Buckeye Nation likes to win. And with a football team that was 24-0 until just before midnight Saturday, it didn’t even remember what losing felt like.
Ohio State fell to Michigan State in its first-ever Big Ten Championship appearance, 24-34.
Twitter exploded, High Street bars cleared out, legitimate tears fell. Friends hugged one another, while the carefree kept drinking in anger, or maybe protest, and the sullen made their way home for the night.
But there was more than just anger and tears in Buckeye Nation Saturday night, because Buckeyes aren’t just winners, they’re resilient, and they’re grateful.
Woven in between statuses and tweets of mourning were words of thanks.
Students thanked the team for a spectacular season, for a wild ride of being undefeated. They talked of what being a Buckeye is about, which is more than winning football games. And that’s the thing — as Buckeyes, we attend the greatest school in the country, and just about everyone you meet here firmly believes it.
Being a Buckeye is singing “Carmen Ohio” with your arms wrapped tight around your best friends’ waists. It’s joining student organizations that shape you into new people and bring you pride. It’s walking across the Oval and passing friends unexpectedly, and leaving with a smile on your face. It’s having a test the next day but choosing to meet your friends at Chumley’s anyway without a second thought.
It’s all-night study sessions, Buck-I-SERV trips, having friends in your classes and impromptu snowball fights. It’s jumping in Mirror Lake no matter the weather. It’s making new friends and wondering how you ever got along without them.
Being a Buckeye is yelling “O-H” in public, no matter the state or country, and receiving an “I-O” in return. It’s being accepted as you are. It’s finding your passion and having the tools to pursue it.
It’s opportunities that just don’t exist anywhere else.
So were there discouraging statuses clogging my newsfeed about how OSU played “the worst possible quarter it could play?” Yes. But the ones I saw were overwhelmingly from outsiders to this great school. And as a student, seeing those posters who don’t attend OSU is frustrating, because they don’t understand what being a Buckeye is all about.
But from members of Buckeye Nation, I was proud to see a different collective sentiment. Some were sad, in mourning, experiencing the loss personally. Yes, a few were angry, mostly from not knowing another way to react to the gut-punch that is one’s first loss in two seasons. But many praised the team on its season or described the reasons they still love being a Buckeye.
Because at OSU, we expect to win. But we still stand together when we don’t.
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