Posts Tagged ‘the perfect spot



The Ohio State University is big.

More than 64,000 students, if you’re counting all campuses. And nearly 42,000 employees.

As is the case with any organization of its size, The Ohio State University can be a maddening, frustrating place. Trying to get answers — or even just finding the person to whom the questions should be asked — can feel like an impossible chore.

What we encountered in 2010 and 2011 as we tried to figure out where we were parking for the season is a good example. Call one person, get one answer. Hear another answer from a different office. Get a third answer from one of the people working the lot.


But sometimes, it pays to ask.

I have two examples. During the first game, I was dismayed to hear that the OSUMB’s spot in the South Stands had been mic’ed, and was being played over the stadium’s shiny new PA system. In some parts of the stadium, it sounded fine; in 14C, the delay made it sound awful. We heard everything twice, and it pretty much made the music unbearable to listen to.

Last week, I sent an email to a whole bunch of people: Gordon Gee, Gene Smith, the folks who manage game day operations in the stadium, the band’s director. I griped about the amplification and asked for something to change.

It took Jon Waters, the interim director of the Ohio State University Marching Band, to answer. He said amplification of the band had been a goal of his and Gene Smith’s coming into the season, but added right off the bat that he was aware there were some problems on Week One. He also made a good point — there is no real way to test the sound without a stadium full of people, so it might take some time to work out the issues.

Because he took a couple minutes to respond, I felt better about the problem. And, true to his word, the sound was much better last week.

I have another example.

As I said last week, our new parking spot is pretty much perfect. Close to the stadium, shade or sun to suit the weather, easy parking for everyone else and plenty of, uh, facilities nearby.

My father, who has a legitimate reason to hold a disabled parking hang-tag, made a good point, though; for him, it took a decent walk –and for him, an uncomfortable one — to get to the nearest porta-john or to the indoor plumbing in the library. And, he reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to have a porta-john available to patrons who are parking in handicapped lot.

Late in the week, Crappydad asked Ethel, who works for the university, for help in figuring out who should field a question about getting our own porta-potty. Ethel came through, and after a quick exchange of emails, we had been promised that a porta-john would be waiting for us Saturday morning (and it was actually in place on Friday night, as the Coochie Doctor confirmed during a quick trip through campus).

And there you are, boys and girls. Ethel, my father, and the one thing we were lacking to be able to call our new tailgating home truly perfect. We call him John.

And when you’re faced with the daunting task of figuring out how to approach a gigantic organization, remember this: It never hurts to just ask.


anxiety unfounded.

All three of us in the truck were a little anxious when we approached campus around 7:30 Saturday morning. We had settled on giving the lot behind Campbell Hall a try with the 12th and Cannon lots as our rather unpleasant backup option.

We cruised past our old space — or, rather, spaces — on Herrick Drive, approached the lot we saw the day before … and saw orange cones blocking the entrance.


But. There were guys taking money for the adjacent parking garage at the end of the street that runs behind our desired home; we drove up and asked.

The answer? On football Saturdays, the lot we scoped out was a public disability lot. All you needed to park there was a handicapped hang-tag and fifteen American dollars.

And we had both.

It’s possible that I did a jumping happy dance after I parked the truck in the corner space, under a broad tree and next to a wide expanse of grass. I might have done that again when Mrs. Crappy wandered two blocks away — a short stroll past Mirror Lake — and found the William Oxley Thompson Library, with a coffee shop and large, clean restrooms. In a library. Which will always be open. As in, never closed. And then I might have danced a third time, when Bud asked and was told that Neil Avenue Parking Garage, just next door, was also public, save for spaces reserved for media. No more walks from 12th and Cannon lots for our fellow Killer Nuts Tailgaters.


It’s all right there. It’s all available to all of us, with only the possible hindrance of making sure we’re there early enough to get the spaces we want.

To summarize: We’re set, boys and girls. Unless the OSU Medical Center decides to swallow another chunk of campus, our parking worries are over.


Toward the end of the first quarter, there might have been a little anxiety about the football as well. Two breakdowns in pass coverage had given Miami two long gains; decent defensive recoveries — along with a missed field goal and a dropped pass or two — kept the Redhawks Redskins from building the 14-0 lead they probably deserved.

But the defense wasn’t the problem. It was the offense — the power spread we’ve all been dreaming about — that was. For the game’s first 15 minutes, it felt a lot like 2011. Running backs going nowhere. Braxton Miller scrambling. And nothing that resembled a drive, because there were no first downs. Ohio State finally started to move the ball towards the end of the quarter, and just a couple minutes into the second, the Buckeyes broke the ice in spectacular fashion.

And, really, that’s when the game was over. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert is a good one, and he rolled up 313 passing yards on the day — but got just one touchdown to show for it. After taking the first quarter off, Ohio State’s offense had a 500-yard day, and Braxton racked up Nintendo numbers: 161 yards rushing, with one touchdown; 14 of 24 yards passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. We got a decent look at how the offense is going to work, as well. Miller’s targets were everywhere — receivers, tight ends, backs — and most of the passes were short routes, with potential for long gains after the catch. And especially after Miller’s 65-yard touchdown run at the start of the second half, play-action off an option look is going to be a killer play as the season progresses.

We started Saturday — both the tailgate and the game — wondering what was to come. By the time we were headed home in the afternoon, we had a much better idea.


annual parking post.

In what has become a tradition since Ohio State announced the expansion of the medical center, it’s time to take a look at our parking options for the upcoming season.

First thing: Chances that we’ll be parking in the lot we used last year are zero; sources close to the tailgate (uh, that would be my mom) say the lot is currently a fenced-in part of the construction site for the new physical plant thing that’s being built as part of the hospital expansion. So there’s that.

Next thing: We did, however, set an interesting precedent in 2011 in that we got the OK from parking services to use a handicapped space in a lot that wasn’t otherwise available for football parking. And even though my father is newly bionic (after his hip replacement last winter), we still have that hang-tag, and we’re still willing to use it. I have no idea if there are other possibilities for us close to our traditional spot, but we’re certainly going to take a look.

The other thing: As was the case a year ago, another option is the lot north of St. John Arena, which is dedicated to vehicles with handicapped hang-tags. That option — with its wide swath of asphalt and dearth of green — is still available. I wasn’t excited about it last year, and I wasn’t excited about it again this summer when Bud started a round of emails to discuss the parking situation. It’s good in some ways — it’s much closer to the stadium than we’ve ever been, and there’s a shuttle that could get Bud to the game when his shiny new hip isn’t feeling so bionic — but still, it’s a far cry from what we’re used to.

And then I noticed something else.

Take a look at this map, which I clipped from the university’s official 2012 football parking map. The royal blue north of St. John is the handicapped parking. Note that it not only covers the area north of our old basketball barn, but that it includes a little swath around the ice rink. Given that that L-shaped finger curls around the rink building and abuts Remembrance Park, I wondered what those spaces might look like.

Yes, Google’s satellite photos can be outdated, but HEY — TREES. RIGHT ACROSS WOODY HAYES DRIVE FROM THE STADIUM. It might be that we’d have to arrive stupid early to get one of those spaces, BUT HOLY CRAP,  WE COULD TAILGATE THERE.



two weeks, one weak.

It was supposed to be like this anyway...

We’re two weeks into the season. The tailgates have been good, the parking has been ideal and the football … well, I’m not sure about the football yet. Here’s a rundown:

The Parking: Hooboy, this has been the best part about the season so far. you’ll recall that we felt pretty good about getting back to our usual lot before the season started, and so far, that’s worked perfectly. We have shade, we don’t have crowds and we have nearly all of the things — with the possible exception of grass — that we’ve enjoyed in the past. It could be that no one has questioned us about being there because no one has noticed us, but with each week, I’m feeling better about the prospects of us just being able to stay there.

The parties: As is often the case attendance was a little light the first week, but we recovered nicely on Saturday. The noon games are tough — tough on me, because I’m up at 5 a.m., and tough on the rest of y’all, because there just isn’t a whole lot of tailgate party to work with before it’s time to pack up and go inside. I am hopeful we won’t have many more noon starts for the rest of the year.

And did we eat well? Yes we did. Bud volunteered to make his breakfast hash for the first week; we’ve covered that recipe here before, and in spite of some technical difficulties with the propane skillet, it was as good as it always was.

I did the Groundhog-standard eggless breakfast casseroles on Saturday, and they were apparently popular. The basic recipe is here, but of course, I made some changes. One was simple — the base, but I substituted two pounds of bacon for the two pounds of sausage. The other was tweaked a little more. I used a pound of regular ground sausage and a pound of spicy; I also added a couple diced jalapenos to the mix, enough for flavor but not so much that it would blow anyone’s head off.

And it was good.

The pigskin: Damn, we looked good against Akron. Bauserman had the kind of day I didn’t know he was capable of, the receivers were sharp — THREE TOUCHDOWN CATCHES BY A TIGHT END WHAT? — and we didn’t appear to miss the suspended starters a whole bunch. It was the kind of game that made you feel good — but you realize that the opponent was good enough that you learned a whole lot about what to expect from your team later on.

And then there was Toledo.

I’m hoping that the near-upset was because of a couple of things: the fact that the Rockets are really good (we’ll find out more about that this weekend, when they host Boise State), and the attention of the Buckeyes was focused more on Miami this week than the game last week. Whether or not that’s the case, here’s one thing that’s certain — if Toledo hadn’t racked up the penalties they had, we would have lost that game. To an in-state team. For the first time since 1921.


I don’t think a lack of focus will be a problem this weekend, but hooboy the competition gets a lot better. We don’t know if the NCAA will let us have the Charity Three — as opposed to the Tat Four — back for the game against the Hurricanes, but their guys who were suspended in Week One, including quarterback Jacory Harris, will be back on the field,  if they don’t crash any more Jet Skis into yachts in the interim.

How good is Ohio State? I think we’ll know the answer to that question by about 11 Saturday night.



If this doesn’t look familiar to you, it probably should: That building over there on the left is sitting squarely on the spot we’ve used for tailgating for the last 87 years.

It also rules out the possibility of squeezing one more season out of our old spot. We sort of knew that already, but the presence of a building there makes it seem pretty official.

So we’re sort of left where we were at this point a year ago — that is, with a bunch of questions about where we might end up for the tailgating portion of the 2011 season. As you may recall, we started the year in the South Lincoln lot — a destination that we had been told would not be available in 2010 — and ended up back where we had been since time began — also a lot that we had been told would be off-limits because of construction.

The other thing we found about football parking a year ago — It might just be best to show up somewhere we like, because it doesn’t seem like many people know what we can or can’t do with a 12th and Cannon parking pass. In that spirit, Bud and I set out for campus during our visit last week to check things out. And if stuff works out as it did a year ago — as in, we show up and act like we belong there — we might not be in for a huge change at all.

This should look a little familiar, right? That’s the Parks Hall loading dock on the right, and the entrance to, ahem, our bathrooms right there in the middle. And look — a bunch of parking spaces! Many, if not most, of the spaces in this area are reserved for handicapped parking, which we are, of course, qualified to use. The spaces we’re looking at here aren’t ideal — there’s no real grass to back up to, and not a ton of room between the rows — but we could make it work. Or, even better, we could do this:

Now we’re over by the loading dock, looking back at Cannon and the newly constructed extension of John Herrick Drive. And: More parking! Sure, the construction trailer doesn’t provide the best view, but check out that last marked space and all that territory next to it. That, boys and girls, could be ours. In fact, the plan as it stands now is to just show up there on the morning of Sept. 3 and see what happens. We’re betting that even if we’re not permitted to stay there all season, they’re not going to make us move once we’re set up. And if no one minds, we’re there for the whole year.

