Note: The author has peppered this article with personal experience. His views may not reflect yours, and are his own. They do not necessarily represent Land-Grant Holy Land's.
As the summer heat roasts fresh blacktop and as the ennui of Indians and Reds baseball lulls football-loving Columbus residents to sleep, we dream of Saturdays in the fall. The late August and early September noon games against MAC cupcakes melt into visions of temperate early-season Big Ten conference matchups, and the dream sequence ends with jumping up and down to keep warm during a frigid November day game against Penn State or That Team Up North. Blue Jackets? Meh, hockey is headed for another lockout and the team is about to trade its best player. Columbus Crew? Okay, the atmosphere is fun, but it's not quite enough. Buckeye football is ever-present. It is the way we all connect. It is a shared passion among young and old. It is a tradition handed down through family tales and memories.
Buckeye football is the alpha and omega, the yin and yang. It is waking up and looking out one's bathroom skylight to a view of a looming Horseshoe. Buckeye football is the new blood of Urban Meyer with the looming specter of Tressel and Hayes, great coaches tainted by one moment of weakness. It is a never-ending cycle of hope, despair, jubilant victory, crushing defeat, resignation, and hope again. Buckeye football, for some, is not everything. It is the only thing, the one beacon of hope in a difficult existence. Buckeye football was this author's lifeline from a personal battle with depression and anxiety. It is also the author sneaking down, way past his bedtime, to watch Cie Grant harass Ken Dorsey into heaving a game-ending incompletion. It is then that the 13-year-old author prostrates himself on the basement floor in silent euphoria.
Buckeye football is the shocked glee and ecstasy of 2002's surprise championship against one of the best teams ever assembled. Conversely, it is the glum disappointment of 2003. It is the grim death march of 2011. It is the brief joy, and the harsh reality, of 2007 and 2008's championship defeats. Buckeye football is the joy of shutting Mike Hart up for four consecutive years. It is also the helplessness of watching Tim Biakabutuka (retch) shred the prideful Buckeye defense in the game of his career against your #1 team. It is the heartbreak of Michigan State beating the best Buckeye team in the John Cooper era. It is "HOLY BUCKEYE!" It is the expectation of excellence, every single year. It is the letdown and the sharp, rollercoaster drop in the pit of every fan's stomach with every loss and every year that those expectations are not met. It is first denial, then agony, then acceptance of defeat. Buckeye football is also recovery and knowing that there will be a next year, bowl game or not. We argue over every watch list, every position on the depth chart from starting quarterback to backup long snapper.
Buckeye football is waking up at 8:00 AM on Saturdays and throwing on your jersey or scarlet-and-gray hoodie in Columbus, Ohio. It is staying up until 4:00 AM in Germany to watch one's beloved Silver Bullets play an evening game back home. It is standing sideways, craning your neck and sitting on the laps of your neighbors, friends and complete strangers in Block O. (There is only one Block O, and it is located in the South Stands underneath the giant scoreboard.) It is cheering from near and rejoicing from afar. It is the unduplicated and unmistakable jet-engine revving of the crowd on the opening kickoff, and the animalistic "OOOH" escaping the home fans' lungs upon the first good hit. We scream from the top of our lungs for Joe Bauserman to throw an accurate pass, for the referees to pocket their whistles on that ridiculous holding call or blow them on that blatant pass-interference call. We celebrate deep into the night with a win, and drown sorrows deep into the night with a loss. We live and die with Buckeye football.
Buckeye football is forty-four days away. We are all ready.