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Column: A love/hate relationship with The Game

Can someone just tell me when it’s over?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Ohio State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You know how they say that journaling helps with stress and anxiety? Well, that’s what I’m doing. Because, I don’t know about you, but every single year in the days leading up to The Game, I am a nervous wreck. I literally lay awake at night thinking thoughts that go something like:

  • “What if the Buckeyes really aren’t as good as we think?”
  • “M*ch*g*n wants it more this year, I know it.”
  • “What if Ohio State tries a new game plan and it backfires?”
  • “What if Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins, Chase Young, and Chris Olave all collectively get injured in the first quarter?”

Do you now see why I need help? I’m sure many of you share my love/hate relationship with rivalry week. Before and during the game... I hate it. We could be up by 40 points and I would still not be convinced until the clock strikes 00:00. And even then I’m like, “Now they’re going to be SUPER motivated to beat us next year!”

But after that, the unexplainable feeling of beating TTUN hits me. I scroll through the chaos that is Michigan Twitter, reading all of the furious and heartbroken tweets. People running Jim Harbaugh out of town, cursing the Buckeyes, announcing that they’re done with the Wolverines because they can’t do this another year. It’s my happy place. It is truly the best feeling in the world, Michigan fans. I’m sorry that you haven’t felt it in 2,926 days.

The thing is, I am 25-years-old. I have grown up watching Ohio State beat TTUN (thank you, Jim Tressel). Heck, I’ve grown up watching the Ohio State Buckeyes win almost all of their games in general. I remember every last second of Ohio State’s loss to the Florida Gators in the 2007 BCS National Championship.

I was 12 years old, crying my eyes out and screaming, “I hate you, Urban Meyer!” My mom had to calm me down by saying, “I’ve been through the John Cooper era! You don’t know pain!”

What I was really worried about, though, was whether or not people would still be fans of Ohio State even though they lost. Talk about a spoiled football fan. Since then, I have (somewhat) learned how to deal with losses. For example, when Ohio State lost to Penn State in 2016, I hid in the bathroom stall of Beaver Stadium until all the Penn State fans left. And when OSU lost to Oklahoma in 2017, I didn’t even cry! As for Iowa and Purdue, I’m pretty sure those were mirages. Know what I mean, Chase Winovich?

None of that matters, though. Because this is That. Team. Up. North. I am addicted to being victorious over those guys. That feeling of dominance only comes once a year and if I am denied it, can life even go on!?

Many have tried to calm me down by downplaying the significance of the game. The only point that really works is the fact that — and this only applies to this season — Ohio State could, and probably will, make it to the College Football Playoff even if they lose to M*ch*g*n (assuming that they win the Big Ten title... but hey, one at a time. I’ll journal about that one next week).

Still, we could win the National Championship and a loss to that stupid team up north would haunt me all year.

“It’s just a game,” “It’s just sports,” “They have to win sometimes — that’s what makes it a rivalry!”

No. It’s THE game. It’s the greatest rivalry in all of sports. And they DON’T have to win.

It’s a way of life. I can’t wait for it to get here and I can’t wait for it to be over.