June 5, 2009

Moving back to O-H-I-O

Your humble author and his family are moving back to Columbus, Ohio next month; I lived there from 1999-2006 while I went to grad school at Ohio State, and we're eager to get back. It's close to my wife's family, and it's a very underrated, very fun city. It's also, surprisingly, the 15th largest city in the US.

It's a pretty solid sports town too, with NHL, MLS and AAA baseball teams (all in excellent, modern facilities)... and if you want NFL, MLB or NBA action, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh are all with the range of a day-trip. I've already adopted the Blue Jackets as my NHL rooting interest.

One thing I never really embraced while I was at OSU was Buckeye football. For the most part, I was happy when they won, just because that kept the batshit-craziness somewhat under control. I went to a few games at the 'Shoe, and it was fun enough.. but it never grabbed me.

Part of this is my general contempt for college football. As an NFL fan, I couldn't understand how 100,000 people could be MAD after their team wins 42-10 (yeah, that happens in Buckeye-land). I also couldn't understand why it was more important to beat Michigan than to win the National Championship, or how 63,000 people at Qwest could be WAY louder than 100k at Ohio Stadium (at the Shoe, they also don't really get the concept that you should be QUIET WHEN YOUR TEAM HAS THE BALL).

Also, in Columbus, people wear NFL jerseys as a statement of their Buckeye love, unlike normal humans who buy a jersey because they like that TEAM. I remember having a Shawn Springs jersey that I pretty much couldn't wear, simply because if people saw me wearing it around town they wouldn't even know I was a SEAHAWKS fan.

My wife didn't buy this until we went to the Seahawks/Browns game in Cleveland back in '01. I wore my new Hasselbeck jersey, and I was accosted and abused for 3 hours non-stop. More than once, my wife was explicitly spared... she was wearing my Springs jersey, and I heard a lot of "he's ok... He's a Buckeye!"

Of course it's admirable that Ohioans are so rabidly in love with the Buckeyes... It's just one of those things that is so intense that if you grow up outside of it, it's fucking terrifying. Shit, I grew up in the Tri-Cities, and I thought it was completely normal for a high school to have a mushroom cloud on their football helmets... When I tell outsiders about that, they tend to get the "WTF??!?" face.

Here's how bugfuck insane they are about the Bucks in C-bus.. When former Michigan QB Drew Henson was with the AAA Columbus Clippers, he was routinely and intensely booed... and he was playing for the HOME TEAM!

Can you imagine UW fans booing Marcus Trufant at Qwest Field? No. You can't. Because that's fucking retarded.

But this is all 100% normal to my wife (who didn't even know Seattle had an NFL team before we met), and to any other native-born Ohioan. My son will grow up thinking this way too, and will probably be decked out in Scarlet & Grey every fall Saturday...

As long as he's in Neon Green and Gun Metal Blue watching the Hawks on the dish with me on Sundays, I can handle the rest. :-]

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