU did to us what they did. Yet, if you ask them about Florida and LSU fans, they’ll tell you they’re the fan base they hate the most. #1 and #2… in that order. Yes, Tennessee is their main rival (it is, whip out your bullshit card if Alabama fans try to tell you Auburn is) and Auburn has the Iron Bowl thing with them, but Alabama fans hate Florida and LSU fans. Both are Johnny-Come-Latelies. The former are obnoxious front-runners; the latter are just vile, unlikeable creatures that need to A) learn how to not breathe exclusively from their mouth and B) return to whatever swamp they crawled out of. This can also be said for Florida fans too, I guess. Yet, Alabama fans find some kind of thrill when we find ourselves victim to their least liked rival fanbases. My hands are ultimately tied here: if Southerners — after 150 years — are still that upset about the Civil War (and that’s what it’s ultimately still a function of), there’s really nothing I can say until Ohio State football starts putting some more SEC games in the win column.

    …and hopefully, if we can resurrect William Tecumseh Sherman’s corpse, in zombie form, and lead a brigade to finish the job.

    Unlike Ron, I’ve done a good job at avoiding USC fans. Like Ron, I have no interest in talking to them. I see a USC football fan my age and know — 9 times out of 10 — that he was a UCLA basketball fan in the 1990s. Los Angelinos are the worst sports fans on the planet. The only reason USC football became a media attraction in the early 2000s was because their rise coincides with the Lakers’ down years. See, Vico remembers things. He remembers the 1990s. He remembers USC being the only Pac 10 team to finish outside of the top 10 in every year of that decade. He remembers half-empty Coliseums. He remembers three-quarters-empty coliseums. He remembers that the only reason the Coliseum being above half capacity was because STANFORD WAS IN TOWN, and they were bringing their band. USC football fans are annoying. Sometimes I wish the Dodgers would win a World Series just to distract them for a few years.

    Oddly enough, my relations with fans of other Midwestern football fans have improved greatly, mostly against the backdrop of the Midwest v. the South distinction. I don’t think I would’ve ever had anything to say to them otherwise. En route back to Alabama from Los Angeles in early January (after my vacay back home), I saw a woman wearing a Penn State shirt and had a good conversation with her. She was a graduating senior, went “on tour”, if you will, including a stop in Columbus for that unfortunate game. She was there for the Rose Bowl and was as disappointed with the result as I was. We had a good convo and I wished her well as we went our separate ways. One of the guys I know down here is from Detroit and is a big Sparty fan. He hates Ohio State (because he’s jealous of the Great(est) State of Ohio, methinks), but we have a fun time busting each other’s balls about stuff. We’re united in our hatred of Alabama and all things SEC. True story: he, one of my Buckeye friends who just left and I went to one of the bars down here, found their internet jukebox, put on Rocky Top on a continuous loop and sang it at the top of our lungs… much to the chagrin of the locals. Nowadays, Notre Dame football fans can be quite a delight to listen to.

    I could always use more Buckeyes down here, but fully understand your reasons for wanting to avoid this state altogether.

    #3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?

    Yes, yes it is. I’ve read more than a few accounts of Michigan blog postings, fans and whatever who criticize Ohio State fans of hating Michigan more than they love Ohio State. This fundamentally misses the point, though. I think Ohio State fans — subtly, of course — have the greatest understanding of social constructionism of any fanbase in college football.

    Identities are relational. They only exist in relation to something else. It’s not enough to say you’re a fan of the Crimson Tide (for example), because that identity does not exist without an understanding of “not Crimson Tide”. Where “not X” is undefined, the identity is ultimately a mere preference for a sports team, or some other good. It is a loosely stated preference rather than a deeply ingrained identity. The problem is that you can not know who you are without knowing what you’re not. The really fascinating identities merely go beyond Self as preference, and Self and Other as just “relational” and transcend into oppositional. This is Ohio State. Ohio State football is defined by Michigan in an important way. They threaten us; they menace us; we hate them and want them to go away from our lives forever. It has a unique precedent in United States history (the squabble for Toledo), precedent in college football (Michigan annually kicking our ass early on, as well as breaking our hearts during important stretches of Woody and Cooper). When Ohio State fans rally themselves around the scarlet and gray banner — and other symbols like the stadium that fortuitously exist in contrast to Michigan — as a reaction against Michigan, they affirm themselves as Self in reaction to that oppositional Other. I, for one, love it.

    It’s possible to rationally hate Michigan because hating them with the feverish pitch that we do defines us as Buckeyes. You will NOT find that anywhere else in college football. It makes us us.

