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For Those About To Rock

Let me ask you a question.

What is your favorite song to rock out to?

Not a song that you can play when your coworkers get in your car to go to lunch that you know won’t offend anyone. No soft rock music station song. I’m talking about a song that as soon as you hear it, you crank that SOB up as loud as you possible can.

You sing along until you sing a note completely wrong…then you sing even louder. (never done that, by the way.)

A song that makes you think air drumming in the car is a good idea; let me tell you…from what I’ve heard and I emphasize heard, it isn’t.

One that when you listen to it, you think that it might actually blow the speakers out…and for however long that song lasts it doesn’t matter to you if they do because you are so lost in the music.

I’m hoping that there are plenty of songs that you are thinking of right now. Probably thinking of the specific times and memories where what I just described actually happened. There is usually a situation attached to these songs.

It could be at The O Patio (RIP, eventually) on a Weds. night in college and “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show comes on. Of course you find your friends and you clear the vocal cords.

“For Those About To Rock….*Cannon Fire* WE SALUTE YOU……Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.” and if you aren’t dancing around and singing to that at the Blue Jackets game you clearly are not defending NWA.

Maybe you are in the car driving with your best friends at 3AM and none of you can fall asleep…and then all the sudden “Can’t Stop” by RHCP comes on. You all say a quick prayer for your ear drums and then all four of you start belting that song out like you are on stage in front of a million people.

Or picture that you are on your way to an interview for your dream job and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem comes on. You turn into one of the transcendent rappers of your generation and you rap out every single word to get yourself in the moment.

I know one that every Buckeye fan, and at this point every football fan who has been to a stadium, will love to hear on a Saturday and that one is “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. Bobby Vegas is still Buckeye Bouncing from the first time we heard it in 2009 in The ‘Shoe.

“Rocky Top”, “Fight On”, “Anchors Away”, and of course: “Buckeye Battle Cry”, “Fight the Team”, and really anything played by The Ohio State Marching Band. All songs that get turned up rather loudly when they come on.

For all of these songs that you crank as loud as possible, there are plenty of songs that will require a much more peaceful mindset in order to enjoy the way they were meant to enjoy. “The Architect” by O.A.R. is one that comes to my mind. “Just a Feeling” by Maroon 5. “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice. There are plenty of songs that don’t belong over the loud speakers of your favorite stadium.

But you still get lost in these songs that are meant for long peaceful drives just the same as you do as the loud party fuel songs that used to bump through your college house.

I’m used to those types of songs…the ones that you can’t wait to play for your friends during a celebration. I’m used to that type of living as well: nonstop, can’t sleep, got somewhere to go and not enough time to get there kind of life. It certainly has gotten me into some trouble at times in my life but I’m slowly learning that both of these kinds of songs are worth getting lost in.

But this Saturday we have the opportunity to get lost in a different type of song. Saturday will be the first night game this year in the Horseshoe and yes, we will be able to Buckeye Bounce as much as we would like. Just don’t spill anything on a purse in front of you that belongs to a lady in a fur coat (shameless plug, read my last post because that happened to me.)

We, the 12th man of Buckeye Football will be asked this coming Saturday by players and coaches alike to get the Horseshoe rocking. Night games at Ohio Stadium have become much more frequent now that Urban Meyer is our head coach but in my mind that does not take anything away from how amazing they are. The many traditions that Ohio State already has along with other awe inducing features that happen when kickoff happens late at night should make it “Harder To Breathe.”

Now beware…I speak from experience here, but late kickoffs can also mean a little too much time to listen to your freshmen year Bangerz playlist that I definitely have never made(I made one), that someone made in the dorms freshmen year(it was me.) It gives you a little too much time to rock as hard as you can if you catch me. I too still love to jam to “Opposite of Adults” by Chiddy Bang on occasion but there is no need to play that before 3:37PM this Saturday. There is no need to create an all-day playlist of 537 songs to listen to. Who would do such a thing? Just kidding, where my River Rats at?? But seriously, don’t make one for Saturday. You will need to start it at approximately 34 hours before kickoff.

The best song we hear all night on Saturday will hopefully be the sound of the team singing Carmen Ohio after going 2-0. We have already seen in this college football season that no matter what the score is that the game ain’t over till it’s over. So if you are going to the game you should know that “You Get What You Give”: cheer loud, stay till Carmen, and lose your voice as well as yourself in the moment.

As always, Go Bucks! Beat OU!

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The Crescendo

“You know I’m back, like I never left” – Me, maybe

Tomorrow, August 31st there will be an electrifying crescendo.

The Orchestra?

Buckeye Nation’s collective restlessness.

The Instruments?

The Ohio State University Football Team.

The Crowd?

The Rest of the College Football World.

Welcome back College Football, we need you now more than ever. Just writing these words about Ohio State football gives me this transcendent energy(it’s a good thing that I’m writing this at 9:45PM, sorry sleep schedule) that will reverberate throughout the land come tomorrow.

That energy is what gives Columbus, OH and all other college towns all across America the unique feeling that only college football can bring. I am excited for the NFL, although it is somewhat similar to a football version of the Saw movie series; in which the Bengals find yet another way to rip my heart out of my chest. But the real excitement that I have for this football season begins in Bloomington, Indiana at 8:00PM.

That is when the city comes alive, water cooler discussions on Monday begin and end with Ohio State Football, and even the construction barrels change colors to Scarlet and Gray…just kidding, that’s ridiculous. No matter where you are, if you are living in the city of Columbus or are a part of Buckeye Nation dispersed throughout the World, life will feel a little better come Thursday night.

College football can seem like a somewhat trivial thing…a sport played by college kids. Where the NCAA makes head-scratching rules, and the coaches make more money than I can imagine. But there are reasons to care deeply about this sport and these players. These reasons are accentuated leading up to the season opener, because we have gone 7 months without this great sport.

“You know I’m back, like I never left” – College Football, probably

In my mind Buckeye Nation collectively cares for a multitude of reasons. We care because of the tradition that Buckeye football brings. Not just the football tradition, but all the other traditions that come with Buckeye Football. Pre-gaming and tailgating with friends that may have traveled from all over. Playing backyard football while grilling out. Letting the Aunt that has indulged a little too much have the microphone while simultaneously asking where in the hell we got a microphone. Simply being with friends and family, rooting and cheering for a common cause. We care because Buckeye Football brings us back together.

We care because of the indescribable feelings that the sport and our team gives us. For 4 hours last November during The Game I had quite the experience. I had who I am assuming was a very nice lady hating me because of an accidental spill that slightly got on her purse. But when Curtis Samuel crossed that goal line and our Buckeyes defeated that team up north, Fur Coat lady and I embraced like the weight of the world had been lifted off our shoulders. Not a lot of things these days can destroy animosity like those 6 points did. Similarly, not a lot of things can bring together a group of thousands wherever they are located throughout the world.

Lastly, I think that us as fans care so much about watching this great sport is because of the players. I finally feel old as heck not because I have to ice my knees after working out. I feel old because these players are younger than my younger sister. Where the hell is Never-land when you need it?

These players seemed like super heroes when we were children, they represented our future when we were high school kids, peers when we were in college, and now they are just kids playing a game. One of the greatest things about kids is watching them grow up, and that is what we as fans get to do each and every football season.

We have had the ability to watch one player in particular grow up from a kid out of Texas to the man and leader he is these days. Of course I am talking about JT Barrett IV.

From the moment he stepped on the field to lead the Buckeyes he has been a natural leader, a great teammate and by all accounts a great friend. But he has had his share of ups and downs. This article written by Bill Landis of Cleveland.com describes everything that I could say here but don’t need to. We are witnessing one of the greatest Ohio State players of all time, and we have one more year to appreciate it.

This year is unlike any other year and at the same time it is just like any other year. We will witness Heisman moments, we will witness insane upsets, we will sing along to Hang on Sloopy. And we will drink until we wobble in our shoes.

“You know I’m back, like I never left” – Macklemore, actually

We’re going to rekindle old friendships, make memories, forget our dignity at times(along with our wallets), and create lifelong friends.

That is what this and every football season is about…and like Macklemore said(probably not about college football but whatever) it is glorious.

As always Go Bucks, Beat IU!

 

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The Adventure

Do you guys ever think about yesterday? Not the Beatles song, not actually the day before today, but the days and times that feel like they were just yesterday?

Sometimes I do, and I think that it is perfect timing because that exact thing happened to me the other day. I saw a picture of myself from my graduation from Ohio State University in 2013 and I said to myself…that felt like it was just yesterday. I may have said it out loud to myself but that is besides the point!

It is perfect timing because this weekend is yet another college graduation weekend. I have a couple people that mean a lot to me that are graduating this weekend from two very special places. To them I say congrats! To all the other grads I say good luck…kidding, congrats to you as well!

My little sister and one of my younger cousins are graduating this weekend from The University of Dayton and The Ohio State University respectively. Two amazing institutions that have given them tremendous opportunity and memories to last a lifetime. There are also a few other thousand people graduating from each school as well and this post is going to be advice and wise(ha!) words from me to all the soon to be graduates.

You all are probably either one or a combination of the following emotions: scared, nervous, excited, freaked out, etc. I could name basically any and all emotion here and I am sure you are feeling it this weekend. It is the turning of the page, the time where after graduation there is no real ‘set’ plan. Sure, you all have plans to do lots of things whether that be start a job, keep going to school, travel the world. But there is no guarantee that that plan will work out. That sure as heck is scary.

As much as the following advice might seem generic and like you heard the same thing from the dean of your college last night; (yes, I’d like some salt on the rim of that margarita please…lots of salt) this advice will definitely be more candid and realistic than what the dean said. Pretty sure he didn’t mention Dartys, Natty Light, or the movie Hook.

1. Work Really Really Hard:

I am not talking just about your job or your future schooling either. You will have to work really hard at those things no doubt, but also with your friendships, relationships, and even yourself. For those that are starting a job after school, it may seem like you are done with tests, homework, group projects(thank God Right!?)

Wait till the real world *Evil Laugh*……C’mon y’all you know I don’t have an evil laugh!

I once had a boss that told me that in the real world you had to “walk, talk, and kick ass at the same time.” This advice will ring true throughout the post grad life no matter what. So go do just that once you graduate.

2. Have a ton of fun:

Some of you might be thinking that the fun is over, that you will never have another TG, or Darty (that word will always be weird to me.) No more spring, winter, summer breaks, no more walking down the street to your best friends house just to order pizza. No more adventures to who knows where…we somehow ended up at a Friendly’s restaurant in the suburbs. No more drinking natty light…which is a good thing, actually.

You may be leaving best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or all the above…and not going to lie, that will be extremely hard. Not just leaving those people, but continuing those relationships will be difficult as well, you will have to work really had at those.

