Fiesta Bowl: Child’s Play

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJanuary 4, 2009

The opening paragraph of the “Comment” in the most recent New Yorker struck me as strangely apropos for the Buckeyes impending contest with Texas.

Every parent knows the moment when a small child hits his forehead on a doorknob, or bumps her chin on the coffee table, and then the long seconds of red-faced anticipation, breath drawn, while everyone waits for the explosion of tears. The moment lasts maybe ten seconds but feels like years, and though the inevitable explosion is, mostly, inevitable, a small part of the parent’s heart hopes that this time the child will somehow compose herself, see that her injury isn’t life-threatening, take a breath, find distraction in a bright, shiny object, and laugh.

For Ohio State fans, the metaphorical doorknob, or coffee table, has manifested itself in three distinctly different, yet equally painful forms over the past three seasons just when they seemed to be playing for everything. Looking back at those “accidents,” it is possible to pinpoint a – if not “the” – moment when the buckeyes forehead made contact.

Against Florida, the edge of the coffee table was Derrick Harvey’s two first quarter interceptions. After that, the Buckeyes promptly received a penalty and threw an interception that allowed the Gators to go up 21-7. Ohio State seemed to view that deficit as season-threatening. With no bright, shiny object in sight, bawling ensued.

Similar moments are easily found in the stigma-inducing games against LSU (Robiskie’s drop followed by the blocked FG) and USC (another missed FG). For fans everywhere, especially OSU fans, the drives following these moments feel like an eternity as everyone wants for the Buckeyes implosion by ineptitude.

As the Buckeyes prepare to face Texas, a team with a Top 10 offense and terrific return teams, I am positive that they will once again hit their head. And much like the parent, a part of my heart – albeit more than a small part – will hope that the Buckeyes find the bright, shiny object - a trophy, perhaps – to maintain their focus.

I think this Ohio State team is more resilient than a freshly dinged toddler, but if I see another missed field goal I cannot say I will be very hopeful.