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Opening Volley: September

You can’t always pinpoint the reason why in some parts of the world, some things seem to mean more to people than anything else. Here, you can.” — Actor J.K. Simmons, narrating an episode of Scarlet and Gray Days on the Big 10 Network Despite the cringeworthy notion that Buckeyes football trumps all other important [...]
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You can’t always pinpoint the reason why in some parts of the world, some things seem to mean more to people than anything else. Here, you can.” — Actor J.K. Simmons, narrating an episode of Scarlet and Gray Days on the Big 10 Network

Despite the cringeworthy notion that Buckeyes football trumps all other important issues in our home state (it doesn’t), the sentiment isn’t lost on me. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for hearing my childhood passion described by Juno’s dad.

But I can’t help it: even with the adult perspective that I’m watching college kids play a fast-paced, violent game, I get more excited about Ohio State football very year as I get older.

What started as a small town 8-year-old cheering on what seemed like gladiators later morphed into cheering on classmates and peers (who looked like gladiators)—and now, at the ripe old age of 35, still remains one of my favorite hobbies.

That’s probably because my primary hobby is talking. And I can’t stop talking about Ohio State football.

It starts during the summer—maybe on the golf course, or perhaps at a backyard barbeque with aunts, uncles, and cousins—and slowly it builds momentum right up until fall camp, when my Internet search history bleeds scarlet and gray all over any other research topics.

I can’t stop talking about Ezekiel Elliott, the soft-spoken stud who chose Columbus over his parents’ beloved alma mater. The kid in the bare midriff jersey who became a star last winter, just weeks after losing his close friend and teammate Kosta Karageorge.

I can’t stop talking about Cardale Jones, the former backup quarterback who was banished to Urban Meyer’s doghouse just a few years ago, and then last year led the most unbelievable college football championship run anyone’s ever seen. Oh, and the fact that he came back to school and turned down NFL money—even with a young daughter to care for—makes me root for him even harder.

I can’t stop talking about Braxton Miller, the former do-it-all quarterback who left parts of his body and soul on the field for the Buckeyes, only to have to face down two other quarterbacks when he returned for his fifth year. The “Block O” tattoo, inked right below his surgically repaired shoulder, is as permanent as his allegiance to his team and home state.

Speaking of home, I can’t stop talking about our cover boy, Darron Lee, the New Albany kid who started and ended his first regular season with sprints into the end zone. Currently poised to join the ranks of All-American linebackers from OSU, until last year he had never played a single down at his position.

Now, that the season is here, I certainly won’t stop.

I got my start as a sportswriter, and this time of year I get to slip that journalistic helmet on and get back in the game. At least a few poor bastards will get the long-winded end of a patio-based breakdown of a Buckeye football game, a one-on-one broadcast from a wannabe Kirk Herbstreit that they didn’t purposely tune into.

But I can’t stop.

I can’t stop watching Oscar-quality hype videos.

I can’t stop reading about recruiting (I know).

I can’t stop following @FakeUrbanMeyer.

I can’t stop being a Buckeye football fan.

And why should I? At this point, it’s perfectly normal for people to maintain a healthy enjoyment of their youthful obsessions, right? Star Wars and comics are more popular than ever—and we actually know how they’re gonna turn out. You like violence and power struggles and shifts in popularity? Forget Game of Thrones—that ain’t even real!

Look, I’m only kidding. I like those things, too. As a man who’s been mostly an arts writer, a sportswriter, and a columnist, I feel like I am constantly being the go-between—the medium between which the dual sides of my personal Venn diagram merge and communicate.

On the football fanatic side, I find myself urging those who live and die by the pigskin to embrace the nuances, the frailties of winning and losing, and the lessons learned about leadership and creativity, even within the boundaries of a bunch of really aggressive men slamming into each other. On the artistic side, I’ll spend portions of tailgate parties or nights watching football at the bar extolling the storylines that even a casual observer can appreciate. Or just convincing them that all people who like football aren’t insufferable bros.

This year, as Ohio State rolls out what just might be the most talented team in the program’s 125 years—which is saying something—these narratives are ever-present.

There’s so much to talk about.

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Daily Perk: Ohio Champion of Sports Tickets

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Enter here for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the Ohio Champion of Sports exhibit at the Ohio History Center, presented by The Ohio History Connection! This interactive exhibit engages you in stories by athletes, owners, and coaches through recorded interviews. Head on over to their website for more info and to check out some blog posts, here.

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Food & Drink

¡Ándele, check out these 10 Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

Mitch Hooper

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The hangovers on Monday will be brutal, but the good times on Sunday for Cinco De Mayo will all be worth it. There’s plenty of ways to get down in the city this weekend, and we’re here to give you the scoop for all your various tequila-fueled dreams.

