Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beat the Buckeyes!

I considered much stronger wording for the title of this post. Had I written this on Saturday night, I'm sure I would have gone with it. I've cooled off some since then, but I still have some things to get off my chest.

Brandi and I went to BW3 to eat on Saturday night. It so happened that we got there about half an hour prior to kickoff of the Ohio State-Iowa game. The place was pretty full, and continued to fill up after we arrived, with people decked out in Buckeyes paraphernalia--t-shirts, hats, jerseys, buckeye necklaces, the whole deal. Several waitresses were wearing OSU shirts. They started the OH-IO chant over the loudspeaker. And it all sickened me. Keep in mind that this is Bowling Green, a town with a university and a Division IA football program of its own. Some of the people at BW3 were townies, who may or may not have any connection with BGSU, but a good number of them were obviously BGSU students.

This coming Saturday afternoon, the BGSU Falcons are traveling to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes. I'm tempted to conduct a sociological experiment by going to BW3 again and seeing how many people are there to cheer on the Falcons as opposed to the Buckeyes. I won't do it, though...partially because I just want to watch the game myself, but mostly because I'm already fairly certain what the outcome would be. I know from previous experience that a good number of BGSU students and alumni will insist upon cheering for the Buckeyes, even against their own school. I have a real problem with that.

If you are a student or alumnus of BGSU, or any of the seven Division IA schools in Ohio that aren't Ohio State, and you cheer harder for the Buckeyes than you do for your own school, then I say you have no pride. In fact, I say you're a front-running jock-sniffer, and it's pathetic. If you like them, fine, but your own school should come first.

Like many people in this state, I grew up as a Buckeye fan. That was the case until I arrived at BGSU and found myself at an institution with a football program that competes on the same level as Ohio State, at which time I began to disassociate myself from them. I still continued to like the Buckeyes, but this will be the third time that the Falcons have played them since I became a student at BGSU, and I have never even considered cheering for the Buckeyes to beat the Falcons. Why would I? My own school's team against a team I have no connection with...this is a no-brainer.

In the years since then, I've had a hard time continuing to even like Ohio State, mainly due to the conduct of OSU fans I've come into contact with. So many of them are utterly condescending to fans of other teams, even leaving BGSU and other Ohio schools out of the equation. It's a wonder they even bother to play the games, seeing as how Ohio State is obviously the end-all be-all of college football. And when Brandi and I went down to Columbus for the game the last time BGSU played there, we were treated very poorly--not just by OSU fans, but even by event staff at the game. Needless to say, we won't be in attendance for this year's game. Even if the game turns out to be good, it's not worth buying an overpriced ticket for a tiny, cramped bleacher seat when the people around you are likely going to be jerks anyway. Going to sporting events is supposed to be fun, and I can't really say I had fun when we were there.

As a disclaimer, I'd just like to point out that I'm perfectly aware that not all Ohio State fans are dicks. All teams, BGSU included, have their share of good and bad fans. In general, though, I would say that OSU fans have a pretty bad reputation.

So I won't be in Columbus this Saturday. I'll be at my apartment in Bowling Green, decked out from head to toe in BGSU gear (including my helmet? It's possible.), cheering for the Falcons at the top of my lungs. I'm fully aware that they almost certainly won't win--the Buckeyes are very good, and the Falcons are a little shaky, particularly in special teams (but far be it from me to count them out, even in this game)--and I'm okay with that. I bleed orange and brown, baby, and I'm with them win or lose.

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