17 November 2006 by Published in: General musings 14 comments

I live in Columbus, Ohio.  I am, however, a native Pennsylvanian. I grew up rooting for Penn State.  I genuinely could not care less about Ohio State and its football program.

However, here in Columbus, if one does not bow and scrape at the temple of Woody Hayes, one is looked at suspiciously.  I’m absolutely convinced that OSU football is some strange, bizarre, and fatal disease for which there is no cure.  It causes otherwise normal, rational people to turn into drooling, wild-eyed, raving lunatics.  It really is unbelievable.

There’s actually some bozo in this town who makes a living doing a Woody Hayes impression.  Never mind that Woody’s been dead for something like 25 years, and never mind that he disgraced himself at the end of his career.  This guy gets on the radio every week and makes personal appearances, and just jibbers on and on, sounding like a brain damaged moron, and people actually PAY him for this….I just don’t get it. 

Tomorrow is the OSU vs. Michigan game.  Even under the worst of circumstances, it’s an obsession and the focus of an entire city’s existence for a week or so every year.  This year, however, with both teams undefeated and ranked one and two, you can only imagine what it’s like.  One of the local anchors put it quite well indeed last Sunday morning when she said (while wearing scarlet and gray), “If you are the sort of person who gets sick of Ohio State football, you’re in the wrong place this week.” 

It’s been the lead story on the local news every broadcast for a week.  It’s been on the front page of the local rag every day this week.  Enough, already!!!!  Everywhere you go, people greet each other by saying things like “Go Bucks!” or “OH”, to which the appropriate response is “IO”.  It’s kind of like some secret fraternity handshake thing, except it’s not a secret.  And when you genuinely couldn’t give a damn, like me, people look at you funny. Our office manager is decked out in OSU regalia today.  I’m not.  I’m sure it’s going to engender some strange looks today to see someone NOT wearing scarlet and gray, but I don’t care.  I don’t own a single OSU item, and I intend to keep it that way.

The clincher happened this morning.  The morning radio show that I have listened to for years was having some Bacchanalian OSU fest, and when I got in the car, I was greeted by nothing but screams “OH” by the DJ’s and “IO” by the drunken crowd.  I finally couldn’t take it anymore and changed the station to Bob and Tom so I just wouldn’t have to listen to it anymore… 

All I can say is that I can’t stand it anymore…..this damned game can’t be over soon enough….

And God forbid that they lose….

Scridb filter


  1. MarylandReb
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 2:37 pm

    You must admit though that Penn State fans are pretty fanatical as well! LOL Same here with the NFL. Maryland counties near DC root for the Redskins and the rest of the state roots for the Ravens. DON’T ever attend a game at Ravens’ stadiums wearing Redskin’s regalia.

  2. Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Go Michigan!!!!

  3. Steve
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 3:37 pm

    After all the months of political campaign ads and now the BIG game, trials of biblical proportions just don’t mean the same, eh?

  4. Scott Smart
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 3:44 pm

    With Bo’s passing today, I imagine Michigan will invoke its ghosts as well.

  5. Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 4:31 pm


    That truly was a shame. I will be interested to see what sort of tribute OSU pays to him tomorrow. Schembechler was one of the truly great coaches, and people around here seem to respect him highly, so I have to expect that there will be some sort of a tribute to him before the game. Anything less would be inappropriate, given the role he played in the years of drama leading up to this weekend.


  6. Bill Satterlee
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 5:28 pm


    Your post explains a lot but I still cannot fully understand the bizarre thinking of the Ohio fans. To call some of them lunatics is an insult to demented people in my opinion. Allow me to explain my experience with some of them.

    I too am a native of Pennsylvania. Ten years ago my son, Mike, transferred from our corporate division here in Pa to the Big Bear division in Columbus at their request. Mike told me that he was constantly harassed because of their revulsion to Penn State to the point that it was difficult to implement the program they had recruited him to do.

    Mike became ill after about eight months in Columbus and was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor. As Mike was taken into the operating room he told me that if he didn’t make it to not let the Ohio guys near his casket. I knew he wasn’t joking at a time like that so I took him seriously.

    On the morning of his funeral, these Ohio friends drove four hours to Pennsylvania. When Mike’s brothers met them at the door and informed them of Mike’s request they confessed that they indeed planned to put Buckeyes and Ohio State pennants into his casket.

    To me that is just plain sick! Sorry to rant but I needed to get that off of my chest.

  7. Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 6:07 pm

    I wore my Nebraska national title t-shirt at Gettysburg (the year Penn State also went undefeated) and surprisingly only one person said anything to me. Then again, the town’s full of tourists.

  8. Lanny Thomas Tanton
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 7:30 pm

    Dear Eric,

    I hear you loud and clear.

    Being from Michigan I, naturally, wish them the best and victory. I don’t remember in Michigan the kind of behavior that you describe–but things could have changed in the 20 years I have been gone.

    But if you think Columbus is nuts, come to Austin and see Longhorn fever. Sometime I wonder if there is something deeper going on–like, if Texas beats your college team, then we are superior to you. It gets a little personal.

    When I first moved down here, I heard of a church that, before the evening prayer service, would play the Cowboy game over the sancturary speaker system literally right up until the moment the service began. That is sick.

    Until common sense returns, I am sending you

    Best wishes always,


  9. Paul Taylor
    Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 8:26 pm


    I live in the metro Detroit area which is next door to Ann Arbor. Today’s Detroit paper had an 8-page special section devoted just to THE GAME. Life as we know it will come to a standstill in SE Michigan come 3:00pm tomorrow.

    It is topic numero uno here but I still don’t think it’s as crazed as in Columbus. They’ve actually felt it necessary to warn MI fans NOT to frequent OSU bars or to wear the maze and blue too conspicuously!

    BTW, are you a pro football fan? For some reason I’ve never been able to explain, I’ve always been a hardcore Browns fan, even though I’m not from Ohio. Talk about some crazies, they’ve got ’em in Cleveland on Sunday afternoons in the fall — ESPECIALLY if some poor unfortunate soul is seen wearing black and gold.


  10. Fri 17th Nov 2006 at 9:07 pm


    Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, I am, as I have said here a number of times, a lifelong, die hard Eagles fan. I have a high tolerance for frustration.


  11. Dave Powell
    Sat 18th Nov 2006 at 8:36 am

    I am a distinct curmudgeon on sports. Marx’s credo needs to be updated, it is no longer Religion that is the opiate of the masses…:)

    Do have fun, Eric.

    Dave Powell

  12. Art Bergeron
    Sat 18th Nov 2006 at 10:23 am

    Imagine the pain of a die-hard LSU Tiger fan living in south central Pennsylvania and having to listen to the drivel about Penn State football all the time. I thought Tiger fans were, well, fanatic until I moved here. And I work with several Ohioans who have the mentality you are describing. Sorry, Eric, but this is all made worse by the Philadelphia Eagles fans in the area.

  13. Mike Peters
    Sat 18th Nov 2006 at 11:23 am


    As an alumnus of The Ohio State University, I do apologize for the more fanatic among us.

    I was saddened by the passing of Coach Schembechler, who played for Woody at Miami of Ohio & who coached under him at Ohio State.


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