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!



November 18th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

"OSU fans find it appropriate to treat visitors the same way ancient Hebrews treated adulterers"

2006 is my lone experience in Columbus, and though a number of their fans did go out of their way to show they were not pieces of human trash (probably in light of that game's profile and the passing of Bo), the number of terrible encounters my buddy and I had was astonishingly high.


November 18th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

We just gotta get this win and we can shut up those jackasses for a little while. I just don't understand how when a buckeye fan comes to Michigan stadium they might get a little crap, but nothing compared to what we get in Columbus. I was there in 06 and had a pretty similar experience. I will be looking to make it as uncomfortable for any buckeye I see while maintaining the higher level of dignity Michigan fans have become known for. Any one else who is there on Saturday make sure you represent.
Go Blue.


November 18th, 2009 at 3:54 PM ^

2002 - I was in the band and our buses took a beating. Before the game beer after beer were thrown at the buses as they passed. Following the game an industrial size tub of mustard was thrown all over one of the buses and the OSU fans tried to rip the license plates off of the buses because they were from Michigan. They succeeded on one bus and on another managed to crumple it up into a ball but it remained attached. They also tried to flip the buses over by rocking them back and forth. I'll never forget the PA guy, after the cops finally cleared all the fans from the field, saying "UM band please remain in the stadium for your own safety". Yes, I was thankful that we were actually escorted around by cops in riot gear that day.

2004 - Again with the band. I saw a guy wearing what appeared to be one of those Davy Crockett coon skin caps. I was wrong, it was the mullett of all mulletts... I was also spit on by an old woman that caused me to do a double take because for a split second I thought it was my grandmother until the spit hit me. Numerous other fans elbowed and punched me as I was marching to the stadium.

2006 - Amadou Ba had a hilarious confrontation with a really really drunk girl from OSU that was trying to convince a group of UM fans that she actually had balls (not metaphorically either). While crossing a parking lot, some dbag ran up to me and blasted an air horn in my face from point blank range. At the game, after singing the fight song when we went up 7-0 I got punched in the side of the head by a guy 3 rows behind me. Luckily some decent people pulled him back and apologized saying he was not representative of typical OSU fans. Sadly, I disagree.

All three trips involved constant profanity and sexual orientation laced insults that made little if any sense at all.


November 18th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

I can't think of a fan base that deserves to suffer more than they do. MSU is bad, but the fans there are generally only non-violent obnoxious. Not so for the inbred step children of Columbus. I wish I believed we could blow them out on Saturday....

The Bugle

November 18th, 2009 at 7:03 PM ^

While it sucks having people swear at you and yell homophobic epithets, I don't think we can be so condescending about this behavior. I have never been to a Michigan game outside the Big House, but I have most certainly heard all of the above yelled at opposing fans. The violence is a completely different issue. I have only seen beers hurled once at an OSU fan and it was not unprovoked (Woman in full Buckeye regalia taunting tailgaters from the sunroof of a limo).

While it is obnoxious and not in "the spirit of the game" to yell things like this at other people. It is deplorable and looks bad for the institution and the fans. However, we really don't have the right be complain about the language aspect because it happens here too.

Some OSU fans are ridiculous and classless for taking part in all of the individual and collective acts of violence you and Brian described.


November 18th, 2009 at 7:22 PM ^

They don't know how to handle a win. I went to Northwestern my Freshmen year before transferring to Michigan. This was 2004 and the Wildcats beat Ohio State. That game was awesome, we rushed the field, one of the students had a heart attack and died.

On the way out, one of my classmates stood outside the train stop that was packed with Buckeye fans and shouted "RED IS THE COLOR OF POOP" for a couple of minutes. One Buckeye fan responded with "hey that's mean!" and I felt bad for him.


November 18th, 2009 at 8:01 PM ^

I went to Ohio State games twice as a member of the Michigan Marching Band, once in 2006 and once in 2008. Both times we had a police escort with us the entire time, beginning around 30 miles outside of the city. I particularly remember the 2006 year, when we stayed in a hotel in downtown Columbus. We walked into the lobby to pick up our keys, all dressed in Michigan uniforms (having just finished a performance at a local high school) and carrying our gear. There was a bar inside the hotel, and as we all filed in the Ohio State fans at said bar began shouting at us, jeering, swearing, what have you. The hotel staff had to come and yell at them, but even they couldn't get the bar patrons under control.
I also heard stories from before my time, in 2004. My favorite was the fact that Ohio State fans threw broken glass bottles at fans and the band, which prompted Columbus to stop selling glass bottles near campus for a number of days leading up to the 2006 game. I also heard stories of two OSU fans coming up to the band, as they were marching to the stadium in 2004, and punching band members in the face.
Now THOSE are classy fans.