    That, and let’s face it: Michigan sucks, Ann Arbor is a woman of negotiable affections, umm… oh, their mascot is in the same family as the weasel, their fight song is annoying to listen to… ummm… yeah, and more things of this nature. I hate Michigan. I want Michigan dead. I want Michigan’s immediate family dead. I want any other state known to associate with Michigan dead. I want its possessions rounded up and burned, including cattle. Yes, I want them to get the Aachan treatment from me.

    Besides, it’s all fun. So lighten up a little and roll with it.

    #4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans? Do you just let them know upfront that there are three or four hours on Fall Saturdays that you’re just not available, or during which the TV has to be yours? Is it a deal-breaker if they don’t go along with that? Following on that, there are always going to be obligations in life that conflict with the Buckeyes – do you feed the Buckeye monkey or bite the bullet? Or are these questions moot in the age of the DVR?

    My dad is a Buckeye and my mom adopted Ohio State. Both are passionate about it. Fandom in the family really increased when I became a student at Ohio State. My sister became a Buckeye in spirit too, though she never attended.

    On the topic of the significant others, I’m a little torn. I honestly think it’s a dealbreaker. I haven’t dated anyone in my 3+ years down here, but I’ve thought about it. Ultimately, I can’t involve myself with a woman who does not see how important that experience and those symbols are to me. They define me and my family in important ways that ultimately make me me. Hell, I even started a blog about it and have kept it going for a year and a half now. And isn’t a significant other supposed to love you for you? Besides, I think it’d be cool if someone could share in that enthusiasm with me.

    Still, down here, I can’t expect anyone to feel it as strongly as I do. I can’t even reasonably expect anyone to become a fan for me. From my experiences, I can’t even expect anyone to not laugh at it when I bring it up. I don’t see a way around it, but I’m not going to compromise it and I sure as hell will NOT become a Crimson Tide (pronounced: Taaaahhhhd) fan. I will not become an anything else fan. I’m a Buckeye and that’s that.

    I think my issues down here, though, are bigger than that. Down here, forays into that realm of significant others usually end before they start, with women not returning phone calls, dragging me along until she gets “a better offer” from her ex-boyfriend in Nashville, calling me a heathen for not going to church, or — and this one is new, but it’s come up a lot recently — accusing me of being “a queer”.

    Yeah, it’s the South.

    #5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

    When I moved down here, I bought an Alabama shirt to try to adopt Alabama as something I’ll support just to fit in. After realizing that Southerners suck out loud and people close to me couldn’t do anything other than express contempt for my stated preference (Ohio State), I was no longer going to oblige. I have that shirt and haven’t worn it in 3 years.

    When it comes to Buckeye regalia, I’m torn. One of the problems I have is that most of my good Buckeye shirts are with my parents. If I want to rock a Buckeye shirt, the ones I have down here aren’t my best. The other problem: I hate being bothered. Off the top of my head, there’s like a 1/5 chance of me being bothered if I wear an Ohio State shirt. Usually the culprit is some mouthbreathing Bubba wanting to make some snide remark about something SEC related. But again: I hate being bothered.

    Anymore these days, though, and I’m letting the obnoxious Californian in me run wild. I’m trying to develop that mindset that I just don’t give a fuck anymore. Casual Fridays are now Buckeye days for me. I’m usually wearing an Ohio State shirt when I go out grocery shopping on the weekends. I only have a couple — 2004 Fiesta Bowl shirt, 2004 Alamo Bowl shirt, 2006 Fiesta Bowl shirt, Ohio State alumni shirt, Rock the Block shirt, USG Invest Yourself shirt, 2006 Big Ten champions football shirt (I don’t like wearing this, for obvious reasons), my dad’s vintage 1992 Big Ten basketball champions shirt (love this one!) — but I make due. If anyone wants to get me a few more… such as a few from this store, be my guest. Size is either L or XL for the tighter fitting shirts at Homage Clothing :wink: , size L otherwise.

    Nowadays, any snide comments, especially from the coworkers, about Ohio State can be directed to the nearest brick wall.

    Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

    I don’t have much, but I LOVE the stuff that I have.

    My diploma is at home with my mom and dad, but it’s great to know I have it.

    I still have my Buck-ID. If it had not been for my original one that I got in June 2002 finally dying on me midway through my senior year, I’d get to say it’s a real souvenir. I wanted to keep my old one that was almost split in half from overuse, but card services wouldn’t let me. Still, though… that Buck-ID is never leaving my possession.

