Oh yes, Turkey Day is here! I love Thanksgiving. Seriously, though, who doesn’t?! The weather is changing, ski season is upon us, box lax with the New England Black Wolves is heating up and, of course, football season is in full swing! Speaking of football, it’s rivalry week! The biggest game of the year is Saturday at high noon. Where? O-H-I-O.
Thanksgiving changed slightly for me back in 2004 when I stepped foot on campus at The Ohio State University, where I played college lacrosse. For those who don’t know, Ohio State football battles that school up north every year around Thanksgiving. It’s a game with an unbelievable tradition. If you haven’t experienced an Ohio State-Michigan game, put it on the bucket list. Campus is jammed with hundreds of thousands of people who have migrated back to “CBus” to watch the Buck’s lay a smack down. The atmosphere is unmatched. A sea of Scarlet and Gray sprinkled with your occasional Michigan fans in Maize and Blue. My favorite memory of this awesome game dates back to 2006, when Michigan was coming into Columbus undefeated ranked No. 2 while undefeated Ohio State was sitting at the top of the college rankings. The winner would have a chance to play for the National Championship.
The buzz was electric the entire week. HBO launched a special on the game, and everyone was feeling the energy. A 3:30 p.m. game. Lights on. The stadium packed with 108,000-plus fans. The game had its ups and down, but it was a 56-yard touchdown run from Antonio Pittman that helped clinched a 42-39 Ohio State win.
With the Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium) busting at the seams, what else to do but storm the field? I found myself in the middle of the field surrounded by 10,000 other fans. A buddy and I ran into Pittman, and we ended up with him on our shoulders as we carried him off the field. Classic! Fans exiting the field were literally taking pieces of the turf, legit pieces of sod. Bar and restaurants on High Street were swamped. You could have crowd-surfed down High Street.
All in all, a great game, a great experience, and a memory I’ll never forget. Every year when the previews roll for the Ohio State-Michigan Game, I think of 2006.
I wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Please join me on Saturday in cheering for the Scarlet and Gray as they chase another National Championship.