The question that has been rattling around in my mind this week has been “does being awesome all the time ever get boring?” I wonder if the directors of the Ohio State University Marching Band or its members ever wake up in the morning and go “you know, just for a change of pace maybe we won’t be awesome today.” Buckeye fans have known for generations how awesome TBDBITL is and in the past two years millions more people around the world have come to realize that too. Last year the band’s moving surfer formation, NASA show, and video game show received worldwide attention and the band hasn’t missed a beat this season when it comes to continuing its tradition of excellence. This past week’s tribute to the music of Michael Jackson may not have become the viral sensation that last year’s video game show became but it has received attention from numerous sources including USA Today, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Reddit, Huffington Post, and countless other sources that I’m too lazy and tired to look up.
While the football team had last weekend off, the Ohio State University Marching Band was hard at work, hosting and performing at the Buckeye Invitational, a high school band competition held in Ohio Stadium. On Saturday 33 high school bands made the trip to Columbus to compete, watch other high school bands, and get a chance to TBDBITL in action. Growing up Ohio, it is pretty standard to be a Buckeye fan and just because one does not play football does not mean that one doesn’t still have dreams of setting foot on the field at the Shoe. The Buckeye Invitational gives high school band kids a chance to live that dream by performing at the Shoe in front of their friends, family, and some of the best bands from across the state. The event also serves as a great recruiting tool for the OSUMB as it gives the high school band members a chance to see TBDBITL perform and to see the wonderful facilities the marching band has available to it at OSU.
The Invitational got underway just after 10 am and featured performances from high school bands including Findlay, John Glenn High School, Centennial, Marietta, and many others; you can find lots more videos by doing a youtube search for ‘Buckeye Invitational 2013.’ The Invitational concluded with the OSUMB taking to the field as the Sun began to set. The OSUMB’s performance began with the traditional ramp entrance which as always brought the crowd to its feet.
When the football team staged their come-from-behind victory last weekend at Northwestern, they did not have the band there with them to provide support for the first and only time this season. Thanks to markedly increased funding this season, the Ohio State University Marching Band was able to afford to travel to more away games this year and the band eagerly took advantage. Unfortunately this past weekend was homecoming at Northwestern and due to the special events planned for halftime due to the occasion, the OSUMB would not have been able to perform at halftime and as a result elected to stay home and give the band members a much deserved weekend off.
In addition to the off weekend giving the band a chance to rest, it gives me a chance to write about one of the most popular OSU football traditions and clear up some misconceptions.
‘Script Ohio’ is TBDBITL’s most famous tradition and most Buckeye fans would probably say that gameday in the Shoe isn’t complete until they see a fourth year sousaphone player strut out to dot the ‘i’. Fondness for ‘Script Ohio’ isn’t limited to OSU fans though as evidenced by it being declared the greatest tradition in college football by numerous media sources and the praise heaped on it by countless fans of other teams.
Of course, you can’t please everyone and ‘Script Ohio’ does have it’s critics and their criticisms tend to boil down to three things: 1. the Script is too long and boring, 2. It is just a follow-the-leader drill and isn’t that impressive, and 3. It was invented by Michigan and the OSUMB stole it.
Night games at the Shoe are rare and special occasions. Normally night games are against big name opponents, requiring the team to step up its game in order to pull off the victory and after a day of anticipation, and drinking, the crowd is very willing to step up its game as well, creating an incredible atmosphere that is hard to beat. The Ohio State University Marching Band also seems to step up its game for these primetime showdowns, often performing some of their most impressive and popular shows under the lights. Last year’s video game show from the night game against Nebraska was the perfect example of the band performing a special show for this special occasion. As we all know, that show was loved by everyone in the stadium and went viral, drawing media attention from around the globe. After that show many people were probably left thinking “how will the band top that?” Well, last week against Wisconsin the band answered that.
The special nature of the night was evident at Skull Session where Lebron James joined Urban Meyer in speaking to the fans and the band; James’s presence drew a mix of cheers and boos as one would expect.
The Ohio State vs Florida A&M wasn’t a particularly interesting game, unless you are a fan of watching one team beat the heck out of another while racking up the stats. Fortunately for Buckeye fans, they can always count on the Ohio State University Marching Band to be entertaining, even if the game itself isn’t. The OSUMB certainly didn’t let fans down this week thanks to yet another entertaining performance that also included some special and moving moments.
The pregame performance started in the usual way with the traditional ramp entrance followed by the playing of the opposing team’s fight song, though Florida A&M has perhaps the most unusual fight song that you will ever hear. The OSUMB then departed from their normal pregame routine, spelling out “USA” on each sideline as part of a salute to US military veterans with the playing of a medley of the service songs. The band then concluded pregame with the traditional tunnel sequence, team entrance, and playing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
One of the first things that anyone watching the OSU at Cal game this past week noticed was the amount of scarlet in the stands as Ohio State fans invaded Memorial Stadium, turning it into a sort of ‘Horseshoe West’. The feeling of a home game was enhanced by the fact that the Ohio State University Marching Band was also in attendance. Thanks to a new funding deal put in place by former university president Gordon Gee, the band had money to travel to additional road game this year and they have already taken advantage of that thanks to a busy road trip to California that included performing at pep rallies and fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The OSUMB always tends to be well received on the road, even initially hostile fan bases tend to be won over by the quality of the performance put on by the band, Michigan fans tending to be the exception. The band didn’t have to fight too hard for a warm reception in Berkley though thanks to the number of Buckeyes present, something that became immediately obviously during pregame as the band was met with a roar from the crowd when they took the field and launched into Fight The Team while forming a floating ‘OHIO’ that traveled down the field. The band then did its customary salute to the opponent, playing the Cal fight song while forming their logo, something that was well received by the Cal fans. The customary road game double Script Ohio also felt like a home game as you could easily hear the crowd clapping along and then erupting into cheers as the ‘i’s were dotted.
In lieu of “Shots From The ‘Shoe” this week, here’s what the day was like for Ohio State fans as the team was on the road. We’ve covered the ins and outs on the field, this is more of a travelogue from gameday.
Seemingly like the rest of Buckeye Nation, I made the trek north to the Bay Area for an amazing weekend of college football. I actually hesitate to call this “Behind Enemy Lines”, as Berkeley seemed to have turned into Columbus west for the better part of Friday and Saturday.
The atmosphere was energized… a gorgeous fall day, the fog burned off around 11:30 or so and we spent the afternoon in sun and temperatures around the high 70s. Even from blocks away, you could tell that Ohio State fans would be well represented in the newly renovated Memorial Stadium.
As you may have heard, Cal is not configured for much “tailgating” in the traditional sense. I guess they’d much rather have another organic chai shop than creating accessible parking that the pre-game festivities would require. Nevertheless, folks found a way.
On Friday, I’d gone by famous Telegraph Avenue with the wife to do some shopping in Berkeley’s well known music and book stores. I chose to “blend in” by wearing my tie-dyed shirt… Buckeye specific, of course. It didn’t take long for me to get severa “O!H!” greetings, as well as a “F***the Buckeyes!” from a moron in blue and gold. Must have been a Michigan exchange students.
Saturday, it was good to see that someone else had my incredible fashion sense. Read More
This week marks the Buckeyes’ first road game of the campaign so let’s see what our staff wishlist look like: