Sunday, September 13, 2015

Getting My Ear Removed

Getting My Ear Removed

I met a lot of very nice people today as I was knocking on doors for Mike Hamlar​.  I mean that, a lot of very nice people.  I knocked on one door expecting a female voter, but a man answered.  He explained that he and his wife had a mixed marriage.  He's a Republican, and she has "other ideas."  He laughed.  We shared a congenial chat-as it should be. 

I met many older people today.  A great many were in their 80's or late 70's.  Most wanted someone with whom to talk.  One lady had her husband walk out on her a few months ago.  Another was struggling to get by in the wake of a divorce after 35 years of marriage. 

One stood out, however.  A 78 year-old lady shared that she is raising her 6 year-old great-grandson.  He's a very active, but nice young boy.  We talked for about a half hour. She was feeling alone and was somewhat soured on people and the direction our country is heading.  But through our discussion, I pointed out that, in fact, there is a whole lot of good in this world, and sometimes we just need to stop and focus on that.  She agreed and then began citing examples of people who have shown her kindness.   

I know I'm rambling, but I think what I'm trying to say is that there's a whole lot more good in the world than we give ourselves credit for.  As she was about to turn away from the door at the end of our conversation, she said, "This always happens when someone comes to the door.  Since I rarely get to talk to anyone, when someone comes to the door, I talk their ear off."  

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Script Ohio

Ohio State vs Virginia Tech
September 7, 2015

The game is over and the grim reality of the Brewer injury hangs heavy over the Hokie landscape.  If you were like me, when Brewer dragged his shoulder off the field in the third quarter, you figured he’d find a way back onto the field.  We know that, belying his stature, he has an elastic quality about him.  As the news was whispered from devices and passed through the crowd, as the offense sputtered in response, and as the defense lost focus and discipline to fatigue and disconsolation; the crowd diminished into the east.

The anticipation I felt for this game was unlike that felt for any game in recent memory.  All off-season, I spent countless hours following the developments of the team and the news from the opponent. I understand that the Master would not allow his team to forget last year.  That alone was reason to suspect a different outcome.  But I dreamed and hoped for bottled lightning uncorked.

The Game and the Opponent

Would the same defensive scheme work twice? No.  We were unable to play tag in the OSU backfield this time. There was little disruption of what OSU wanted to do.  We did stay disciplined for most of two quarters, but that devolved as the game edged into the fourth quarter and OSU began dominating the clock.

I’ll leave it to others to dissect, but it sure looked to me that we suffered from the inability of the interior defense to cover the inside options when they chose to run.  When Cardale chose to launch his darts, he was unharried and able to get the ball to whomever he desired a reasonable amount of time.

Zeke is everything he’s advertized to be, an amazing back.  However, his touchdown run in the first quarter was greatly aided by a mugging and hugging that Dadi was receiving as Zeke slipped past him and off to the races.  With that blatant hold happening right below me and right in front of an official, I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a flag.

Braxton Miller’s run was, quite simply, the most electrifying run I’ve seen since Michael Vick zipped through Pitt.  That spin move left our defense and our fans murmuring.

We, in turn, looked solid on the ground.  Our three backs each had positive runs.  Gone are the frustrating days of having backs attacked three yards deep struggling just to get back to the line. Those runs, in this game, weren’t met with resistance until the line with our backs able to fall forward for three yards or even five on good runs.  That, in my estimation, is the greatest improvement I noted.

Loeffler called a fantastic game with both quarterbacks.  There wasn’t a single time in the game when I turned to my wife and said, “What the hell was that call?” Again, improvement!  I especially loved being on the right side of the Matty Ice/McNabb puke play for a touchdown.

Our receivers, Malleck aside, had a pedestrian evening.  Bucky seemed to have a hard time shaking “snug” coverage.  Malleck’s catch while fully extended as well as Ford’s toe-dance with the sideline were remarkable.

The Sideshow

I have to confess that one of the things on my bucket list was watching the OSU band perform “Script Ohio” in person.  While they didn’t have their full band and only performed it to two sides instead of four, I enjoyed the heck out of it and consider that a check off.

My season tickets are in the twilight zone of section 35 where, at most games,  the occasional opposing fans mix in as the opponent’s crowd transitions to their obligatory corner.  Last night, many OSU fans surrounded us.  I asked the kind, large OSU gentleman who sat behind me jamming his knees into my back when I sat down during a red man break how he got his tickets.  He told me that he finagled them through Stub Hub.  I’ll be saying a word or two to that “fan” if I ever see him at a future game.

My knee neighbor was quite nice, however.  He told me that he and his two friends decided to make it a football weekend.  They traveled to Morganhole to watch the cousins win their first game.  Then they moved on to catch the Herd upend the Boilermakers before cruising into Roanoke.  By the way, they said that Perdue is HORRIBLE.

As the game was winding down out of reach, I poured on the good karma and complimented the knee guy and his friends on their win.  One of them was dismissive.  He told me that this win was way too sloppy.  I told him that it was the first game of the season and you have to expect a certain amount of sloppiness since there are no preseason games.  He snorted at that and said in an authoritative voice, “We have higher expectations at OSU.”  How often over the years have I heard similar?  From Miami before we began regularly beating them.  From Alabama before the Music City Bowl.  From USC before the FedEx Interference Game.  From Auburn’s drunken War-Damn-Eagle fans before a Sugar Bowl.  From FSU in the biggest game.  From Georgia , The Pine Trees, UCLA, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Nebraska, and Texas during bowl games. 

After hearing “Exclusive Club Talk” yet again from another fan base, I realized something.  We lost the game. We tragically lost our offensive cog. But we have not lost our soul.  Who could watch Frank and Shane try to guess the song and not feel lighter?  Who could dismiss the helmet sticker in honor of Adam and Allison from WDBJ as being overly sentimental?  Who could not shed a tear at the Billy Hite tribute and the video piece on Frank?  Who could not look out over the sea of orange glistening in the early evening twilight glow and not feel the satisfaction of being home?

Sure. We lost the game, but, as Frank might say, “There’s a whole lot more to this deal than that.”