How firm thy friendship? These new "powers" have no idea (M)

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By HINYG8 on 08:13:22 05/29/03

The bandwagon is full again.

No, I am not talking about fans of The Ohio State University. I am talking about the new powers in College football: Miami, Florida State, Kansas State, even NC state fans are the new voices screaming of luck and their disdain for history lessons. We have heard it before, and the names will change but we will hear it again.

These fans thump their chests and proclaim themselves the center of power for “modern” college football. They proclaim OSU is no longer relavent. Sure, I hear them. Of course their recent success is impressive. They should take pride in their program. But I always wonder why their fans try so hard to tear down traditional powers rather than try to add their names to the list that includes Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and, yes, Ohio State. They tell us how good they are and how lucky OSU was to win the title (again). They do not understand what being on “the list” of elite is really about. They shouldn’t try and be *better* until they can at least leave the kids table.

One Texas Tech fan expressed it very simply: I have seen big time football and we are not it.

The secret to the elite is perseverance. Coaching changes, conference realignments, new bowl games, rankings, calculations, bring them all. They serve as the lines of demarcation for these "new" programs, but for the Buckeye nation they just mark another ring of success.

When generations of fans gather the real measure of a program is revealed. Do they all discuss the same glory age? Discuss the same victories, names? Or, rather, is there passionate debate: Who is the best RB? LB? WR? QB? DE? DB? What was the biggest win? Which championship is sweetest? Which decade produced the most wins? All Americans? Heismans? One day I hope those fans are as fortunate as we are. As Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma fans are today. The Buckeye nation is fortunate indeed for no matter the timescale The Ohio State University is relevant.

My grandfather spoke of Horvath, Janowicz and echoes of Harley. My mother speaks of Woody, Cassidy, and Griffin. I talk of Speilman, EDDIE!, beheading the snake in the Rose Bowl, Holy Buckeyes, dessert in the desert and Clarett. One day soon my son will argue that Tressel is the greatest coach Ohio State has ever known and that Woody just built Jim's stage. He will enter the debates with his own perspective on what Ohio State Football is all about. It will be a different voice than my own for our program is always achieving. Names will again be bantered about like a swarm of bees… moving too fast to fully absorb the scale of their achievements: Pace, Parker, Glenn, Hicks, Tatum, Stillwagon, Carter, Byars, Cousineau, Wilkinson, Snow, Germaine, Doss, Stanley, Pepper or Pete?, Galloway, Robert Smith, Hoying, Boston, Katzenmoyer, Vrabel, Kern, White, Otis, Gradishar, Fox, Schlichter, Fesler, Diggs, Springs, Stringer, Tupa, and Tovar. The parade of names is endless and many are often forgotten today, only to be thrust to the forefront tomorrow when the debate is renewed. Time and change add new names to the list but one thing remains clear:

How Firm Thy Friendship, O HI O

Script Ohio, the ramp, skull sessions, Hineygate, Lane Ave, High Street, Mirror Lake, The Oval, The world’s greatest salad bar (that is really the Out R Inn’s Bloody Mary bar), The Tunnel, beating TTUN, Hey Stadium!, TBDBITL, the walk from the Blackwell, all of it and there will soon be more.

The seasons pass and the years do roll and one day very soon I will show it all to my son. It will not just be cheers of OH and IO and the call-response that I have taught him since he was born. It will be more. It will take on a new significance. It will become a compass. It will be a guide. It will mark periods in his life just as a certain song will bring a sudden rush of memory to a certain moment or time in life. It will be a path to a great education and a life of his choosing.

His voice will be added to mine, my mothers, and the spirit of great Buckeyes who have passed such as my Grandfather, Woody, and Harley’s. It will be there with yours, Coach Tressel’s, and the hundreds of thousands who know the joy of tradition.

Oh! Come let’s sing Ohio’s praise,
And songs to Alma Mater raise;
While our hearts rebounding thrill,
With joy which death
alone can still.
Summer’s heat or Winter’s cold.
The seasons pass,
the years will roll;
Time and change will surely show
How firm thy friendship O-hi-o.

What time is kickoff?

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