Fondly called “The Shoe,” Ohio Stadium ranks as one of the most powerful sporting venues in the country. It’s dumbfounding enough just gazing at the vast amount of red and hearing the band blast “Across the Field” and “Hang on Sloopy.”
Gameday traditions in Columbus have become famous nationwide. Get to St. John Arena about two hours before kickoff to catch “The Skull Sessions,” which involves a pregame concert by “The Best Damn Band in the Land.” Fans pack the house to listen to the sounds and antics of the Buckeye band.
Follow them to the stadium, if you can make it past the hoards of tailgaters, and get to your seat on time. Perhaps you will pass Brutus the Buckeye on the way, or witness the Ohio State cheerleaders perform under the stadium’s beautiful Roman styled rotunda entrance. Maybe you will get around to see swarms of fans crossing the bridge over the Olentangy River, or maybe you will stroll through “The Buckeye Grove,” where a Buckeye tree has been planted to honor every OSU All-American. There is so much to soak in on gameday in central Ohio.
Once inside the stadium, it’s clear that football rules here. Pregame parties are wrapped up, and the stadium suddenly explodes with over 100,000 fans ready for kickoff. Some stadiums have gaps that don’t fill until midway through the first quarter. Not here…be on time as football is by far the main attraction.
And why not? Ohio State has enjoyed a magnitude of Big Ten championships and eight national titles. College football history has deep roots here and the enthusiasm never lets up.
Once inside, the band makes it’s grand entrance down the ramp as fans prep for the famous “script Ohio.” A tradition since the 1930s, the climax comes when a fourth or fifth year band member receives the high honor of dotting the “i.” After the game, players run over to the band and sing the alma mater to proudly display their loyalty. The victory bell sounds on successful Saturdays ringing through the hearts of all Buckeye faithful. Few arenas can match the magic of Ohio Stadium. It’s a perfect representation of classic American football.