June 10, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Anything goes when about 750 Ohio State football fans - all of them women - have the full attention of the Ohio State coaching staff, as was the case Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the second annual Ohio State Football Women's Clinic, presented by Kroger.
Running backs coach Stan Drayton kept the clinic flowing smoothly as a coach-in-charge. He wisely took advantage of the power of the microphone by complimenting his wife's hair - multiple times - and by opening up a Q&A session with six Buckeyes by alerting them as to who was boss.
Moments later, Farris was doing the "Dougie," Roby was showing them his "abs" and Basil was explaining that he is 21 and "happily taken."
An hour later on that same stage, Coach Urban Meyer was meeting every one of the attendees individually, some from as far away as San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Antonio, and having an individual photo taken with each one.
Literally hundreds of other photos were taken throughout the day with the other coaches and the players, who graciously stayed through lunch and signed autographs.
The lunch of ham and cheese, turkey and cheese and veggie sandwiches on whole wheat bread with chips, a cookie and a piece of fruit was healthy and plentiful, but it still drew the ire of coach Kerry Coombs, who barked that the apples needed to be bigger.
"I understand the health part, but let's give them an apple they can eat," Coombs said with a chuckle while working through a line of ladies who all wanted their photo taken with him and to try on his "12-0" ring.
At one point, this exchange was heard between Coombs and an attendee, who clearly is a fan of the coach:
"Sure I'll take a photo with you; did you already get your photo taken with Coach Vrabel and Coach Fickell?"
"No. I went straight for you."
"I'm Rob Kelly's cousin and I'd like to get my picture taken with you."
Kelly was a teammate of Vrabel and Fickell at Ohio State. Vrabel called Kelly one of the best safeties he's ever played on a team with, and one of the craziest.
He was happy to take the photo.
Two others wanted a "fake laughing" photo with Fickell, and then a real photo, too. He obliged; twice.
Meanwhile, anyone who wanted could line up to catch - or try to catch - high flying punts from a "jugs" machine, but all were warned ahead of time by coach Ed Warinner: "If you've just had a manicure, you may not want to do this drill."
Dozens of them scoffed at the notion, and did the drill anyway.
And so it went for more than six hours. Hundreds of women hanging with the Ohio State football coaches and digging the drills at one of the best practice facilities in the nation while supporting a good cause: proceeds are donated to cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
Many were here for a second consecutive year. Others heard stories about last year and wanted to be a part of it this year. Here's a closer look at some who attended this now annual event:
- The Pearson sisters, who grew up in Covington, Ohio: Debbie Ganger (who still lives in Covington), Diane Stanforth, a Spurs fan from San Antonio; Denise Pearson, from Waynesville; and birthday girl Darlene Powers, from Springfield;
- Body builders like LeNora Angles, the pushup champ (in a tie; with over 100) from New Albany, and Vanessa Ware, from Hilliard, who got to wear Coombs' "12-0" ring;
- 951 Ohio State University graduate (business administration) Peggy Williams, from Bexley, and 2011 Ohio State graduate (middle childhood, math and science education) Jessica Watters, from Worthington;
- Warren Ball's mom, Danielle, who, sporting her son's No. 28 jersey, held her own in the push-ups competition;
- A self-proclaimed stalker of former Buckeye Bobby Carpenter, who said she got to expand her Twitter and Facebook "Bobby Carpenter for mayor" campaign by finally getting to tell him in person why she thinks he would be a great mayor;
- The BBTs: a dozen women, including Audra Cremeans, from Dublin, and Andrea Spencer, from Plain City, wearing tee-shirts with two strategically placed Buckeyes that caused a stir. (Remember...in a facility full of hundreds of women, the women are in charge and anything goes.);
- Block O-tee-shirt wearing Kelly, from Ann Arbor, Mich., who startled the crowd with her hometown revelation only to gain a genuine and loud roar of approval when she yelled "Go Bucks"; and
- Katy Keenan, from Columbus, who wanted her picture taken with Vrabel because her husband, Stephen, is a Patriots and a Vrabel fan, and because both are huge Buckeye fans.
And then there was this woman's wonderful story.
Chelsea Rockhold, one of two women who flew in from San Francisco for the clinic, wanted to attend the clinic last year but she couldn't: she was pregnant with twins. This year Chelsea got a gift of the clinic and the accompanying R&R that goes along with a free weekend away from home after ... being able to leave her five children - all under the age of 4 - back home with her husband, Wes, another die-hard Buckeye fan and clearly, a good dad.
This truly was a day for the women. "Every Mom is the best," said Roby at one point.
And besides, Father's Day isn't until this weekend.
Buckeyes in the NFL - Divisional Round