The games continue off the field:
Chimdi Chekwa: “My favorite part was when the veterans messed with the freshmen’s beds.”
I want to preface this section by saying that hazing was never allowed by coaches and never went any further than what you are about to read. However, we had a tradition in which the veterans took the busses back to the hotel after dinner, forcing the freshmen to walk. This was in no way a rough walk, totaling less than a mile from the Fawcett Center to the University Plaza hotel down Olentangy River Road. When the vets got back to the hotel, we would “toss” the rookies’ beds, flipping mattresses and scattering their things through the hallway. It was all in good fun, with no property damage or stolen items. I admittedly went overboard with baby powder one year, dousing Ben Buchanan and long snapper Gar Chappelear’s clothes with a healthy dose. The best part was seeing the faces of the Frosh as they returned to the hotel from their stroll to see their personal belongings strewn about the hallway.
I believe the tradition ended my senior year, however, as things got a bit out of hand. A freshman cornerback (who was fairly recently removed from the team) caught wind of what we would be doing and sprinted the whole way home to protect his things. When he saw that we were, in fact, tossing beds, he grabbed a fire extinguisher and chased all parties down the hallway spraying anyone who got in his way. Needless to say, the coaches were not pleased with the report they got from the hotel the next morning and the whole team had to run extra sprints. The new rule stood: zero-tolerance for hazing. (Sidenote: It was hilarious.)
Guys were always trying to mess with each other, as the stresses of camp needed to give way to a little bit of fun. We were kids after all! Here are a few more stories shared by some of the guys.
Jimmy Cordle: “I got (Alex) Boone with the water trash bucket in front of the door one morning and he had no idea who it was.”
The water bucket trick was a favorite pastime at camp. It was very simple, very effective, very funny, and most importantly, very indefensible. One party would fill a small trash bucket with water. He would then lean it against the door of his choice, knock on said door, and take off to a secure hiding place. When the unwitting player pens his door, the trash can spills, flooding the entrance to the doorway, and hopefully the door answerer’s feet.
Now, I know it doesn’t sound like the funniest thing in the world, but believe me when I say that in the midst of camp, little games like this were the best. They were the only things that kept us sane. With all the pressure of the world on our shoulders, it was good to remind ourselves and each other that we were young, dumb, and there to have a little bit of fun.
From the trash can game to messing with each other’s phones (a specialist favorite), we were always trying to find ways to get our minds off of football and laugh. I was reminded of so many stories, which I may tell later on, when I polled my teammates. There were so many great times that it would take ten articles to recount them all. Or maybe I’ll just write a book…
Anyways, I think Beanie Wells summed it up the best. He said, “My favorite part was being around the guys, just bonding and having a good time while also growing up together and doing something we all loved.”
Devier Posey: “Favorite part was the senior speeches.”
Jimmy Cordle: “Favorite: senior speeches.”
Senior speeches were the final part of every day. They came at the end of the post dinner meeting, and served as a final note to a long day. Every senior had his chance to let the team know what his time at Ohio State has meant to him and what it took to reach that level. Many laughs, tears and inspirational moments were shared by all in senior speeches, and we really got to know who each man was.
Current St. Louis Ram Jake McQuaide explained it really well when I asked him about his favorite part, and I thought it was necessary to share the whole quote.
“For sure my number one favorite thing that I will always remember is the senior speeches. I loved learning about the guys who had a childhood nothing like mine and seeing what people overcame to reach their dreams. It reminded me how lucky I was to have a great family. I remember one in particular where a guy said his hero was his dad because he set an example of exactly how not to act as a parent. That hit home for me because I really look up to my dad and the sacrifices he made for my family. I couldn’t imagine having a dad like that. There were also the funny ones. There was one guy who transferred to Ohio State from Holy Cross and told us that we didn’t realize how good we had it. At Holy Cross they even found a dirty rag in the sloppy Joe’s in the dinner line.”
Senior speeches were the first time I realized what it meant to be a Buckeye football player. The emotion that guys like A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, and Nate Salley showed let my class of freshmen know what we were in for in our time as Buckeyes. My senior year was also the moment where I truly felt it all hit me. It hit me that my time was nearly at its end. It was such a bittersweet moment, and I did my best to bestow any wisdom I could on the young kids who were listening to my words.
Camp is a time where we really learned who we were, as a team, as individuals, and as Buckeyes. As these young men prepare for the season, they are going to learn more in the three weeks in the hotel then at any other point in the year. We have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of camp through the lens of ESPN this year. So many happy and painful memories have been stirred inside me, even with a whole new coaching staff. It appears that Coach Urban Meyer has things more than under control. Our boys are in good hands, and I can not wait for this season to start. Is it September 1 yet?
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
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