Column: The Game, holidays can create memories together


The first thing the start of the holiday season brings is the opportunity to say what you’re thankful for as you chow down on some food.

Football has long been associated with Thanksgiving and is a vivid activity in many memories people have while gathering with family during the day.

The crossover of the two is why The Game moving to the Saturday after the holiday has been such a great move starting back in 2010.

Ohio State and Michigan meet for the 119th time on Saturday. It’s a big deal in these parts, if you haven’t heard.

My house growing up was one of those places it mattered. Several Ohio State graduates and other superfans in the family kept up interest in the result and made the festivities before it began lively.

Growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s when OSU began to take control of the rivalry, it made for some jubilant celebrations.

Some of the favorite things I recall were my friends joining in to help my father create Script Ohio-style decorations out of soda cans in an effort to try and turn the blue and yellow colored walls of our home more scarlet and gray, and waking up to the same breakfast casserole dish created by an Ohio-based restaurant.

The idea my dad had behind it all was to keep everything fun. And it’s that fun that sticks with me most.

The 2016 game between the two teams was a spectacle and one of the most memorable games for fans this century when Ohio State won 30-27 in two overtimes. It will stay with me more than others not for the outcome, but that it was the last one my dad got to watch as we learned only days after of a cancer diagnosis.

On that day it was just him and myself watching together. While that game played out it was clear he was experiencing some discomfort for a reason we weren’t yet aware, it didn’t deter him from wanting to make that day like many of the ones which preceded it. And when Ohio State won in a thriller he did his best to get to his feet because having fun and enjoying it is what he wanted the day to be about.

He got to have a lot of fun during that time period I grew up in as Ohio State won 14 of 16 meetings which has continued on in the years following.

My dad, my family and people closest to me all know the game is, well, a game. But it can be an event to look forward to the same as holiday occasions and sometimes it’s fine to let loose and remember having fun is alright. It’s why I’m already cherishing the chance to pass on the message of fun to help create new memories that share similarities to the ones I now have.

Getting the chance to have holiday celebrations cross into the time of the game can only provide more opportunities for memories to be passed on.

I’m thankful for the memories I get to have, the lessons I’ve learned and the values that have been instilled which stem from a five-to-seven day stretch in late November.

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