When I was five years old, back in good ‘ole 1988, I remember vividly my Saturdays in fall. I was dressed in scarlet and gray, complete with buckeye necklace. My parents were perched, typically on the edge their chair, watching and rooting on John Cooper and The Ohio State Buckeyes. My Saturdays have always remained the same since. With great fervor I dress in my best OSU gear, buckeye necklaces, earrings, hair scrunchie, face tattoos, etc. The whole get up is  a bit much if you ask anyone else, but to a buckeye, its game day gear.

I was born and raised a buckeye, and though I did not attend The Ohio State University, I still bleed scarlet and gray. If you ask many non-buckeye fans, they will tell you that the faithful fans are crazy. I have heard commentary after commentary about the ravenous buckeye fans and their unrelenting pride. Though people do not get it, if they search, they may find the answer to the buckeye fan’s eccentricity.

Following World War I, Ohio State Football had grown in popularity. The games were held in a field on campus and the university wanted to construct a stadium to hold the fans during the game. Due to the financial hardships of the time, the university turned to the public. In 1919, Ohioans pledged just shy of 1 million dollars (with 120k coming from patrons out of state) to have their stadium built. The people of Columbus and the campus community alone raised over 600k. The people of Columbus PAID into their state college’s football program. (http://football.ballparks.com/NCAA/Big10/OhioState/index.htm) When I think back at my childhood, and hearing the story of how OSU came to be, it is quite clear that the people of Columbus paid into this program. Their ownership was passed down, generation after generation, and the pride of The Ohio State Buckeyes grew and grew. Central Ohioans are crazy about Ohio State football, a tradition that is deep-rooted through familial linkages, in addition to the consideration of the City of Columbus and their pro-sports programs.

If you live in Columbus, what pro-teams do you root for? When it comes to professional football, we are stuck with slim  pickin’s. Go south and you have the Cincinnati Bengals. A team that has definitely improved over the years, but has no super bowl victories to its name. The Bengals went twice in 1981 and 1988 and lost. Go north and you have the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have become somewhat of a joke over the years, boasting record losing seasons. They have yet to make a super bowl appearance. When you are left with the two choices, Buckeye Football becomes your number one priority in sports. Why turn anywhere else?

When I was 19 years old, in 2002, I got my first opportunity to see a game at The ‘Shoe. Words cannot adequately express the emotions I felt walking from the ramp into the view of the field. I clutched onto my mother, felt weak in the knees and nearly passed out. My breath had been stolen by the sight before me. Perhaps it was because I grew up with the movie “Rudy” that this reaction took place, but I will always remember my first game. It is listed as one of the single greatest events in my life and also solidified my love for the Buckeyes. What I had been taught, as child, about the roots of the stadium and the football team, combined with the exhilaration of  being at a game  had forever changed who I am.

I am an Ohioan. I am a Buckeye.

I bleed scarlet and gray.