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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Barrington Elementary Brings Back Beat Michigan! Beat Cancer! Race Nov. 4th to Beat Ovarian Cancer

Next Saturday morning November 4th, a remarkable group of fourth graders will be holding a 5K Fun Run at Barrington Elementary School in Upper Arlington, OH to raise awareness to the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and to raise money in the fight against this “silent killer.”

Ovarian cancer is often called a “silent killer,” because its early symptoms are vague and the disease often goes undetected. It is often not diagnosed until it has reached its late stages and by then it is too late to treat, leading to death within about five years.

For two very special seniors at Upper Arlington High School the battle against ovarian cancer is personal. In November of 2008, then 3rd grader at Barrington Elementary, Molly O’Connor lost her beloved mother and member of the Upper Arlington community, Eileen O’Connor, to ovarian cancer.

The following April as a fourth grader, Molly saw Race for the Cure signs and wondered why they didn’t have a similar race and publicity for ovarian cancer.  It was at this point that she approached her fourth-grade teacher Katie Benton (Mrs. Benton was also her 3rd grade teacher) and asked her if they could hold a race for ovarian cancer.

Molly’s close friend, Dante Landolfi, also lost his precious grandmother Bonnie Masdea around the same time that Molly lost her mother. Both of their fourth-grade classes teamed up and with the help of their teachers, developed the idea of a race which they coined Beat Michigan! Beat Cancer! Racing to Beat Ovarian Cancer.

Mrs. Benton with Molly and Dante at the 2009 race

Barrington Elementary School is located in Upper Arlington which is a stone’s throw from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio Stadium attracts over 100,000 fans to home games so it was only natural to name the race after OSU’s biggest rival Michigan, since the race would be held two weeks before the annual OSU/Michigan Game.

The two classes also partnered with the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio and The Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute which is located very close to Barrington. 

Mrs. Benton spoke of the importance of their help at the time, “Representatives from the James Cancer Hospital came to our school to talk with the students about cancer, the importance of research, and the mission/vision of the research institute. Both partnering organizations played key roles as they interacted and educated the students before, during and after the event.”

With the entire Upper Arlington community galvanized, and due to the personal nature of this particular race, it was a rousing success. Typically, the first time a race is held for a lesser known cancer it makes a few thousand dollars and draws a few hundred people. The race drew over 900 racers and raised an astonishing $23,000 for ovarian cancer research.

Margot, a 4th grader at Barrington Elementary at the time, expressed the impact a group of motivated fourth graders can have, “You can’t underestimate what 4th graders can do. We raised more than $20,000. If our classes helped prevent one person from getting ovarian cancer, I am satisfied with what we did.”

The event was such a success that Mrs. Benton even mentioned that it was her hope that down the road it would inspire other service-learning projects and that students at Upper Arlington High School would even organize similar projects like this for their Senior Capstone Projects.

Her idea proved prophetic, as this is exactly what transpired. Dante, now a senior, approached Molly and suggested they bring back the Beat Michigan! Beat Cancer race for ovarian cancer as their Senior Capstone Project at Upper Arlington High School. The Senior Capstone Project is a graduation requirement at Upper Arlington and he wanted his project to be both significant and memorable.

Dante, Molly, and Mrs. Benton getting ready for this year's race

Dante shared his heart on what it means to him to be a part of the race again and to honor his grandmother, “It means the world to me to be able to do something to not only honor her memory, but to help prevent the same thing from happening to other people. It means the world to me that I got to do this 9 years ago and it means the world that I get to do it now.”

Dante and Molly both get the opportunity to work closely with Mrs. Benton’s 4th grade class. Dante spoke about the opportunity to mentor the 4th graders, “They absolutely love working for the project and its cool to see them learn the same lessons that I learned. That they can do practically anything if they set their mind to it.”

Mrs. Benton reinforced the importance of this real-world learning as a supplement to traditional classroom learning. “It’s called a service learning project. They are learning academic stuff and real-life skills while they are doing it, and it also lets kids really capitalize on their gifts and talents.”

Dante and Molly with the fourth grade class at Barrington Elementary

This year’s race is soon upon us and the excitement in the kids is palpable. The kids are busy using their gifts, making Buckeye necklaces and other crafts and items to sell for the race. Teal is the official color for ovarian cancer so look for there to be a lot of teal, and not just buckeye scarlet and gray.

On Monday, October 30th Barrington Elementary held a pep rally for the entire school to build momentum for the race and also to educate kids and staff on ovarian cancer. Dr. David Cohn, MD spoke at the rally. Dr. Cohn is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of ovarian cancer can be somewhat general and vague which often leads to a late diagnosis of the disease.

Dr. Cohn explained the diagnosis process of ovarian cancer, “Most ovarian cancers are diagnosed when its already spread. Stage 3 is the most common point of diagnosis, and the chance at cure is lower.”

He went on to explain some of the symptoms to be mindful of, “There are certainly symptoms of ovarian cancer and that includes abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly, and changes in urinary and bowel movement habits as well.”

The ovarian cancer community sometimes uses the acronym B.E.A.T to generalize the early symptoms that may arise in a person with the disease.  “B” stands for bloating, “E” stands for eating less and feeling fuller, “A” stands for abdominal pain, and “T” stands for tell your general practitioner.

The key is if a woman notices these symptoms, to go to their physician immediately, so that if necessary they can conduct some kind of imaging with a pelvic ultrasound or a CT scan; as there is no current screening tool for ovarian cancer.