But trust me, just because those things might seem like a thing of the past, in fact they aren’t completely. You will try to hang with college kids at a Darty as an alumni (spoiler, it won’t go well) and you will definitely drink a natty light as a post grad (spoiler, it still won’t taste good.) But those things don’t necessarily mean fun. There will be plenty of fun to be had as a post grad.

“But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move…”

This is a quote from Marina Keegan who graduated in the class of 2012 from Yale. She offers a unique perspective on life after graduation that I encourage any and all to read.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/05/27/keegan-the-opposite-of-loneliness/

Replace the word “Yale” with either “UD” or “Ohio State” and “New York” with “Dayton” or “Columbus.” It will most likely bring you to tears.

Those times that were priceless in college will never occur exactly the same way again, nor should you want them to. But there will still be priceless unforgettable adventures as a post grad.

3. Explore and Never Stop Learning:

Easy to say, very hard to do. As a post grad you will have more, different, and unique opportunities to branch out. The kicker is there usually isn’t an involvement fair, you might have to explore to find these opportunities but you also might run into them full speed ahead not even knowing they were there. No matter what you do whether it be try to become an artist, play a new sport, read a book, start a blog(hey that’s me!), etc. you will learn something from it. It might not become your forte but sometimes the best learned lessons are from something you fail miserably at. Except golf won’t teach you anything if you suck at it except that golf carts don’t go as fast as you wish they would.

The late Robin Williams once said the following:

“…there is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there. Even mistakes can be wonderful.”

This will never be more true than in post grad life. The mistakes might seem terrible at the time, they might seem like they will define you forever. I am here to say that they will not unless you let them. If you can learn from anything, let it be the mistakes.

The biggest piece of advice that I have is to live. I just watched the movie Hook and it reminded me of two things. It reminded me how much I miss Robin Williams but it also reminded me how much I still want to have a massive food fight.

Image result for hook food fight
Seriously, how fun would this be?

In all seriousness, it reminded me not to ever lose that spark of adventure, and you shouldn’t either. Graduating might have you feeling like Wendy who said to Peter Pan

“So…your adventures are over.”

I say be like Peter, who responded with

“Oh no, to live…to live would be an awfully big adventure!”

Congratulations to all the graduates and Good Luck on your new adventure!!

 

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Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now in the midst of the best time of the year.

Yes you heard me.

The Best Time of The Year.

As much as I love playing Christmas music any and all times of the year, I am not talking about Christmas.

IT’S BASEBALL SEASON!!!!!!

Baseball season, Cincinnati Reds baseball…yes, the best time of the year.

A lot of people I meet have very similar sports alliances as me. I live in Columbus. There are tons of Buckeye fans. There are plenty of (sad) Bengals fans here as well. But the one sports alliance that always elicits a different kind of response is meeting a fellow Cincinnati Reds fan.

The thing is, a lot of people don’t really understand why I am as big of a baseball fan as I am. I am going to try and explain it, but I do not think this post will do it justice.

As much as this post is about the Cincinnati Reds, it is also about the game of baseball. It is a pure sport and I don’t really know what that means but it is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks me about baseball. I hope that even though (hopefully) a lot of Indians, Cubs, and maybe even Yankees fans read this post, that they will appreciate the sentiment behind everything I about to say.

Baseball means that the weather is getting warmer. That I can go outside and toss the ball around any night of the week. It means that I get to spend time with my Dad, in the backyard, where nothing else matters but throwing another strike into his mitt. His mitt, that was always big enough to catch anything I threw his way.

“To some it’s just a mitt, but see that glove was him.”

It means getting to know the lightning bugs in the backyard because you were out a little too late throwing the ball. It was never too dark to stop throwing, but it was just dark enough to make you want to go inside and watch the Reds.

Baseball is a part of who I am, who I was brought up to be, and who I will always be.

It means that we get to make trips back to the ballpark. We get to eat the frosty malts, the lemon chills, the hot dogs, and of course the peanuts. But only the peanuts that are bought outside the stadium by the vendor on the street, because you got a bigger bag for less money. And if you don’t have a pile of shells at your feet at the end of the game, you did something wrong. Because even if the Redlegs somehow lost the titanic struggle, at least you had the crunch of peanut shells underneath your feet to send you away from the stadium.

It means walking through downtown Cincinnati, the Queen City. That walk certainly seemed like a long walk when I was a kid but it was really only a few blocks from the P&G lot down to the stadium. Fountain Square never looks more beautiful than it does on a day that the Cincinnati Reds take the field.

It means Skyline Chili. The smell of that chili means you are home, and smells especially good if you are on your way to the ballpark, glove in hand…ready for any foul ball that comes your way.

It means Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, Cinergy Field, Great American Ballpark.

It means turning two, 6-4-3, headfirst slides, Grand Slams, walk-off wins,  suicide squeezes, small ball, cans of corn, web gems.

It means picking up where you left off with good friends, talking with a friend you haven’t seen in years like they never left.

It means falling asleep on the boat at Lake St. Mary’s while listening to the Reds on the radio.

It means actually listening to AM radio!

“The Voice on the other end might as well have been God”

Ask any Cincinnati Reds fan who Marty and Joe are and I guarantee they have a favorite story of listening to that legendary broadcast crew. I will never ever forget the call that Marty made as Jay Bruce was rounding the bases bringing the 2010 Cincinnati Reds the National League Central title. Fist in the air, running the bases like second place will never be good enough. Joe Nuxhall will forever live on as a Cincinnati Reds legend not only because he was the youngest pitcher ever to play in the MLB but also because of his tear inducing sign off from the radio, for which this blog post is named after.

It means history, perfect games, no hitters, you name it. It has happened in Cincinnati. The Nasty Boys, Tom Browning, The Kid, The Mayor, Dat Dude, Joey Votto. Reds baseball means Charlie Hustle(That’s Pete Rose for the uninitiated). It means 4192. The best hitter of all time in the game of baseball, and he played for the Cincinnati Reds. It means the Big Red Machine.

It means winning.

Being a Cincinnati Reds fan means more than words can describe. I have a pride for being born in 1990 because the Reds won the World Series that year. As far as welcomes go, that has got to be the best welcome to the world any kid could ask for.

“And this one belongs to the Reds!”

Baseball is a peaceful sport. The sound of the ballpark on an afternoon is indescribable. In the moment those sounds are the only sound you will ever need to hear for as long as you live…and the crack of the bat is the perfect sound to jolt you back to life.

 

The fans in Cincinnati are the best in all of sports. All of sports…you heard me correctly. For a season in which we were picked to finish last, the loyal fans of Reds baseball just happened to set a record for the highest attendance at Great American Ballpark. That’s insane.

That happened on Opening Day in which in the city of Cincinnati is a holiday bigger and better than Christmas. It’s the one day where becoming a sardine in a bar (I’m talkin’ about you, Holy Grail) becomes something you look forward to, because you are there with thousands of your best friends. The entire city absolutely shuts down that day for a parade, and the Banks of the Ohio River becomes the mecca for baseball if not just for that one day. See below for proof.

Image result for Cincinnati Reds Opening Day at the banks

I think that life is a beautiful game to be played, and baseball is the perfect metaphor for this life. We all are just playing the game until the day that God decides to wave us in. Living like we are under the lights of the stadium.

Rounding Third, and Heading For Home

 

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Celebrate We Will

Well hello friends!

I am finally back after a solid 3 month hiatus from this  blog and I can tell you that it feels good to be back! I really didn’t have much to say after my Buckeyes layed a large goose egg on New Years eve, but here I am now with what I hope is some wisdom for my loyal readers(you guys are loyal….right?)

My last blog post(#Shamelessplugs2017) referenced a bible verse that I absolutely love and this post will lead off with that same verse. The verse is from the book of John and says:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

I have been thinking a lot recently about what it really means to have life and have it to the full. To be honest this is not an original thought. I began thinking more about this after a good friend lent me a book that adventured into what living really meant. The book is called “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was a Neurosurgeon and he spent his life trying to figure out the question “What makes a life worth living?”

I won’t give away the entire book because I think that everyone should read it. Once you do, you will want to purchase your own copy and re-read it many times over. But one of the biggest questions that Paul asks is if life is the accumulation of experiences or is life the accumulation of knowledge? Is it both?

I wanted to write about those question with my own perspective because as soon as Paul asked that question in the book, I started to think. I started to think that I might be able to answer those questions, but what I realized is that I will probably spend my entire life trying to answer those questions, and maybe that’s the point.

Experiences allow us to see the world that we have been gifted in all its glory. The world that we live in and almost everything that occurs in it is amazing. Seeing things in person that make you feel so small in such a huge world, makes you almost feel bigger than ever. As Nick Miller once said “I need real life adventure!” Yep… I just quoted the show New Girl…in a blog post about life. But if you know me at all, it makes sense that I did because he does bring up a good point. He wants to go on real life experiences so that he can write like Hemingway…so naturally him and Winston go to the zoo. Trust me, I am not saying that I am trying to be like Hemingway either…but that’s besides the point!

Now the opposite of Nick Miller is to have the knowledge of the world around us. Seriously, he didn’t even know that there are more than one type of Turtle! Nick Miller needs to watch some Planet Earth am I right?

Does knowing so much about the world allow us to live life to the full? You can learn and gain knowledge by reading books and studying, and learning all you can. That might help you out at trivia, so if you do that please come to trivia with us. But as much as you can read about different things, I believe that where you really truly learn about them is to experience them.

“True knowledge is gained by experiencing the life we have been gifted”

I have seen it both ways. I have done my reading, I have learned through studies, and I have taken and (barely) passed tests. I have also been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit in my life so far. I have seen the Grand Canyon, I have zip-lined through the jungles of Costa Rica. I have been on the coasts of the United States and seen the beauty of both…with an Oldfield’s shirt on either end of the U.S.

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To my point that experiencing the things in life gives true knowledge, I will give an example from my own life. I am fortunate enough to be working at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and I recently got to learn about a DBS surgery. DBS stands for Deep Brain Stimulation and I thought I knew what the surgery did by reading and watching a couple videos. Boy, was I wrong. I never truly learned until I experienced the DBS surgery in person. I was able to witness the DBS surgery in the OR and see a person’s life change before my very eyes. Talk about a new perspective.

But now that I have explored my thoughts on one of the questions that Paul asked, I started thinking a lot about other things that made life worth living. I think that living life to the full means experiencing it with someone else. Whether that is a significant other, a best friend, or a family member. I am not just talking about the good times, but the bad as well. That time you did that dumb thing, that time you watched your favorite team get their rear ends handed to them(cough, cough…Fiesta Bowl.) Those are all made much better while experiencing them with great friends…even if you are the one doing that dumb thing, you’ll have your friends there to keep you humble and in my case keep me laughing.

