Earlier this season, GQ published a humor piece naming the 25 Douchiest Colleges in the United States. Hey, look — there’s Ohio State:
19. Ohio State
Home of: The Excessive-School-Pride Douche
Affectations: Dressing for class each morning as if you were the offensive-line coach; writing prison letters to Maurice Clarett.
Overheard at Buckeye career-building workshop: “You can put ‘Won a national championship’ on a résumé, right?”
Most likely to: Suffocate a hapless Boilermakers fan with a giant foam Number One after offhand comment about how the marching band’s “Script Ohio” wasn’t all that impressive.
Honorable-mention excessive-school-pride institutions: Duke, Michigan, Texas, Penn State, Yeshiva University.
OK. Guilty, at least of dressing each morning as if I were the offensive-line coach. But to be honest, I’m not really sure what the problem is.
This came up in HBO’s excellent documentary about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry a couple years ago. The producers interviewed a bunch of Michigan folks who said Ohio State fans were excessive in their loyalties; they also implied that we’re so passionate about Ohio State football because there’s little else to be excited about in Columbus (a point that certainly is debatable — Ann Arbor is a fun town, but it’s just a town. And I’m not certain that anyone would classify Detroit as entertaining…).
Our college friend Aaron Marshall, one of the Ohio State fans represented in the documentary, asked this: since when is passion and enthusiasm a bad thing? Why should it be hidden, as the Michigan folks seemed to suggest, behind some facade of elitism? Why shouldn’t I live and die with my team?
One interesting thing about the timing of the documentary — it was prepared during the 2006 season, at the end of which Jim Tressel upped his record against Michigan to 5-1 (now, of course, 7-1). I have to wonder if Michigan fans would find enthusiasm a little more tasteful if they had won more than one game since the start of the decade.
If you’re in Columbus on Friday, it won’t be hard to spot me as I buy the brats, the beer and the Ohio State gear we need for Saturday’s game — I’ll be the one dressed head-to-toe in scarlet and gray.
Just like everyone else.