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Dave Mona’s Vignettes: Ohio State

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(Dave Mona/830 WCCO)- THE THING I’VE ALWAYS ENJOYED MOST ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAYS IS THAT COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS OFTEN ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE AS MUCH AS THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME.

I’LL ADMIT THAT APPROACH MAY HAVE BEEN NURTURED BY FORTY YEARS OF BEING AN UNDERDOG, BUT I’M READY TO MAKE MY ARGUMENT RIGHT HERE AND NOW.

FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY, ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO, AND ONE OR TWO YEARS BEFORE I TOOK THIS RADIO COLOR JOB, MY WIFE AND I HAD A CHANCE TO TRAVEL TO COLUMBUS WITH THE VISITING GOPHER FOOTBALL TEAM.

WE’D BEEN WARNED BY A FRIEND THERE NOT TO WEAR GOPHER COLORS AS THE BUCKEYE FANS WERE KNOWN TO BE HOSTILE TOWARD VISITORS.

SO, WE WORE EVERY PIECE OF MAROON AND GOLD THAT WE COULD FIND.

THE RESULT. WE WERE WELCOMED LIKE VISITING FAMILY. I’M SURE THE FACT THAT WE HADN’T BEATEN THE BUCKEYES IN COLUMBUS SINCE LINCOLN’S PRESIDENCY HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT WARM RECEPTION.

AT THE ADVICE OF FANS WE WENT TO SOMETHING CALLED THE BAND’S SKULL SESSION WHICH ATTRACTED SOME 15,000 FANS TO NEARBY ST. JOHN ARENA ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE KICKOFF. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS BEYOND ELECTRIC.

WE WATCHED THE BAND’S ELABORATE ENTRANCE ONTO THE FIELD AND THE BEST FLAG RAISING CEREMONY WE’VE EVER SEEN. ANYWHERE.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU MAY THINK ABOUT THE ALLEGED ARROGANCE OF FANS OF THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, THEY DO PAGEANTRY RIGHT.

NOW I’M PROBABLY GOING TO MAKE SOME ENEMIES AMONG THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THE CONCESSIONS HERE AT TCF BANK STADIUM, BUT DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AT HALFTIME AND STAY IN YOUR SEATS.

THE OHIO STATE BAND, ALONG WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MARCHING BAND, WILL BOTH PERFORM AT HALFTIME.

YOU PROBABLY KNOW THAT THE OHIO STATE BAND MODESTLY REFERS TO ITSELF AS TBDBITL, SHORT FOR “THE BEST DAMN BAND IN THE LAND.” HONESTLY, WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU EXPECT FROM A PLACE THAT INSISTS ON CALLING ITSELF THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

BUT FOR TONIGHT, I’M TELLING YOU TO GET PAST THAT. IN THIS CASE THEY JUST MIGHT BE RIGHT.

IT’S PART OF WHAT MAKES GOPHER FOOTBALL SATURDAYS FUN, ALMOST NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME.

I’M TOLD THE OHIO STATE BAND WILL PERFORM THE “SCRIPT OHIO,” PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS BAND FORMATION IN THE COUNTRY. THE DOT ABOVE THE LETTER “I” IS USUALLY FILLED BY A SOUSAPHONE PLAYER, BUT ON RARE OCCASION HAS BEEN DONE BY THE LIKES OF WOODY HAYES, BOB HOPE, JACK NICKLAUS, JAMES BUSTER DOUGLAS AND ASTRONAUT JOHN GLENN.

I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO OVERLOOK A LIFE-LONG GRUDGE AGAINST THE BUCKEYE FOOTBALL TEAM, BUT, HEY, LET’S GIVE THEIR BAND AN OPEN-MINDED LOOK.

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