That's right, the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes football team won their game against the University of Michigan Wolverines Saturday afternoon. The sports announcers broadcasting from Columbus described the day's sunny weather at the horseshoe-shaped OSU stadium in terms that conjured for me one of those warm fall days I so remember treasuring this time of year in Ohio, because I knew freezing temperatures, rain, ice or snow would be present all too soon. This late in the year the weather conditions Saturday sounded much like what we called Indian Summer - a very special time in any given year that might or might not suddenly make its appearance after a cold snap, the first frost.
I should say right up front that a part of me shared the disappointment experienced in another family member's household as her favored team lost in their valiant effort to upset the Buckeyes winning season much as they have sometimes done in years past. Her Michigan team came close to a tie or even winning this game, but close isn't quite good enough. There is little doubt the University of Michigan has the second best college football team in this country.
So many memories came flooding back as I actually sat down and watched the whole game. I understand the rules of the U.S. version of football (that word refers to soccer in the rest of the world,) and a number of other sporting games, plus even some of their finer points. Over the years I even enjoyed watching some of the various games, but I did not enjoy an extended steady diet of any of them.
Many years ago I found this diet, to which I was being increasingly involuntarily subjected, had become for me of overdose proportions. For self-preservation I sought relief from the sensory bombardment of incessant televised sporting events by occupying myself with other matters. Watching this game Saturday was clearly a departure from my usual activities for many years.
Years ago, I enjoyed watching portions of selected college football games during which university bands performed during half-time activities. But the broadcasting powers that be found they could make more money with talking heads rattling on and on with statistics, and other matters which were of absolutely no interest whatsoever to me. Obviously, my tastes must reflect a minority view as I found the heads still talking all through half-time when I viewed this game.
I watched the entire Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday, a first for me in many years, for the emotional reasons I described in the previous post "A Really Big Game Today." I'm glad I watched the game because not only did I enjoy it, the lettuce salad and new Artisian pizza I ordered were pretty tasty, too.
Just before the game actually started, I was able to see the Ohio State Marching Band on the field as they performed their famous Script Ohio in which band members actually write in script "Ohio" as they make the formation on the field while marching and playing their instruments.
I watched, remembering when the formation was near completion the last action was for someone to dot the "i" by assuming a position above it. The person who dotted the i was someone to whom special recognition was being accorded. A former employer, when I worked at one of the local television stations had been a tuba player in the marching band as a young OSU student years earlier. He was duly proud that he had been selected to dot the i, a highly respected tradition at OSU football games.
Much later at the end of the game the band exhuberently played a familiar tune called "Hang On Sloopy" which you can learn more about at: http://users.frii.com/~nmetro/osu/songs/hang_on_sloopy.html
The memories "Sloopy" triggered for me were recalling the arranger of this tune which had become a popular OSU standard some years after we left Ohio, played by the band for football team motivation and roundly welcomed as a pep tune by the students, alumni and fans at all games and some other events. John Tatgenhorst was this arranger's name and he was an Ohio State music student when I met him. He had a handsome boyish looking face which attracted all the women, young and old. He played the drums in the Al Waslohn Quintet on the hour and one-half local live audience participation television show where we both worked. The show often had guest entertainers periodically performing in town. John was the youngest member of the show's musical group, also was married. The older musicians all referred to him as "The Kid."
John went on to establish his own music business with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. He has written many arrangements including among his first, some for Texas university bands, others and for movie scores.
Memories continued beseiging my mind as I recalled I last saw the actual Ohio State marching band "writing" the script Ohio in San Diego many years ago with my husband and son, when the football team played in the Fiesta Bowl. That time when the formation began, I was unexpectedly and suddenly overcome with tears as recalled past Ohio times crowded their way into my thoughts -- where I met my husband, our dating days, where we bought our very first home, the feral "Mamacat," as we named her, who ultimately adopted us, then presented us with kittens, one of which became a permanent part of our then childless, later child-filled family -- so much more remembered.
I'll be really interested to see Ohio State's remaining football games this year in whatever holiday bowl game to which they are ultimately invited. Arizona's Sun Bowl seems definite. As best I can gather, depending on the outcome of other teams remaining games, one of the possibilities is the Ohio State team could conceivably be matched to play this same Michigan team again. The New Year's Day Rose Bowl, played in nearby Pasadena, has been mentioned as a possibility at some point in an effort to have a playoff for the truly best team in the country. At last report, California's USC is hardly out of the picture.
I really have never tried to analyze or stay current with how this college football game ranking system and scheduling scenario evolves each year, including this one. I have gathered that those in the know about sports find the current system an improvement over what was done previously, but even now the whole system is thought by some to be complicated, sometimes confusing, often questionable and controversial.
You can bet, my husband would have been excitedly and apprehensively filling me in on all the details with his view as he impatiently awaited the final determination as to which teams played which other teams and where. There is no doubt in my mind he would have been absolutely certain the Ohio State Buckeyes football team deserves the Number One position whoever and wheresoever they play. I'm convinced, too.