Can Buckeye Nation Forgive?

The five Ohio State players who violated NCAA rules — DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Boom Herron, Terrelle Pryor, and Solomon Thomas — made statements to the media today.  The players apologized and expressed hope that they will be forgiven by their teammates, former players, the Ohio State University, and Buckeye Nation.  A video of their statements is available from the Ozone website.

Sports fans tend to be unforgiving types, but I hope that Ohio State fans can find it in themselves to forgive the young men.  They broke the rules, they were caught, and they will be punished.  Through the statements today, they accepted responsibility for their actions.  Their public statements of apology seemed heartfelt to me.

For all of their athletic prowess, these are youngsters who are going through an age that is characterized by lapses in judgment and questionable decision-making.  How many people can say, truthfully, that they never engaged in underaged drinking, that they never cut classes, or that they never undertook some other illicit or ill-advised activity when they were college students?  How many parents would be willing to write off one of their children as a bad apple because of one transgression of this kind?  For that matter, how many adults can say that they have never gotten behind the wheel of a car when they had too much to drink?

College is all about learning, and some of the lessons are learned in the school of hard knocks.  The five players have now learned that bad decisions can have very bad consequences.  I’m confident that they will not forget that lesson.  We can all afford to show them some forgiveness.

A Hellish Trip Back

Yesterday we had just about the most hellish travel day imaginable.

It began with Russell and me having food poisoning.  We’re not sure how we got it, but we both were feverish and sweaty, weak as kittens and sick as dogs.  I had been losing it from both ends and had vomited, with truly spectacular force, for the first time in as long as I can remember.  We then boarded a small van to take a five-hour drive to the airport.  Five hours! The combination of my unsettled stomach and the rutted Costa Rican roads, the many hairpin turns, and the tight shock absorbers in the van, which made every jut and jar a literal head-banging experience, had predictable results.  That five-hour ride was the longest and most unpleasant five hours of my life.

Once we reached the San Jose airport — and no airport was ever such a welcome sight! — the challenge then changed.  It is one thing to be barfing on a van, with only your family members and a hired driver as witness.  It is quite another to lose it in a crowded airport or on a plane packed with holiday travelers.  But through the trip from San Jose to Houston, the race to get through customs, and screening, and baggage claim, and re-entry in Houston, and then the final leg from Houston to Columbus, we held it together, and we finally got home around midnight, some fifteen hours after our hellish day began.

After that experience, being home sure feels good.