Now sharing in misery is one thing but sharing in joyful moments is another. One of the coolest moments in my life was standing on the West Coast looking out on Haystack Rock with my Mom, Aunt, and Uncle standing there right next to me. Sharing in that experience makes it that much more special. That moment will be slightly different in each of our memories but Paul has a great quote in his book about this as well.

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still is never complete”

Does living life to the full mean sharing this knowledge and experience and passing it on? I just met my “nephew” a couple weeks ago and it was an amazing moment. No, the cute baby in the above slideshow is not mine, that is Baby Cooper and words cannot describe how cute he is! After meeting him, it made me want to go out and learn as much as I can from experiencing life so that I can share what I have learned and seen with him. I want to be that cool uncle (me, cool, that’ll be the day) that has experienced life and knows what it means to truly be alive.

I also think that really truly being alive and living life to the full requires love. Old Dominion has a new song out titled “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and the chorus states that we should “Love like there is no such thing as broken heart.” If you know me, you might say that it is easy for me to say because I wear my heart on my sleeve. I go all out in just about everything I do, sometimes to my own detriment. I am usually to one extreme or the other, but you know what? To me that is being alive. I just don’t think we have enough time on this Earth to not care. As Dave Matthews Band so eloquently puts it: “Celebrate we will for life is short but sweet for certain.”

The meaning of life is such a huge question and I don’t think a blog post that references Nick Miller, Old Dominion, and the Fiesta Bowl will answer that question. But maybe it can get you to start thinking.

 

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And Not To Yield

2016 is almost over. I say again, 2016 is almost over.

I am sure that many of you are very happy about that fact too. It seems like every day this year something unfortunate has happened. Loved Celebrity deaths, senseless violence, and Cincinnati sports can still be classified as miserable but at least Cleveland did well this year!

I know that a lot of people are going to take the New Year celebration to forget about 2016 but I think that we need to look back at 2016, pour some out for the sad but celebrate the good, and if we think about it there really was a lot of good that happened in 2016.

I said the following line in my post last year at this time and I hold the same thoughts for 2017. Shameless plug for all my other posts assuming you like this one, and in my humble opinion…you should.

“This post is about a reflection period and then an overwhelming feeling that 2016 is about to be huge.”

There are a number of things we can do in 2017 to make this next year a successful one. A majority of you reading this will probably make New Year’s resolutions for a multitude of reasons and that is a great thing! I have seen a lot of articles and posts that New Year’s resolutions are dumb because if you want to make a change, make it today. I agree with the notion that any day you can make a change in your life. But I also love the ability to take a deep breath, reflect on the past year, and get ready for the next chapter in the book of life.

I am going to keep with the theme of quoting my favorite poet in my New Year’s post (2 shameless plugs in one post? You know we got it). This one is I think a solid guide on how we should use the resolutions that we make, and in general how we should live life.

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” –Alfred Lord Tennyson

New Year’s resolutions are great but only if they work, and for them to work they need to last longer than 2 months. We all want to work out more in 2017, we all want to eat healthier, we all want to go skydiving(right?) but there needs to be a relentless pursuit of accomplishing these goals.

I think that one of the coolest things about the human brain and soul is that all of us are looking for something all the time, oftentimes not telling anyone about it. Whether it is love, adventure, or even just a good book, we are all searching. Continue that search in 2017 because the reward for finding whatever it is you are looking for is great. Then find something else to search for.

The end of that line from the poem Ulysses is the best part of the whole poem. “And not to yield.” Those 4 words almost get me as fired up as hearing an “Michigan lost yet again.” Do not yield in the pursuit of accomplishing your goals for 2017, or succeeding in keeping your new years resolutions. Do not yield. Do not let anything stop you from succeeding in 2017. There are going to be too many things that are going to happen that will generally be out of our control. That is inevitable. Control what you can control and Do. Not. Yield.

This life was not meant to be slogged through. We are meant to be living lives full of meaning. I have not quoted any scripture in these posts but I absolutely love this line of scripture:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

There will be thieves out there in the world in 2017. Trying to steal our happiness, but we cannot let them permanently own that happiness. You have control over your happiness in 2017, own it! Winston Churchill once urged us to “Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” The thieves might seem like a formidable enemy, but if I was a betting man I would go all in on you to succeed.

In also keeping with tradition of seeing parallels with life and the Ohio State football team, do you think we would be playing later today in the Tostitos Bowl if we had yielded? (Battlefrog and Playstation can go home, it’s always going to be Tostitos to me.) Just like everyone did in 2016, Ohio State suffered a setback. We lost in the sea of white clad crazy Nittany Lions. You know what happened after that? We kicked some ass the rest of the year and are now playing for all the Tostitos…and also a National Championship. The Buckeyes did not yield in their relentless pursuit for a bag of chips…I mean a National Championship. You shouldn’t either.

Strive to accomplish your goals and resolutions, seek to learn more about yourself and the world you live in, find something you are passionate about, and do not yield in your relentless pursuit of success.

Now it’s time for me to lose my voice for the last time in 2016 cheering my Buckeyes on to victory. Don’t worry, I’ll save some to sing Carmen Ohio as the ball drops and we begin 2017.

As always, GO BUCKS! Beat Clemson!

 

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Buckeye Strong

In the past three days I have experienced firsthand two of the most memorable events of my life as a Buckeye. One was the one that you expect me to talk about since this blog very consistently talks about Ohio State athletics. It was the victory over our rival in the horseshoe in a very improbable comeback. That game showed me what over 100 thousand people screaming at the same time can do(hint, its literally to create an earthquake.)

But the other memorable event absolutely transcends any sort of football game. As yesterday morning started, news started rolling in of a potential shooter on the campus of The Ohio State University. From the initial confusion to the absolute terror for all my friends and family that could be on campus, it was a moment that I was not ready for. It did not make sense at first because it never crosses your mind that something like this could happen at a place you consider home.

I began gathering news from all potential sources: Twitter, Facebook, the local news sites. I finally was able to get a link to the police scanner and began listening. I started retweeting tweets in hope that anyone on campus that followed me would see the advice and live updates and that it might help. I started texting everyone I knew to ensure their safety. As most of you know the man responsible for this attack is now dead, shot by a hero the University, the city, and the state of Ohio.

I just got done writing a post about perspective on trivial things in life, but these events have really put into perspective what matters and what does not. The healing has just begun for this campus and the victims of this attack. For something so tragic to come on the heels of something so full of joy is shocking. However, the thing that both of these events showed me is just how amazing Buckeye Nation is.

It is one thing to have over 100 thousand screaming fans at a football game. It is an entire other to have 60,000 students, countless employees, and an entire alumni group that numbers about half a million all pull together. It has shown that no matter if the situation is joyful or tragic, we will always be Buckeye Strong.

Go Bucks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perspective

 

Four more days until The Game.

There are a lot of things on my mind about this particular edition of The Game and I will get to talking about what this year’s game means to me shortly, but first let me talk about a little perspective.

What are some of the thoughts that roll through your mind when you hear that word? Hot takes on twitter dot com that you disagree with? A coworker that thinks something besides what you think?

“If only Brad saw that Panera salads are bad, actually!” Perspective.

“Red Vines are delicious!” “No, they actually aren’t.” Perspective.

My favorite: “Skyline Chili isn’t real chili.” Child Please. Perspective.

Also, it is real chili…don’t @ me.

Those are very trivial examples of what differing perspectives can show. Some people think that Skyline is bad (they are wrong) and some think it is good (they are probably from Cincinnati, and are also correct.) But there are a lot of things in life that if we looked at with a different perspective, we would be doing ourselves a favor. Also, I fully understand that some people don’t look at sports with the same perspective that I do. I think sports can actually teach us quite a bit about life which is pretty much everything I talk about in this blog….yeah, shameless plug already.

I am one of those people who is from Cincinnati and absolutely loves Skyline Chili. I thought I knew that city front to back and as of very recently I realized that I did not. I have been downtown, seen Fountain Square, watched the Opening Day Parade, and played cornhole at Rhinegeist, but I saw Cincinnati from a whole new perspective this past weekend. I finally got to ride the new streetcar which runs from the Banks all the way up to Findlay Market. On this trip I got to see a good part of Cincinnati from a whole different physical perspective. It was incredible! All the amazing murals throughout the city and all the different architecture blew my mind, not to mention the diversity of the people I saw throughout the city.

It allowed me to see Cincinnati in a whole new light.  I had no idea how big Cincinnati was and how artistic the whole city was.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Sometimes stepping back and forcing yourself to see something in a different light, or getting someone else’s perspective on something you have a preconceived notion on can do wonders. I had a preconceived notion that the city of Cleveland wasn’t that great, but after a couple years of visits and seeing it from some friends’ perspective I came to have a different type of respect for the city. It was as simple as going in with an open mind and seeing the city for what it was, not what I thought it was.

As humans we can get into a routine of thinking about or doing things a certain way and all it takes is a little bit of an open mind and some reconsideration to see things differently. As a senior in college, I gave a piece of advice to the younger guys in my fraternity that we can all apply to our daily lives. I told the guys to take their headphones out while they walk across campus to class. I said this for two reasons.

1. So that they might see campus in a different light; it isn’t just paths and construction, it is a beautiful campus.

2. So that they might be able to look someone (yes, that included girls) in the eye and say hi. Even if it was the ol’ Fetty “Hey, Whats Up, Hello!” version..just hopefully not in that voice you guys all just used in your head.

I think we can apply that to our daily lives of commutes and work too. Take a slightly different path to work one day. This will not only keep you on your toes on how to get to work, but it will also allow you to see different parts of the city that you normally don’t!

“You can change your perception on something by simply changing your perspective. “

One of the better examples of a change in perspective that comes to mind is when my Dad and two of my Uncles climbed and summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and rises about 19,000 ft. above sea level at its peak. Talk about a change in perspective! To allow the full justice of that accomplishment to be done, I will turn it over to my dad, who writes much more elegantly than I!

“Visually, talk about a different perspective…waking up in the morning, enjoying the sunrise, and realizing that the clouds are below you! That is surprising. The clarity of the night sky from above the clouds is astounding….the beauty is amazing and the harshness is a little eye opening. Once the sun was down, you had to beat it to the tent pretty fast to stay warm.”

The good news is that we don’t have to climb up a mountain to be able to see life with a different perspective! We can choose to see things differently each and every day.

kilimanjaro-ohio

However, there is one perspective that will not ever change.

