Of the past two Ohio State games, I have watched one from the familiar seats of Ohio Stadium and the other from a busy restaurant in New York City. You would think the spirit of the fans would change from being on campus to being out of state, but it didn't.
October 18 was Homecoming and I went to skull session with a group of friends before the game. St. John was packed with people ready to support the band, the players in their suits and ties, and Coach Meyer. As the music soared and the players marched through the energy level climbed, priming the whole arena to cheer on the Buckeyes as they took on Rutgers.
After the Skull Session, we were hanging out with friends before heading into the stadium. We had started into our food and drinks and a funny conversation that no one can remember now, and a lady from the closest tailgate walked up to us.
"Hi guys. We have a ton of food and we don't want to pack any of it up to take home, you are welcome to come join us! Please come eat!"
We all looked at her and each other and without hesitating said, "thanks! We'll be right over!"
We carried our coolers over and added some of our homemade goods to their tables. The group we joined hailed from California, North Carolina, upstate New York, and Columbus. All brought together by the Buckeyes.
Last weekend I was visiting my brother in New York City and we decided to watch the OSU vs. PSU game at a Buckeye bar called Manny's on Second. Whether there is an alumni chapter in New York City that officially dubbed this watering hole the meeting place for games, or if it grew into a spot for OSU fans organically, I am not quite sure.
I am sure though of the sea of scarlet and enthusiasm that filtered into the bar as kickoff drew near. We again found ourselves with a group of people from the east coast to the west coast and places in between. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, California, and Ohio were all represented at our table. Fans ranged from new grads to retirees. And all were brought together by the Buckeyes.
Part of what makes OSU fans who they are is their unwavering passion for the team and the sport, but also for each other. Buckeye Nation does not segregate by hometown, age, or occupation. If you have a jersey on and are rooting for the Buckeyes, you are a part of it - a breed of people who open their hearts to Ohio State and open their arms to each other.
Today I will be watching the Bucks capture the Illibuck from the comfort of my living room, but I will do so knowing that Buckeye fans everywhere will be pulling up chairs and opening up coolers for others cut from the same cloth of scarlet and gray.