As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Oct. 9, 2013.
We know I thoroughly enjoy football, but I admit that I'm not one to glue down in front of the TV regularly to tune into games. I did it a lot more in high school if family members were tuning in or in college with groups of friends. While I LOVE football, there is no denying it can be for a long time suck.
This past Saturday night was an exception, though. I didn't plan for it to be a football night, but it turned into one. In the process I realized something about myself. I now believe that the reason I learned to love football was because of winning close, come-from-behind games. It seems they are still the ones that really get me.
I've watched some Ohio State this season and tuned into a little UK football. While I love the Cards, I haven't bothered with them (aside from the Kentucky game) simply because, well, the games aren't exciting.
My football love and attention developed between 2001-2003. This was a time when Casey County football was picking up wins, but oftentimes in close games. It was also during what all Buckeye fans know as "Tressel Ball." Former OSU head coach Jim Tressel, throughout his 10-year career, became known for his high-ranking teams always playing in close games. It was rare for the Bucks to run away with a game, even when polls and stats said they should. Instead, the score would stay close or OSU would even fall behind, leaving fans on edge until the end. Look at Tressel's record though and you'll know that somehow, he almost always came out on top in those games.
Saturday night brought for a 'first' in mine and my husband's relationship. We were tuning into the OSU/Northwestern game as well as the Notre Dame Arizona State game. (I wanted to watch Kentucky as well, as I saw their score creeping closer and closer to South Carolina.) When the Buckeyes were down 13-23 and Notre Dame was barely holding a lead, my husband said he was ready to watch something else. Yes, I am a sports fan, but typically when he is ready to stop watching ESPN, I do an internal happy dance. Not this time. For once, he was ready to stop watching sports and I wouldn't have it and took control of the remote.
As the Buckeyes cut down Northwestern's lead through the second half, it dawned on me, "Oh... This is why I started liking football so much...these kind of games."
I suppose the more favorable option is to have a competitive game and be winning, but I'll be honest and say, I think I realized that it is the "barely behind" scare that engages me. I suppose the fact that with Jim Tressel this still usually led to a win is what allows me to enjoy it and not absolutely hate it. If it had regularly resulted in losses it could be a different story.
So, as silly as Tressel Ball was and is, I may actually owe my early development and love for football to the way Jim Tressel's teams played in these games. It allows me to watch any game now, and be cheering for a losing team and truly believe there is a way they will pull it out in the end. On Saturday night I was happy to see both Notre Dame and Ohio State win. I wish Kentucky could have done the same. Their second half scoring sure was on track to do so...and as usual, I was holding out hope they'd find a way. Maybe next time.