I'm from a small town in Southcentral Pennsylvania. It's about two hours from State College, home of Penn State and equidistant between Philly and Pittsburgh. In my family, we're Penn State fans. Others in town are die hard Eagles or Steelers fans. Football is big in my hometown, or I always thought so anyway.
You see, it's nothing compared to how big the Buckeyes are in Ohio.
I first noticed--really noticed--this phenomenon two years ago during our Christmas visit to Abel's hometown in Northwest Ohio. We were sitting in Applebee's (fine dining!) and as I looked around the restaurant I noticed that, on average, at least one person per table was wearing an Ohio State article of clothing. At some tables, everyone was wearing Buckeye paraphernalia.
This was not a football Saturday. It was not the day of a bowl game. It was just a regular old day in Buckeye territory.
This summer we went to the wedding of two Ohio State alumni. The entire wedding was Ohio State themed. The colors? Scarlet and Grey. The recessional song: the Alma Mater, Carmen Ohio. The favors? Ohio State beer koozies printed with the names of the bride and groom and wedding date. I am not kidding. And seriously, the bride and groom are two very stylish people. She even works in the fashion industry! Every single wedding of a college buddy of Abel's has included a packed dance floor with everyone doing O-H-I-O during "Hang on Sloopy" during the reception.
This past weekend we were in Ohio for Easter. Saturday afternoon we went to a local pizza place for lunch and sitting at the table next to us there were four women, a pre-teen boy and a toddler. Without staring too hard (I hope!) I noticed the following: 2 Ohio State t-shirts, 1 Ohio State purse, 1 pair Ohio State pants, 1 pair Ohio State earrings, 1 Ohio State sweatshirt, and 1 Ohio State leather jacket.
Please let me be clear--this was not a football Saturday. Ohio State was not playing in a March Madness basketball game that day. This was a regular old day. This was a regular wardrobe. This was a regular family. In Buckeye Territory.
But who am I to talk? Our groomsmen received Ohio State cuff links (all except my brother and our Michigan friend!) and Lucas's nursery is an Ohio State football theme.
The letters are wood; the baby buckeye was hand-painted by my mom and me! This is probably the most artistic thing I've done in my entire life!