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I have been watching--- and criticizing Buckeye football --- now for 53 years since I first hit the Oval for my freshman year. However, after thinking about it for the last 48 hours, I do not think I have EVER seen a more extraordinary performance by any Buckeye football team than what we witnessed over the last 12 months, and I had to simply put that thought into print.
This team, especially the seniors, had every reason to either "mail it in" their senior years or go somewhere else, without any penalties, any enjoy the opportunity to play for something tangible -- a conference championship, a national championship, BCS and media recognition. They didn't create the mess that they were facing. Indeed, it all seemed totally unfair to the seniors.
But yet they stayed. Not only did they stay, the seniors, in particular one John Simon and one Zach Boren, showed the leadership of which legends are made. They not only played well, we all knew they would do that, but they also showed the extraordinary character and leadership -- the stuff that separates men and on whom immortality is besotwed.
Consider the circumstances as Urban and staff took over. Fresh from a ignble 6-7 season. Slapped with a bowl ban. Faced with a new S&C coach who did his best impersonation of the most dastardly Marine recruit drill sargeant just trying to push these guys to their limit and expecting many to abandom ship. Honest critiques publicly by the new HC that many of these guys are soft and "not very good". Yet they stayed (except for a few); even Chris Carter, whom most of us thought would surely be a casualty. They not only stayed, they became a TEAM. Simon and Boren led, and the rest of the team followed. The offensive line, which had looked like something out of the MAC, if that good, not only became a force, but the best in the BIG. Halfway through the season, the LB core had more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. But the Fullback said, let me at it, and he became a linbacker, not only a linebacker, but a damn good one - he who as a freshman was considered too short and too slow to play MLB at Ohio State. They forgot to measure the heart of this extraordinary man -- no one should EVER make that mistake again!
Mr. Simon played just about the entire season with enough significant hurts that would have relegated mere mortal men to the sidelines. It did finally get him to the sidelines in an evil twist of fate, for his last and prospectively his finest game. But before he had to sit, John Simon was more than a man's man -- personally held the defense together, especially in the games when we needed him most. We can only hope that future Buckeye teams continue to reference John Simon as how the game of football at Ohio State is meant to be played.
Because the 2012 Buckeyes will not get to cap off their season with a Bowl win and championship trophy, their extraordinary achievement will never earn them the accolades that they deserve. But make no mistake about it. This was an extraordinary achievement --- nothing to play for except each other and the fan base expected it. They didn't always win pretty and almost didn't make at all a few times. But ... they refused to lose. And that in the end is maybe the real measure of a TEAM and of men. And to demonstrate that character when there is nothing tangible to win is remarkable. I know not what lies ahead for each of these extraodinary men in their lives, but they have already demonstrated that single most important ingredient for success in life --- CHARACTER, EXTRAODINARY CHARACTER! That is the only words that seem to fit properly. Amen.
This post was edited by fportner 20 months ago
+1 from me.
,,,do you attribute your late-in-life interest in tOSU to indifferent parentage; or raised OOS?
Gateway to Heaven on Earth
No, I was not a "late in life" Buckeye. Sorry for the mis-communication. I was not a Buckeye fan growing up(living in Cincy) until I went to 'Shoe' my freshmen year. But I have been to most of their significant achievements over the past 50+years -- saw the Bucks shut down Simpson in the '69 Rose Bowl, saw the unbelievable defense of he Miami thugs in the '03 Fiesta Bowl, and most other bowl games. Make a game in Columbus 1-3 times a year. I love So Texas, but I am a Buckeye to my core. Only my wife is more rabid. She's unbelievable!
Great post and a +1 to you, sir.
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