You are either a Buckeye, or a fan of the team up north.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no way around it. People who move to the area quickly understand what the rivalry means. Everything between the two institutions is a competition. I have a close friend who moved down to Columbus from his hometown in New York about a year ago and I will never forget my first words to him. We worked together and as he was asking one of our HR reps if there was anything else he needed before his first day, I walked by and quipped “just don’t ever wear maize and blue together.” His Fiance and him now have a solid amount of Buckeye gear and are undoubtedly going to be watching this game intently.

This Saturday, the Buckeyes will face off against their rivals from the state up north in a match-up for the ages. This game has it all: top 5 match-up, future NFL talent lined up everywhere, and what is sure to be a raucous crowd. This game means a little bit more to me though, and it has to do with what my physical perspective will be while watching.

Four years ago as a college senior I took place in the yearly tradition of plunging into Mirror Lake while it was freezing cold out in order to beat TTUN. This was my fourth and last year doing the jump and as I was leaving the scene, I got dealt a bad hand. If you have jumped you know that the entire area is pandemonium; it is cold, wet, muddy, and all around insane. As I was running up the hill towards The Oval with pizza on my mind, someone cut in front of me and I caught one of his elbows right in the left eye.  I dropped like a sack of potatoes and luckily my friends stopped to make sure I was okay. I made it back to the house clutching my eye and not knowing what the damage was.

mirror-lake
Yeah, that is frost on the trees

Back at the house I opened my eye, saw double of everything, and promptly declared “I’m good, Go Bucks, Lets go!” Needless to say I was not okay, and ended up in the Emergency Department shortly thereafter. They diagnosed me with a Orbital blowout, which is basically a fracture of my eye socket. I called my mom as I was sitting in the hospital bed and I didn’t know how to start so I just said “Mom, I’m in the hospital…” and then my phone died. Perfect timing right? A couple hours later I saw my mom strolling into my hospital room and I vehemently exclaimed “I’m going to that f****** game on Saturday!” Yeah I know, swear jar. Once I heard her say these five words: “Your dad and I agree” I knew that I was not going to that game.

I watched that 2012 game from my couch in Cincinnati instead of the student section with my fellow Buckeyes. I did not get to see the Buckeyes complete an undefeated season. I actually saw two of that game because I was still seeing double, but that’s not the point!

Talk about perspective.

This year I will have quite a different perspective for this game. I will be watching The Game in person with one of my best friends. Words cannot describe how excited I am, so I will not even try. I have been waiting for this game for four years, and Saturday cannot come soon enough.

As always,

Go Bucks, Beat TTUN!!!!

 

 

 

 

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The Next Chapter

Hello everyone! I am back and I am not sure if I have ever been more excited to publish a post! This one won’t be near as long as the last one, but I think it might be just as good, so lets get to it.

Have you guys ever wondered why so many books, movies, etc. are told as a series of stories? One story becomes a trilogy, which becomes two trilogies, which then becomes…you get the point. Or how some of our favorite stories are told in multiple parts? Harry Potter was told in 7 separate books, 8 separate movies, and now they are even adding on to those.

I think it is because it is human nature to know what is going to happen next. We keep turning the page in the book in order to discover the next thing that happens. We become familiar with the characters, we begin to empathize with them, and then we want to know what happens next! Where will Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter go next? What will they do?? What is going to happen to them on their journey?

As fans of our sports team we do the same thing too. We want to know what happens in the next game. We work all week to get to the next chance to watch our team. During the off-season we wait and predict and create arbitrary lists of what will happen the next season.

I am not here to share my prediction for the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma game this week. I am not here to predict if the Cavs will repeat. I am definitely not here to talk about movie sequels either.

I am here to talk about the next chapter in my own life.

“Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possesion in the changing fortunes of time.” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

For those of you that know me at all you know how much I love The Ohio State University. I grew up a Buckeye, and although it once seemed like a tough decision on where I was going to college…it was no shocker to everyone that I chose THE Ohio State University.

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I made the most out of my time at Ohio State and would not change one thing about my experience. Campus was my second home and in my opinion, it is the greatest University in the World.

That chapter of my life was incredible but then like most graduates I had to turn the page to the next chapter of my life. That next chapter took me to the real world as an Industrial Engineer/Supervisor with Rogue Fitness. I learned so much there and grew up very quickly but that chapter ended as well. The next chapter took me to the world of Automotive Manufacturing at Tigerpoly Mfg. where I learned a tremendous amount as well. I have been able to work on a wide variety of projects and with a wide variety of people as well that have taught me so much.

But it is time to keep turning the page and move on to the next chapter of my life!

Starting next Monday I am extremely proud to announce that I will begin a new career at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center! I am joining an exceptionally talented team of engineers and cannot wait to get to work and learn from them. I am fortunate to be joining a team that will improve not only one of best hospitals in Central Ohio, but in the entire Nation.

 

I also know a couple other close friends and mentors that are about to turn the page and start the next chapter of their lives as well, and this post is to celebrate them as well! It is time to learn not where some fictional character will go, but to learn and experience where we will go and what we are made of!

As always

Go Bucks! Beat Oklahoma!

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You Win With People

It seems kind of crazy that it has been an entire year since I started this blog. Just last year I was terrified and also excited to post my first ever blog and now here I am! Thanks to all who have read and hopefully will continue to read! If this is your first time reading my blog thank you as well but…go read my other posts!!(Got that shameless plug out of the way real early this time!) Now on to the reason for this post!

If you have any knowledge of Ohio State Football you probably know the name Woody Hayes. I’ve quoted him a couple times in previous posts(shameless plug cWoody Hayesount: 2). Woody Hayes is mostly known for winning a lot of football games as the head coach of the Buckeyes but there is also a lot more to him than meets the eye (as with everyone).  If you Google his name you will find out quite a bit but I want to focus on one of his more famous quotes and would like to expand on what it means to me and how we can all apply it to everyday life.

“You Win With People” – Woody Hayes

 

I think there are three main things that we can do as people and for people that will allow us to “win” each day. I define winning the day as living each day to the fullest and learning something new each day, which I have previously written about as well ! (shameless plug count: 3)

The first thing I think that we need to do each day is to cooperate with other people. This may seem obvious or it may get you to scratch your head. Of course we need to cooperate right?? We were hopefully taught to cooperate with others when we were very small and there was a reason. Brian Tome, the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati brought up some things this past weekend that relate directly to this idea. He made the point that every great thing that has ever been accomplished in this world has been because of a group. A group that cooperated.

The most recent example that I thought of was my trip about a month ago to Portland, Oregon to visit my Aunt and Uncle. Our picture from Cannon Beach is pictured above (The state of Oregon = Buckeye Nation). There is tremendous cooperation that has to go in to getting on a plane and flying thousands of miles across the country. The group that makes those trips successful are large and incorporate people that you may not even think of. From the people that created the websites/systems that let you schedule your flight using a computer, to the people who scan your ticket, to the flight attendants, to the air traffic controllers(Breaking Bad anyone?) to the pilots and even to the passengers. All these people have to be cooperative with each other in order for the flight to taxi, take off, fly, and land safely.

 

The second thing I think that we need to do every day in order to win is to tolerate other people. These days it seems that judging and arguing and generally being disagreeable towards others is just commonplace. With our scalding hot takes, putting people “on blast”, and ripping people via social media while hiding behind an egg avatar at its peak; the world tolerate seems to have gotten taken out of the dictionary while words such as “fleek” have been added. I think that just because other people’s viewpoints or beliefs are different from yours does not mean that you should publicly (even if you have 13 other egg avatar followers) shame them.

There are so many different backgrounds and cultures out there that no one can begin to imagine living through all of them. So instead of the instant judging that comes with something different, try just tolerating. I am not saying you have to agree with others, but just don’t judge. I believe that the toleration of others viewpoints will lead to understanding if not appreciation of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. That understanding of the diversity that you encounter everyday will allow you to live each day without the anger that comes from judgement.

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” – Albert Camus

The third and final thing that I think everyone needs to do each day is to love each other. I’m not asking you to use the Image result for heart eye emoji in every text, although that could get pretty entertaining. The love I am talking about does not mean that you need to romantically love everyone in the world, that would defeat the significance of romanticism. I am talking about the love of meeting people and learning from them. Everyone you come in to contact with will leave an impact on you if you let them and if you begin to love that learning experience, I think that your day will be better. I also think that a true friendship is rooted in a love for that friend. The following verse can be taken literally, but in my mind it means sacrificing for your friends to show that you care for them.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13

Urban Meyer preaches the “Power of the Unit” and I believe in that power as well. The unit that he talks about are different units of the football team, but we all have our “units” in life that we hang out with. Our units consist of our group of friends; for me it would be Steeb 6, Delt,  my coworkers, etc. For Urban, the units are the different position groups that make up a football team.

Urban constantly discusses fighting for the guy next to you. The different units that make up the Ohio State football team become as close as any group of friends or family, and they share the love for each other that allow them to go out there on Saturdays and play their hearts out. Those units are the quintessential example of people cooperating, tolerating, and loving each other in order to win the day. The most visible of those winning days are Saturdays in the fall, but that bond that the units share is formed way before gameday. Speaking of gameday…3 DAYS TILL BUCKEYE FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

Now I want to sort of go back to the Woody Hayes quote that I discussed earlier. I do believe that you win with people, but I would offer this one change:

“You win with the RIGHT people”  -Matt “Not Woody” Stuckey

As Jim Collins, the author of the book “Good to Great” says:

“In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who.’ They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

As much as cooperating, tolerating, and non romantically loving the people you encounter every day will lead to winning the day, there is another level to winning the day. To steal Urban’s mantra for this years team…simply doing those three things will get you to The Edge, but to cross the threshold of winning the day, you must find the right people to cooperate with, tolerate, and love.

Take your group of friends for example. It would not function nor be a fun group to hang out with if one of the people was not the “right” person. If a person applies to be a pilot for an airline but is not qualified, that group will not function properly because that applicant is not the “right” person for the job. If I tried out for an offensive lineman position at OSU, I would not even come close to sniffing the field because I am clearly not the “right” person for the job.

You get the picture. Groups, jobs, and relationships do not work if you do not have the right people in place.

As a perfect example of winning with the right people, I have two examples that I will leave you with.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to witness a lifelong friend get married to the woman of his dreams. He comes from one of the best families that anyone has ever and will ever meet, and his family is part of a group of families from our street that we affectionately refer to as “The Village.” The Village is a group that is so close that we all consider each other family. Remember when I said that every great thing that has ever happened has been by a group? Well, for all of us kids from The Village to have grown up as successful as we are speaks to the great things that the parents of The Village did for us. This was a friend who I had grown up with and have tremendous respect for. To see him standing up there ready to commit unequivocally showed me that he had found the right person to marry. That’s called winning.

