You might be sick of hearing about why Ohio State won the Fiesta Bowl and have likely read enough on it to force an early visit to the ophthalmologist. However, I just cannot resist the overwhelming urge to write just one more article on the matter.
You see, I am here to set the record straight.
The critics are correct in their thinking; Ohio State's players did not win that game.
You read it right.
You will not find my crucial efforts in a box score, and I conducted no post-game interviews for my MVP worthy effort. Still, it was my dedication that granted Ohio State the victory on January 3 and not Clarett, Doss, Krenzel, or any other player.
Just how did I do it?
Are you ready?
Quite simply, Ohio State emerged with the double overtime win because I (and other intensely loyal fans) refused to deviate from the established game-day ritual.
You know what I am talking about – all true fanatics do.
Each week this season, I started my Saturday exactly the same… Get up, mill around, and read Ohio State internet boards. Patter out to the living room for my seat on the corner of the couch – always the left end with one cushion to rest upon. Check out all the games I receive with my wonderful ESPN Game-Plan package and tune into Gameday for just a few minutes before the contests started.
The games themselves find me rooted there, unshaven and looking rough. Buckeye gear was the wardrobe of choice with gray shorts. Placing my lucky buckeye necklace around my neck I donned a lucky Buckeye hat to cover my shaggy, unwashed hair. Drink placed upon a Buckeye coaster, I watch every play with rapt attention. When needed, I assist the team by sending extra "juice" for big plays by thumping my beanbag Brutus that shouts, "Go Buckeyes!" and plays "Buckeye Battle Cry." If that does not work, then I shift my position or take off my hat, switching to another. I search until I discover the winning combination and hang on for the victory I know must come because of my efforts.
Nor am I alone…
Across the nation, faithful Buckeye loyalists do their bit for king and country.
Starting with the proper food – pizza, chips, or a more hearty fare like brats – fans discover which one gives off the best karma for them. The important thing is that once the lucky food is discovered, there is no deviation. Friends and family gather around the television in assigned seats. Proper positions must be maintained. (One fan has luckily discovered that if he makes a figure 4 with his legs, the Bucks have a better chance for victory. Leg cramps and possible blood clots are a small price to pay for the sake of the team). If for any reason someone leaves the room and a great play occurs? Beware! This person is obviously an anvil tied around the Buckeyes' shoulders and should be banished to the nether regions for the rest of the game. If however the Bucks begin losing while that person is out, they are no longer allowed to leave the room. If a bathroom break becomes absolutely necessary, the only sane solution is ushering forth a cup and a curtain to satisfy their modesty concerns without jeopardizing the chances for victory.
Consider carefully what kind of clothing and accessories you pick out because if the Bucks win? For the good of the team, you might be stuck in it for a long while. I am aware of a child that endures a woeful plight; he put on a rugby sweatshirt for the Michigan game last year. While once might be an aberration, he confirmed the necessity of this outfit when he wore it again just for the second half of the Outback Bowl last season… Yup. You guessed it. As a four year old he might not understand why he must sweat profusely in his own home or wear a sweatshirt in August, but thankfully his parents do. This year, they ensured that he "take one for the team" every week. Some fans even write of lucky apparel that is never washed lest it lose its magic – and again – you know exactly what I am talking about. Shirts, shorts, and even socks – if their game day gear helps the team, a little odor is a small price to pay.
Also within my files are several accounts of fans who penitently admitted they brought disfavor from the football gods by altering their game day routine. One wrote that his wife unwittingly omitted putting her lucky buckeye in her pocket for the Purdue game. With less than two minutes left and 4th down on its way, she realized what she had wrought; she screamed, sprinted to find her buckeye, and placed it in her pocket. Meanwhile, in Ross-Ade Stadium another fan realized she was wearing a new Buckeye necklace for this game, in addition to her old, "lucky" necklace. Realizing at just this moment the cause of all the Buckeye struggles, she hastily removed it and placed it in her pocket.
The result of these two seemingly unrelated events?
Who knows what might have happened had these fans, separated by hundreds of miles, not come to their senses at just that moment.
While some might find this behavior clinically disturbing, the reality is that these are clearly wise individual who (like myself) understand the depth of their responsibility to the Ohio State Athletic Department.
So, even though I was a guest in someone else's home on Friday, January 3rd – I refused to jinx my team. Instead, I gave it my all by picking out the correct seat (left side of their couch with a cushion), not shaving, sporting flat hair from my lucky Buckeye cap, and wearing a dirty Buckeye shirt that might have left me just a bit odiferous by the end of the evening. Who cares if I looked more haggard than Elizabeth Taylor without her makeup? I would not have cleaned up for all the tea in China. No sir. The mere thought of touching a razor to my face conjured images of my Bucks enduring the fate of Samson, their strength evaporated and Miami gouging out their eyes.
I knew what I must do for the good of the team.
How serious were my Fiesta efforts? Though this couple had an infant and a toddler in bed and were not Ohio State fans themselves, I screamed at the referees just prior to the 4th and 3 pass to Gamble in the first overtime. The result? The men in striped shirts heard me and recognized my wrath against the helpless television would be a terror to behold and might just end a friendship… In the best interests of man and machine, the flag fluttered to the ground, breathing new life into the men of the Scarlet and Gray.
We won this game because of my labors and the grueling work of other fans like myself, pure and simple.
Scoff if you wish, but I know why we won this national title.
My friends should just be grateful that I opted to shower and change my underwear before kickoff back on August 24…