Now that the wrapping paper has been cleaned up, most of the leftovers are probably gone, and people have hopefully somewhat recovered from the madness that often is Christmas, thoughts tend to turn ahead to New Year’s Eve, also known as an excuse to get drunk and kiss random other drunk people at a bar. Even while looking ahead to the next holiday, our minds tend to turn back to the year that is finishing up. This year most Ohio State fans probably cringe, or grab another beer, when they think back to the year that we had as the first thing that comes to mind is the NCAA violations by the football team and the resulting fallout. While those thoughts give us all the desire to toss the year 2011 into the trash can and never lookback, we should resist the urge and realize that a lot of good things happened with Ohio State sports this season. Thus, my last hive post of the year will set out to give everyone fond memories of 2011 to take into the New Year; consider this your late Christmas gift and no, you do not get a gift receipt so that you can exchange it.
It may be hard to find positive memories of the football team this season but there are some. The first one for me is the thrilling win against Wisconsin under the lights in Ohio Stadium. Night games in the Shoe are always special and this one was a classic thriller that was won thanks to some late game heroics by the men in scarlet and gray, who could ask for more from a game. That game, and several others, also showed that the future of Ohio State football is bright as Braxton Miller is quickly developing into a star who should hopefully make us all soon forget about his predecessor. More hope for the future came with the hiring of Urban Meyer, promising that at least the on-field struggles of 2011 should soon be a thing of the past.
An important part of OSU football gamedays, the Ohio State University Marching Band, had several important moments this season. The first moment was a sad one as longtime director Dr. Jon Woods announced his retirement at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. While we will all miss Dr. Woods, we all will fondly remember the entertainment that the band has given us under his direction and how he helped to make TBDBITL into the world renowned group that it is today. You can help show Dr. Woods just how much he and the band have meant to Buckeye fans by emailing your favorite memory of the band, or just well wishes, to firstname.lastname@example.org, these will be presented to Dr. Woods at the end of the year.
TBDBITL had another important moment this season as it celebrated the 75th anniversary of Script Ohio during the Wisconsin game. Four members of the first Script Ohio, performed in 1936, were back for the event and got to dot-the-’i’.
Fond memories of Ohio State basketball are easier to come by. The Ohio State men’s basketball team won both the regular season and tournament Big Ten titles. While the Buckeyes suffered an early defeat in the NCAA tournament, Buckeye fans were thrilled by the decision of Jared Sullinger to return to school instead of heading for the NBA. The return of Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and several other key members of last year’s team plus the addition of another highly ranked recruiting class earned the Buckeyes a top 5 ranking to start the 2011-2012 season. Coach Thad Matta has quickly built this team into a winner and a national championship is not far off.
After a dissapointing start to the season and Big Ten play, the Ohio State women’s basketball team turned it on late and finished regular season on a wining streak that carried them to their third straight Big Ten Tournament title and a spot in the Sweet 16 where they lost an exciting game to Tennessee. Along the way center Jantel Lavender became the first man or woman in major conference basketball history to be named conference player of the year all four years; Lavender also became the leading scorer in OSU women’s basketball history (2nd in Big Ten history) and the leading rebounder in Big Ten history. Despite concerns about the loss of Lavender to graduation, this year’s women’s basketball team has shown they are out to shock the world as they went undefeated during the non-conference portion of their schedule and are off to the best start in program history.
Several other Buckeye teams had great success in 2011. The men’s tennis team advanced to the second Final Four in program history, where they fell to eventual champion Virginia. The school would not be denied a national title though as the men’s volleyball team defeat UC Santa Barbara to win the program’s first ever National Championship!
Top 10 finishes were put in by several other OSU teams, including: men’s golf (5th), women’s rowing (10th), women’s soccer (3rd), women’s field hockey (3rd), fencing (5th), men’s gymnastics (7th), men’s soccer (9th), and women’s volleyball (9th). These great performances helped Ohio State to finish 2nd in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup, the highest finish ever by the university.
The great job done by all these teams over the past year should give Buckeye fans lots of happy memories for years to come, showing that 2011 was not such a bad year after all.