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The Journal Gazette

November 29, 2016 1:01 AM

A big Buckeye birthday gift to savor

 The stadium shook. More than 110,000 fans – a monstrous sea of scarlet – erupted in unison. And within minutes the green of the football field at Ohio Stadium turned scarlet as well.

There’s nothing like The Game – Ohio State vs. Michigan. And thanks to my daughter, Sarah, I got to see a classic Saturday in Columbus. Sarah’s a third-generation Buckeye, following both her parents and grandparents. This was her last home game as a student, and I got to share it with her. It happened to be my birthday on Sunday, and this was her present to me. What a gift it turned out to be.

After Curtis Samuel’s 15-yard scamper gave the Buckeyes an emotional, draining 30-27 double-overtime victory, we were all set to join the masses storming the field. When you’re sitting in the student section as we were, you don’t have much of a choice. It’s either flow with the mass of people, or risk getting trampled.

Despite our efforts, we never joined the on-field celebration. We got trapped by some railings and never made it down. It was probably for the best, especially for the guy who was turning 53 the next day.

Instead, we happily watched from a safe distance as the party on the field continued. The tradition of singing “Carmen Ohio” was followed by a rousing rendition of “Sweet Caroline” as Samuel’s game-winning touchdown was replayed on the giant scoreboard in a continuous loop.

All smiles, we filed out of the stadium to head home. In front of us, a defeated Michigan fan, decked head-to-toe in maize and blue, was approached by an overzealous Buckeye student.

“Can I have your scarf?” the giddy young man asked as he skipped toward the Michigan man.

“Sure,” is all he said, and pulled off his Wolverine scarf and handed it over.

“You shouldn’t have given him your scarf,” I said to him as the kid triumphantly waved it over his head and ran off. He just shrugged.

“You don’t know what he’s going to do with that scarf later,” my daughter chimed in.

“I won’t be around to see it,” he said and walked away without looking back.

For a fleeting moment, I felt bad for him. Then I came to my senses. This Buckeye was going to enjoy his birthday present.

 

Jim Touvell is managing editor of The Journal Gazette.