This coming weekend I am blessed to be a part of another great friend’s  wedding as a groomsman. I have known this man for eight years and he is also one of the best men I know. Him along with his soon to be wife have taught me so much about life and what it takes to be a man. Along with me will be two fraternity brothers standing next to our friend as a witness to his marriage. We don’t even consider each other friends or fraternity brothers at this point, we consider each other family. Remember when I said that every great thing that has ever happened has been by a group? Well once again, for all of us to be as successful as we are now is credit to how we all took care of each other through college and supported each other. Along with the other groomsmen, we could not have a better reason to get together and celebrate for our friend and brother. Saturday will be a great night, and we will all be winning then.

From my first post one year ago to  this post, I have grown so much as a person and as a writer. My first post was hardly even 800 words and this one now is approaching 2K. I never would have thought I could do this and get the great feedback that I have received so far.

As always…GO BUCKEYES BEAT BG.

 

 

 

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The Finish Line

I am absolutely exhausted…a week long beach vacation really takes it out of you!

Now most of you are probably scratching your head already…and I am only one line in(usually it takes at least a paragraph.) But hear me out on this one. Vacation is supposed to be a week of relaxing right? That’s what most (sane) people do…get to a beach, grab some Coronas and limes and hope that the Sun doesn’t fry them as much as the shrimp is that they eat for dinner. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve done the beach vacation with Coronas and it is great! I’ve also gotten fried to a crisp too many times to count…not near as fun.

But the vacation I just got back from was a quintessential Stuckey vacation and driving back today made me think of a quote that one of the greatest people I know once told me. This quote is really a life mantra that I try to apply to everything I do and that was definitely applied this past week on vacation.

This post isn’t just about this one life mantra though, it is more about the person that not only told me about this mantra once, but has also taught me more than he knows about life and how to lead it.

“When I leave this Earth, I do not want to leave it as a preserved relic. I want to come screaming into the finish line able to say ‘that was one hell of a ride!'”

Now that quote is probably slightly altered from the original…but if you’ve known me for more than a week then you know that quote explains a lot about me. When I text everyone at 6:30am after a late night out it isn’t just because I have a screw loose upstairs. it’s because I am trying to take advantage of every single moment I have. I am not crazy enough to say that sleep is overrated, but when I have free time I want to maximize all of it (shameless plug, go read my last blog post! Time is a gift we have all been given.)

The quote also explains why we do what we do on vacation. We are not a family that gets to the beach and does nothing all week. One of the first things we did was to rent bikes so that we could ride all over the Island. I played tennis twice at 8am in sweltering heat which was awesome. I threw softball and football with my Dad, bumped volleyball with my older sister, kicked the soccer ball with my little sister, golfed with my mom and sisters, and played Bocce Ball with the whole family. Doing all this relaxes me and exhausts me at the same time and I would have it no other way.

 

I only know one way to go about life and that is full speed ahead.

Now going about life with this somewhat reckless abandon carries plenty of risk. Taking risks is not easy at all but as Woody Hayes once said “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.” Taking these risks may leave you with some pain and scars and trust me, I have plenty of scars to prove that sentiment correct. But I would counter with one question.

Why leave anything left in the tank?

Alexander Rossi, a driver in the Indy Car racing series had quite a bold strategy for this years Indy 500 race, especially considering he was a rookie. He decided not to pit late in the race and try to stretch his gas out till the end of the race. Spoiler alert, he was the one drinking the milk at the end of the race as the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The guy that came in second place doesn’t get bonus points for having more gas in the tank.

Now applying this logic to somewhat trivial things such as softball or an Indy race may not seem like it applies to real life. In the grand scheme of things rec league softball and even the Indy 500 doesn’t really matter near as much as so many other things in the world. But I would ask that if you can’t give your absolute best effort and go full speed ahead in some of the more trivial things in life, how are you going to be able to give everything you have when life demands it? At that point anything less could mean catastrophic failure and might mean that you don’t make it to the finish line.

So go out there and give everything you have in life. It may seem like your efforts are not appreciated as much as you think they should be, do it anyway. On the same token, love with all of your heart. You may be left feeling  empty but that risk is absolutely worth taking.

Now back to the person who first told me the quote at the start of the post and contributed to many of my world views. This person is not only one of my role models, but one of my best friends. I have learned so much from him that he probably does not realize how much he has taught me.

This person is my Dad.

So on this Father’s Day I wanted to give him a little gift to let him know that I have been listening to him and have learned quite a bit from him also!

My dad once told me that there would be things that I would see him do that I would want to emulate later in life, and that there would be some things I would see him do that I would never want myself to repeat as an adult. I can honestly say that if I pick up on half of the things that my dad does that I will be proud of the man I have become.

After reading a letter from a father about a rape that his son committed, and being just plain sickened by what that kid did and father had to say about it, I realized how fortunate I am to have such a great father.

He has never excused any behavior of mine that was not first class. He has taught me to respect women(seems like a no brainer) and has taught me what it means to be a real man.  He has taught me the value of hard work and also shown me what it means to give everything I have in life. For that and much more I am forever grateful to him. Happy Father’s day Dad, I love you!

He also raised me as a Buckeye, so as always…GO BUCKS!

 

 

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The Gift

What if every day was Christmas?

Most of us probably wake up just as early, or earlier than we do on Christmas Day already. But going to “work” isn’t near as fun as running down the stairs, throwing wrapping paper around all over (seriously, it gets thrown away…why spend time making it look good on the box?? And yes, I suck at wrapping presents so I am biased here.) We run through the routine of eating breakfast, making our coffee so we can make it through the day, and we mindlessly drive the same exact route to work

I have been thinking now for a while that each day does not have to be like that. Each day we should wake up because we have been gifted another day on this planet to make a difference. Every person that we interact with on a day to day basis has something more to give than what we currently see.

Every day can be like Christmas, birthday, or any time we as a society has deemed it appropriate to open gifts and celebrate. I have already talked in my last blog post about celebrating each and every moment(wouldn’t be a good post without a shameless plug for my other posts now would it?) But this post is centered on giving gifts to others, just not the type of physical gift that you might get at Christmas.

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”
Anthony Rapp

Every single person has gifts that they can give on a daily basis to others that make each day that much more fulfilling. There are some gifts that you already have sitting with you, and you can open these gifts by fearlessly being yourself.

The first gift is the gift of time. The clock is always ticking…so it is up to you to determine how you will use that time. It will run out eventually, so make the most of each second you have awake.

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ” Randy Pausch

Giving the gift of time seems easy, but think of how many days go by like a blur, and you are sitting back at home wondering how the heck you got there and wishing you had more time?  You can literally give the gift of time to every single person you interact with on a daily basis. Give the gift of time to your family…call your parents(Mom, I’m going to call after I finish writing this post I swear!)

Give your time to your friends…even if it is for 45 minutes to snag coffee…that gift of time could help someone out more than you realize.

The hardest part about giving the gift of your time is when it involves a stranger. When you pull up to the drive through to snag breakfast in the morning and the line is moving too slow and you get frustrated. You don’t think your time is being utilized to its full potential, do you? You get to the window and you are short with the person who takes your payment and gives you your food. That is one hell of a way to kickoff a day isn’t it? Frustrated and annoyed, and then you get to go into work where big boss isn’t giving you a fair shot, and blah blah blah the day goes by and you’re back on your couch binge watching Netflix, ready to do it again.

That isn’t how it has to be though!

When you stare at the line of cars in front of you and start to get annoyed, press pause. This is one of the R factors that is talked about extensively by Focus3, the consulting group that I have mentioned previously. Remember E+R=O. The response to the slow line of cars will equal the outcome. Lets revisit what happens when you get to the front of the line and are ready to pay. Instead of being short maybe ask the worker, who might be busting their butt because they are short-staffed, how their day is going. Give them a smile! I’m pretty sure science says that smiling makes you and the person you are smiling at happier…and science is awesome guys! Encourage them to have a great day, and drive away knowing that you might have helped that stranger. That outcome is much better than the one above…and yes, you can still binge watch Netflix at the end of the day.

To follow-up with that scenario…what if you even gave another gift to someone in that line. I am sure you have heard the term “random acts of kindness” but what if you thought of them as “random gifts of kindness.” Pay for the guy behind you in that drive through line. Maybe that person will pay it forward, and start one hell of a chain reaction. How cool would that be??

The next gift that absolutely everyone can give, is the gift of hard work. Matt, hard work isn’t a gift…gifts are fun, hard work is not fun…right?? Well voice of the reader that I just created…hard work is actually a gift, and I will now explain.

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”  Randy Pausch

You’ll find that I quote two sources quite often…that is Focus3, and Randy Pausch. Look them up, read their books, follow Brian Kight on Snapchat, it will help you and give you a look into my mentality.

Here is how hard work is actually a gift worth giving (hint, you benefit from giving it also.) When you work really hard at work for example…who does it benefit?

  1. You…because you got your job done the right way
  2. Your boss…because he/she is now happy with your work
  3. Your coworkers…because they are able to do their job better/more efficiently now
  4. Your family…because hard work should lead to continued success and some fatter stacks and yes I am talking about more money which when it comes to raising a family, is a good thing.(I try to be cool…is that you be cool?)

You get the picture, working hard at your job will benefit a lot more people than you think.

But don’t stop the hard work when you get in your car to drive  home because when you get home there is more hard work to be gifted! Work hard at your relationships…even if you have been in a relationship for a long time, if you don’t work hard at being the best partner that you can be…someone else most likely will. There are no short cuts in life. Life is hard, but it is made easier if you work hard at everything that you do.

Back to the original point about Christmas. Have you ever received a gift that you were “super overjoyed” about and “couldn’t wait” to wear it/use it/actually re-gift it because it was a pair of pink polka dot socks and frankly, you don’t wear pink polka dot socks? Disclaimer, if anyone gets me pink polka dot socks…you are damn right I am wearing them. My point here is not about pink polka dot socks. My point is that there are gifts that each person has, unique gifts, that not everyone can give the same way. But what if those unique gifts were opened, and then thrown in the dresser and never used? That would be a shame wouldn’t it. It would almost be  better that someone else has those pink polka dot socks if they would wear them, right?

The last gifts I want to talk about are those unique gifts that you have been given that I now urge you to re-gift to the world. I am not sure if writing is a gift that I have, or if I am just banging away on my keyboard trying to get my thoughts on this screen. But I feel like it is a gift, and I am trying to re-gift it to the world so others can possibly benefit. Some people have the tremendous gift of being a nurse, a doctor, an accountant, or even a basketball player..but they would never be as good at giving it unless they worked hard at it. What if Michael Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, or Curry picked up a basketball but didn’t work hard at honing that talent into a gift that they could then share with the world? We would not have Space Jam, no Black Mamba, no King James, and there would be no such thing as Steph Curry range.

