Advice for fans…
By Macon Overcast
If you have lived in Columbus through at least one autumn, you know the sound of The Shoe on game day. The tidal roars of one hundred thousand Buckeyes. And although gameday decibels scale impressive magnitudes, you need your eyes to understand the full power of the pigskin in our city. Tailgates as big as city precincts. Rivers of scarlet, grey and white pouring into the stadium from every cardinal direction. I swear, children too young to speak are singing fight songs. It’s a lot to take in. How does one turn this mass sporting and social event into a personal and enjoyable experience?
(614) sat down with superfan Peter Rowan, aka MVPeter, to find out not just how to survive a Buckeye football game, but how to grab game day by the brass ring.
(614): You have an online brand and made this into a lifestyle—how did you get into being a superfan?
PR: In undergraduate, I invented the title belt that I carry around and built up my costume with a long leather jacket and body paint. It’s a WWE belt (signed by John Cena, Sheamus, and The Miz) covered in duct tape. To be featured on TV—be extra. That’s all I truly do. Pretty simple thing, but it has gotten me a long way. I have had done interviews with FOX, ABC, and NBC, several segments on ESPN GameDay, and even a game show (How Low will you Go?) on SnapChat.
What’s one aspect of football season that all Buckeye fans need to experience?
You absolutely have to go to the skull session. It is the best pep rally you’ll ever go to. The Best Damn Band in the Land puts on an incredible show and, afterwards, an insane pep talk from the coaches. This will definitely get you excited for the upcoming game. One time I was late but I got to high five the players and Urban Meyer as they came out of St. John Arena, so if you do not want to go into the arena, you can wait outside to see the team.
What advice do you have for a first time visitor?
If you know a student who has a school parking pass, you can ride with them and park for free! Also, the stadium has a clear bag policy. I recommend that you don’t even bring a bag; it slows down the whole process and it’s more to remember throughout the day. All you truly need is some money for food and drinks and a phone for your ticket.
What is the best way to snag good tickets?
Don’t scalp. The tickets may be fake. My favorite places to get tickets are online. That’s the fastest and easiest way. Your typical event websites work, but Vivid Seats and The Buckeye ticket exchange group on Facebook might be unknown to new fans. Don’t go over budget, and play the long game. Generally, tickets will spike in price a week before the event, but as it gets closer and people just want to sell their ticket, you will see prices drop.
Are there ways to maximize the experience on a budget?
Of course! Go to all the free festivities around the stadium and then visit one of the local bars for drink and food specials while you watch the game. Even having a watch party at your home is super fun. I used to have 20 people in my tiny dorm room to watch away games and cheer on the team.
What in-game chants should new fans know before going to the game?
The first is our fight song, “The Buckeye Battle Cry.” Of course, know the O-H-I-O chant. Next, you should know when to spell Ohio when “Hang on Sloopy” is played. Finally, you should learn the lyrics to “We Don’t Give a Damn about the Whole State of Michigan.” The entire crowd will sing this at the end of the game. Win or lose—it’s hilarious.
What is the best way to handle conflict with an opposing fan?
I draw a lot of attention with my costume. I get heckled a lot, especially when traveling to away games. One fan threw an entire sandwich at me, another grabbed me by the throat, but mostly I get called a lot of names. I just smile and say “Go Bucks” and keep on moving.
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Advice for others…
By Laura Dachenbach
Maybe you moved here from California. Or maybe you’re an academic. Or you don’t like crowds, or noise, or games with complicated rules. Or maybe you didn’t grow up in this country. Whatever the reason, the result is that you live in Columbus, and football is not your thing. I understand. As a person who has taken several direct blows to the face and head with sports equipment during my school years, my feelings are admittedly mixed.
Happily, you pretty much own this town on Saturdays in the fall. Come outside. Away from 315. There are things to do. If you have some shopping to do or your yard needs work, this is the ideal time to start on those projects. But if you want to truly feel a sense of fulfillment, you can direct your resources in some specific ways and maybe even find your tribe. (We’re quiet, but we’re here.)
Things to do:
Go to a community show and give a sizeable donation. Believe me, this organization did not want to schedule a show during the Penn State game, but it happened that way, and you can be the hero of the day by throwing down a Ulysses S. Grant or two. Two or three Grants might be the next show’s costume budget, or repair to a lighting board, or a stipend for a choreographer. Whatever you give, it will be put to its greatest use.
Volunteer. Take one for the team. There are blood drives, Meals on Wheels shifts, and shelter work all happening on game days. Needs don’t stop at kickoff. Fill up those time slots when fewer people are around to lend a hand.
Take a class. The McConnell Center for the Arts, Columbus Parks and Rec, the Cultural Arts Center, and more o er classes and workshops in writing, filmmaking, bronze casting, ballet, sculpture, and perhaps any other field you might be curious about. Stay clear of the Arlington/campus area, and getting to class will be a breeze.
Visit the Metro Parks. It’s fall, and you should enjoy it. Saturdays at the Metro Parks are packed with hikes, dog walks, and volunteer activities. The outdoors, free parking, a connection to nature, a casual dress code— it’s all yours to enjoy.
Things not to do:
Predict scores. No one will give you credit for your wild guess, even if you use your own personal logic and it happens to work. One season, with no knowledge of stats or rankings or reputations or even coach names, I began to predict Buckeye losses with alarming accuracy. My method? Watching the fan confidence level pre-game. The higher the confidence level, the more certain I was of an impending defeat. It was almost as if too much conviction off the field somehow translated into poor performance on the eld. Like Harry Potter and the ability to talk to snakes, if this is a talent you possess, you must keep it to yourself. This is why it is important that you not…
Be too cheerful after a major loss. Don’t be even slightly cheerful. It’s hard to understand, because the fans didn’t lose—the team did, so the players are the ones who should rightfully be feeling upset. But still, this is hard for many people, particularly for those who had money riding on a certain outcome. Phrases such as: “Oh well, it’s only a game,” or “There’s always next time,” are not appreciated. Just try to adopt a serious-looking face, sigh heavily, and go back to doing your Sudoku. Or whatever.
Play the social justice warrior. You need to accept that organized sports are a permanent thing. Do not deliver sermons on how many starving children could be fed with the money that is spent on college athletics or what its carbon footprint is. Sports exist to bond people, to create team goals where none previously existed. Yes, the whole concept has become a little complex, and perhaps more than a bit empirical. But throughout our evolution, our strength as a species has been to come together to accomplish group objectives. And sports organizations are involved in the fight against cancer, assistance for veterans, and peace and leadership education. Those players that players that sign to the NFL are going to have some extra cash on hand, and you could use some funding for your documentary film project, right? It’s a small planet, and we all need each other.