My friend and I have shared a secret for the past few years since arriving at Ohio State as freshmen. We’ve been too embarrassed and afraid to share it with anyone. But it’s something we both noticed separately and both wholeheartedly agree on. I never wanted to say anything, but if Urban Meyer has taught me anything, it’s that honesty is the best catalyst for change. The secret my friend and I have shared is that Ohio State football fans, ourselves included, have been terrible in recent years.
Does this anger you? Are you calling me a sellout or a jackass? Fine, I understand. But just know that that is part of the problem – Ohio State fans think they’re too good. Ohio State is the preppy kid who cries over a grass stain and then makes his mom does his laundry. Let me explain, because I want Ohio State to have the best damn fans in the land.
I went to the UCF at Ohio State game a few weeks back. If you don’t recall, UCF head coach George O’Leary called into question the loudness of Ohio Stadium prior to the Knights’ match-up with the Buckeyes. “What a bonehead move!” people said. “The stadium is going to be INSANE now.” I was thinking the same thing. I fully expected Buckeye fans to have a huge response to such comments.
My ticket was not in the student sections of Ohio Stadium, but instead near the alumni seating on the east side of the stadium. Talk. About. Boring. Everyone around me (and when I say everyone, I literally mean everyone but four people at the most) was sitting down right until the opening kickoff, not cheering or yelling, just clapping along with the fight song. WHAT!? I felt out of place standing up and yelling. Let me say that again: I FELT AWKWARD STANDING UP AND CHEERING FOR MY TEAM. Later in the game, with UCF within striking distance of making it a close game, the Knights had the ball inside our 15 yard-line. Once again I was shocked. Everyone was sitting down. You know, like, when the other team is about to score, you’re supposed to make noise and stuff to make it hard to… ah, never mind.
I was pissed. Did these people not know what this UCF coach said, or did they just not care? Were they thinking, “Psh, we’re Ohio State, we know we’re better than them.” I really hope not. Because as far as rooting on their team that day, UCF’s fans were much better than my fellow Buckeye fans (and me). They had people handing out UCF pom-poms inside the stadium!
I’m not saying all of this to make people angry; I’m angry myself. I’m not saying that I’m not part of the problem. I’m saying all of this to match what Urban Meyer does each week with his team. He tells the truth, gives you it straight, and if you don’t like hearing it, then you should probably do something about it.
Last year, Ohio State went 6-7 and Buckeye fans were looking to the sky for the meteor that undoubtedly had to be on its way toward Earth. Now, Ohio State is 5-0 and people are
so happy to see the improvement complaining that it’s not good enough. “The offense is a disappointment. The defense is not an Ohio State defense.” We are one win away from tying our win total from the previous season in less than half as many games! If we’ve improved this much already under Meyer, imagine how much further we’re going to go throughout this year and subsequent years. But apparently that’s the wrong way of looking at things. WE SUCK!
Of course we should hold ourselves to higher standards as Buckeye fans. Of course we should expect our team to work hard to do well. But it’s a process, and everyone sitting on their hands when UCF is on the five yard-line isn’t helping matters. So should you not be pissed when Braxton Miller throws a pick? Please, get angry! Throw your hat! Act like an idiot! That’s what being a fan is all about. However, at the same time, you need to be thinking that that’s who Braxton is. He’s an amazing runner who isn’t a consistent passer. But you know what, he seems to get things done when it really matters. Plus, the kid’s a sophomore who is learning a new offense. It’s about keeping things in perspective. We’re going to be good. Actually, I think that we are good. So act like it.
We Buckeye fans need to quit arguing with SEC fans and focus on ourselves. I’m a believer in fan intervention, the sports equivalent of divine intervention. More positive support means a better chance of our team winning. Trust me, it’s true.
I’m sorry I had to be the one to say all of this. But someone had to. I love Ohio State and I love being a Buckeye. Still, just as the players need to improve, we also need to become better fans. We can’t expect the Buckeyes to win by 40 every week and then become bitter when they don’t. Appreciate success and more will come.
So stand up and cheer, Buckeye Nation. We have much to be happy about. O-H…