I grew up in New Hampshire. I am sure NH is famous for something, but whatever that is, it isn’t college football. So when I arrived on campus for my first OSU game (Indiana in 2002) it was unlike anything I had ever seen. The tailgating, the colors, the sound and fury of 100,000 people all cheering for the same thing.
After photographing the Buckeyes and their fans fairly extensively over the past 2 1/2 seasons, I have come to appreciate other aspects of Ohio State, mainly the connection it has with its fans and alumni, a connection forged through tradition. Alumni of Ohio State that I have met have passion and pride for their university. Not every school has that. Trust me.
On a personal level, people have their own traditions, on an institutional level there are others that cast a long shadow. Scarlet and Gray, the Block O, winning. Homecoming wraps them all up, educational and athletic, on a special day for those that have the closest connection, the alumni.
And to be on the court, well, that is pretty special. I spent my morning with the present and past court before watching the Buckeyes take on the Golden Gophers.
To me, the traditions I enjoy the most are aural. From the thunderous entrance of the band as it takes the field to Hang On Sloopy, football and music are intertwined at OSU. Many fans start their day at the Skull Session at least once during the season, and our collective homecoming day really started to gather steam on the floor of St. John Arena.
The band about to make their entrance.
The band gets pumped before taking the floor, still mostly out of sight in the tunnel. They storm into the building to great applause, and give the listener a peak into some of their traditions during the course of the show.
Defending King and Queen lead the pack as we cut a swath across campus.
After the Skull Session, security cleared a path for us as we swept across Lane Avenue and into the stadium. After the band took the field and before the Buckeyes joined them, the Homecoming King and Queen were introduced.
Robert Bonacci, left rear, and D’Andrea Kinley, center, King and Queen ’09.
Any excitement left over from the announcement was tempered somewhat by the Buckeyes’ rather tepid start. A halftime score of 7-0 brought the stadium to the edge of distraction; the cold not helping one bit.
Something about Minnesota makes running backs want to leap defenders with a single bound.
Sandwich of doom.
DeVier Posey builds up a head of steam.
Maximum effort, as evidenced by the tongue.
The suspense of potential.
He’s getting away!
Needs more stickum.
Arms of doom.
But the Buckeyes came out of the gate with a bang in the second half, and kept building on it, eventually putting up 31 points in the final two quarters. We got to see some new faces as well, including a running back who is sure to be a new favorite, the hard-running Jermil Martin.
At least he got a good view of the play.
It is what you don’t see that gets you.
Like a gazelle. With stickum.
Normal Minnesota position.
A third quarter tradition, Hang on Sloopy. I was near the cheerleaders, you can hear their pom poms rustling, and some fairly bad singing from somewhere.
Death from above.
Although a lot of fans didn’t get to see the second-teamers, because when the clouds opened, the stadium started to empty.
Oh, brave and hearty souls.
The weather didn’t do any one any favors on Saturday. Dawning relatively warm, it got colder as the day progressed, with wind picking up toward game time. At times, the gusts made it hard to shoot, blowing my lens just enough off course to push the subject out of the frame a few times, especially toward the end of the game. But overall it was a good time, Ohio State breaking out its shell enough to fulfill another tradition; laying a beat down on the Golden Gophers. (Ohio State is 42-7-0 against Minnesota. Now that is tradition.)
The greatest tradition…
At the end of the game came the greatest tradition, Carmen Ohio. To be honest, the Carmen you can listen to is from the Skull Session, because it is hard to get good audio standing next to a tuba, where was where I was standing when I took the picture.
Now you can…
Join the OSUAA.
or you could become an OSUAA fan on Facebook.
and I am always down for some fandom too.
Check back next week after the Buckeyes face the mighty Aggies of New Mexico State.