A few random bullets from the Miami game: Dominating…. Complete… Team effort… Disciplined…Thorough…Aggressive…Controlled…Very impressive…Very satisfying…Let's move on.
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We are talking bullets in this here bucket…
A little more than a century or so ago, the bullets arrived with vigor in Ohio, mostly to take out the original Miami Redskins, making this area safe for Ohio State fans and – ultimately – forcing the Indians to 1) live on a reservation and 2) change their name to RedHawks. A name for which many of the Miami alumni also had reservations.
Let's cut, then, to the current state of affairs. Under a fusillade of the reinvigorated Silver Bullet defense Saturday, our Buckeye warriors dispatched the newest iteration of Miami boy warriors and cleared the way, finally, for one of the most anticipated stem-winder, frog-strangler titanic tilts of our era: The Texas Longhorn game coming up next Saturday night.
Now, those Texas boys have sent their own fair share of bullets winging about over the years. And we want this whole upcoming football affair to remind them somewhat of their original Alamo contest. Except, OSU will leave enough of them alive to play the following week.
But, today it's time to consider this faux rivalry and quasi-war and pseudo-shooting euphemisms into a more current and sobering paradigm. Let's pause a bit to put this whole "Bullet" and "battle" and "victory" badinage into proper perspective. We are at war – yes, fans, a real war – with college-age kids shooting real bullets and dying real deaths. Regardless of your politics (or even your theorizing about politics), we often lose touch with that ultra-competitive battle raging on as willing youngsters from the USA give their best (and occasionally their all) to defend our American way of life.
We might forget those soldiers as we go about a football-frolicking Saturdays, but do those soldiers forget us football fanatics bounding about carefree as the 2005 season kicks off? Despite the dire straits of serving in the chaos of Iraq, does a relatively meaningless football game in Columbus get forgotten?
Of course not.
One overwhelming case is point is Captain Ryan Edwards. He is a big Buckeye fan who was amongst the first to respond when I "solicited" funds to build the new weight room at the WHAC. He not only sent in $500 to the campaign but he also sent in a letter for Coach Tressel to read to the boys before the Texas game. What makes this effort unique is that Capt. Edwards is serving in Iraq, yet follows Bucknuts every day to stay current with his beloved Buckeyes. He wants everyone back home to know that this Buckeye season is important to the fans overseas and that the team is not forgotten to these guys.
Here is a copy of the letter he sent to Coach Tressel:
September 5, 2005
The Ohio State University Football Team
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
This is my first time writing an Ohio State team. I grew up in Plain City, Donnie Nickey's hometown. After graduating from Jonathan Alder I attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. I'm currently serving as a battle captain with 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry in Baghdad. Although my days are long, I wanted to write you men and wish you luck in the coming season.
As a Central Ohio native, I've been a Buckeye fan since before I was born. My brother is a graduate of Ohio State and I plan to get a graduate degree from Ohio State when I finish traveling for Uncle Sam. But until then, and until I move home to Ohio, The Ohio State Buckeye football team is the most public reminder to me of what I love about Ohio and the United States.
You've put in a long, hard off-season and I know you're ready to start the 2005 campaign. This year is going to be tremendously important to all of you and you face two tough, early tests in Miami & Texas. I've been thinking about the Texas game almost every day since you boys stomped Oklahoma State. I will not be in the stands cheering on 9/10, but I want to give you all some early encouragement while you're sweating through your workouts and intra-squad scrimmages.
The best men I've ever met, my best friends and brothers, men who I would kill and die for have all been in the military at some point in their lives. And the best of that already small group all played football. This game teaches you more about yourself than any other common sport. To compete at this level you men had to learn how to deal with intense mental pressure and overcome extremes of physical hardship. You men are warriors and your flag is Scarlet & Gray. Stay tough and stay focused. Steel your bodies, your minds and your hearts to pound Texas into the Ohio Stadium turf on September 10th! And remember…
"There is no substitute for victory!" –General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, and of course,
GO BUCKS! BEAT MICHIGAN!
Ryan A. Edwards
Captain, Infantry, U.S. Army
Victory Base, Iraq
And here is a photo of Ryan, readying himself for the day's obligations as well as readying himself for Saturday's game:
"This is me on top of my barracks with Saddam's presidential palace in the background"
I, Mr. Bucknuts, sincerely hope that we thrash Texas on Saturday. But I hope with equal fervor that we bring home Captain Edwards after a safe – and victorious – conclusion in Iraq. That will be something to gloat over. And it also tells us how important these games are to men on deadly serious missions.
I can only hope that we win on Saturday. For me and for Ryan Edwards. But I hope more that we win Ryan's war. That's worth rooting for and puts into perspective the rest of the cheering.
Let's go Ryan! One great Bucknut of a guy.
And as he says. Go Bucks! Beat Texas!