So here I sit – on a Wednesday, no less – with the campus of The Ohio State University burning around me. Fifty-thousand students working toward worthless degrees from an institution that offers courses in AIDS awareness, golf and Tango, flipping over desks and Volkswagens in anticipation of the biggest game ever to grace the illustrious history of Ohio State football. It’s just Wednesday, and as I sit here attempting to write this column, so many wonderfully derogatory images and thoughts fly through my underdeveloped, Ohio State-educated brain.
I see a massive building in Ann Arbor that more closely resembles the genitals of Jenna Jameson than a football stadium. I see Chad Henne choking like Charlie Weis at a Hooters’ all-you-can-eat wing day. I see the great Lloyd Carr wrinkling faster than an old man’s scrotum while Jim Tressel coolly chalks up yet another victory. I see all these things so clearly and colorfully, I almost considered using them in this column. But then I saw this letter from Michigan Dean of Students Sue Eklund addressed to those Wolverines stupid enough to make the trip to Beirut . er . Columbus.
“We know that it can be uncomfortable being in an opposing team’s environment, especially when the stakes are so high. We would like to offer a few suggestions in order to help you stay safe and have a positive experience this weekend,” wrote Eklund.
Fair enough. I imagine most students at Michigan grew up in Michigan, a place so devoid of passion for college football one could consider John L. Smith’s self-face slap inspiring. In Columbus, a city of nearly two million, we pack more than 500,000 fans onto campus for game days, the sight of which is undoubtedly intimidating to the uninitiated. I get it. A few helpful hints to virgin Wolverine football fans couldn’t hurt.
“Try carpooling to the game; if possible, drive a car with non-Michigan license plates,” reads point No. 1 on the letter.
This is brilliant. On your way down I-75 – over the crater-sized potholes, past the oil refineries and the giant exhaust pipe that aims directly at the freeway and through the stench of Detroit – make a quick stop at the McDonald’s by the border, snatch a plate from an Ohio vehicle, and continue your voyage through the Buckeye state. Make sure to keep an eye out for our state troopers, however. They’ll probably be able to smell the rotten eggs and dead skunk emanating from your car.
“Keep your Michigan gear to a minimum, or wait until you are inside the stadium to display it,” reads point No. 2.
Again, excellent advice. Displaying your allegiance to a team that melts from the glare of a gray-haired, 50-year-old man who dresses like Pee Wee Herman’s father is certainly embarrassing.
Better to wear a “Flint High class of ’72” T-shirt and a “Built Ford Tough” hat. You’ll slide right by like a bound-for-a-freeway-ditch Escort on an assembly line.
“Avoid High Street in Columbus.”
I’m not sure if your dear old dean has ever been to our city before, but High Street is definitely not a problem – by itself. To best avoid injury, verbal abuse and possible death, you might want to consider dodging the following areas: Lane Avenue, Woody Hayes Drive, Woodruff Avenue, St. John Arena, Ohio Stadium – shit, the whole city north of downtown. Columbus ain’t exactly a one-stoplight town, folks. Proceed with extreme caution. We’re all fucking crazy, and we’re everywhere.
“If at any time you feel unsafe, you should call 9-1-1 for assistance. UM campus police also will be available in Columbus to support our fans. You may call them with non-emergency concerns at (734) 216-9159,” the letter finishes.
That’s right, kiddies. In lieu of Michigan mothers breast-feeding their children on their trip to Columbus, the University of Michigan police will be here to provide nipple-suckling for those who feel they might be beaten and pepper-sprayed by Ohio State police.
On second thought, what was that number again?
– Scott Woods is a senior in journalism and a sports editor at The Lantern. He can be reached at woods.250@osu.