It all started last year with my grandmother and a young man by the name of Curtis Grant.
My grandmother was terribly ill. If you’re not sure of who Curtis Grant is, he is/was the starting linebacker for Ohio State this season. He is from Richmond, Virginia. That’s where I and my family now live, and one day my grandmother received a hospice nurse. She noticed our radical Buckeye fandom, and she was able to contact Curtis to come see us and my grandmother. The nurse and Curtis were high school friends, and so I along with my family got to meet Curtis:
Although I was already as big of a fan that could exist, I made a connection with Grant. And I also noticed how he interacted with my family, and I oddly felt like I knew him already. Despite my fandom already, I became even more of a fan (if that’s even possible), and from that point on, I wanted nothing more than for Curtis to succeed in his final season with the Buckeyes.
Fast forward to September 6 against the Virginia Tech Hokies – I took a buddy of mine who is a Hokie fan, and well, everyone knows what happened at that game. I was mad. I was upset. I was infuriated at our loss to the Hokies. I also, as well as everyone else in the country, ruled out the possibility of my team making the final four in the first ever College Football Playoff Championship.
After that sting, Ohio State started a run that will never be forgotten by me as a Buckeye, nor anyone who is a fan of college football. Ohio State turned their season around with JT Barrett. They beat Michigan State and Minnesota in back to back victories that propelled them back into discussion for the playoff.
Then came the Michigan game…Barrett went down and was ruled out for the season. I witnessed this first hand and was devastated. Though our team fought back to try and make the playoff, I did not (nor did anyone else) have much faith in our third string quarterback – Cardale Jones. I have never been so happy in my life to admit how wrong I was.
What ensued was a thumping of Wisconsin, a Sugar Bowl victory over the nation’s best in Alabama, and then the unthinkable – a national championship. All in one season, Ohio State got the SEC monkey off their back, and they won the first ever playoff in college football.
I was blessed and fortunate enough to attend the event with my father. Even though I wanted to win for bragging rights and other reasons, I wanted Ohio State to win the most for two reasons – the death of two people – my grandmother and Curtis’ father.
Going back to what started it all, Curtis went through losing his father and even considered quitting football. However, he dealt with the adversity and persevered. He was also selfless, by coming to visit my grandmother in the midst of losing someone in his life.
At the end of a storybook season, Curtis along with the team and all of Buckeye Nation were National Champions:
In that moment, I thought of what that win meant to Curtis, his father, myself, and my grandmother. It truly was like a season of destiny. The guy that offered his time to come visit my grandmother to cheer her up was now a national champion.
I can only imagine and think of the cheering that commenced from them in heaven when Ohio State won that game.
Through all the adversity that Curtis went through as an individual and the team as a whole, that’s what made this season so much more special. Everyone called Ohio State undeserving. Ohio State was an underdog in all five of their biggest games this year, and they proved the doubters wrong.
The first line of The Ohio State University’s motto is “The People,” and even as a fan, I felt as apart of the team and Buckeye family as any of the players.
It was amazing to see Grant become a Big Ten Champion, Sugar Bowl winner, and National Champion all in his senior season. I will miss his play as a linebacker at The Ohio State, but I will always remember his blessing on our family and the season that this Ohio State team had.
For all the other fans in the Buckeye Nation – O-H!