And if someone does mind, we have other options.

If you joined us for last season’s first time — the Thursday night one against Marshall — you’ll recall that we ended up in the construction-shrunken South Lincoln lot. It’s still small, but it’s been reorganized a bit — fresh blacktop, fewer spaces, a little grass nearby, a little more room to spread out. Last year we secured a special tag that allowed us to use that lot in conjunction with the 12th and Cannon pass; we’re not sure if we can get that again this year, but we’re certainly going to look into it.

And then there’s this, the lot north of St. John Arena. This would be a huge change, yes, but one I think we could manage. This is the designated handicapped accessible lot for Football Saturdays. We don’t need a pass to get in this one; we just need to get there early (it’s first-come, first-served), we need Bud’s handicapped hang-tag (and Bud, since the tag is issued to him) and we need $15. There’s lots of room here, and the space alongside the French Field House (that’s the building on the right) even have some grass between the lot and the building. There’s a shuttle that, in theory, could get my folks to and from the stadium easily, and it would be a shorter walk for the rest of us.

A shorter walk, that is, from the tailgating spot. This would obviously require some adjustment from those who park at the hospital (ahem, Coochie Doctor and Matlock) or in the Cannon lots (ahem, everyone else). But there are plenty of day-of-game parking lots (the ones, marked in red on the university’s handy parking map, that you don’t need a pass to use) nearby, at Fawcett Center, across Lane, on the other side of the Olentangy between Lane and Woody Hayes, etc. Yep, that would be a hike for you guys, and that’s why I’m thinking this one is a decent option, but not the best one.

(There is, of course, one other possibility that we know we can do — the Cannon lots. But they’re big, they’re sloppy and crowded and they’re a long freaking way from the stadium — and I’d rather not).

When Dad and I left campus last week, we both felt oddly optimistic about being able to park fairly close to where we’ve always been. Sure, it won’t be quite the same — but there’s an awful lot about this season that will be, uh, different, and it won’t hurt a thing if tailgating is a little different as well.


beating the eagles.

That’s us, on the left. The other folks are regulars in our lot, friends we’ve seen every home Saturday for years.

We joked a lot on Saturday about how the person who is in the cooking pictures gets credit for making the food. Wooo, that’s me!

And serving! Double credit!

OK, the real credit goes to Pat, who actually made the chili. On Saturday, all I did was the heating.

One of the cool things about this weekend: our guests, my cousin John and his girlfriend Anita, who was experiencing a Midwestern football Saturday for the first time.

Another cool thing: vodka-soaked gummy bears, thanks to Fred.

Aren’t they adorable?


tropical depression.

