Columbus, Ohio- On Sept.21, 2013, the first day of fall was greeted with rain clouds which quickly gave way to bright sun and fresh air. The spirit of game day was upon Buckeye Nation once again. The Ohio State University Buckeyes were ready to win their next victory as fans arrived wearing their usual scarlet and gray outfits. OSU football can be compared to a religion and the die-hard followers fill the stadium like obedient worshippers. Today was a special day, full of recognition as it was named Military Appreciation Day.
The horseshoe shaped stadium packed in over 100,000 cheering fans from alumni to students who pay big bucks to support their team. The standard ticket price is $89, plus the cost of parking and concessions, so an OSU fan is quite dedicated to their team and rituals. The pre-game show was full of recognition as the Ohio State Marching Band entered the field and caused the crowd to stand and applaud. Starting with the traditional Across the Field, the band then marched into two USA formations to honor all American Servicemen and women. The Star Spangled Banner was played by the band as the American flag was raised and a huge 50 by 25 yd. flag was held and displayed across the field.
Following the National anthem, fans who had been in any the branch of service were asked to stand and be recognized, as the song from their branch was played. It appeared as if many Buckeye fans are in or have served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard. The tears of gratitude and appreciation were already brimming before a moment of silence was asked for Maria Tiberi. Miss Tiberi, age 21 and daughter of longtime, loved 10TV sportscaster Dom Tiberi, was tragically killed in a car accident a few days ago.
Emotions were flowing as the OSU football team, coached by Urban Meyer, ran onto the field to meet the challenges of the visiting team from Tallahassee, Florida. Florida A & M coach, Earl Holmes, and his team were ready to take a chance against the undefeated Buckeyes, but soon learned it would be a long trip home to Florida. The score at the half was OSU 55 to A &M’s zero. The first two quarters were also filled with recognition for the 1973 OSU Championship team, student veterans and a swearing in ceremony for new National Guard enlistees. The first half was already packed with action and full of recognition, but it was no where close to being over.
The precision and style of the OSU Marching Band is always anticipated and they kept the emotions and excitement going with a tribute to The British Invasion of the Beatles. Songs included She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, Ticket to Ride, Help, Yesterday and Hey Jude. As if that was not enough to delight the fans, the band was joined by the OSSB band, which is the first all blind marching band from The Ohio State School for the Blind. The OSU band has been working with and mentoring members from the OSSB band since 2006. The two bands merged to form the crowd favorite Script Ohio, with the help of guides to assist the OSSB band. The OSSB band marched and displayed their Script Ohio in braille symbols. The event was one to remember and quite humbling, as the crowd stood and filled the air with cheers through their tears.
Half time was over and the game resumed, as a satellite from Kuwait flashed smiles from Army troops on the big screen. The game proved to be repetitive as the Buckeyes continued to rack up points, as predicted. The fickle fans, who always know how the game will end, started leaving before the end of the third quarter, but the true to the end fans remained and continued to cheer. Members of OSU’s ROTC marched out in full uniform and were recognized at the north end of the field. The beautiful fall day ended with OSU winning against Florida A & M, 76 – 0. Much like our USA Nation gained independence in 1776, Buckeye Nation was proud of their win and grateful to servicemen and women and supporters that made it possible. A day to remember with OSU football and a memorable day full of recognition.