It would be an understatement to say the city of Columbus gets excited for Ohio State football gamedays.
The bars are all packed early, alumni come in from far out of town and book hotels months in advance, traffic is completely backed up all around the city and speakers are blaring music far and wide.
For some, that music emanates from the massive speakers at Ohio Stadium before kickoff. For others, that music is coming from the speakers of off-campus homes.
While the music is always similar, the gameday experience varies based on how far away you live from the stadium. If you’re fortunate(?) enough to live in Morrill Tower for two years — like this author — you know that the game is only a walk outside. However, moving off campus farther away from the stadium — again, like this author — you will have a very different gameday experience.
There is no living option closer to the stadium than Morrill Tower. Freshman year, I could wake up in the morning, look right outside my window and watch the parking lot slowly be engulfed in a sea of scarlet.
The tailgating is close by, and the walk to the stadium when you’re done preparing for the game with some Coca-Cola’s is a short one. Better than that though: the walk back is really short.
Remember that Michigan State game in 2015 when Ohio State lost in the freezing rain on a field goal? With the windmill kicker and everything? Yeah, did not take long at all to walk home from that before I could sit and sulk on my couch — back when I still had a more vested interest in the success of the Buckeyes.
And of course, should you have one too many Coca-Cola’s, that short walk back is a relief so you can reach the toilet and moan Seven Nation Army until you pass out.
The negatives? Let’s say you’re not a sports fan. You’d rather go see a movie, go for a grocery store run or, heck, even just sleep. Well, good luck.
First off, the closer you are to gameday, the more closed-off roads and built-up traffic. If you live close to Lane Avenue and need to go run some errands? Have fun getting your car out there. The best move would be to wait until the middle of the game and hope you can return before the end. And if you get caught when the game ends? Well, let’s just say I hope you have your extended playlist ready because the traffic will be a killer.
Don’t even get me started on the noise. Sure, if you’re still trying to sleep at noon, you either had too many sodas the night before or you’re just a very tired person, but once that stadium starts going, its speakers tend to echo.
Living far away
By far away, I want to make it clear that I don’t mean we’re commuting from Dublin. This is a campus housing issue, after all.
No, we’re talking about your favorite off-campus housing that is just surrounding the campus, but is still a decent trek to reach the stadium.
The best part about it comes for people who might not like to enjoy the gameday experience. If you are more on the outskirts of campus, traffic can be far more manageable and the sound won’t be quite as bad. There will be the occasional speaker here and there from your favorite fraternity neighbors, but you can sleep through those.
If you do want to make it to the game on Saturday, the biggest advantage is probably just that you have more dining options and you can still (probably) get food delivered. The closer to the stadium you are, the less likely food is to get to you on time and the more crowded the restaurants will be. Don’t like paying a premium on a hot dog at the stadium or waiting five-ever at a Panera? There’s probably a McDonald’s nearby that’s got you covered.
I shouldn’t even have to write the clearest negative down for those Saturday gameday attendees. You know all those fun times when it pours down rain and the game has to be postponed like the Oregon State game this year? The best of those times is when you get to walk back in the pouring rain for what is already a hike, now just made more miserable. Sure, you can camp out in the RPAC and wait till they let people in again, but when it’s a beatdown in the rain, you really just want to go home.
Have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day? I have. I watched it all throughout 30 minutes while I slogged home and had to hang up my T-shirt and jeans and welcome that lively mildew smell for the next day.