OSU-Michigan 2011

by Tabitha Kidwell

In Columbus, Ohio, tailgating for Ohio State Football games is a big deal. During the past 4 years, I lived within one mile of campus. The best fall days were spent in a parking lot or field, eating, drinking, playing cornhole, wearing funny hats, and getting ready for the game. Sometimes I went to the game, sometimes I watched it in a parking lot, sometimes in a bar. Sometimes it was hot…

…sometimes it was cold…

…sometimes we ran into people dressed up as pirates

…sometimes I myself was dressed up as a buckeye…

but it was always fun.

The OSU-Michigan game represents one of the most celebrated and infamous rivalries in college football history, and is the most important game of the season. Though I couldn’t tailgate for games this year, and really could only watch night games (Sunday morning games for me) without being up to all hours of the night, I was determined to do right by the Ohio State-Michigan game. I actually went to Surabaya, a city on the other side of the island, to watch the game with the only 2 other people in the country that I know who cared about the outcome: my friends Rachel and Matt. The fact that they are actually Michigan fans means that I would never, under normal circumstances, watch this game with them, but nothing here is ever “under normal circumstances.” This was the perfect example of that rule – in fact, everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Just another day in Indonesia.

So we met up (joined by our friends Herbert, Chris, and Rupita) in Surabaya and got a hotel room at a western hotel with what we thought was reliable wi-fi. Of course, the “reliable” wi-fi that we got crystal clear ESPN on at 3 PM was out at service at game time (midnight). We spent the first half of the game frantically trying to get it to work, negotiating with the front desk, checking ESPN.com for updates on our phone, and getting a rough play-by-play from Rachel’s dad. The stress of it all made me feel nauseous, and I broke down and cheated on my cleanse (which requires a 12-hour fast every evening) by eating an apple and some nuts at 1 AM. We thought we had a plan when we found out that the office building across the street had free wi-fi, so we went out to sit on the curb.

But that didn’t work either, so at halftime (2 AM), we got in cabs…

…and set up shop at the 24-hour McDonalds.

During the 3rd quarter, it glorious to actually see and hear the game – and what a game it was! Scoring back and forth the whole way, never more than a 2-score game (if I remember correctly).

I was so excited, I did script Ohio during commercial breaks.

But then, our laptop batteries started to die, and (of course), the outlets didn’t work. We thought it was all over, until we noticed a bank of computers by the bathrooms. That’s right – free internet use at the McDonalds in Indonesia. So we got one loaded up and watched the nerve-wracking 4th quarter on them. Like all great OSU-Michigan games, it came down to the wire… and, for the first time in 8 years, OSU did not come out on top. Rachel and Matt went to call their friends and family and revel in their long-sought win…

…and I sought comfort from the only man I could find wearing scarlet (but no grey… and to be honest, quite a bit of maize).

It was 4 AM and time to go back to the hotel (which had regained it’s great wi-fi connection – of course). Win or lose, it was a great game, with great people, in a great (if often infuriating) country.

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