It is easy for me to say “find your unique gift and share it” but it is so much harder to go find that gift. I do believe everyone has a unique gift that they are meant to share with the world…and if you don’t know what yours is yet, you can still give something to the world every day.

In the song “Take a Minute” by K’naan (non shameless plug for a previous post, this actually has a point!) he has two lines that relate to this post very much. The first is early in the song where he says

“And every time I felt the hurt and I felt the givin’ gettin’ me up off the wall”

Giving these gifts every day will not only benefit the person you are giving them to, which is in fact the point, but giving to others will also help you out too. It can help get you out of low places and get you to a higher place.

The other line says this “Cause it ain’t every day that you get to give.”

I simply refuse to accept that is true.

I believe that it is every day that you have a chance to give.

The Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking a Minute

Guess what guys? I’m back! I haven’t written anything in a while but I wanted to get back out here and get my thoughts on paper…well, electronic paper that is. I won’t be specifically writing about any sort of Buckeye sports during this post, but seriously go watch the Womens Buckeye BBall team…great squad that will make some noise come tourney time. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to write about at all for a while but a good friend gave me some great advice. He told me that I should follow the lead that I gave myself with the title of the blog. So now here I am, ready to share some of my thoughts with the world.

It is a scary thing to present my ideas and thoughts to the world and write about them in a public forum. It makes me feel thoroughly vulnerable but it is also an exhilarating feeling. I feel like I have some good I can do with this blog by using my words to reach people and maybe even help someone with what I say. I have never really been one to put myself out there…the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone was Sophomore year when I was a part of the Delta Tau Delta dance team. Being on stage was an absolutely thrilling experience like nothing I have ever experienced again. Now maybe that was because I ripped my pants off in front of all of Greek Life and hip thrusted with jorts on…but that’s not the point! If you are wondering, hip thrusting does earn a victory in variety show.

But putting myself out there on a stage is slightly different than putting my thoughts down onto a blog post like this. I was always pretty bad at organizing any sort of paper I had to write. When I would ask my dad to edit my papers I knew he would go through about 3 pens worth of ink and I would almost end up re-writing the paper. I would jump from tense to tense, not make sense sometimes, and the organized formal writing just wasn’t for me. So I went and became an engineer. The best thing about writing this blog is that I am not being graded! I am free to dispense all the crazy thoughts that go through my head on this blog on my terms. If you are looking for a 100% grammatically correct post, this is not the blog for you…but I will spell everything correct because spell check was made for yours truly.

So here I am with an inspiration to put my thoughts out onto this blog for all the world to see. If you know me you know that I have plenty of (mostly crazy) thoughts. A majority of them that I say out loud get some funny looks and a big “Uhh…what?” response, but I feel like a lot of my more curated thoughts stay bottled up and are never heard. I want to change that so this post will be about some of my thoughts I have had that I think will either help someone, spark some thoughts in others’ minds, and maybe some of them will make you laugh too!

“Any man who knows a thing, knows he knows not a damn damn thing at all” -K’naan

The first thing that I want to touch on is something that I have been on my mind for a while because of some inspiration from a friend during a discussion recently. She had said that she and her roommates had been watching a lot of documentaries and that they really loved them. This got me thinking about what I was watching on TV and I realized that most of it was purely for entertainment purposes.

I was not really learning anything while watching most of these TV shows. It was not as educational as the myriad of documentaries that are on Netflix, Hulu, etc.  It really inspired me to keep trying to learn as much as I could, past what my degree and job had been teaching me. I was inspired to start my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and also began looking into the process of getting my MBA. I even began watching a couple episodes of the nature documentary Life, which is on Netflix. Yes, I am talking about the real version and not the Snoop-narrated version…although I watched  those clips too, and highly recommend them. #WhatIsTheseAnimals

However, the purely scholastic education isn’t the only kind of learning that I wanted to be doing. I thought of some of the other things to learn about each week because there is a seemingly infinite amount of educational material out there that most people do not ever tap into. The quote above perfectly describes this feeling. It is a line in a song titled “Take a Minute” by an artist some have heard of, but he is not as popular as he should be. His name is K’naan and he is a Somali Canadian Poet, Rapper, Song-writer, etc. The quote sums up that feeling that there is always something to be learned each and every day if you look for it.

Learn something new each week about yourself, your friends/family, and the world around you.

Sometimes you can learn things by watching documentaries and going after scholastic education, but most of the time people learn by trying new things. Take this blog for example. I always used to have a disdain for writing. The papers I had always written either were too regimented(5-7 sentences per paragraph, intro/body/ending, etc.) or they were too factual, like school reports. I may be an engineer but I have a few creative bones in my body! But once I started writing this blog I realized I have a genuine love for coming up with the perfect adjective for something, and also how rewarding it is to put my thoughts out here for all to see.

One of my good friends, Mark Elguizaoui is writing a book right now. Yes, like an actual book that will be published…how cool is that!? I am certain he has learned so much about himself by just jumping in with two feet and working hard at his dream. He is one of the most optimistic, inspirational people I know and that inspires me to keep trying new things as well. Now this wouldn’t be a good shout out unless I gave a solid plug for my dude…so the link to his book’s Facebook page is right here so everyone should go like his page and show him some love!

https://www.facebook.com/events/694202797383252/

Not all things that you try you are going to be super successful with and that is okay too! You will learn just as much from successes(that is what this blog is…right guys…right??) and also from failures. Hell, the times when a lot of learning about yourself is done is through life experiences. Some of these experiences are planned…like going to a museum, or purposefully going somewhere educational like COSI. #ScienceRules

But other times you will learn so much more about yourself during the life experiences that pull back and deliver a knockout blow straight to the perfect plans you had been carefully cultivating. Life isn’t perfect, and it is up to us to take these “WTF” moments and learn from them. These things will make it seem like life is spiraling out of control and in some cases…it might be. It is up to us to either choose to get thrown to the wind, or shoot the grappling gun to the peak of a taller mountain, and climb your way back to the top. In an interview just after the Super Bowl loss, Luke Kuechly said this: “You can learn something from every situation, whether it is a win or a loss and we are going to come back strong next year.” How incredible is that perspective to have moments after losing the biggest game of the year? 

The same friend that inspired me to write about my thoughts gave me some even better advice after a recent event in my life. He urged me to learn from what had happened. This is harder said than done as I’ve learned(see, still learning!) But once I began to get over what had happened, I was able to look back at the reasons why it happened and start to learn from them. This just motivated me more to approach every experience as a learning experience.

 

During the good times and the bad times, you will learn who your true friends are as well, which is why I think we need to take the time to learn something from our friends whenever we can. Whether it be something about them, their family, or even their hopes and dreams. These connections can run much deeper than you think and friendships are worth cultivating. Giving someone something as simple as your time to get to know them can seriously change their lives.

Randy Pausch, who I have quoted before in one of my previous posts(shameless plug for myself, go read my previous posts!) once said the following:

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”

Take a minute and spend your time learning. Learn about yourself, learn about your friends, learn more about your family and learn about the incredible world you live in.

Thanks for reading, and as always Go Bucks!

 

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Smiling Hope

“Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

There are only two days till 2016 and that thought terrifies me.

Not because of the reasons you may think though. I am not looking backwards at things that have happened in 2015. The event isn’t what determines the outcome, but the combination of the event plus the response. Although there are things I feel directly responsible for, things that have led to the events that happened in 2015, I cannot dwell on them. That is not what this post is about.

This post is about a reflection period and then an overwhelming feeling that 2016 is about to be huge.

All of my posts have been about Ohio State football so far and it makes sense. OSU football is one of my passions that I feel very strongly about. The unadulterated joy that I feel while watching my Buckeyes play on Saturdays in the horseshoe is incomparable. This post won’t be fully about Ohio State football but the theme does have some parallels with our tilt against the Fighting Irish on January 1st.

This bowl game is a celebration, and not just because it has the word party in the name (It will always be the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to me, what even is a Battlefrog?)  Some will say it does not matter because it is not one the playoff games but I will counter with the fact that celebrations always matter. Celebrations can sometimes mean more than “the one that matters.” Celebrating the small things like a delicious coffee, or all green lights on the way to work matter. Celebrating the big things like birthdays and promotions matter too. Without celebrations we are a rolling ball down a white canvas that never ends.

On January 1st we are celebrating the end of quite a few Ohio State Football careers that have defined the program for the last couple years. On January 2nd Braxton Miller will no longer have a chance at another spin move that shakes up the entire college football world. Guys like Bosa, Thomas, and many others will be gone after this win. But are we going to sit around and cry about it and worry that we won’t be a good football team next year??

Hell No!

We are going to celebrate all that they have done in a Buckeye uniform and hope they can consolidate everything they have done into one game against the Fighting Irish. Then after that, hopefully we can celebrate another Buckeye victory. Ringing in 2016 with a rousing rendition of Carmen Ohio is not a bad way to start the new year. After we send our proper goodbyes to some of the best gridiron talent Columbus has seen, we begin to celebrate the unknown. We celebrate the guys that will get the chance of a lifetime next year. Buckeye Grove is always looking to grow a little bit more.

With that, the theme of the post follows the same timeline as the above couple paragraphs. December 31st is not a day to worry about what did or didn’t happen in 2015. It is a day to look back, accept all that has happened as a part of you, and embrace it. People went through some tough times this past year, had phenomenal personal achievements in 2015,  learned more about themselves than they ever knew. You know what we do with all that? The tough times, the great times, and the times when laying on the couch was the only thing we wanted/ could do?

We celebrate.

That is what the combination of December 31st and January 1st is about.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is part of a book/speech by Randy Pausch. Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mellon and gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard as his “Last Lecture.” Randy was suffering from Pancreatic Cancer and did not have much time to live. He gave this last lecture at Carnegie Mellon and by the Grace of God survived long enough to write a book titled “The Last Lecture” which encapsulated all he talked about in his speech.

“We cannot change the cards you are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

December 31st is about making sure that in 2016, we play the hand as best we can.

Now January 1st is about celebration.

We have reflected back on 2015 and hopefully not had the thoughts of “What if?” or “If I just did this differently…” because that is just like sitting in a rocking chair. Gives you something to think about but doesn’t get you anywhere.

We celebrate everything that we have been, are currently, and wish to be in the future. 2015 was a chapter in our book of life, it didn’t make the story but certainly added to it. Without our experiences in the past year(s) we would not be the people we are today…and I for one have not met one person who’s story is not worth telling, or worth celebrating.

