Profiles in Courage: A Tale of 3 Trips to Columbus

Profiles in Courage: A Tale of 3 Trips to Columbus

Submitted by saveferris on November 18th, 2009 at 2:06 PM

I was inspired to write this diary after reading Brian's account of his trip to Columbus in 2002.  I've never experienced anything nearly as gratuitous as what Brian described, but I have stories.  Believe everything you hear about Buckeye fans.....Everything.  Warning:  Content has not been editted for language, because believe it or not, Buckeye fans love to curse at Michigan fans.

It was 1994 and I was attending my first road game at the invitation of my cousin-in-law Michael.  Now Mike is an OSU fan.  I tolerate this because, for one, he is married to my cousin, second, he resides in Columbus, making getting down there to watch The Game convenient, and finally, he is not the typical rub-it-in, asshole brand of Buckeye fan that so many of us are familiar with.  I can only assume this is due to the fact that Mike was afforded the advantage of growing up in Texas, rather than Ohio, and splits his college allegiance between his grad alma mater, OSU, and his undergrad alma mater, Texas A&M.

1994 was a milestone year for the Buckeyes, since this was their first win over Michigan since 1988 {chuckle}.  The day started uneventful enough.  We arrived early and tailgated near the stadium.  Much to my surprise neighboring Buckeye fans were for the most part civilized.  My Michigan sweatshirt drew the occasional "BOO!" as somebody walked by, but for the most part nothing.  What I didn't realize is that OSU fans were about to come out of their Cooper-induced hibernation.

The game went badly for Michigan and after a Todd Collins interception with around 5 minutes to go, Mike indicated we should leave and try to beat traffic.  Frustrated with the effort, I agreed and got up to leave.  Seconds after I stood I began to hear them.  "Go the fuck back to Ann Arbor!"  "Fuck Michigan!"  The words didn't bother me as much at the pizza box lid as Chinese throwing star that narrowly missed crashing into my skull or the empty soda cups that didn't.  After exiting the stadium, I turned to Mike and asked if that was normal.  His answer was interrupted by an incredibly intoxicated OSU student who leaped in front of me, stuck his face 2 inches from mine, and with breath that reeked of Jack Daniels asked me, "Hey fucker, what's the SCORE?"  I elbowed past him, annoyed and shocked at such boorish behavior.  Little did I realize......

I missed the 1998 trip to Columbus, but four of my friends had managed to get tickets and made the trek.  Their report started with their arrival to their seats, where they were greeted by a single OSU fan chanting, "ASSHOLES!" from 2 rows behind them for 5 minutes.  He only stopped when his neighboring cohorts told him shut up.  As the game progessed and it became clear that OSU would prevail one of the neighboring fans turned to my pals and said, face completely serious, "I don't think I'd stick around here if I were you."  Alarmed, but untimidated, they stuck it out to the end and then made for the exit to the requisite jeers of "Fuck Michigan!", "Assholes", and the ever popular "Faggots!".

This was not their enduring parting memory of Columbus though.  What WAS the enduring memory was the mob of OSU fans outside the stadium hurling rocks at a charter bus of Michigan fans getting ready to leave while 2 Ohio state troopers watched from 30 feet away.  Apparently, OSU fans find it appropriate to treat visitors the same way ancient Hebrews treated adulterers, and apparently Ohio troopers can't do anything about it because strict Hebrew interpretation of the 10 Commandments trumps the United States Consitution.  As my friend Charles recalls, "At this point, I was starting to get scared".  They have never been back to Columbus since.

The final chapter to this story is the 2006 game.  When I told my friends I had scored tickets, they wondered if it was wise to even attend and surely it would be unwise to show up dressed conspicuously as a Michigan fan.  Defiant, I resolved to dress over-the-top in Wolverine gear.  I attended the game with Mike again and some other family members.  Mike decided this time that we skip the tailgate because it would be easier to just be dropped off.  I agreed.

Arriving, there was a surprising lack of enmity.  A couple of more elderly fans stopped me and expressed their sadness over the passing of Bo.  Things looked good at I made my way to my seat.  These hopes were dashed a few minutes later when 2 OSU fans, visibly intoxicated and reeking of Jack Daniels (what is it with OSU fans and Jack Daniels?), roughly elbowed their way past me to their adjoining seats.  One of them paused in front of me, looked me over and asked in slurred speech, "What the fuck do you think you're doing wearing that shit in here?  This is OUR HOUSE!".  I explained to him that he was sitting in the Michigan fan section.  "Fucking faggots!" he muttered as he moved along.

As the game proceeded, my new best Columbus friend continued to become more and more belligerent with comments questioning the heterosexuality of Michigan fans and reminding us that this was "OUR HOUSE!".  Eventually, a visit from the Ohio state trooper posted near our section (they actually do enforce law and order in Columbus) convinced my buddy to tone things down...and he almost did.

Anyway, we all know how this game ends.  I left the stadium, at this point not even hearing the "Fuck Michigan" taunts because it had become just background noise.  I did encounter a young 5 or 6 year old boy outside the stadium, wearing one of those fey buckeye necklaces, who proudly shouted "Michigan sucks!" at me.  I glanced at his father waiting for some form of admonishment, but he only smiled proudly at his son.  Unfortunately for me, this was less obnoxious than the two Buckeye fans who were following about 10 feet behind me as we headed back to catch our ride home (I assume because their car was parked in the same direction, but who knows?) shouting, "Wow, you guys lost the biggest game EVER!  Woo!  You guys are LOSERS!"  This jab probably stung the most because they avoided the standard crass language and hit a much softer spot, but the fact that they kept this up for what had to have been 20 minutes puts them solidly in the asshole category nevertheless.

So, I don't like OSU fans either.  Brian's experience trumps mine, but I can confirm that the stories you hear are true.  They relish in making sure visiting fans don't enjoy themselves.  They're animals.  We're the bigger person because we can be civilized, and I'm sure that will matter not a wit to an OSU fan.  Go Blue!