Thomas Bradley/ Campus editor
As the final buzzer sounded and Ohio State’s basketball season came to a disappointing end Saturday in the Buckeyes’ heartbreaking 64-62 loss to Kansas, I saw the faces of hundreds of people around me sink. People were confused, some were angry, some threatened to go out and burn things.
It’s hard to blame them for the emotion. After all, the Buckeyes had blown a 13-point lead in the loss. Going into halftime, most Buckeye fans probably thought OSU had the game in the bag. In a year where the all-hallowed football team was mediocre at best, many OSU fans had turned to basketball to fill the void. And while the team delivered with a trip to the Final Four, after the first half of Saturday’s game, most fans were already looking forward to taking on Kentucky in Monday’s National Championship game.
So I wasn’t at all surprised by the negative emotions, the screams or the tears I witnessed Saturday night. I would say those were perfectly normal reactions. But what struck me most, and what will stay with me long after I graduate, was that, in the midst of disappointment, many Buckeye fans turned to each other or raised a glass, quoting the line from “Carmen Ohio” that says, “How firm thy friendship.”
While we were all disappointed at the loss, my friends and the strangers around me looked to each other, toasting to a season and a school where even in the hardest moments, we can rally around our love for the Buckeyes and for OSU, where we can look forward to next season and know that the disappointment we feel is temporary.
There were people Saturday night who took it upon themselves to overturn cars or burn couches in frustration. But for every person who torched a trash can, there were five huddled with their friends celebrating a team who, despite the loss, had brought so much pride to our school and celebrating the school we love so much. It is an incredible feat to make it to the Final Four and when I remember Saturday night, I will remember the fans who celebrated the accomplishment rather than destroyed out of frustration at a loss.
People will talk about the couches on fire, journalists will write about the overturned cars and the arrests. But when I think back to Saturday’s loss, to our trip to the Final Four, I will remember logging onto Facebook to find a slew of statuses thanking the team for a fabulous season and boasting with pride for Ohio State. I will think about the “OH-IO” cheers that rang out down High Street even after the basketball team’s season had ended. I will think about the players who brought a school together to cheer them on through March Madness. And I will think about the pride that so many of my fellow students have in this great university, an honest reminder of how strong this university community is and how firm the friendship of OSU truly is.