The quote at the  beginning of this post is one that I just found from Tennyson. Alfred Lord Tennyson has been my favorite poet ever since I had to write a paper on him back in High School I believe. I did the research and realized he had some really great things to say; that his perspective on life is one I wish to mirror in my own life. We are on the threshold of 2016 and that hope that 2016 will be better is already smiling down on us. Let’s get to a higher place this coming year, moving forward with the purpose of a better year while bringing with us the past that has helped shape who we are today.

 

Happy New Year everyone, and as always GO BUCKS!! BEAT ND!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Big One

Throw it all out.

Throw out the superstitions. Throw out the records. Throw out the expert predictions.

This is Ohio State vs. TTUN.

This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

This is the biggest game of any season. This is the game that everyone circles on every single schedule that has ever been released by The Ohio State Athletic Department. This is the game that has me up at 1AM writing this post because I couldn’t sleep. Fevered anticipation only begins to describe how I feel about this game.

About the only thing we can keep is the deeply rooted tradition of this game. This game predates the first playing of the World Series by 6 years and the creation of the NFL by a quarter century. It has been played on the last week of the regular season since 1935. It determines bragging rights for the next 364 days no matter what had happened earlier in the season. The Winter doesn’t feel so cold when the Buckeyes win this one.

Legends are born in this rivalry. Legends. Guys that will be remembered forever in school history because of what this game means. Our Buckeyes have a chance to do something very special in about 5 hours. 4-0 against TTUN would be one hell of an accomplishment for the senior class. 4 pairs of gold pants. For those of you that think our Buckeyes might be a little down because of the debacle from last week, think again. When that kickoff happens at high noon, the Buckeyes will be ready.

Every single year this game is a battle. No matter the records, the goal is beat TTUN every single year. There is a reason that the Woody Hayes Athletic Center has a countdown clock to this game running constantly. There is a reason the victory bell rings for a full 30 minutes after wins over TTUN. Below are three of my favorite battles between the Buckeyes and TTUN.

 

  1. Let’s Party Columbus(2002): This game featured the greatest running back I have ever seen play for the Scarlet and Gray. Maurice  Clarett is easily the most talented RB I have seen in my short time alive. Clarett bouncing the first TD to the outside, catching that wheel route to setup the game winner, all with this huge pad on his left shoulder. It was amazing. It also featured the most gutsy player I have ever seen play at Ohio State in Craig Krenzel. This game sent Ohio State to the BCS National Championship where they played the greatest game I have ever seen, but first Columbus had to party.

 

     2. The Game of the Century(2006): #1 vs. #2. This one determined who was going to the National Championship. It was a knock down, drag out, heavyweight battle for the ages. 10 Rounds of rub routes, play action TD’s, and precision passing by my favorite Buckeye of all time, Troy Smith. This one took some years off my life but in the end if was a 42-39 victory for the Buckeyes. The video below shows not only how epic this matchup was, but also how intense this rivalry is as well.

       3. TYVIIIIISSSSS(2013): This one featured it all. From an almost pregame fight in the tunnel, to an actual brawl at the start of the second quarter that led to double freedom rockets flying, to a game winning interception…Urban Meyer described this one as “an instant classic.” It left TTUN’s quarterback Devin lying on the turf and after the game “looking and sounding as saddened as any athlete after a setback.” It had me screaming “TYVIIIISSSSS” to anyone that would listen to me at the back bar at Eddie George’s Grille. This one led to a text from my mom asking if I was still alive afterwards. One of the greatest Buckeyes to ever play at our great University had a career game in 2013. Braxton Miller accounted for 5 TD’s that day and helped lead us to victory over TTUN, oh and he gets an encore today. Carlos Hyde ran for over 220 yards. This was one for the ages.

 

This isn’t just another game. It never is. The hits are harder, the emotions run higher. This one means more. Let’s make the Great State of Ohio Proud today.

GO BUCKEYES, BEAT TTUN!!!!!

 

 

Featured

Translating Vision to Reality

Fellow Buckeyes….We finally made it.
We made it to week 11.

OSU vs. MSU
The first of the gauntlet.
We got through 10 victories and are about to embark on what will define the rest of the season. We have seen the spin moves, witnessed the all-time greatness of Zeeeeeke, marveled at the power and authority of Bosa.

Now we come to a crossroads.
This season has brought us some renewed youth, plenty of fun, and may have even brought tears to our eyes at some point.
(Yes, that was shameless plug for my other posts…read them!)
What will this season bring us? Will it be a 10-2 frustrating finish? WIll it be an 11-1 regular season with a solid bowl game? Will we do what we didn’t even do last year and make it to the post season with an unblemished record of 12-0 heading to Indianapolis?
I think the only way to figure out where we will go from here will be to look back and see how we got here. I don’t mean how we got to 10-0. I’m not referenceing the improbable run to the National Championship last year either. If you want to read that story I highly recommend reading “The Chase” by Bill Rabinowitz which is an absolutely incredible story…and to think we as fans got to witness it firsthand!
No, I want to look back at how the greatest leader in all of college football forever changed the storied program that is Ohio State University Football.
Now I haven’t written a blog post in a while and I have been meaning to write another one for some time but couldn’t really think of a topic or find the motivation. I started thinking one day, which isn’t as rare as you think, and realized that for all the (well deserved) accolades and constant attention that the players get, the coaches don’t get near the credit for the success of the team.
Sure Urban Meyer gets asked ALL the questions about the team seemingly every day between the radio show, Big Ten teleconference, etc. But I don’t think too many people get to see how Ohio State went from a 6-7 awful miserable season that culminated in us losing to Florida in the Gator Bowl to AN UNDEFEATED SEASON! 12-0! Are you kidding me? The breath that all the other Big Ten teams thought they would be able to take while OSU was rebuilding was gut punched right out. We were back baby!
But how did that happen? Was it Urban Meyer magic? We had witnessed the voodoo powers of that guy on that fateful night in January when one of my favorite Buckeyes ever was rendered useless by the machine like destruction of the Gators. If you know me, you know how vocal I am….ask my Dad about that night and I think maybe 15 words were spoken the entire game between the two of us. Up until Urban was announced as our head coach; I didn’t particularly like the guy because of how he made me feel that night. I thought that was going to be the greatest OSU team I would ever see play…then Urban arrived to Columbus.
I was intrigued…I had always heard Urban talk about the culture of the progra, and how the team needed leaders to be successful. I never knew how these guys actually became true leaders of the team. The year the Buckeyes went 12-0, you heard a lot about guys like John Simon and Zach Boren, and for good reason! Not only did Zach give all Ohio State fans one of the all time greatest pictures from the game vs. TTUN, but he also switched positions halfway through the year!
I was finally able to begin to answer these questions not long after I began thinking about them when the book titled “Above the Line” By Urban Meyer and Wayne Coffey came out. As soon as I read what the book was about, “Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship season”, I knew I had to get that book. I wanted to know everything about how a 6-7 team can come to have an undefeated season and a National Championship in the span of three years.
Urban Meyer has always struck me as an extrememly motivating guy. When you hear his voice in the hype videos, or hear him in the post game comments, you can tell that he has an intensity in his voice that can get the most down person fired up beyond imagine. I once tweeted that “Urban Meyer could lead me into a fight against a Black Hole and I would think we would win.” When I was watching the feature on the Buckeyes during this past summer’s airing of “Scarlet and Gray Days” which was on The Big Ten Network, there was once scene where Urban is getting after his guys during a meeting. He yells that this is the “Number one team in America, coming together, having dinner and getting ready to go to work!”
That was the most fired up I have ever been to go make dinner.
It is that type of intensity and passion that we see on a week to week basis when Urban Meyer roams the sideline, tosses headsets, or gets after it pumping up the crowd right before Carmen Ohio.
We all see the end results, we see the game scores, we see the highlights and we think that’s because the only thing that these guys know how to do is train football players, scheme football plays, and call football plays. That is all very well and important to win football games but what this book has taught me through only about 150 pages of it is that all the football acumen that the coaches have is nothing without the leadership.
Being a young professional, I have always been interested in doing the best job possible in the role that I have, but I have also always been interested in what makes people tick and how to motivate them to give 100% everyday. I haven’t had the range of experience that some of my other coworkers have, but there has been one huge thing I have noticed in my positions so far that directly correlates to how Urban Meyer leads the Ohio State Program. The leaders of the company will determine how the company functions. We have all seen it, one way or another. Whether it be on a sports team, or in a professional environment. It is easy to bust your ass and get the job done the right way everyday when:

1. You love what you do

2. You have a motivating boss that you want to do a good job for. This has to be imbedded in the culture of the workplace and that culture is determined by the leaders.
The Performance Pathway, introduced by Focus3, a Leadership Consulting firm in Columbus reads this:
“Leaders create culture, culture drives behavior, behavior produces results.”
Urban Meyer is one of the greatest leaders that the college football world has and will ever see. I can unequivocally say that now after reading only 150 pages of his book on leadership because I have the results sitting in front of me. The results are in the form of a Sports Illustrated cover that shows Zeke running over two defenders, with a picture of Urban Meyer hoisting the trophy right above it. The results are directly related to the behavior that was instilled by the culture that was created by the leader. That leader being Urban Meyer.
Without giving away too much of the book, I want to give three reasons of why I think the Ohio State Football program is setup for continued success as long as Urban Meyer is head coach.

1. E+R=O. This is the leadership mantra setup by Focus3. Event + Response = Outcome. This can be applied daily to every single person. I received a wristband with this mantra on it and it is a great reminder to me that the outcome is not determined by anything other than my response to any event, whether planned or not planned. There are numerous occasions of how Urban Meyer and the Ohio State team responded to events that led directly to the outcomes we have all witnessed.
2. The Culture of Excellence. There is a phenomenal story about how Urban dealt with the team he inherited after the 6-7 season. All I can say is that the team didn’t go 12-0 because of Michael Jordan’s secret stuff water bottle. It took a lot of tough love and a lot of hard work. Urban has worked extremely hard to create this culture and it now permeates through the whole program. Another one of my favorite quotes from Urban is “It is so easy being average, TO HELL WITH THAT!” This goes right along with the culture of excellence.
3. Accountability. Urban Meyer has willingly admitted that he did not have his priorities straight near the end of his time with Florida. He readily admits that he was sacrificing his family time and his health for a football program. He took the time and got his mind right to straighten out his priorities and he has brought that accountability with him to the football program. After the loss to VT last year he was the first to accept the blame. “We lost this game because of me. Because we weren’t prepared. You want to bring the heat, bring it right here.”
If you are looking forward to these next couple of weeks of football and possibly forget to do some Christmas shopping, look no further than the book written by Urban Meyer. Just make sure to ask to read it as soon as whoever you get it for is done!
GO BUCKEYES. BEAT MSU!!