My voice is mostly back, I’m kind of caught up on sleep and I’m still pretty pleased about the day we had Saturday. Here’s a look at what happened:
FOOTBALL: Ohio State’s special teams are indeed, uh, “special.” When Marshall broke a long kick return the week prior, I mentioned to Juan that Miami would likely have faster, better return guys and if the Bucks couldn’t get that straightened out, we might have some problems. And we did, to the tune of a kick return and a punt return for touchdowns. It wasn’t all bad — we had a couple of long returns our own selves — is everyone else happy to see Jamaal Berry finally on the field? — but the negative outweighs the positive here.
And that’s a shame, because it took away from an excellent defensive performance. Yes, the team gave up a lot of yardage, but they did so to a fast, solid offense; even with those numbers, the D surrendered just 10 points, for a total of, uh, 10 points on the season. My guess is that the defensive coaches were doing their best to guard against big plays, and that was largely successful. I’ll take that kind of effort every single time.
The offense was not spectacular, but it got the job done, scoring when the defense gave them the ball after a turnover or four, and although we didn’t hold the ball as long as I would have liked, putting points on the board is the name of the game. TP didn’t have a great game throwing the ball, but he showed off the other side of his game — largely ignored a week ago because it wasn’t needed — and turned in over 100 yards rushing.
PARKING: I mentioned last week that I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. As it turned out, we had little to be worried about. Crappydad got a pass for the South Lincoln lot — wihch the university’s parking and transportation folks said should be open through October — but we parked at Parks Hall, where we’ve always parked. Our usual spot has some kind of construction stuff going on, but our secondary spot — which was actually our original spot — was as accomodating as ever. It may turn out that we’ll be forced to park in the polo field lots by the end of the season, but for now, we have plenty of more pleasing options.
PARTY: In part because of the parking concerns, we got there early, as in about 8:15 Saturday morning. That’s leaning towards crazy-early for a 3:30 game, but it ensured we got to park where we wanted. And it was a nice morning, too — that extra time would have dragged if it had been as hot as it can be for the second game of the season, and it certainly didn’t feel like we were out there for six and a half hours by the time we packed up. Pat’s going to post the full menu, and Mrs. Crappy  has promised a post about the specifics of the main dish, but I can say that we ate and drank well.
NEXT: Mrs. Crappy and I are skipping the OU game (I know!) in favor of Podcamp Pittsburgh 5, so I’m going to be relying on the other KNTers to fill in the blanks for this week’s party. Y’all ready?

a day in the park.

Our spot for the Marshall game. It worked well, but the lot we really wanted is in the background.

I mentioned after last week’s game that parking was something of an adventure, largely in part because of the lack of reliable information about where — and when — we could show up on campus for the Thursday night game.

The university had been saying for a couple weeks that with the exception of the RV and stadium lots, on-campus parking wouldn’t open until 3 p.m. on gameday, so we planned to leave the house around 2:30 and get into a lot right at 3.

Which lot we’d be getting to was a whole different question. For years, we’ve parked outside of Riffe Hall, but because of a new construction project involving the medical center, we had heard that lot wouldn’t be available to us this season. The lot is still there, but it’s been blocked off; I actually called the university’s parking folks, and they said that lot — along with all the others between there and the towers — wouldn’t be open.

When I arrived in Columbus Wednesday night, I scoped out a couple decent spaces in the polo field lots — where we had been told permit holders would have to park this season — and we hoped for the best.

And then around 10:30 on the morning of gameday, Matlock called my folks and said there were already people in a tiny lot just south of Lincoln Hall — even after days of warnings that tailgaters who showed up before 3 would be turned away.


We packed up quickly and headed over to Cannon Drive; after talking Bud out of parking at our old space — that lot was still empty — we eased in to the South Lincoln lot and got set up. A university parking truck came through the lot, twice, but the folks inside never said a word to us. And finally, the woman who was running the lot told us we could stay — for that game only.

She said in subsequent weeks we’d need a different pass, one specific to that lot. And as we watched our regular lot slowly fill up, she offered us a glimmer of hope — she said she had been told that we would be able to park there if we had a handicapped hang-tag.

And thanks to Bud’s bum leg, we do.

However — through the rest of the day, we heard other stories, mainly that none of our lots would be open, and that everyone with the pass we hold would be herded into the polo field.

What does that mean for this week? We have no idea. It’s pretty clear to me that the university threw up its hands for the Marshall game, given that they were dealing with a huge crowd trying to get to campus on a weeknight; I’m equally certain things will be a lot tighter on Saturday.

We’re going to show up at 8 a.m. on Saturday. And we’ll see what happens.

2017 schedule

Aug. 31: vs. at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9: Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: Army, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: UNLV
Sept. 30: at Rutgers
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Nebraska
Oct. 28: Penn State, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: at Iowa
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Illinois
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 25: at Team Up North, noon
Dec. 2: B1G Championship, 8 p.m.

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