Today the Purple Raider, the Yankees Fan, and Old Rosie and I went to watch an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup at the Otterbein College field in Westerville, one of the suburbs of Columbus. The mighty Mount Union Purple Raiders ultimately prevailed over the doughty Otterbein Cardinals, 28-10. It was a somewhat lackluster game, but a lot of fun to watch nevertheless.
The OAC is Division III football. If you are used to Division I football of the Ohio State variety, as I am, Division III is something of a shock. The facilities are much smaller — Otterbein basically has a large structure on the home side of the field and small bleachers on the visitors side — but that just means that you can get closer to the field. The players are smaller, too, and slower, but blocking is blocking and tackling is tackling. You can still appreciate a well-run play when the running back is 5′ 8″ and 170, or a good solid hit when the defensive lineman is 5′ 11″ and 230 pounds. And because you are closer to the field in a much smaller environment, there is a chance that a well-timed bit of heckling could actually be heard by the coach.
We sat right in front of the Otterbein Band, and they added a lot to the game. The bandies lent spirited support to the Cardinals on the field, playing song snippets after just about every good Otterbein play and verbally harassing the refs and the Mount Union mascot, a large purple parrot with a sword. At the end of the third quarter the band broke into a fine rendition of Hey Baby (I Want to Know if You’ll Be My Girl), with most of the bandies singing along.
It cost $5 to get into the game, and $2 for a hot dog. It was worth every penny.