From a young age native Ohioians are taught to LOVE the Buckeyes. At the age of three I relished the power of being able to yell O-H- in public and know that people would yell back I-O no matter where we were. Not only that but they would talk about how cute I was and how great my parents were for teaching me early what it was to "be a Buckeye." I knew swears were wrong but it was so fun being allowed to sing "we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, the whole state of Michigan...." from a young age as well. Now my little confused mind didn't quite understand this song since we had cousins in Michigan, we loved shopping in Frankenmuth, and the deer park was pretty fun too, but hey it was swears and I wasn't getting yelled at IT WAS AWESOME! We even have our own special lyrics we insert into the Hang On Sloopy song. No swears but more yelling! There is so much fun involved with being a Buckeye!
We have heard all the jokes. We knew it was okay to have some friends who were Michigan fans because people move here from out of state and just haven't learned yet. Family who were Wolverine fans though - well, lets just say they were the ones who must have been dropped on their heads alot as kids. They were the ones no one claimed. The dirty family secret. Most Ohioans not going to the game or tailgating parties also know to stay away from downtown Columbus during Michigan gameday because of the traffic and/or the rioting that might ensue from the unruly Michigan fans upset at the buttwhipping that they have taken.
Watching script Ohio performed by the marching band on television was amazing. It is part of the reason I joined band as soon as I was old enough. Junior high is when they started teaching us to play the OSU fight song and Buckeye Battle Cry. In highschool a new teacher fresh out of college tried to teach us the Michigan cheer for some balance BUT so many angry parents wrote letters and called the school you would think he had handed out pornography or something. It was almost like teen rebellion. It felt so dirty. The Buckeye Battle Cry was so complex and interesting a piece of music too and the Michigan Cheer was so simple comparatively....but maybe I am just being a snob because I was raised in this cult of Ohio State Buckeye Fans! The entire state is insane but fun! If you move here and want to fit in just wear red and gray and when you see others in Ohio State gear from time to time call out "O-H-" or if you hear someone else yell it respond with "I-O." After a while it becomes a conditioned response and will come automatically. In fact, no one had posted comments on my last two facebook posts so this morning (OSU/MICHIGAN gameday) I posted O-H- as my status. In less than 10 minutes someone had responded with the I-O part. It was wonderful! We are a crazy community linked together by our love of ..... what football? The cheers? The colors? Getting to swear when we are little? Living in a particular state? Not sure I understand it completely but I sure do like it! I am certainly not breaking tradition! My kids have all the proper clothes and conditioned responses expected of them too.
Plus, the football games themselves were pretty exciting. We had to behave and be orderly but when a game was on if the Buckeyes got a touchdown we could run around screaming and making all the noise we wanted - it was great! Not only that but our parents were doing it with us!! Wow, it was great and so much FUN! The food during the games was fantastic too - pizza, nachos, 7-layer dip, chips, it seemed an endless supply of the stuff we were always warned not to eat too much of! What heaven. Is it any wonder we grew up to be Buckeye football fans?
One of the local radio stations out of Columbus plays some great parody songs that now have the coach's name forever emblazoned on my brain. GO COACH TRESSEL - bring us to victory over Michigan today! Almost like a prayer. Every Ohioan knows that the Michigan game is like a statewide holiday. Instead of eating pork and kraut for luck for another year, or the groundhog not seeing it's shadow for spring to be on the way WE KNOW that OSU has to beat Michigan for all to be right in our world. I may not watch every single game but I do follow the scores. I may not watch every single game BUT TODAY is the holiday. TODAY at NOON my tv, as that of most native Ohioans born and raised as I have been, will be tuned in anxiously awaiting the turnout of game. GO BUCKEYES!