Little Known Facts About Better Known Traditions

Whether the climate agrees or not, we’re past the halfway point of November already, and you know what that means? We’re less than a week away from The Game! Being a first-year student in such a spirited community of Buckeyes can be daunting from an academic standpoint, let alone having to learn traditions and other nuances that go into being a Buckeye through and through. Ever wanted to know how a few of these came to be some of the most recognizable traditions in the country? If so, today’s your lucky day!

Buckeye Grove

In a ceremony before the spring game, Buckeye trees are planted in Buckeye Grove for each Ohio State All-American football player from the previous season. Next time you’re over on West Campus, take a walk through the nature! Rumor has it that officials are renaming it “Buckeye Forest” because we have so many trees since WE’RE JUST THAT GOOD! (The last sentence is totally made up…except the part about us being awesome, because we are).

  • The original location of the grove was the southwest corner of the original stadium, but after renovations, the grove moved to its current location between Ohio Stadium, Morrill Tower, and the RPAC
  • Each tree has its own plaque, distinguishing the name of the player whom the tree is dedicated to
  • Since the Urban Meyer era of our football team, after the spring game, the players, coaches and administrators from the losing Scarlet team are in charge of cleaning up and sprucing up the grove as a way to raise the stakes in the spring game and do a good deed at the same time! Classic Urban.

 The “O-H! I-O!” Chant

Nowadays you can shout “O-H!” just about anywhere in Columbus the world and get an “I-O!” in response from some passing stranger. No joke, I was in Guam International Airport a few years back and I jokingly yelled out “O-H!” just for fun. Believe it or not, I got an “I-O”! Moral of the story is that time you’re on a random U.S. territorial island in the middle of the Pacific, give the ol’ O-H a shot, it’s guaranteed to work EVERY time. (Again, last sentence isn’t even close to being true so if you believed it for a second, that’s on you)

O-H-I-O with Big BenEaster Island

  • In 1942, a group of U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lexington in the Pacific Ocean began chanting “O-H-I-O S-T-A-T-E” to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Several of those displaced Buckeye fanatics returned to Ohio and enrolled at Ohio State in the fall of 1946.
  • One of them, Matthew Sidley, joined the cheerleading squad the following autumn. On Nov. 1, 1947, during a losing effort against Indiana, Sidley decided to teach the “O-H-I-O S-T-A-T-E” cheer to fans at Ohio Stadium.
  • The full nine-letter chant proved too difficult for the student body to keep up, so they eventually settled on chanting “O-H-I-O” and leaving it at that.
  • Apparently the cheer was so energizing to the players that 1947 OSU linebacker Dick Flanagan called it “…a turning point in Ohio State football.”
  • The cheer squad tried to bring back the original “O-H-I-O S-T-A-T-E” chant in 1982, but apparently a conglomerate of higher education individuals couldn’t wrap their head around spelling OHIO STATE to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. SMH.
  • The sailors who invented the “O-H-I-O” chant also created the hand symbols that have become a global phenomenon. Much creativity. Such wow.

 “Carmen Ohio”

Singing Carmen has got to be my favorite Buckeye tradition. The sense of pride swaying and singing along with 100,000 of your closest friends is almost indescribable! If you haven’t gotten the opportunity to check out a home football game yet, I highly recommend doing so even if you aren’t a football fan!

  • “Carmen” means song in Latin, so the title literally translates to “Song of Ohio”
  • “Carmen Ohio” is the oldest song still in use at Ohio State
  • Carmen was first performed by the Glee Club in 1903 after freshman four-letter athlete and Glee Club singer Fred Cornell re-wrote the lyrics to the tune of Christian H Bateman’s hymn “Come Christians, Join To Sing”.
  • Some say Cornell wrote the song on the train ride home after our Buckeyes suffered a brutal 86-0 loss to TTUN. Never again.
  • Carmen is sung after every single sporting event, win, lose, or draw!
  • In 1927, then band director Jack Evans and arranger Richard Heine adapted the song for the marching band to play and added the sound of the chimes from the Orton Hall bells as its intro

 Script Ohio

I’ve seen TBDBITL perform many a time in my days here at Ohio State, but every time they march out there, it mesmerizes me how perfect Script Ohio is! There’s a reason why it’s been called “The Greatest Tradition in College Football” In my opinion, there’s no way it doesn’t crack the top 10 greatest college traditions PERIOD. It’s definitely a sight to behold each and every time the Ohio State Marching Band takes the field.

  • The first marching band to form the word Ohio on a football field was actually *!ch!&an’s marching band! In 1932, those guys visited Ohio Stadium, and spelled out ‘OHIO’ during their halftime show
  • The famous Script Ohio made its debut four years later, on Oct. 10, 1936 at Ohio State’s football game against Pittsburgh. Band director Eugene J. Weigel had the idea for the formation after seeing the looping script Downtown at Loew’s Ohio Theatre

Each and every year, the last couple weeks of college football’s regular season gets me so excited (and not just because it means turkey and gravy). Being a part of something bigger than yourself is something that I believe is so important in everyone’s lives, and we all are so fortunate to have the opportunity to be Buckeyes at THE Ohio State University!