As an Ohio State student, every day I ask myself one question: what have I done to beat Michigan today? This question is easy to answer as a campus resident, but not everyone can be in Columbus for the big Ohio State versus Michigan smackdown this weekend. So what can you do if you want to celebrate like a Buckeye student? Recreate the traditions at home, of course!
The Mirror Lake Jump:
The most important part of Beat Michigan Week at The Ohio State University is unquestionably the Mirror Lake Jump. Every year, thousands of students gather at the lake and take the icy plunge to show their support for the football team (because why not?). The university doesn’t sanction the jump, but when about 12,000 (mostly inebriated) college students decide they’re going to do something, you don’t really have an option anymore. Of course, the lake isn’t very deep, and it’s not by any means what anyone would call “sanitary,” but it’s one of OSU’s most important traditions, and anyone caught missing out is suspect of being a closeted Michigan fan. I shudder at the thought.
At home suggestion: Two words: swimming pool. If you don’t have access to one, find a small inflatable kiddie pool. The students don’t care what the weather is like, and neither should you. Just dive right in, but remember to be safe.
If there’s one thing Ohio State does better than anyone else, it’s throw a wild and crazy pep rally — because we’ve got spirit, yes we do. Key players that appear include Brutus Buckeye, President Gee, the marching band and, of course, the all-mighty coach Tressel and his brute squad. While there are weekly pep rallies at St. John’s Arena, for a few fleeting hours before the big game, the whole campus unites under one ideal: free food. And football. I meant football.
At home suggestion: Crank up your favorite Ohio State marching band CD until your neighbors complain. Order a gratuitous amount of pizza and share it with your annoyed
neighbors. Dance around your living room like a cheerleader.
Ohio State football games are more regulated than some religious ceremonies. The cheers, the songs and the festivities are traditions that extend back to the beginnings of OSU football. From “The Buckeye Battle Cry” to the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” before each kick-off, there are dozens of crowd-participation traditions.
At home suggestion: At the very least, you should do the cheers along with the people in the stadium, but you get bonus points for doing the famous “O-H!” “I-O!” cheer in an environment that isn’t exclusively OSU fans. Wear a Tressel-esque sweater vest. Memorize the words to “Carmen Ohio” and sing along after the game. Make sure you ring your own Victory Bell after the game to let everyone know that we won.
Even in the middle of college sport’s biggest rivalry, students have found a way to turn the animosity into a motivational tactic. One of the week’s biggest aspects is the Blood Battle, which is basically a contest to see which school can get the most students to donate blood. There’s also a massive canned food drive, a charity chili cook-off and a fast-a-thon, as well as basically every pro-social student organization’s respective celebration.
At home suggestion: Donate, donate, donate! Donate blood to the Red Cross. Donate your gently-used blue clothes (it’s not like you need them for the game, anyway).
Donate your time to a worthy cause. Ohio State is a very socially conscious school, so if you’re really interested in showing support, support a charity.
Or, I hate football — so what am I supposed to do?
As someone who didn’t buy football tickets this year (because sometimes you’re just too busy), I’ve become somewhat of an expert on avoiding the football mania. A few tricks I’ve picked up in my time as a somewhat apathetic football supporter:
• First of all, recognize the fact that everyone around you is totally excited for the game. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Comments about the Wisconsin game or Terrelle Pryor’s haircut only sound good in your head.
• Be positive! Cavalierly tell people that it’s not that you don’t support the sports teams, you just prefer rugby over football. If you don’t like sports at all, then say you support the Intergalactic Science Fiction Club. That actually exists. They have meetings and stuff.
• Know enough to avoid sounding completely ignorant. No, it’s called a touchdown. Home runs are in baseball.
• Retreat to a quiet corner someplace far away from the craziness. This can be as difficult in the Funcoast area as it is on campus. The trick is to find some soundproof headphones, because as much as you love your school, sometimes you have homework and just don’t want to listen to the darned fight song anymore.