With Thanksgiving wrapped up and Black Friday in full swing, many Ohioans and football fans are ready for the next holiday – rivalry week.
As an OSU graduate, it’s probably not surprising that many of my favorite college memories revolve around Saturdays spent in The Shoe.
I’ve spent all my life cheering for the Buckeyes, but I was exposed to a new side of college football during my time working for the team.
For three years, I worked as a Recruitment Host for OSU Football – a team of students responsible for hosting prospective student athletes during their visits to Ohio State.
As a Buckeyes fan, you naturally expect the team to include some of the best athletes in the nation.
But, before working with the team, I had no idea how large of an operation recruiting at a Division I school is – especially one with a program the caliber of OSU.
A large part of coaches and football staff members’ jobs revolve around building relationships with high school players and their families.
They’re the football experts, but students get to play a role in the recruitment process, too. Most of the recruits don’t need to be convinced that OSU has an elite football program, but they may not know what actually being an Ohio State student is like.
So, I spent every home game paired up with a high school athlete being recruited by OSU, along with their family, friends or teammates.
My job generally revolved around getting to know recruits, introducing them to coaches and players, showing them around football facilities and answering questions.
I was surprised to learn that most recruits’ questions revolved around things like classes and choosing a major, living in the dorms or just making friends at a large school.
The goal was to help them decide whether OSU was a good fit for them – specifically off the field. But, I was lucky enough to see many athletes make that decision while at Ohio Stadium.
It’s easy to want to be part of a school when you’re in a stadium packed with 105,000 fans storming the field to sing Carmen Ohio after a victory.
A couple years later, plenty of these high schoolers put on the scarlet and gray and become celebrities of sorts, cheered on by millions of fans.
But, it was really special to be in a role where I saw them just as another student who, like me, wanted to be a part of the tradition and friendship that Ohio State offers.
Rivalry week is special to many of us because it’s one more opportunity to relish the camaraderie that comes with our schools and teams.
Enjoy “The Game” this weekend and go Bucks!
-Kayleen Petrovia is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.
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