Balboa | 1312 Grandview Ave. | All Day!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the new and improved Balboa! With a new patio and improvements to the interior, Balboa’s tequilas, tacos, and nachos will taste a whole lot better.

Chuy’s | 4154 Seward Street | All Weekend Long

Only one day of Cinco de Mayo just isn’t enough, so Chuy’s is celebrating Cinco de Mayo ALL WEEKEND LONG! One buck floaters will be on tap Friday, $1 off perfect margaritas will be offered on Saturday, plus many, many more food and drink deals on Sunday.

Los Guachos | Multiple locations | All Day!

Chow on the BEST Tacos Al Pastor in town on Cinco de Mayo because Los Guachos is offering a BOGO deal! Chips and salsa/queso is also half priced for the holiday. Check out the Sawmill Road location for a live Mariachi band, full bar, and fresh made margaritas.

Rancho Alegre | Multiple locations | All Weekend!

Friday through Sunday, Rancho Alegre is throwing down with margaritas, authentic tacos, piñata, and a patio! $5.50 blue, mango, and strawberry margaritas; $7 Patron margaritas; $14.99 buckets of beer; $2.99 bottled beer, and so much more!

94th Aero Squadron | 5030 Sawyer Rd. | All Day!

When it comes to tequila, 94th Aero Squadron is making sure you have options. Whether you’re into Mexican Mules (house tequila with fresh lime, ginger beer, and agave) or satisfying your sweet tooth with the El Mariachi (house tequila with muddled berries, grapefruit juice, and sweet and sour), you’ll only be shelling out $5 for your drinks. Or spice up your classic margarita with the Fiesta Margarita which features house tequila with fresh watermelon, simple syrup, and fresh lemon.

The Goat in Hilliard | 4265 Brooklands Dr. | 12 p.m.

It’ll take a little work, but you’ll get rewarded for your efforts. Start and finish the 5K/3.1 mile course at The Goat where runners will receive a complimentary beer from the Marathon Brewing Company in Boston called 26.2. And if you’re looking to pinch a few pennies, use the coupon code CINCO to get $8 off your entry fee.

1400 Food Labs | 1400 Dublin Rd. | 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Holy guacamole—it’s a feast! This Mexican street food-themed features all of your favorites: toastadas, tacos al pastor, esquites, and cheese quesadillas of two variations. And that’s not even the full menu. For $40, you can feast like a king, plus the bar will be serving Ohio craft beers and margs by Simple Time Mixers.

Condado Tacos | Multiple locations | All Day!

Condado is throwing a two day-long party on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 with $1 off house margaritas, $20 house margarita pitchers, $3 draft cerveza, $5 Mi Campo Reposado tequila shots. The restaurant is also giving away five $100 gift cards per day, at each location and the full menu will be available all weekend.

Chile Verde | 4852 Sawmill Rd | All Day!

You won’t want to miss Don’t miss this annual Cinco De Mayo Fiesta.
The party includes exclusive brunch features, annual cinco quiz for money, photo booth, balloon artist, face painting, and much more!

Nada | 220 W Nationwide Blvd. | All Day!

Ready, set, Cinco! Nada will be throwing down margs, tacos, & all the usual favorites May 5th! Keep up with their social media for more details.

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The clock is ticking on your chance to win big with ColumBest!

Mike Thomas

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March is slowly but surely winding down, which means the clock is ticking on your chance to vote in our our yearly “best of” Columbus readers poll.

Not only does voting in ColumBest 2019 give you the opportunity to show your favorite local brands and businesses some love, it also offers a chance to win big. This year, one lucky ColumBest voter will win a $1,999 Easton shopping spree, a $2,000 home makeover from Value City Furniture, and a $250 Moo Moo’s car wash gift card.

You read that right – that’s all ONE prize! To make the reality of this amazing offer a little more tangible, let’s break down what could be in store for the lucky winner.

  • The “low fat” wash at Moo Moo is more than enough to knock a winter’s worth of salt off your ride in time for spring. At $8 a go, a $250 gift card will net a whopping 31 trips through the suds.
  • Among many great restaurants and retailers, Easton is home to a Cinnabon Bakery location. While we’re not suggesting you spend the entire $1,999 shopping spree on their delicious, gooey, cinnamon-frosted treats, the almost $2,000 prize would be good for around 531 of Cinnabon’s classic rolls. Please dine responsibly.
  • You know the old futon in your living room leftover from college that faces the TV stacked on top of milk crates? It’s time to upgrade. Thanks to the deals at Value City Furniture, the $2,000 prize will go a long way toward improving any room in your house.

Once you’re done voting for your faves, make sure to save your spot at our ColumBest Party at Express LIVE! on May 13th. You won’t want to miss this celebration of the best of the best in Columbus!

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