Sunday, September 21, 2008

Scarlet letters

Scanning the Sunday morning sports pages, I am always struck by how deeply the state of Ohio indulges in the welfare of the Ohio State Buckeyes, otherwise identified as a a football team with unbridled loyalties.   To accept its presence  as temporary  relief  from life's darker side  is simply to ignore its dominance over the state's prevailing mood, distancing itself from rising unemployment, home losses and a cramped educational system.  As a carpetbagger myself, having lived in the state for scarcely 50 years, I have never come to grips with the preseason, postseason, pregame, postgame manic analyses from all corners of the state that serve as a kind of early warning system for Coach Tressel and his guys that he'd better get it right.  That was particularly true as the college kids who wear scarlet-and-grey jerseys and headgear returned from California the victims of a Blue State WMD.  

My first introduction to the enshrinement in Upper Arlington of Woodrow Hayes and the Buckeye bulldozers came in the late 50s when I was working as a young reporter at the Columbus Citizen. (Now dead and buried)  On those Saturday  afternoons when the team was at home, the newsroom would be vacated save for a few guys like me who were told to look after things until the others returned from the game.  Even the managing editor could not resist the temptation to write something about what he had witnessed on the field.  The Sunday paper not only included a play-by-play report, quarter by quarter, down by down, but also a sports reporter's long narrative of the game that replicated the play-by-play.

So affection for the team has been around for awhile.  I recently learned that the team so overwhelms Ohio athletic competition that it has not lost a single game to another Ohio team since the days of, oh... Charlemagne.   Unfortunately the mindset doesn't extend to the state's dismal performance on other more critical matters over the years. 


dave b. said...


Grumpy Abe said...

It figures. Thanks for reinforcing my point