The night before a big Ohio State game, I find it difficult to fall asleep. When I do finally drift off, it’s a hard sleep, but it never lasts very long. I often will wake up at 5am and have trouble getting to sleep again. This is my curse, and I am living it again at this very moment.
It’s 6:50 am (and Michigan still sucks), and I have read about everything I can read about the Ohio State/Penn State game that will begin in about 8 and a half hours. So there’s only one thing left to do….create my own Buckeye blog and write my own damn articles.
Welcome to The Buckeye Battle Cry.
A little intro…my name is Jeff, I am 37 years old, I live in Canton, Ohio, and I am an Ohio State football fanatic. For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of the scarlet and gray. When I was a little boy, my dad and I used to watch games together every Saturday. Back then, the games would be re-broadcast at 1030pm, and I’d stay up late to watch the Bucks all over again. Dad took me to my first game on September 8th, 1984. We beat Oregon State 22-14 that day.
A few years later, I stepped onto campus as a freshman at The Ohio State University. My first game as a student was a 24-3 victory over West Virginia. Later that year, I traveled with Block O to the Michigan game, which turned out to be Earle Bruce’s final game as the Buckeyes Head Coach. Of course, we won 23-20.
I spent the next 10 years going to every Ohio State/Michigan game, whether it was in Ann Arbor or Columbus. I repaid my father by taking him to see the 1989 game up north. We lost 28-18. Yes, I was there when Desmond Howard struck the Heisman pose. I thought my luck was bad when I looked at my record of attending OSU/UM games and saw it at 2-7-1. Now I know it wasn’t my fault. It was John Cooper’s.
My favorite Buckeye player is a man who I never saw play, not even on tape. Quarterback John Borton (1952-1954) was the father of a very special friend of mine. In the early 90s, I wrote an article about him for the Massillon Independent. He invited me into his home and we spoke about every Buckeye detail we could think of. I was enthralled by the stories he had to share, and the article just wrote itself. A few weeks later, Borton asked me to represent him at halftime of the 1994 Purdue game, where the 1954 National Championship team would be honored (along with other NC teams). His health was failing him and he couldn’t make it to Columbus. I happily stood alongside Buckeye legends on the sideline, sending best wishes from Borton to his old teammates, but refused to step on the field with such great men. Despite representing one of the players, I never wore the uniform. Anne Hayes offered me a solution, and she insisted I ride with her in her golf cart to the center of the field. I could have died a happy man that day.
John Borton passed away four years ago, but left behind a loving family who honors his accomplishments to this day. And I firmly believe he had a role from up above, as a few short months after he passed away, the Buckeyes gave us a 14-0 season and their first National Championship in my lifetime.
His ashes have since been spread on the field at Ohio Stadium.
I’ll keep this blog updated as frequently as I can. If nothing else, I know I’ll have time every Saturday morning at 6am to work on it.