College football started last weekend. It still feels like the middle of summer here – it’s certainly hot enough and school hasn’t started yet – so the season kind of snuck up on me. Last Saturday, we were lucky enough to be able to stream the first Ohio State game of the season and watch most of it live (who thought we’d be able to do that in Peace Corps!) and it was a great way to feel like we were back home for a couple hours.
But this morning, before the sun was too high, there was a cool breeze coming in the window and it felt so much like a fall tailgate outside Ohio Stadium that I was stuck daydreaming all morning about hot dogs, beer, scarlet and grey as far as the eye can see, beer, the roar of the crowd in the ‘Shoe, beer, and Carmen Ohio. This week’s game is a little bit harder to miss than last week’s, because it’s the Alumni game, which means if we were home we’d be marching along with 600 other alumni “just one more time” in Ohio Stadium… and I wish I could be there with my friends.
Being out of Ohio for the football season is hitting me a little bit harder than I expected it to. Maybe this sounds a little silly to you if you’re not a sports fan, but I’m starting to realize how much Ohio State football means to me. It’s not about winning (well… it’s not all about winning), but also about how it makes me feel like I belong; like I’m at home. I wasn’t a big football fan until I joined the OSU marching band, but I definitely grew up with a deep-seated hatred of maize and blue. Football Saturdays bring back memories of my whole family decked out in scarlet and grey, my dad and my brother glued to the TV, my grandparents bringing us recorded videotapes of the close games so we could re-watch them, me playing really terrible middle-school versions of “Hang on Sloopy” on my trumpet, cookouts at neighbors’ and friends’ houses, and afterwards hearing the games endlessly analyzed by my extended family.
OSU wasn’t my original choice for college, but once I enrolled and joined the band it was all over – I’m a fan for life now. I have so many great memories from my time there, not to mention it’s where I met my husband and tons of good friends. OSU, and especially the football season, is one of the biggest things that consistently reminds me of home. Perhaps the hardest thing about being gone for this season is knowing that I’ll also be out of the country for next season, and who knows if I’ll ever be back in Ohio for a full season again. All I can say is, HAMDULILAH for wifi which means that even though we can’t actually be home, Matt and I can get a taste of it for a couple hours each weekend.
To all our alumni band friends: have an extra great time today for us!
To everyone else: O-H!