The History of Block "O"
In 1938, Buckeye head cheerleader Clancy A. Isaac Jr. conceived the organization known as Block "O". The purpose of this new cheering section would be using plastic cards to form pictures and words in support of the Ohio State Football Team. In its history, Block "O" has seen many changes. The first dramatic change came from the Athletic Department in moving Block "O" from the twenty-yard line to its current location in the north end of Ohio Stadium. The second dramatic change resulted in the end of the all-male cheering section, leading to a coed Block "O". The third change in Block "O" resulted from the invention of the microchip. Originally, all the stunts used in the Block had to be drawn by hand using graph paper. Each square on the paper represented one seat, and each horizontal row of fifty squares represented one row of seats. The Stunt Coordinator then took the picture and derived a color scheme for each seat. Each student sitting in Block "O" then received a sheet of paper with set of colors and numbers stamped in ink. In order to get the Run done for each game, the Stunt Coordinator and his/her assistants had to start during the summer.
With the introduction of the IBM punch-card system within the University, the Stunt Coordinator's job became slightly easier. A program evolved where 1100 punch cards represented the 1100 seats in the Block. While these punch cards only represented the seats, 800 more represented the different stunts available. In the Spring of 1987, 12 boxes of punch cards, each holding between 25,000 and 30,000 cards, had to be sorted through for the Stunt Coordinator to do the Run. Just to have the Run done before the next game, the cards had to be sent to the University Systems the Monday before the game. Then, once the Run returned, the next step, called "Cut, Punch and Staple," started. This step included cutting the large computer sheets into individual strips for each seat, and then the strips were stapled to hard back cardboard to keep them from being torn.
Technology took another colossal step forward for Block "O" in 1987. That year a program was introduced which would eliminate "Punch, Cut and Staple" and lessen the amount of time the Stunt Coordinator must spend doing the Run. The fall season of 1987 saw this program revolutionize Block "O". Instead of doing the Run several days or weeks before a game, the computer program allowed the Stunt Coordinator to make revisions and changes and printout the Run the Friday before the game. Through its ease of use, the program allows anyone unfamiliar with stunt programming to create stunts.
Block "O" continued to evolve into greater things. In the Spring of 1989, the position of Assistant Stunt Coordinator was created. Likewise, in the Spring of 1991, the position of Sergeant-At-Arms was created. A revamped Committee System was implemented in the in the fall of 1992 to alleviate some of the burdens on the officers and allow members to take a more active role in Block "O". The officers took great pains in revising the Constitution to take Block "O" into the 1990's and 21st Century. They hoped to give Block "O" something to strive for while returning to the roots of its traditions.
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Coffee with the Coach -- Greg Beals