Our Encounter With Doubting Bob

There’s a lot of dislike for, and skepticism about, the Ohio State Buckeye football team lurking out there.  All of the sports pundits are picking Alabama to win easily, and the Las Vegas oddsmakers have the Crimson Tide as a 9.5 point favorite.  That’s a lot of points when you consider both Ohio State and Alabama have only one loss and Ohio State just won its conference championship game by a 59-0 score.

IMG_4431We experienced some of this pervasive anti-OSU passion firsthand during our recent trip to Jacksonville.  When we were enjoying a beer and some appetizers at a Riverside neighborhood tavern, we overheard this guy ranting about how Ohio State didn’t deserve to make the playoffs.  Actually, “overheard” isn’t quite the right word — this jerk was so loud that you couldn’t help but hear the scorn he poured on our beloved Buckeyes. To make matters worse, his name was Bob.

Why was this guy so deadset on saying that the Buckeyes were pretenders?  There were lots of reasons.  The Big Ten sucks.  Everyone knows that Ohio State chokes in big games.  The Virginia Tech loss showed Ohio State’s true value as a team.  Urban Meyer is a decent coach, but he screwed the University of Florida.  And, as is usually the case, he had a conspiracy theory, too — it’s all about money.  I don’t think he was saying that anyone got paid off to put the Buckeyes in; instead, he believed the playoff selection committee wanted to pick a Midwestern team to try to increase interest in the first-ever playoff, and Ohio State is about as well-supported and Midwestern a team as there is.

We didn’t engage with this loudmouth; you’re not going to change the mind of somebody like that with reasoned discourse, and there’s no point in getting into an argument in a bar.  But listening to his diatribe was enlightening.  It showed a perspective on Ohio State that is a lot different from what you get here in the heart of Buckeye Nation.  We won’t be able to change the conspiracy theories, but a win over Alabama Thursday night would go a long way toward changing some of the other views.

On The (Uneven) Cutting Edge

When Kish and I first made the decision to sell our home in New Albany and move somewhere downtown, I joked that we were “cutting edge, baby!”  She scoffed at that notion.  According to the Wall Street Journal, we’re both right, in a way.

Last week the Journal published an article about how Columbusites are increasingly moving from the ‘burbs to German Village, the Short North, Italian Village, and downtown housing.  So, we may not be cutting edge, exactly, but we’re part of a growing trend that is establishing a significant shift in Columbus’ population — and Kish is right, as always, because as the Journal article acknowledges that our ultimate destination here in German Village has been an attractive, thriving area for decades.

IMG_4290The Journal article captures the upsides (like parks, restaurants, and interesting places that are all within walking distance), and the downsides (like the cost of renovating century-old homes), of this trend.  (I’d add that another upside/downside of German Village is the brick sidewalks, which are beautiful to admire but are requiring me to adjust my normal shuffling gait to avoid stumbles on bricks shoved up by tree roots.)  For many people, obviously, the attraction of these kinds of moves outweigh the risks, and since we’ve made the move many of our friends have indicated that they, too, are considering this course.

This is a good thing for the city of Columbus, clearly.  More residents means more tax revenues for city services, renovated historic neighborhoods are safer, more energetic, and more attractive when Columbus pitches itself to businesses that are considering relocating, and the influx of homeowners, condoites, and apartment dwellers is bound to bring more business downtown, too.  It will be interesting to watch how this big this wavelet turns out to be, and what Columbus looks like in its wake.  There are still a lot of downtown surface parking lots that I’d like to see filled with condos, apartments, pubs, and shops instead.