Buckeyes and Dotted I's: Columbus!

Our next chapter in epic catch-up on life week: Columbus!

Oh my god, Columbus. Columbus almost killed me, and I would expect nothing less from David, who has pretty much singlehandedly contributed more to my understanding of normal teenage and twenty-something life than anyone else in the world.  The guy was responsible for my first Mountain Dew, Red Bull, Kraft mac’n’cheese, state school party…my god, the list is endless.

The problem with Columbus was that I came to Columbus sick, and stubbornly refused to slow down even one tiny bit. So I arrived sick, and I returned home on the verge of death…like, miss-work-for-four-days, sinus infection/ruptured eardrum ill. It was, without question, worth it.

David’s fantastic girlfriend Kelli picked me up from the airport on Friday afternoon and whisked me off to her adorable house right near campus, where we settled in and caught up for a bit before heading to David’s bar of choice. I’ve been hearing about The Little Bar since he started grad school in the fall of 2011, so it was a complete trip to actually be there. He and his engineering classmates rolled in after their Friday seminars ended, and we slammed a beer before heading off to possibly the most insanely awesome Friday night activity imaginable.

See, Ohio doesn’t have stupid/insane liquor laws like Minnesota does, and that means that Giant Eagle, this insane fancy grocery store in the area, does Friday night wine tastings with snack pairings. You legitimately show up, grab a cup, and rotate through the store drinking (really generous) pours of wine and snacking on whatever they’re trying to sell you that night while listening to live music. We did this, and I probably sounded like the world’s hugest dork being super excited about it. But it was wonderful! Perfect way to meet and get to know a ton of David’s friends.

We headed back to David’s place after we finished up at Giant Eagle, and the night took a rapid turn for drunk. David literally lives in a church…well, the back part of the church where I suppose they held Sunday School once upon a time or something…but the fact remains that I spent my Columbus Friday night playing drinking games in a former sanctuary. See below:

You can see the remnants of the stained glass and the entrance to the church behind blurry Kelli. I was in heaven (HA). Turns out combining penicillin and PBR isn’t smart though, because after a while all I really remember is waiting in the longest line ever for my inaugural Taco Bell fourth meal experience, eating a Crunchwrap Supreme on Kelli’s couch, and passing out. Oops. Columbus: 1. Lizzie: 0.

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible the next day…the combination of a mild hangover and a throat that was literally swollen shut from strep/yelling all night the night before was lethal. I couldn’t even choke down Subway and ended up pretty much not eating all day…there was a random piece of chocolate chip pumpkin bread around 1pm, then a lot of beer and a Funfetti cupcake before the game.

We had the absolute perfect day for tailgating…crisp but not cold, blue skies, the whole nine yards. David took me to grab an OSU shirt so I’d blend in with the rest of his friends, and Kelli gave me a buckeye necklace…it’s the thing to wear on gameday! We ended up outside…

…where Boom, beer pong, and beerlay reigned supreme. Beerlay’s my new favorite…it combines Boom, flip cup, and beer pong in a relay-race style deal that is absolutely insane.

After a lot of beer, a little cornhole, and losing ignominiously in the final round of Beerlay…


David and I decided that weekend that my default mode is “chatter,” which is really saying something when I actually did not have a voice. I still managed to croak/rasp/squawk out “OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED THIS IS SO COOL” about five hundred times on the less-than-a-mile walk to the stadium. I took about fifteen badly-lit photos…

…and David made my life by doing O-H-I-O with me. Although I apparently didn’t get the concept right away and so our O-H-I-O looks more like O-H-A-O. Oh well, I caught on fast enough inside.

The seats were flipping fantastic…I don’t think the novelty of being in a student section (instead of on the field with the band or in the nosebleeds like at ND games) will ever wear off for me.

And then I dorked out beyond recovery over Script Ohio.

Seeing the dotting of the I pretty much made my life. Marching band dork forever and absolutely no shame about that. There’s something about college football that is just electrifying on a level that, in my opinion, professional leagues can’t compete with.

(And Ken Dye would have been SO jealous of that giant, end-zone-covering flag. Just saying.)

The whole way through the game, the TV timeout entertainment was themed around celebrating Brutus’s 50th birthday. It was super cute…they pulled out the old Brutus costume (which literally looked like a giant turd), had players and staff wishing him a happy birthday on the Jumbotron, and did an endzone picture thingie…adorable.

AND THE HALFTIME SHOW. It was “Back to the Future” themed and it was everything I dreamed of and more. The fireworks!

The Jumbotron video integration!

The flying Delorean!

I was in heaven.

Randomly, after the halftime show ended, for some reason the fans in the north end zone started turning on their iPhone flashlights. Eventually about half the stadium was in on it…I have no idea what started it or whether it was meant to represent something, but it looked crazy cool.

In a turn of events that shocked absolutely nobody, the Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 28-14. We headed home to thaw out and ended up grabbing Raising Cane’s before going to bed around 2am.

Sunday was a super low-key day, primarily because I was entering the “barely functional human” phase of illness. David and Kelli took me to the North Market, a cool collection of food vendors all under one roof. The combo of Thai chicken noodle soup and Jeni’s brown butter almond brickle ice cream probably saved my life.

They took me on a lengthy campus tour and pointed out everywhere of note, and then I legitimately crashed out and fell asleep on Kelli’s couch until it was airport time. Two delayed flights and a ruptured eardrum later, I was home and ready to recuperate. What a killer weekend.

Can’t wait to do it again in Phoenix, this time when the Buckeyes take on my beloved Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl! Here’s to returning home from that one with eardrums intact, hmm?