Most residents of the Midwest, and specifically Columbus, Ohio, are keenly aware of the diverse and ever-progressing seasons. It truly is an ideal place to live for the majority of the year; however, there is a small slice of melancholy on the calendar. Those dates are never quite concrete and certain groups endure the gloom earlier and longer than the rest. It all starts that first morning, as you step outside; the feeling nearly takes your breath away. It’s a brisk, eye-opening realization: football season is over!?!
“Ahhh, nooo, it feels so cold…”
As my hand slightly shakes, I subsequently realize there are four seasons that pass here; Buckeye-football, Buckeye-recruiting, Buckeye-spring ball, and then withdrawal. Now, that sounds fanatical, and it is. Heck, the obsession is almost natural in the Buckeye State; football is practically a birthright in the great State of Ohio. Consider the sociological effect of living in the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a few professional football teams and THE perennial college football powerhouse.
Even those born outside of “The Heart of it All” literally feel Ohioans’ love for the game. Wilson, the world’s only dedicated football factory – as in, the only factory that makes the tangible football for the NFL – is based in Ada, Ohio. And there, they make a mind-spiraling 700,000 footballs a year. That’s a lot of Ohio balls in the hands of the world.
OK, since we’ve identified ourselves as possibly codependent, its time to refocus that energy. Keeping in mind, there’s a how-to manual for any issue ranging from “I just got dumped” to a “zombie-apocalypse guide,” I’m sure we can survive. But how?
Cue the Gloria Gaynor and look no further than the building located just northwest from beloved Ohio Stadium. Across the Olentangy River sits The Jerome Schottenstein Center, home to the basketball Buckeyes.
I know, I know… hoops tipped off in November. So maybe this isn’t a preseason preview as much as it’s a heads up.
While most of us were watching replays of Cardale Jones steamrolling an Alabama safety, coach Thad Matta and the top 25-ranked OSU men’s basketball team compiled 17 hard-fought wins (17-6).
Not to be forgotten, coach Kevin McGuff’s lady Buckeyes racked up 15 Ws (15-8) thanks to the always hot hand of Kelsey Mitchell. She scores in bunches, averaging 25.5 points per game in only her first year at OSU.
Speaking of Buckeye freshman phenoms, D’Angelo Russell is a primetime player. The stat sheet stuffer does it all, averaging a team-high in both points (19.4) and rebounds (5.7). With superior scoring and unmatched passing flair, the All-American guard from Louisville, Kentucky, is as electric as, well, an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run. Don’t believe me? Check out his bounce passes versus Iowa or Northwestern and you will clearly see why all the scouts from the NBA are infatuated with the young Buckeye. The versatile 6-foot-5 lefty (with a wingspan of 6-feet-9-inches) is so highly coveted that he is expected to be a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, with some experts projecting him as high as the second player taken overall. So yeah, you better see him now, before he’s playing for the Knicks.
This year’s Ohio State men’s basketball team has eight games remaining, including one rivalry matchup against the team up north. Additionally, the lady Buckeyes have seven contests left.
That means it’s time to put that scarlet #5 football jersey in the closet. Instead, rock your CLUB TRIL shirt and yell and cheer in the Buckeye Nut House with the same fervor you’d bring to a night game in the ‘Shoe. From here on out (or at least until the end of April), I’ll be bringing the juice to the madness in Matta-ritaville.
After all, the football bandwagon is long gone.