Featured

How Firm Thy Friendship

Carmen Ohio.

What do those words mean to you? Does it mean you start warming up your vocal cords? Does it mean that you find the nearest Buckeye and throw your arms around their shoulder? Do you start to tear up a little bit?

To someone who graduated from The Ohio State University, all the above are probably true. I know it is for me. That song, no matter when or where I hear it, evokes one hell of an emotional response from me.

The chimes at the beginning remind me of my favorite place on Earth, Grand Lake St. Mary’s. Growing up, I would hear those bells play near my Grandparents cottage and it always made me feel so calm and happy.  Those chimes still have that effect on me. They also take on a new meaning when they are played after every Ohio State football game, perfectly leading into Carmen Ohio.

Singing that song with all of my best friends after a Buckeye football game reminds me how fortunate I am to have a degree from this great university. The degree means so much more than just the knowledge gained. The degree is a reminder of the amazing people I met and the great memories I made with them. It is an indication of the growth I went through as a person and a man during my time at Ohio State. The foundation of who I am as a man was forged in Cincinnati but the supports that stand on that foundation were built in Columbus by the friendships I made.

Living in Steeb with the “Steeb Six” gang and working at the front desk taught me that I had a lot to learn, and I mean A LOT….like not everyone is from Ohio (weird.) I jumped in Mirror lake for the first time with those guys and have stayed friends with them this whole time because when you freeze your butt off for the sake of beating that team up north, you bond rather quickly.

Joining Delta Tau Delta taught me more of what it means to be a man and it also introduced me to a unique brotherhood. Some of my best memories were made in that shelter on East 15th. I can’t really put into words what some of those guys mean to me.

Majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) meant staying up late and working our asses off in Baker Systems Engineering. It taught us all a valuable Woody Hayes lesson: “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.”

That is why this weekend has taken on a whole new meaning to me as a post grad; it is a special time to reconvene with those friends who have helped shape me. Homecoming week was always awesome with so many events leading up to the game, including the Homecoming parade. I was even lucky enough to be in the parade one year! However, I was not on homecoming court but instead throwing WiredOut t-shirts to the crowd, which required much less hand waving. This weekend is about invoking those memories and simultaneously making new ones.

I think that seeing the people this weekend that helped shape who I am today will make this weekend just that much more special. I suppose this is my “But for Ohio State” moment. But for Ohio State, I would not be the man I am today nor would I have made these lifelong friendships.

The last stanza of Carmen Ohio resonates so much with me because of how true it is. Every time I see another friend that I met at Ohio State it reminds me that these friendships are not so easily breakable. They can survive moving across the country, or into enemy territory. They can survive the seasons and they can survive trying times.

Time and Change Will Surely Show

How Firm Thy Friendship

O-HI-O!

GO BUCKEYES. BEAT MARYLAND.

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Let’s Have Some Fun.

No.

I am not talking about the Pitbull song.

Although if Midway happens to be blasting it as you walk by this coming Saturday at 3:44pm when Zeke breaks one for six…then sure, I am talking about that song.

Do you guys remember last year? Last year was the best…our Buckeyes rode into the sunset as champions of the first ever College Football Playoff.

59-0, 42-35, 42-20.

Incredible, miraculous, absurd, 12-GAUGE, ZEEEEKE, URBAN!

Those are all words to describe last year’s Buckeye squad. We were playing with house money as DJ Byrnes of ElevenWarriors.com liked to say. It was not supposed to happen that way. Not after that infamous 7 yard out that brought XBrax1 to the practice turf in pain. Not after TTUN attempted, and failed once again, to rip the Buckeyes’ dreams apart along with JT Barrett’s ankle. Not after we were tasked with facing the Big Bad Wolf that was Alabama.

But we all know the script which somehow played out even though Hollywood wouldn’t have had the guts to write it up that way.

I don’t want to anger anyone here, but last year is over. It lives in the form of Blu Ray – DVD combo packs, BTN reruns, and memories of exactly where you were when Cardale launched missiles directly into the heart of the south.

That brings me to the point of this post. After last weeks thrashing of Hawaii, our players had to apologize for not kicking Hawaii’s a$$ by enough. I am pretty sure that is the only time I have ever heard a guy who scored three(THREE!) touchdowns in a game get asked why his team didn’t play well enough.

Back in 2002 I went to the Buckeye’s game against San Jose State. It was Jim Tressel’s second year coaching our beloved Buckeyes and we all were still trying to figure out why he loved the punt so much. Before a (then) record crowd at Ohio Stadium, I got to see the Bucks. I had no expectations going into that game other than I couldn’t wait to see the band,and couldn’t wait to see Maurice Clarett tote the damn rock. I thought we would win, sure, but wasn’t predicting scores at all.

You remember how many points we put up?

50!!!! FIFTY!! Halfway to a hundred!!

My dad and I couldn’t believe it. We beat them 50-7 and it was amazing. Tresselball was fun! I love to punt too! Lets get 50 points every game and we can also punt it 50 times!

To think that the margin of victory was “only” 43 points that day, and to compare reactions from that game to the 38-0  Buckeye donut run that we took the Rainbow Warriors on blows my mind.

I do not think anyone asked Maurice Clarett why the offense didn’t play as well as they should have. I really don’t think anyone came home after that and wondered if we could beat an SEC team.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that 2002 Ohio State is so much different from 2015 Ohio State that it is tough to draw actual parallels. What I am trying to say is that all 104,892 fans that day had a bunch of fun inside the confines of the ‘Shoe.

What I am asking of fans this year is to do the same.

The Buckeyes score a TD? Chest bump your neighbor! Buy someone a drink! Yell “Go Bucks” at everyone you see! Start singing Hang On Sloopy! Act as if that is the last Buckeye TD your tired old eyes will ever see. Breaking into a song about how many damns you give about that state up north is also ALWAYS acceptable as well.

Then hopefully within 5 minutes, do it again!!

The Silver Bullets are back! We have ZEKE! Braxton Miller is catching passes!  Did you ever think you would see Braxton Miller catching passes??

You get my point. We are sitting in the Toys ‘R Us of college football playmakers with no parents around (NOOO PARENTS) and we are complaining that there are too many toys to play with.

Fellow Buckeyes: Your mission is clear. It is to watch every Buckeye game from here on out with 2 goals in mind.

1. Win the Damn Game

2. Have fun

That’s it.

Not hard, not at all.

Let the media ask their questions. After all, that is their job. Our job can be summarized below in the words of a pretty well known song:

Smash thru to victory,
We’ll cheer you as you go;

Let’s go out there today and have the most fun we’ve had as fans since…..well since last Saturday. Chest bump your neighbors, high five everyone, and get ready to see the Buckeyes score some points!

GO BUCKS

BEAT NIU

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Let’s Feel Young Again

In old Ohio (Columbus) there’s a team,

That’s known thru-out the land;

Eleven warriors, brave and bold,

Whose fame will ever stand,

And when the ball goes over,

Our cheers will reach the sky,

Ohio Field will hear again

The Buckeye Battle Cry.

Think about the last time you felt young. Like really really young. Like you were a kid again. I am willing to bet you are thinking of a memory of being young. This might consist of driving through your hometown and recalling something you did at an earlier age. Maybe it was the spot on the Oval that you used to hang out at (and skip class in the process!) It could be seeing an old friend that you haven’t seen in ages.

You get the point. Those are memories of when we once were young. As we come hurdling towards fall once again a lot of things start to change. The leaves turn colors. The weather gets cooler. Everyone start drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes. BUT the best thing that happens is that College Football returns. Most importantly, my Buckeyes play once again and that is what makes me feel young again.

For all my Buckeye brethren, we have a very unique season ahead of us. The uniqueness of this season has everything to do with the 9 Unit Strong Freight Train that rolled through the College Football Playoff last year.  Urban’s voice yelling “MAXIMUM CAPACITY” should resound through your soul as you read that…..along with fond memories of 85 yards through the heart of the South (S/O to Eleven Warriors for the apparel.)

I would argue that at the turn of every Fall season, we all feel a special tug at our hearts no matter if we are in Columbus or not. When Buckeye Football comes roaring back to life. This is because Buckeye Football makes us feel young again. Think back to your very first resounding Ohio State memory. Mine is the Penn State game back in 2000. It was pouring down rain the entire game and my mom and I were sitting in the south stands just soaking wet and quite miserable. We ended up leaving at half so that we could actually see what was happening in the game (and watched the rest at my aunt’s house)…but I do remember watching the game through the downpour thinking “this is what happiness is supposed to feel like.”

I, along with all Buckeyes, have profound memories of watching the Eleven Warriors, brave and bold. Football Saturdays were the only days my parents could ever get me to do all my chores before 8:30am. This way I would be able to watch College Gameday, and then watch my Buckeyes for those glorious three hours every Saturday in the fall. From watching the players walk into the stadium, to seeing the Best Damn Band In the Land, to all the camaraderie during a Football Saturday in Ol’ Columbus Town. That is what makes me feel young again.

Despite the countless times I have seen Script Ohio, or the drum major’s backbend, or Brutus going absolutely bonkers on the sidelines, I still get goosebumps and a profound sense of awe. Normally, it is new experiences that give you a sense of awe and a jolt of unmatched energy, such as the first time you rode a looping roller coaster. Buckeye Football succeeds at bringing back that awe and energy to an unmatched level, year after year.

The energy inside Ohio Stadium when one of the Buckeyes cross that goal line and we get the first 6 points of the year is impalpable. The passion from those fans and this great university is a reflection of the passion that has stretched from Woody Hayes, to Earle Bruce, to Jim Tressel, and now Urban Meyer. The underlying passion and energy that is shown for this program is not about individual players, but for what the program and university stands for. It is easy to show this passion each week for such a great university.

I asked some friends this question:  “What is the one thing you look forward to each and every Buckeye football season?” I got answers ranging from emojis (the Trophy Emoji…#DefendGr8ness), “winning”, tailgating, talk of being back with the boys, the stadium atmosphere, and one friend asked “How do you pick just one?”

The answer is that you can’t pick just one. There is too much tradition and excellence embedded in each Autumn Saturday on the banks of the Olentangy. That is what it is like to feel young again.

I recently found a song on Spotify Radio titled “Young Again” by an EDM artist (Joey Bosa would be proud) named Hardwell. He asks at one point “Will we ever feel young again?”

Well Mr. Hardwell, if you come on down to Columbus, OH. on the banks of the Olentangy at the shrine we call the Horseshoe…you’ll get your answer.

C’mon Buckeyes…today is the day we will feel young again.

GO BUCKEYES. BEAT VT.