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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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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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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!!!!!

 

 

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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.