Emily Johnson, a varsity cheerleader and communications major from Essexville, Mich., shares her experience of a road trip with the Buckeye cheer squad to Michigan State
Friday, October 17
Dressed up and ready to go, we arrived at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex early in the afternoon to load our luggage for the trip to Michigan State. Along with the football team, athletic trainers, and coaches, we jumped on some buses and headed to the airport. Once we arrived we were given the same lunch as the football team (you wouldn't believe the amount of food these guys need!). Even more shocking, when we got on the plane, there were more snacks! Needless to say, nobody goes hungry on a football trip.
After the quick 35 minute flight, we arrived in East Lansing and went straight to the buses (it definitely beats flying commercial!). From there the football team went to check out Spartan Stadium and we went right to the hotel. Before dinner, some of us tried to get schoolwork done; the rest just relaxed and watched television.
Around 6:30 p.m. we went across the street to a hometown restaurant called The R Club and enjoyed a “team” dinner. They had a wide variety of food and probably the best carrot cake any of us have ever had. Most of the discussions were about the next day's game, with a mixture of excitement and nerves.
After dinner it was a pretty early night. We watched Forrest Gump on TV as a group and just relaxed, getting excited for the upcoming game.
Saturday, October 18
Finally it was game day, our favorite day of the week! We woke up around 9 a.m. and met for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. We had a few hours after that to gather our things from our hotel rooms and to get ourselves ready for the game.
After the football players had their last meeting before the game, we headed to Spartan Stadium. While driving into campus it was funny to see how the fans reacted. Although it was mostly booing, we did get some cheers from our loyal Buckeye tailgaters.
Once we arrived we headed to the Ohio State Alumni Tailgate Bash. Athletic Director Gene Smith spoke and we led some cheers to a very enthusiastic crowd. We also had the chance to take a few pictures and did some meeting and greeting with fans. Luckily, we got a quick snack in before making our way to the stadium.
We got inside the stadium with a lot of extra time, so we were able to finish getting ready and began to discuss last-minute details before warming our bodies up. The band showed up minutes later and was seated in front of us on the sideline. Because there was practically no room, we ended up standing almost directly in the end zone (which made for a great view of the game!).
Soon after the fans began arriving and the stadium filled up quickly. The MSU student section was very impressive -- wearing all white and filling one complete side of the stadium. However, our Buckeye fans didn't go unnoticed. Our scarlet and gray fans filled most of the upper deck and one large area of the stadium, and dots of scarlet could be seen throughout the entire crowd.
We could not have asked for more perfect football weather. The skies were blue and the temperate was just right. Everything seemed to be in line, and I think we knew it was going to be our day when The Best Damn Band in the Land took the field during pre-game.
Once both team bands finished, it was game time. We grabbed the ever-popular Ohio State flags and prepared to run the team across the field. The football team waited behind Coach Tressel until he pointed his finger. Then we knew to run as fast as we could across the field with the flags and the team following behind. We all love this part of the game!
The first quarter was so exciting! We couldn't believe all our scoring, since the previous week there was only one touchdown. Both crowds stayed in the game during the first half. But after Ohio State went up 28-0, Michigan State fans were quiet.
At halftime our cheer team, MSU's cheer and dance teams all met and had a snack together. Everyone was very friendly, which made for an enjoyable little break. I also got to see my cousin Lindsay, who's on the MSU dance team; we hadn't seen each other since Easter so it was good to see her!
The second half went by really quickly and gave us a lot to cheer about. In the third and fourth quarter, with many of the Michigan State fans gone, Ohio State fans started the O-H-I-O cheer around the stadium. The final score was 45-7 Ohio State and we couldn't have been happier about it. It was awesome to see our team play so well both on offense and defense.
Once the game concluded, as tradition, we all grabbed on to each other and sang Carmen Ohio. The football team was just gleaming and the fans couldn't have been more satisfied.
After the guys headed to the locker room we had a little bit of time with our family and friends before we had to head to the airport. I actually had quite a little cheer section because my hometown is only a little over an hour away!
Once the team was ready to go, we loaded on the buses and made our way to the airport. With the flight being only 35 minutes, we were back in Columbus at 10:30 p.m. Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better trip or game outcome. But, now it’s time to start thinking about next weekend.
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