“We’ve gotta beat those sonsabitches.”
Sorry, but I’m not sorry.
It was the last thing I did inside Ohio Stadium when I left after Saturday’s cold, rainy loss to Michigan State.
And it was the best way for me to start Michigan week.
Those concrete garlands – they’re “strung” all around the stadium, attached to the building’s original façade – are my connection between the current, expanded version of the stadium and the one that my grandfather worked on before it opened in 1922. I’m not especially superstitious, but I always make sure I go up the correct stairway to C Deck so I can touch one of those garlands. It’s a little thing, but it makes me feel like I have the entire weight of Ohio State football history behind me as I climb up to my seats.
The renovations to the stadium were completed in the early 2000s, and they added capacity to the building in two ways: the track was removed and the field was lowered, so additional seats could be added to the base of the lower bowl, and a new façade was erected outside the old one so C Deck could be expanded up an out. I don’t recall the first time I touched one of the garlands, but once I settled on that as a tradition, I’ll even backtrack down a second flight of stairs just to make sure I touch one before the game begins.
As you may be aware, I got my first tattoo last spring, a subtle – in theme, not in the size of the piece – display of my affection for Athens. Something having to do with Ohio State football was a natural for Tattoo No. 2, but getting a Block O or something else obvious just wasn’t going to work. But while struggling with potential ideas, Mrs. Crappy made a suggestion: What about those garlands? I immediately thought they would work as a bicep band.
And although there won’t be another trip to Ohio Stadium during the 2015 season, I will have a little bit of the stadium with me all the way through Michigan week.
Everyone here is excited about the win by Columbus in the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference finals.
And I mean everyone.
Although the effort was kind of exhausting.
I don’t have anything against Michigan beer. In fact, in terms of quality, I’d put Michigan up against nearly any other geopolitical territory on the face of the planet.
But there’s a unique football thing going on this week and next, and that means sticking to Ohio beer as much as possible. And as you can see from the Tower O’ Beer, shot Friday night in my folks’ basement, I’ll be off to a pretty good start by the time you read this Saturday afternoon.
Here’s your rundown, from top to bottom:
- It could be that the broad beer style that makes me happiest these days is the unassuming brown ale, largely because it can be a whole bunch of different things. I found Gnarly Brown, from Cincinnati’s Madtree Brewing, on Fourth of July weekend and have picked up a six of it nearly every time we’ve been home since. It’s a bit stronger than many of the browns (there’s a pro football joke in there for you) I’m used to drinking, and the coffee flavor and brown sugar sweetness mix nicely.
- Panther robust porter, from Rhinegeist in Cincy, is a new one for me. But I’ve been craving porters and stouts recently (see previous post and the Bison imperial stout), so I can’t wait to give it a try.
- Dear Pittsburgh friends: Grocery stores in Ohio are different. As I wandered through the Sawmill Road Giant Eagle tonight, I came across two sample tables. At the first, I got a generous pour of Bergamot Blue mead from Brothers Drake — great stuff, by the way. At the second, I couldn’t pass up a taste of Beard Crumbs, a just-released oatmeal-raisin stout from Land Grant Brewing here in Columbus. I’ve never had an oatmeal stout like it; the raisins add just a touch of rich sweetness to what would be by itself a very good oatmeal stout. Our mead needs for the week are already set, but I couldn’t pass up a six of Beard Crumbs.
- The brewery’s name is Land Grant.Their home is Columbus. Their IPA is called Stiff-Arm. The can is scarlet and gray. Duh.