September 21, 2003

Bucknuts

Busy weekend, and that means bloglessness here at Wizblog. Left town in a motor home Friday night for the 110 mile trip to Columbus for the Buckeye game and and related activities. We were loaded up with alcohol, food, beer, snacks and alcohol. Did I get everything? It was the third annual 24-hour blitz to OSU and back. Ten guys along with me, the designated driver. Not to worry. I've done this before.

So on Friday night, in the time not spent driving around blocks downtown looking for non-existent parking spaces for a full size Winnebago-type unit, I assist my buddies with their dance, the Columbus Bar-Hop. Hilarities ensue, the details of which must remain secret under threat of Guy Club sanctions. Let's just say we're a pretty harmless group overall. Hell, I was in bed by 3:00.

By mid-morning Saturday, we had made our way to Lane Avenue, where the dead beer cans were already piling up in the street. The party there on Lane, before, during and after the game is a spectacle that stuns people who are seeing it for the first time. Not that most people haven't seen some large-scale binge drinking before, at concerts, or "keggers" or New Orleans. But this is just tens of thousands of people, mostly young people, who don't have tickets to the game, many of whom are only vaguely aware that there is a game, who are down on Lane Avenue all day, hard in pursuit of the full-tilt boogie. And I mean they are working hard at having a good time. Consider that this is the largest undergraduate student population at any university in the country, combining with another huge group of non-students of all ages that are fierce Buckeye partisans, fans and hangers-on, having a huge drinking party-football game-street fair. It is agreed in advance that we will meet here eight times a year in the Fall and go nuts.

There are 104,000 paying customers at the Horseshoe, and I'll bet there are twice that many again who are around for the "atmosphere". The bars and hotels rope off their parking lots, you can see three or four live bands in front of big-screen video displays. College kids, overjoyed to be back on campus, do what they do best. They party, and the rest of us older, wiser, more mature folks get caught up in the spirit. Hot, sweaty, beer-drinking people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder into not so small places. It's loud. It's crazy. It's great. It's all about the Buckeyes of course.

Now I love my friends and everything, and I'm not immune to having fun with them even if I'm not drinking. But at bottom, I go for the football game. Few others in our group would say that, and none of us was in possession of a ticket when we left home. One "first-timer" with us wanted to see the game too, so we left the early partiers by 11 a.m. to walk over to the stadium, and bought tickets by the time we were halfway there. Paid slightly over face value, but they were great seats, and I wanted to have that ordeal over with.

And it was a game. Bowling Green made it closer than it should have been, but that's the way this OSU team wins. We dominated the game for three and a half quarters, and then relaxed a bit too much, so the score didn't reflect the difference between the teams. Until they lose one this way, (and they will) it's hard to bitch much. Fabulous day. 104,000 of my close friends. 24-17.

We return to the Lane Ave. revelry to inform a few thousand people that there has been this football game, and that in fact the good guys have won. It's senseless to try to find people that you haven't seen for four hours in that madness, so two or three at a time, they drag their asses back to the motor home, some in more of a state of disrepair than others. Lots of naps on the way back up I-71. The wheelman is quietly satisfied. Nobody dies. Bucks win. Cheers.

Posted by dan at September 21, 2003 10:38 PM