“It’s another holiday season here in Columbus,” The radio says on my way home from work, “Meaning we’re all visiting Wild Lights at the zoo, prepping for holiday meals, and mentally preparing ourselves for the Buckeyes’ next football game.”
I’m in the car on my way home from where I work in Worthington. The implication that the College Football Playoffs are so run of the mill that they’re labeled as just another part of the holiday season, along with the idea that many Columbus residents are incorporating it into their routine, puts a smile on my face.
The community that builds up around the football team is not a new concept to me. I grew up in Westerville, a suburb twenty minutes north of campus, and I’ve been a Buckeye since long before I applied and was accepted. Supporting Ohio State football has always been a natural way of life; for example, the store I work at is slow on Saturdays because everyone is watching the game, my sister has a patented game day Buffalo Chicken dip, and the most surefire way to make a new friend is to bring up this year’s season. However, this holiday season is the first time I get to experience this kind of culture as more of an insider rather than a person born in close proximity to a well-functioning football team.
Me flirting: so….uh….how about them Buckeyes…. (1)
For example, while Christmas shopping a few Sundays ago at the Polaris mall, it was a little bit hilarious to see the concentrated group of Columbus residents who are avid Dallas Cowboys fans. Funnily enough, they were all wearing the same jersey. Not that I’m judging—at Thanksgiving dessert the Cowboys’ game was on, and most of us barely paid attention to anyone other than Zeke.
Honestly, same. (2)
Even one of my sisters, who brings up the fact that I “drank the Kool-Aid” for Ohio State at any chance she can, told me today that I couldn’t borrow her Beat Michigan long-sleeve t-shirt because it was hers, and she needs some kind of proof that she’s still a Buckeye despite going to a college farther away.
This is the same type of mentality that connects strangers in the stands of the student section; however, it stretches past Lane Avenue and High Street. Football is, of course, just a game, and the motivations I had for applying to Ohio State were far from the caliber of the school’s sports team, but coming home for winter break has given me a nice reminder of how rich the Ohio State community is. For a university that brags about its half a million alumni worldwide, it’s difficult to see the relevance and importance of that statistic until the camera pans to a stadium packed 100,000 strong. And, at an even smaller scale, when standing behind a guy at the Wal-Mart check-out who is wearing a Block O on every piece of visible clothing, it’s a nice reminder that we’re all a little
nutty about our favorite sports team, at the very least.