Sunday, November 19, 2006


The image quality was, at best, choppy and vague -- like some kind of Monet stadiumscape (and at worst an indistinguishable blur of scarlet and maize that occasionally blacked out entirely). The audio quality was muffled and mumbled, as if listening an early-20th-Century phonograph recording of a turkey farm. We had to stay up until 1:30 in the morning to absorb the entirety of the broadcast, even though our wake-up time and breakfast schedule could not be mitigated...

But it was so worth it. In fact, it may have been the finest experience of "The Game" that I've ever had.

Back where I come from, the weekend in which the Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines play their annual football game against each other is a very significant weekend. It's much more than "just a football game." It's a cultural event. Similar to the running of the bulls in Pamplona or the experience of Queen's Day in Amsterdam. Personal lives and community events are scheduled around the kick-off time of the OSU-Michigan game. I remember a friend who encountered relatively severe relational difficulties with her father when it was discovered that her wedding day (for crying out loud!) happened to have been scheduled to coincide with the day of the OSU-Michigan game (by the way, I seem to remember that they worked it out by coordinating the pause between the wedding ceremony and the reception to coincide with game time -- and several of the wedding guests even complimented her for her "prudence" in allowing them an opportunity to watch the game as well!)... Suffice to say -- that Saturday in November is an important day for people where I come from: parties, foods, traditions, superstitions -- the works.

Nevertheless, the day means virtually nothing for Europeans. Or for most Americans living in Europe, for that matter.

Therefore, it was especially meaningful to join with a handful of Ohioans (all church leaders in various parts of Europe) -- and even a couple of Michiganders -- to fight through technological issues together and enjoy a shared experience of this year's rendition of "The Game" (which turned out to be a classic). Locating an internet feed of the game on a laptop computer, routing its audio through a dilapidated computer speaker and projecting its video onto a white wall, we managed to experience to OSU-Michigan game for the first time in years. In a castle. On a lakeside. In the middle of the Austrian Alps. In the wee hours of the morning. In the company of Dutchmen and Ukrainians and Ohioans and Michiganders...

It doesn't get much more classic than that.


At 2:35 PM, Blogger MichaĆ«l said...

I'm glad I was there to experience this special event. It's going to be a great memory.

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

What a game it was! I'm glad we were both watching, albeit me from the sidelines and you from Austria. Maybe you'll be able to watch the National Championship game as well! Go Buckeyes!

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

Ah... my own brother. There in the Horseshoe, watching it all happen... I'm scarlet with envy.

At 3:44 AM, Blogger Bryan's Blog said...


It sure was a great game, we felt like we were in the center of the universe this week. I heard 1 billion people watched it or listened to the game, the highest ever for a college game. Pretty big deal, wish we could have seen it together, but it sounds like you had a good time without these Ohioians!


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