Let’s get this over with quickly: we’re all gonna die. It’s not a pleasant thing to dwell on, but it’s going to happen eventually. Everyday you wake up, you break your personal record of how many days you’ve been alive. But even that record isn’t meant to be broken forever. So while we’re still breathing, let’s talk about what kind of things we’d like to experience as a fan of the Ohio State University.
I’ll start by sharing mine. This list is my personal Bucket List for what I’d like to experience as a Buckeye fan. Some of these things have already been accomplished, so they’ve been crossed off the list. But they’re here for completeness sake. Here is what I want to see and do in the next 40+ years I have left on this planet.
You’ll notice the absence of meeting a current (or former) Buckeye on my list. I’m not sure why that is. There are plenty of guys that played for the Buckeyes that I would love to meet in person (a certain biceped gentleman comes to mind, as well as a particularly righteous stiff arm) but I don’t know what the outcome of that meeting is. What would I say? How would I react? Would I go full-Troy Barnes-meeting-Levar Burton? Or would there be a lot of uncomfortable silences and staring at the ground? How inappropriate would it be to ask Vernon to feel his biceps? This is uncharted territory here, people. To avoid such unpleasantries, I’m not going to include “Meeting So-and-so” on my list.
So here are some of the things on my Buckeye Bucket List:
Witness Michigan get WHOOPED in the ‘Shoe: I’ve already done this and it was AMAZING. It was a couple weeks after the ill-fated loss to Michigan State, but the 1998 OSU/UM match-up will forever live in my memory banks as the time I witnessed a more talented, better in every facet of the game Ohio State team dismantle Michigan instead of inexplicably crap the bed and lose to a worse team. This victory solidified an already die-hard mania within my soul. Sacrifice, pain and ecstasy were all emotions I experienced. For reference sake, the week leading up to this game, I was in a TREMENDOUS amount of pain. I could barely walk, but I made the trek from my apartment in Grandview to the Horseshoe, screamed my guts out for three hours and sat for another hour after the game, basking in the joy of beating Michigan (also, I really didn’t want to walk home). A week later I was in the emergency room, prepping for emergency surgery on my backside. But nothing, not even the most painful abscess in the history of abscesses, could keep me away from witnessing this game. Tailgate for the Michigan Game: These two probably could have been grouped together, because I tailgated at the Michigan Game in the same year. I had never really tailgated before this season. 1998 was the first season my wife and I got season tickets but we lived within walking distance, so we never had a reason to tailgate. But for the Michigan game we were invited to tailgate with my wife’s boss and it was amazing. I have never been around a more raucous, insane group of people this energized at 8 o’clock in the morning. Even through the haze of pain, I was able to enjoy every minute of that beautiful Saturday in November. Graduate from The Ohio State University: I wanted to do this item on my list so bad, I did it twice. Once, in 2000 with my Bachelors in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and again in 2003 with my Masters in Electrical Engineering. Even though we weren’t able to make it to many games in 2002, being on campus during that magical season was amazing. My six-plus years on campus were some of the greatest times of my life. Ones I will cherish, and even if I’m never able to accomplish any of these other goals, I will feel like my life as a Buckeye is complete.
Tour the Woody Hayes Athletic Center: This is also probably within the every-day Joe’s grasp. I’ve never really looked in to what I need to do to tour the WHAC, but it’s something that I hope to be able to do one day. To see the trophies, to see where the magic happens, to maybe glimpse a current or former Buckeye and shake their hand and thank them for their dedication and for the joy they provide, it would be awesome.
Own an Official (preferably autographed) Jersey: I’m not a huge memorabilia guy, but I have collected baseball and football cards since I was a wee lad. I’m also not a jersey-wearer. I prefer t-shirts as my game-day attire. But I’d love to find an autographed jersey that I could hang on the wall of my home office (or in my man cave, whenever I get one of those), next to my collection of SP Authentic autographed cards of various Buckeyes. It would make a perfect centerpiece to my Buckeye card collection and more importantly, would make Jeremiah insanely jealous.
Have Field Passes for a game: This, of course, was why I started this blog (not really, but sort of). I have been on the field in the Horseshoe before, but never during a game. It doesn’t even have to be the Michigan game. But there are certain body parts I am willing to part with if it meant an opportunity to be on the field when the band is playing, the stadium is rocking and the team comes running on to the field. My wife and I joke all the time about how we feel the Holy Spirit in the stadium as the band plays “Carmen Ohio”. I can only imagine that feeling amplified to the nth degree as you’re standing on the field. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
Go to the Rose Bowl: I want to go to a bowl game that the Buckeyes are playing in. But if I’m being picky, I don’t want to go to any old bowl game. I had a chance to go to this year’s Orange Bowl but passed. Not because I didn’t want to go. I would have loved to have gone to Florida and cheered on Ohio State. But I want my first experience to be special, and to be pure. I want to attend the Granddaddy of them all, I want to see the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. And if I’m having my way, I want it to be against a traditional Rose Bowl opponent, like USC or Stanford. Good, old-fashioned Big Ten/Pac Ten matchups.
Go to an OSU NCAA Tournament Game: This is another experience that should be within my grasp. Tournament games are being played within a three-hour drive every year, and there’s always a good chance that Ohio State will be playing in one of those arenas. I want to see a group of Buckeye Ballers I’ve watched and rooted for all year and support them in their tournament run. Of course, I’d also love to be watching them in a game that is a little more meaningful…
Attend a Final Four that includes the Buckeyes: If you’re new around these parts, you might not have known, but I actually had a chance to go to the 2011 Final Four in Houston if the Buckeyes had made it, courtesy of Buick. If I could have crossed this particular item off my Bucket List, I think I could have been happy not crossing anything else off the list. This would have been enough.
Witness a Football Championship Firsthand: This, of course, is Mecca. This is the dream of millions of fans and has only been experienced by thousands. Watching the 2002 National Championship with co-bloggers Jeremiah and Trevor will be a lifelong memory that I will cherish and never forget. Being able to see it in person? I’m pretty sure death would hold no pallor over that occasion.
I’d like to add that including my best friends in any of these Bucket List items would be great, but what would make it perfect would be able to experience one of these with my Dad. It was his love for the Buckeyes that made me the fan I was. I distinctly remember being at a family friend’s house watching Ohio State dismantle BYU in the 1982 Holiday Bowl. I don’t remember who played for either team (it was actually a Steve Young-led BYU team). I don’t even remember the final score (Ohio State rolled BYU, 47-17). What I do remember was everyone rooting for BYU except my dad. There, in that living room, as half a dozen grown men cheered on the Cougars, my dad was there, loving every minute of Ohio State crushing BYU, hooting and hollering after every score. I was caught up in it and I couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t born in Ohio, but I was born a Buckeye on that fateful December day.
So that’s my bucket list. It’s pretty all-inclusive. Heck, I’ve already started working on it. But I’d love to hear what’s on your Buckeye Bucket List. What’s the one thing you’d like to see? To witness? To be a part of? Or who you’d love to meet, if that’s your cup of tea?