Spring into Football SeasonPosted: April 30, 2012
In my younger and more vulnerable years—specifically, the Ohio State-Akron game on September 3, 2011—I went tailgate hopping without a hat/pair of sunglasses/any sort of facial masquerading device. This wouldn’t have been a terrible oversight for the law-abiding crowd, but veered into risky business for those (like me) with a questionable moral compass; the sole purpose being to swipe as much food as possible from as many tailgates as possible. With enough practice, I mastered the art of parking lot larceny and feasted accordingly before every Ohio State home game. Even when proper food-pilfering etiquette failed to net me a sandwich, all was not lost—the potluck that surrounded Ohio Stadium never really ended. There was always another Italian sausage to be had elsewhere.
Between the bad weather and the fact that it was a glorified scrimmage, I was skeptical about the opportunities for thievery at last Saturday’s spring game. However, no one appeared to mind when I moseyed up to a tailgate and helped myself to a handful of pigs in a blanket. While I initially reckoned this incident to be an aberration, it soon became apparent that everyone was in a giving mood. The merriment was a welcome change after the tumultuous 2011 campaign, and succinctly illustrated by the tank top of one scantily clad coed, which had etched in permanent marker “Urban Meyer, Can You Be My Baby Daddy?”
The thing about spring games is that they can get kinda boring. I suppose this is why non-athletic powerhouses—say, ITT Tech or Lakeland—attract larger crowds to bi-weekly campus B-I-N-G-O nights than at an April football exhibition; so, obviously, Buckeye fans went crazy when the game remained captivating deep into the fourth quarter.
Taking a page out of the XFL’s playbook, Meyer eschewed the coin toss for a bull-in-the-ring drill that climaxed (or nosedived, depending on how you look at it) when opposing QBs Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton were pitted against one another and proceeded to set bull-in-the-ring drills back twenty years. When Drew Basil connected on a short field goal, Meyer kept him on the field to showcase his placekicking prowess. Basil, sauntering back in five yard increments, was stymied by the 58-yard distance and failed to split the uprights on three attempts. The fans let out a collective sigh that seemed to say He’s no Mike Nugent! My attention to the game was only diverted once, as I made plans to attend a Twerk Team-themed event later that evening.
The breakout player of the game was freshman Michael Thomas, a wide receiver who, hilariously, operates a Twitter account under the guise of his chosen alter-ego, Rico Romano. Thomas’s reliably entertaining tweets range from cryptic (“I Still Remember What You Did Last Summer”) to primal (“Let’s Eat!!!”). In real life, Rico Romano is the general manager of the Las Vegas Playboy Club. Whatever vestige of Romano that Thomas sees in himself remains a mystery to me, but I’m not so sure I’d want to know anyway! Besides, I had bigger things to worry about—like if there’d be any food left outside the stadium once the game ended.