We went to see the Ohio State-Michigan State game last night at Ohio Stadium. It was a great test for the Buckeyes, who prevailed 34-10. The Spartans are always a tough team, and their physical defense gave the Men of the Scarlet and Gray all they could handle until Ohio State broke some big plays and established a cushion. MSU, like true Spartans, kept fighting to the end — they are a better team, I think, than many people realize.
While it’s always nice to go to a game at the ‘Shoe, to revisit some of the old traditions, it’s also interesting to see what new features have been added. Last night’s game was a “black out,” where the fans were supposed to wear black. Many did, including most of our party, but the concept didn’t really work in my opinion. The stands really don’t look that much different, and the device certainly doesn’t pack the same punch as the “white outs” that Penn State seems to schedule every time Ohio State visits Happy Valley. I’d rather see “Scarlet Fever,” where everyone is encouraged to wear their scarlet jerseys and sweatshirts and jackets. I think that would have a lot more visual impact.
The game also involved some shooting flames and fireworks added to the traditional entrance of the team onto the field, as well as fireworks launched from time to time from the south end of the field and the area above the press box. That added a little dash to the contest. And at one point after darkness had totally fallen, everyone pulled out their cellphones, tapped their flashlight apps, and the stadium became a sea of slowly moving lights, like fireflies on a lazy summer evening. That was also a pretty cool effect.
I don’t mind the OSU athletic department experimenting with innovation, so long as they keep the old traditions, too. After all, every current tradition was, at some point, a new innovation. Who knows? At some point the cellphone flashlight moment may be as enshrined in Buckeye tradition as the band’s ramp entrance or Script Ohio.