There are no mixed emotions regarding The Ohio State Buckeyes. You either love ’em or you hate ’em. Having called Columbus home my entire life, I can emphatically say that I love ’em.
Tradition is a huge part of Ohio State football. That tradition starts with Ohio Stadium, the home of the Buckeyes affectionately referred to as “The Horseshoe”. Opened in 1922, the ‘Shoe has been the site where Buckeye players, coaches, and fans have passed down those traditions to the following generation.
The longest running tradition is the marching band. Known as “The Pride of the Buckeyes” or T.B.D.B.I.T.L (The Best Damn Band In The Land), the band brings everyone to their feet as they make their historic ramp entrance.
The impeccable marching formation and drum beats inform the crowd that the show is about to begin. Once the band is in formation, the drum major sprints to the front, executes the famous back-bend and leads the way down the field to the tune of the “Buckeye Battle Cry”.
The incomparable Script Ohio is just as riveting as the band’s entrance. The honor of “dotting the i” by a sousaphone player is known throughout the world.
The band is not the only way the crowd gets fired up. The “Block O” student section has been organizing cheers and signs since 1938. My mother was a proud member of this organization during her days at Ohio State.
The southeast tower of the ‘Shoe is home to the Victory Bell. After each Ohio State victory, members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity ring the Victory Bell for 15 minutes. The bell, which was first rung on October 2, 1954, can be heard up to five miles away.
Since 1934, a Buckeye tree has been planted honoring each Ohio State All-American. “Buckeye Grove” is located near the southwest corner of the stadium.
As if the Michigan game itself didn’t create enough emotion, each year the team runs through the “Tunnel of Pride” as they make their way onto the field to meet their arch-rival. All former Buckeyes attending the game form a tunnel on the field for the current team to run through.
One of the newest traditions involves one of the oldest. After a loss to Michigan in 1902, team member Fred Cornell penned “Carmen Ohio”, which was published in 1906 and later became the school’s alma mater. In 2001, players, coaches, and cheerleaders gather at the south end zone to sing Carmen Ohio as the band plays along.
You never forget the first time you set foot in the ‘Shoe. I remember it like it was yesterday. I have been fortunate enough to experience all of the traditions and see some unbelievable moments at Ohio Stadium.
However, my most cherished moment was taking my kids for the first time. Seeing their eyes light up at the enormity of the event was priceless. I hope to relive the experience with my kids many times and, maybe someday, take a grandchild to the ‘Shoe.