American college football evolved out of several worldwide sports activities called "football" (such as soccer and rugby) in the mid-1800's. The first recorded American collegiate game occurred in 1869 between Princton and Rutgers. Since then, the game has grown in popularity, exponentially. However, the level of popularity today appears to be truly regionalized. For instance, in the Northeast, there generally is a lower level of fan enthusiasm for the game than is evident in the Mid-Western,, Southern, or South-Western states. We had the opportunity to experience the higher level of fan enthusiasm this week when we attended the Ohio State University versus Northern Illinois game. While Ohio is a very populous state, it really has only one program that is part of the Big Five conferences; Ohio State University. OSU football fans are some of the most enthusiastic we have ever encountered. What we witnessed was a spectacle that rivaled what we envisioned the ancient Roman Coliseum events might have been. Droves of fans (from infants to the elderly) poured into the parking lot, regaled in their "...scarlet and grey", many of whom seemed to be content to remain in Tailgate mode the whole time. Permits for Tailgating spots are passed down through generations of families. The stadium itself, built in 1922, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in sports. Covering 14.5 acres, it can hold nearly 105 thousand spectators. The stadium is home to the largest television screen in the world, as well as "The Best Damn Band in the Land." Traditions abound during this Saturday afternoon ritual, from the singing of "Carmen Ohio" (the oldest school song still used) at the start and finish of each game, to the ringing of the third-down bell during opponents possessions, to the whole stadium spelling out "O H I O" in waves. And, oh yes, there was a football game to watch as well! It was an event that we will not soon forget.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.