Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: As Ohio State prepares to play UCLA, why is Central Ohio better than Southern California?
Editor’s Note: The Ohio State men’s basketball team takes on UCLA on Saturday, Dec. 16 in the CBS Sports Classic.
Jami’s Take: Actual Seasons
Seasons. Central Ohio has seasons.
As someone who lived in Columbus for four years and who has, over the course of my life, spent 5 total years in sunny Southern California (where I am currently writing this piece), I can tell you firsthand that Southern California’s publicist has been working overtime to make everyone believe that perpetual sunshine is good for you.
The Palm Tree People want you to think they love the fact that it’s 75 degrees and sunny all day every day. No one is built for this. It’s soul-crushing. You’re supposed to have to work for your summer weather by suffering through snow-shoveling and frigid temps and icy sidewalks and defrosting your car before you can drive it.
Growing up in the Midwest, we’re taught not to waste sunny days because they don’t come around all that often. On snowy or rainy days, you feel comfortable with the choice to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book, movie, or even some trash reality TV because the alternative (going outside) is not an option.
But here in Los Angeles, every day is sunny, and the days of lying prostrate on the couch with baking shows on an endless loop come with a side of guilt. You’ve wasted a sunny day. Even though they are endless. You’ll have another one tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and you can go to the beach in January if you want. Too much of a good thing, you know?
To some, it’s going to sound like I’m being facetious. I’m not joking. My soul gets crushed a little bit waking up every single day to sunshine. I often put rainstorm videos on my YouTube TV just to feel something. I have a blizzard video playing right now, in fact.
We’re meant to have seasons. They help us mark the passage of time. They help us appreciate the summers. They give us a reason to slow down and hibernate. They add some variety to our wardrobe!
They’re so pivotal to the human experience that they factor into the song “Carmen Ohio” for pete’s sake! The years keep rolling in Southern California, but it’s an exaggeration to say the seasons are passing in the land of endless summer. But seasons are meant to ground us, to mark milestones, to add a sensory element to everything we do. Every Central Ohio experience is tied to the season—fall is for football, for boots and sweaters, for the newness of a fresh school year. Winter allows us to settle in, to get cozy. Spring and summer bring hope and usher in the excitement of all that is to come.
There was a feeling I’d get in Columbus on the first day of spring weather after a long winter. I’d leave my winter coat at home for the first time in months, opting for a light sweater or layers instead. And as I’d walk to class, I’d think, “Hmm, maybe I’ll take the long way home today and go past Mirror Lake while the weather is nice!” I’d cross the Oval, noticing that everyone was smiling, laughing, maybe kicking a soccer ball or reading a book.
Some professors even taught their classes outside.
And then there would be a very specific moment when the sun would come through the trees and hit my face just right, warm, reminding me that the winter wouldn’t last forever. Hope would creep in. The heaviness of whatever was happening in my life at that time wouldn’t feel so scary. Seasons remind us that everything has its time and place. Everything is temporary.
Out here in Southern California, we don’t have those natural reminders. We have to manufacture them. Scary things feel like they’ll last forever.
But in Central Ohio, we know it to be true that the hard times pass, and the good people, things, and memories remain a constant.
The seasons pass, the years will roll. Time and change will surely show…
Southern California could never.
Matt’s Take: Columbus Style Pizza
I know that I am likely showing my bias here, but there is no style of pizza better than Columbus Style. I love a good, greasy New York slice, and I can even get down with Chicago deep dish, but having an entire Columbus-style pizza to devour is a sign that God is real, and his name is Woody Hayes.
From the delectably thin, square-cut crust to the satisfyingly sweet sauce to the robust, round-on-the-edges pepperoni, there is just nothing like Columbus pizza anywhere in the world. I know that the St. Louis version of pizza is vaguely similar bastardization of Columbus’ zenith of the pizza hierarchy, but the weird combinations of cheeses makes it a less appetizing pie.
Now, I know that Southern California has some great restaurants, like Spago, Bestia, Nobu, but when it comes to pizza, Angelinos are sorely missing out. To quote Jami when we were texting about the topic for this article, she said, “What they call pizza here is .”
And when you think about Columbus pizza, you have so many different options that stay true to the origins of the style, but have a taste that is uniquely their own. There is the universally accepted Donatos that has become the standard-bearer for a kind of corporate version of Columbus pizza. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Donatos, but having gone from being a family-owned business to being purchased by McDonald’s and back again, there is a certain level of pre-packagedness that comes with a Donatos’ pie... that is, unless, you are getting it anywhere outside of Ohio.
I live in Florida, and there is a Donatos about 45 minutes from my house, and while it still tastes like Donatos, it is only 95% as good as the original; something is missing. From a textural level, the crust is always just slightly too think, but it is more than that. The major issue, in my opinion, is just that the specialness of the pizza is no longer there; something has been lost in the translation from the volatile weather of the Midwest to the year-round summers in the South.
I’ve also had Donatos in Las Vegas, one of the many cities across the country where you can get it as an option at Red Robin restaurants, along with great burgers, shakes, and bottomless fries. Again, still good, but never the same. Donatos is the herald of Columbus style pizza. It is the one that goes out and spreads the word — like John the Baptist or the Silver Surfer — but there is something bigger and better still to come.
Growing up in a Donatos devoted household, the pizza alternative for us was generally Massey’s. You can always tell a Massey’s pizza on sight by the perfectly concavely curled pepperoni slices and the much longer and thinner slices. Massey’s dials up the spices and punch of the pepperoni enough to where you can still feel the flavors in your mouth after you’ve eaten it. I haven’t had Massey’s in well over a decade at this point, and my tastebuds still know exactly what it tastes like — they are also watering as I type this out.
Then of course there is campus institution Tommy’s Pizza. Growing up, this was a rare treat for us, just because of our proximity in Reynoldsburg and Pickerington to one of their stores. But, my dad grew up a block away from the old Hamilton Road location, so Tommy’s still holds a significant place in his heart; similar to how the gone, but not forgotten, Catfish Biff’s does for me.
I know that everyone thinks that their hometown pizza is the best, but they are wrong; even if they are from New York City. While I do think that a New York slice at its best can compete with any food in the known universe, there is just too much variety in the quality of NY pizza. As someone who visits New York for work every six weeks or so, I have had my fair share of pizza in the city, and some of it is great, while some of it is merely serviceable. The same cannot be said for Columbus style pizza. Columbus pizza, by definition, requires high quality ingredients that make it impossible not to be delicious.
So take that, you tofu-eating, pescitarian, faux-foodie hacks from L.A., you’ve got nothing on Columbus’ signature fine dining specialty.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Matt: Columbus Style Pizza