    My freshman year, with Ohio State undefeated and getting ready to play Michigan, Chris Spielman’s radio show came into the old Woody’s at the old Ohio Union. My freshman roommate and I went there to have lunch and listen to Spiels. There was some kind of special going on, where if you went up to sales rep and said “Beat Michigan”, you got a free tumbler from British Petroleum. I don’t use it at all, but I won’t throw it away.

    I kept most of that free crap they give you at commencement, including the little tassle thing that’s supposed to be your inspiration to finish school. I also kept the little disposable camera they give the students too, but I think I took all of 3 pictures with it.

    My graduation program is in my car. Yes, over 3 years later, and it’s still in there, but conveniently protected from the sun. Actually, I think this is a duplicate program. I think I have another in my apartment.

    My freshman roommate gave me his duplicate Brutus Buckeye bobblehead way back when. It was a Speedway bobblehead, back when they were making bobbleheads for the graduating seniors of the national title team (Doss, Wilhelm).

    I was a front row volunteer for Block O my freshman year. In my travels, I was asked to wave around a 2003 Fiesta Bowl flag at Gameday for the 2002 Michigan game. No one asked me to give that flag back, so I kept it. It hangs in my bathroom today. I don’t think I got a chip hat, though. If I recall correctly, half of us got chip hats; the other half got flags.

    The Dispatch article from the day after the national title is somewhere with my parents, if I still have it all. I’m sure I do, though.

    I lived in the same dorm room my final 3 years at Ohio State (Baker Hall East, that’s what’s up). I decided to, umm… “borrow” the number tag for my dorm room as a memento of my experience. By “borrow”, I mean I plan to give it back never. It hangs now on the bedroom door.

    I’m proudest of two things. First, in my bedroom at my parent’s house, in the sock drawer, I keep the old ticket stub for my first year at Ohio State. This was back in the good ol’ days, when they used a hole-punch as validation of entry. If something were to happen to it, I’d be a little distraught for two reasons. Obviously, that little piece of memorabilia just happens to be the season ticket stub from the national title year and my freshman year at Ohio State. However, more importantly, knowing I have that stub reminds me of how I got it in the first place. See, I was never really interested in football growing up. Basketball was what I watched more of and even played in HS. However, when I knew for a fact I was going to Ohio State, my dad insisted that I get season tickets. I very clearly remembering his reasoning: I always followed loser teams growing up (LA Clippers!), our teams that mostly just weren’t any good (the Tribe, minus a few great years in the mid 90s). My HS had a bunch of a crappy teams and no football team. I remember him telling me: “Son, you’re going to like the atmosphere and you’re going to love being a part of something where you expect to win”. Granted, he said that right as Ohio State got finished with a so-so rebuilding season under first year head coach Jim Tressel, but it turned out his prophecy was on the mark.

    It was a great bargain too: 6 games for $80. It shot up to 4 games for $120 for the 2003 season, if memory serves correct. Ahh, yes, inelastic demand.

    Second, I have an old-timey Beat Michigan pin that I used to wear all Michigan Week as a student. I wear it all week of Michigan week down here as well. I keep it on my file cabinet, to my left as I type and do work. I keep it there for inspiration.

  8. 8 Team Secret Falcon

    my response is up. thank you for letting me be a part of this, i am excited to be here, and i cant wait for your birthday party.

  9. 9 El Caballo de Sangre

    Hey, sorry I didn’t pop in here when this dropped yesterday, but life does and will intrude. Anyway, outstanding responses all – thanks for getting into the spirit of it.

    Bupx3 – you’ve gotta find that picture and burn it, unless there’s some beloved late grandparent or uncle in it with you and that’s the only picture with them that exists. Otherwise it must be destroyed.

    T(nB) – I love that joke; I’ve heard it with other schools/teams involved. Also “I broke up with a girlfriend because she didn’t care if we missed the ramp entrance”, and your dear departed Mom asking ST. FREAKING IGNATIUS to change the school colors – classic. Though I’ve gotta say that in my book someone being a “UAW Democrat” almost – ALMOST – is enough to make me forgive them for being a Domer. Sorry, but you brought it up :)

    Anyway, thanks again to Vico and to all of you who chimed in. Oh, and V.: Good luck summarizing this one!

  10. 10 Todd (not Boeckmann)

    No need to apologize. But its ok. I did convert her there too. I’m going to a wedding in Birmingham Alabama this weekend. My nephew, who played the tuba in the ND band is getting married. I keep telling him if he had listened to his favorite uncle he could’ve dotted the I. Despite that, he still invited me to the wedding. At least he had the good sense to do it in the off-seaspn.

  11. 11 The Wonder Horse

    1: Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?

