I was looking through my collection of Buckeye photos and I came across this one of Woody coaching 'em up. I started thinking about my apparent obsession with The Ohio State University. I started thinking, what do the Buckeyes mean to me?
I began thinking back to when I was in junior high school in a small farmtown in western Ohio. I can remember my family getting all excited about the game on Saturdays, and how this team, who I really didn't know, was somehow able to draw my family closer. I could feel it in my bones, the excitement was in the air and I really began to understand what it meant to be a Buckeye. It wasn't until then that I realized this was something that would be with me throughout my life.
As I entered High School and all the guys began wearing the colors of their favorite schools, I saw a trend that hadn't hit me until then. You were either a fan of the good guys or you were a lonely soul. I could count on one hand the amount of fans of the team up north. Being a Buckeye was more than just being a fan of a college football team it was being a fan of your state and defending it through the good times and the bad. Unfortunately, when I was going through high school there was more good than bad. For some reason we were just unable to get a win against are arch rivals. I was however able to be there for the great 13-13 tie in 1992. It still felt as though we lost.
As, I was preparing to graduate I had a great opportunity to possibly get a chance to be a member of the Buckeyes. I was a pretty decent field goal kicker in high school and became pretty good friends with the Bucks kicker, Tim Williams. I went to a camp at OSU and got my first chance to see the WHAC up close, and will never forget my experiences there. I kicked a 60 yard field goal for John Cooper, probably the highlight of my life. It made me even more of a fan, even though I forgot the most important thing, grades.
I went on to a short career in Arena Football, never forgetting where I came from and the University I loved. I would think back on all the great times I had visiting the campus and catching some memorable games in The Shoe. Meanwhile, my sisters were both enrolled so I would go visit and see as many games as I could.
Life moved on and so did I. Next thing I knew I had raised my right hand and became a member of the US Army Infantry, and was an Airborne soldier. Little did I know how Ohio State Football would follow me halfway around the world.
It was the summer of 2005 and I was living in less than optimal conditions in the small town of Hit, Iraq. My fellow Soldiers and I had just lost a great Soldier and even better friend. I decided to write Coach Tressel. I explained to him my background and where I was and the terrible time we were having as leaders in Iraq. I looked to him for a bit of guidance and a possible connection to the one thing that I always cherished, Ohio State Football. Forgetting, that I had wrote the letter, I had just come back off a sniper type mission with my group of guy and to my shock there it was a beautiful envelope with The Ohio State University Football helmet adorning the front. I was so excited to see what was in it. I figured maybe a representative from the University had wrote a nice response saying Coach had received the letter and that he appreciated our service. It was more than that, it was more than even Coach probably really knew. He had written a letter back to us. I couldn't believe what I was reading, Coach Tressel had inspired both me and my men in the toughest of times. It was amazing to see how my guy's admired him for that. Most of them being fans of other teams, it made me prouder than ever to be a Buckeye.
As I sit here today I am reminded of all of these great times in my life. It took a picture of the greatest coach in all of Ohio State history to remind me what it really means to be a Buckeye. Please share some of your favorite Buckeye moments or college football moments with me.