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Commentary: Buckeye pride survives ‘winter’s cold’ at Frozen Diamond Faceoff

Ohio State’s alma mater “Carmen Ohio” states that the bond between Buckeyes and this university lasts through “summer’s heat or winter’s cold.” Never has this been more true than at Sunday’s Frozen Diamond Faceoff.

OSU fans have been known to travel to support their team, but rarely does such travel involve braving frigid temperatures for hours at a time.

Yet temperatures in the mid-20s didn’t deter Buckeye fans from traveling to Cleveland from across the state and beyond to cheer on the OSU men’s hockey team as they took on Michigan in Ohio’s first-ever outdoor college hockey game.

Even as the Wolverines cooled the Buckeyes off on the ice, 4-1, fans stayed put through wind and cold at Progressive Field.

And it wasn’t just the fans who showed their dedication to the team.

The OSU athletic band performed throughout the game, even performing “Script Ohio” on ice. Though they faced some challenges playing their instruments in freezing temperatures, their enthusiasm never deflated as they performed OSU staples throughout the game. Some band members even opted to keep their mouthpieces in their pockets to keep them warm when they weren’t playing, but when I spoke with them, there were no complaints about the cold. There was only excitement to be playing at such a historic event.

The cheerleaders, likewise, trudged through a snow-covered baseball diamond to lead cheers and keep the crowd engaged as the sun set and temperatures continued to drop.

The game itself was a spectacle unlike any other I’ve experienced during my time at OSU. The players, it seemed, were in awe of the experience, but their play didn’t have the same fire that many OSU hockey fans have come to expect from the No. 2-ranked team this season. But what the team lacked, the crowd made up for.

As Michigan answered OSU’s only goal with two goals of its own in a 28-second period to cap the scoring, the crowd stayed put even though OSU’s hopes for a win had deflated.

The final buzzer signaled an OSU fan’s worst nightmare ­— a Michigan victory, but the band still sounded the starting notes of “Carmen Ohio.” In perhaps the only appropriate finale to such an event, the team, the cheerleaders, the band and the fans linked together and sang out the words to the alma mater that they had lived out firsthand.

OSU fans have proven their loyalty through “summer’s heat” time and time again. But Sunday, despite a loss to an archenemy, despite the fact that their mouths froze to their instruments and despite the fact that many probably couldn’t feel their toes, OSU fans proved their loyalty through “winter’s cold.”

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