    I am a Buckeye by association. My dad is a Buckeye, my brother is a Buckeye, I was almost a Buckeye. So, if I want to remain a part of my family, I will be a Buckeye too! :D

    2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

    I don’t meet haters as much as people who are just… uneducated. I live in South Carolina, where people think that USC is the best team of all time (not even the like.. “good” USC.. I am talking University of South Carolina.. where they shout “COCKS” at the games). I had someone ask me which rivalry i thought was bigger: Alabama v. Auburn, or michigan v Ohio State… my jaw hit the floor at the ignorance. In either effect, if i see a hater, i will usually insult them.. typically something about their appearance.. perhaps their weight, or their hygiene.. In fact, somebody from a Kentucky university (Louisville i think) told me that the Buckeyes were terrible, and that they couldnt play Basketball, and B-Ball was the only sport worth watching. My response? “Im sorry you live in Kentucky.”

    3: Is it possible to hate michigan* rationally? (*edited to remove capitalization)

    I don’t really think it is. Ron has it right, not capitalizing the M in michigan, because it doesnt deserve to be a proper noun. I’m embarrassed to have a name that starts with that letter, to be quite honest. And, what the heck is up with their little peninsula thing? What kind of state is broken up like that? No state that i want to be part of this Union!

    4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans? Do you just let them know upfront that there are three or four hours on Fall Saturdays that you’re just not available, or during which the TV has to be yours? Is it a deal-breaker if they don’t go along with that? Following on that, there are always going to be obligations in life that conflict with the Buckeyes – do you feed the Buckeye monkey or bite the bullet? Or are these questions moot in the age of the DVR?

    Easy answer… I question their manhood, then I usually get my way :D

    5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

    Loud and Proud. If its clean, I wear it. I usually sport the visor all summer. I actually had a Block O put on one of my Red Saddle Pads. Woot. I like to wear Ohio State stuff on USC game days, just to piss everyone off.

    Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

    Probably my Brutus Buckeye, and my Brutus Buckeye purse. I love that little guy. If i could have anything, it would have to be the semi-original Brutus Buckeye Mascot Costume.. you know, the one that wore like a gigantic plastic ball, with waggly eyebrows. I would mount an AC unit inside of it, as well as an Icee machine. I might even go camping in it. Possibilities are endless :D

    So yay, i participated.

  12. 12 Drew

    My response is up! Thanks again!

  13. 13 chibucks

    Question the First: Why are you a Buckeye?

    I was actually born at tOSU hospital – my parents were international students at the time – my dad was working towards his doctorate in statistics. It was weird because as far as I can remember, my dad would watch games every Saturday – even though he was probably still learning the game and language the whole time.

    They’ve told me about some of the earlier victories over tsun and how they would join all the other students and gather on High Street. (I figured they overturned a few couches & lit a few dumpsters too) Just kidding.

    Watching football games with my dad on Saturdays, being a fan became a way of life.

    #2: What do you do when you meet a “hater”?

    I’m a bit psychotic when it comes to watching football games and during the game. And I know that I’m a bit psychotic as well – that’s why I try to avoid watching games in public settings (other than at the stadium)… because I’m not sure what I’d do… but I’m pretty sure that whatever I did, I’d be behind bars for a long time. It’s those darn voices in my head. Hehe…

    After the game, or before the game, I’m not as crazy… I just listen and laugh to the trash talking… if we had a bad game, then we had a bad game and I give credit to the other team. I just let the team do the talking.

    #3: Is it possible to hate Michigan rationally?

    I have a bunch of friends that went to school there, and yes, I still consider them my friends… so as for people, I have a respect for them.

    As for the football program, especially right now with RR, then yes, it’s possible… but then again, it might be a pity hate thing going on.

    #4: This is a two-parter – or a one-parter, depending on your circumstances. Or a hypothetical three-parter, I don’t know…call it open-ended. Anyway: How do you handle significant others/family/friends that AREN’T Buckeye fans?

    Like many others that have posted, those that know me know my passion for my team. My wife knows that fall Saturdays are football days and knows to leave me alone. Most of my friends are also Buckeye fans, so that helps out.

    #5: What’s your policy on sporting Buckeye regalia? Do you roll loud and proud outside of Columbus and/or on non-game days?

    Roll loud & proud in Chicago– car proudly displays tOSU license plate frame. Buckeye hat, beanie, jerseys, sweatshirts, golf club covers, and many others.

    Extra Credit: What’s your very favorite piece of Buckeye memorabilia? Or what would you like to have, if you don’t have any?

    Have an autographed Joe Germaine replica helmet… and a framed Sporting News Magazine with Clarett on the cover after we beat Miami.

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