November 19th, 2009 at 1:14 AM ^

It was even worse for the visiting band way back when. Back during the 10 year war the visiting band would always leave at the beginning of the 4th quarter to avoid post game hooligans. I don't know when that tradition ended but I'm glad it did.


November 18th, 2009 at 8:25 PM ^

Been there 3 times...don't think I'm going back. 2002, 2004, 2006. 2002 was the worst. Ride the buses in, and it's sureal how everyone drops everything they're doing to turn and flip off the bus. 4 year olds with their middle finger up. 65 year old women mooning you. They can't park close enough. That year, in the lower corner, had OSU fans on top of you in the row behind you, drunk, stinky, and pushing you, spilling things on you, spitting on you. They have this great tradition of booing the whole time the bands on the field. Not playful...booo... then stop. Boo constantly, through the whole performance, so loudly you can't hear them.

As the game winds down, they're pushing everyone to the ground to rush the field, not letting anyone get out. I get out with my sister in law, grabbing her hand and telling her to follow me, as I force my way out. Thinking once we're out of there, the worst is over, we start circling for the bus. Don't get ten feet before some drunk as a skunk Buckeye grabs me by the coat pushing me as shouting in my face "AARRRHhhhggghhhhh....ah, something to shit in..." referring to my coat, presumably. I cock my arm back to knock him out, he flinches like an abused wife, hiding behind his two buddies, I grab my S.I.L. and take her ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE of the parking out, to walk around the outside where the fans aren't, to circle all the way back to the bus.

They also have this fun thing on exit where they tailgate not only around the stadium, but on all the streets into town. So, imagine tailgates all the way up and down State street to the expressway. Well, when you get stopped there, they like to come up and rock the buses, and when you don't stop, throw anything that isn't nailed down at the buses.

And that's when I vowed never to take a woman down to that hell hole again.

I learned for the next trip. Neutral colored jackets, so you're not a physical target. A cap can be taken off and put in a pocket after the game. And I believe, (though at this point that shit hole blurs together), that was the game with the dogs inspecting the lads as they came in. And yes, I was standing right there when they came in the gates, and yes it did happen, no myth or exaggeration. That game was unmercifully bad, but it did allow me to sneak out late in the fourth rather than waiting to the bitter end, to get back to the bus and wait it out. Safety in numbers and all. But still Buckeyes would go out of their way to come by the bus and say at best sarcastic stuff, and at worse, try and pick fights with family members. (Which I saw happening too).

2006 wasn't quite as bad, because we drove down, and it was a large group of guys, and we could handle ourselves, so no one got too close. But we parked on the far ass side of Columbus, so we had to walk by every apartment building, dorm, and everything else in town. Wasn't too bad before the game, because Bo had died, and they really weren't completely sold that they were going to win that year, but I heard everything after. With HD tv, no long ass drive to the back end of nowhere, and the environment, I doubt we would have even gone that year except it had the potential to be the biggest of them all.

I've had first hand witness accounts of Jon Falk getting knocked down on the turf after a M loss and trampled without his glasses till O-Linemen could come to his rescue; and after victories little old ladies in wheelchairs threatening to kick people as they got in the press box elevator.

People can say, oh, it's bad everywhere; but they're wrong. Seriously, honestly, wrong. I've been to MSU after Clockgate (a lot of talk, but not very sensical talk), ND, NW, Purdue, at Bowls with every type of fan imaginable. They can go from pretty nice, to jackasses. But only one place do I ever feel in physical danger every minute I'm there. It's like walking through the worst neighborhood in town; or having the awareness of a war zone.

And anyone who claims Michigan bias: I have relatives in Texas...they're from Michigan, Michigan fans, but know a lot of U-T people (who were maybe the best fans I've ever encountered)...and they all had stories about how bad it was when Texas when to OSU, and how they had never encountered fans like that. (And they take their football pretty seriously in Texas...and they have some pretty big rivalry games). I told my Uncle to tell them that when Michigan comes to town, imagine that...and multiply it by TEN.


November 18th, 2009 at 9:31 PM ^

People can say, oh, it's bad everywhere; but they're wrong. Seriously, honestly, wrong.

I have visited every Big 10 campus to see Michigan play football. I have also been to South Bend, Syracuse, UCLA, & Boston College. I can honestly say to anybody who would suggest that it's "bad everywhere", that they are incorrect. I saw Michigan play Boston College AT NIGHT, walking amongst students who had been drinking for 8-10 hours before the game started and nothing those people did came anywhere close to the type of poor behavior that I've seen in Columbus.

The major difference between Ohio State fans and other rival fans is that the Buckeyes want visitors to have an unpleasant time in Columbus. Every other town I've visited, the local fans give you a fair share of taunting, but at the end of the day they want you to leave with a positive impression of their town/city. People in Columbus seem to not care what impression visiting fans get of their city. To have a rival fan state, "I'm never coming back to Columbus again!" is music to their ears.


November 18th, 2009 at 9:09 PM ^

I was luckyyy enough to watch a female post-game attempt to deficate on our car as we were leaving. Honestly, it is a unique visual that I go to whenever someone mentions OSU fans.

The Claw

November 18th, 2009 at 10:57 PM ^

Unfortunately being from Ohio meant that going to UM was out of the question due to cost, so I went to OSU being a diehard UM fan. Pops is from the UP, and I was raised well.

OSU fans are the worst I have ever experienced. Besides lighting cars on fire after a win for god sakes, or couch, or trash can... I've seen drunk asses flip over a car or scratch the shit out of it just because it had a State of Michigan license plate on it.

Worst offense I seen was my senior year, 1996, when we won 13-9. I'm in C deck and about 5 rows down is a group of guys drunk off there asses. About five rows down from them is a young guy, probably a 7th grader sitting with his dad in a Michigan coat. These assholes staring pouring their liquor on the program and wadding it up and throwing it directly on the neck of the young boy. He was so scared he didn't even move when they did, to even get the 10-15 wads off his neck. Didn't say a word to his dad even. Finally I got pissed at them and yelled something along the lines of hey fuckers, why don't you pick on someone your own size. Flashed my Michigan sweatshirt and was ready to rumble. Of course I got all the fuck you and fuck Michigan, but an usher say us jawing and came up. He asked what was going on. I said that fucker there keeps throwing shit in that kids hood. The usher, to his credit grabbed him and took him out. I never did see him again, so I believe he had to be booted. Then the kid finally got the wads out of his hood. Felt good to help out a little Michigander. And to finally see a win in person made the day that much better!

Fresh Meat

November 19th, 2009 at 9:02 AM ^

Two fights

Not going back

(Side note, I'm not a particularly large or intimidating man so I don't get into fights, as those are the only two fights I have ever been in)


November 19th, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

I'd like to tell this from a bit different perspective. I'm not saying that all Michigan fans are teh awesome, but in the mid-1970s my family got tickets to the game in Ann Arbor. We are from central Ohio, and at that time I was an Ohio State fan. We wore OSU gear, looking fairly obnoxious I'm sure, and my two brothers, mom and dad all went into the stadium. We cheered for Ohio State, watched people around us get pretty hammered (one guy drank two cases of Alta in cans, a feat that still amazes me), and heard not one nasty comment directed our way. I enjoyed the experience so much that I considered going to Michigan, and I ended up graduating in 1984.

The funny thing is that we had been expecting the worst b/c we had been to the game in Columbus. All kinds of apocryphal stories got passed down to us central Ohio folks about what happened to Michigan fans in Columbus - cars trashed, hospitals visited, and so on. We assumed that folks in Ann Arbor would be the same. They weren't.

One more story - during my senior year I had friends come up for the game in Ann Arbor (I think it was Steve Smith's senior year, and the Blue won 24-21 or something like that). The night before one of them, a huge OSU fan, left us and went looking for a fight by yelling every insulting thing he could think of. Most folks just sort of laughed at the methed-out fool, and one offered him an intervention. I actually got so pissed at him that he and I ended up getting in a fight (couldn't have been pretty - he broke my nose and I blackened both his eyes).

I haven't talked to him since.


November 19th, 2009 at 9:56 AM ^

1998 was probably my worst experience during The Game. My younger brother was in his undergrad at osu and got me a ticket for The Game for my birthday. Unfortunately it was located in the Block O section filled with drunk students. My brother lived besides a couple of osu players that were really cool and they pleaded with me not to wear my Maize and Blue to the game. I agreed, buried my shame, and went to the game. The first thing I witnessed when we sat down was terrible. An older Michigan fan was walking in front of Block O (right above the tunnel on the closed end of the Shoe) and was struck by a flying bottle of somesort. He instantly went down, and I assumed he was knocked out. He was carried out on a stretcher to cheers and a loud version of "we don't give a damn about the whole state of michigan...". Needless to say, my cheering for M that day was extremely quiet.

2006 wasn't as bad and I wasn't quite sure if it was because of Bo's death or the fact that the buckeye faithful was extremely nervous for the game.


November 19th, 2009 at 8:31 PM ^

The state that is still pissed about losing the UP.

So much so that not only are the troopers complete d-bags to Michigan drivers, they stand and watch rabid OSU fans pelt a Michigan tour bus with rocks.

I like how this happens even when they win. I've plenty of stories about a-hole OSU fans who come to Ann Arbor and pull that crap.

Talk about a complete lack of class. Are they all still really THAT bitter about getting Toledo? It's not that bad of a place.