Dr. Cohn also discussed the importance of maintaining a normal weight, a physically active lifestyle and eating a diet rich in plant based products in order to help prevent the onset ovarian cancer, advice which we could all benefit from.

A common theme that was mentioned by everyone involved in the first race was that even if it just impacted one person, and saves just one life, then all their hard work will have been worth it.

This is indeed what happened. A woman who attended the race in 2009 went on to develop ovarian cancer. She credits the race and the efforts of the 4th grade class with helping her spot it early and saving her life. She is currently healthy and will be speaking to the 4th grade class and participating in this year’s race again.

It’s stories like this that has brought together the 4th graders and the Upper Arlington, and OSU community once again. 

Abby Davis, a 4th grader at Barrington Elementary, put it very eloquently why you should come out and be a part of this year’s race: “It’s going to be so much fun. We have activities and raffle prizes and you will be supporting a great cause while helping raise awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and raising money for a cure. Who doesn’t want to beat cancer?”

The Beat Michigan! Beat Cancer! logo

If you live in the Columbus area, please make every effort to go to the race this year either as a spectator, or as a participant. Click here for race details and where to donate.

The kids have worked hard to secure sponsors so that all proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research and Education in Gynecology Fund at OSUCC-The James.

If you are unable to go, please make an effort to educate yourself and your loved ones on the symptoms of ovarian cancer. You may never know the lives you will impact or save.

Perhaps one day, we can all say that we not only beat Michigan, but that we beat ovarian cancer too.

Nicholas Jackson

Copyright 2017 Nicholas Jackson - All rights reserved.

Nick is a 1997 graduate of Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio where he received his B.S in Biological Sciences. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy at Andrews University in Dayton, Ohio and then his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He has been published in the Newark Advocate, The Granville Sentinel, and the St. Louis Metro Voice; and professionally in the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy. Nick has also been a guest host on 88.9 WLRY and 880AM WRFD

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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Rod Gerald Story: Finding Redemption, Part Two

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

Rod Gerald left Texas and boarded a greyhound bus for Ohio with his wife, five-year-old daughter Natashia, and his son Casey who was six months old at the time.

Rod got a job at the Columbus Zoo and lived with a close friend and his family in Plain City. He then became the freshman basketball coach at Dublin Coffman leading them to a championship that first year. Additionally, Rod served as parking attendant for the school, a job which he loved dearly, as it gave him a chance to love and be an encouragement for kids.

One day, the principal called Rod into the office where he was surrounded by teachers and students. Rod remembers that day fondly, “It was my first Christmas away from home. They gave us so many toys for my kids. It took two cars and a van to get all those toys.”

Things were going great, but Rod had unfinished business.

Following through on his promise to Woody, Rod returned to OSU in 1988 and then received his degree from OSU in 1989.

Woody Hayes. Photo courtesy of Team Rod

Rod then began working as a housing inspector for the city of Columbus, and got a chance to take his son Casey to Buckeye games and share his love for OSU.

In 1994, Rod’s brother died.  He experienced death in his family for the very first time. This led to a relapse into the world of drugs again, a propensity which had been developed from those early times at OSU trying to self-medicate his pain. Compounded by the death of his beloved father in 1998, Rod would then enter one of the darkest periods of his life.

Back in Dallas and away from the accountability he had established in Columbus, Rod dove headlong back into the underworld of drugs. He ended up selling the family home for drug money, became homeless, and spent 11 months in jail for burglary charges stemming from his drug use.

It wasn’t until he had hit rock bottom that any lasting substantive change would occur in Rod, “It’s God’s goodness that leads you to repentance. You don’t even see yourself. A lot of times we are so out of control, you don’t even think to repent. God knocks you down like Saul (who later became the Apostle Paul), and makes you see.”

For the next several years, Rod has walked the straight and narrow road, while working to repair his relationships with his family that he had hurt so much. 

Rod’s trials, however, were far from over. Rod suffered from degenerative disk disease and spinal stenosis to his lumbar spine making it difficult to even walk and some days to even get out of bed. Compounded with his back injuries, Rod suffered a herniated disk in his cervical spine which led to searing pain in his neck to the point where he couldn’t even hold his head up.

Rod was decimated by these physical problems, and was unable to work and provide for himself anymore. Relying on a meager one thousand dollar a month disability check, Rod was in anguish both physically and mentally. It was at this low point in his life where Buckeye Nation reached out in love and picked Rod up again, to help him get back on his feet.

Paige King, a devout Buckeye fan from Circleville, OH but now living in Texas, reached out to Rod on social media. Rod is never one to complain and often refuses to ask for help, not wanting to be a burden on anyone. Paige’s love for Rod finally broke through his tough exterior. He now affectionately calls Paige “Coach” for her perseverance and persistence.

Paige King with Rod

With the help of a local businessman Tony Reynolds, Paige developed the concept of Team Rod. Team Rod is a concept that no matter how low you get, you have people who love you and want the best for you; that you’re never alone in your fight.

Reynold’s set up a crowdfunding page to help pay for Rod’s surgery and expenses to make it back for his 40-year reunion in 2015 against Northern Illinois.  Rod’s old friends Archie Griffin and Cornelius Green were the first to donate to Team Rod. Buoyed by the love and support of his friends and love of Buckeye Nation, Rod made the trip to Columbus.

Rod shared his emotions leading up to that day in the Shoe, “It’s been an effort by the entire university, but it started out with one lady, it’s enough to make you cry.” (Jon Spencer, Gannett News services, Sept 16th, 2015.)

Buckeye Nation and his former teammates picked him up emotionally but also physically that day, “They were proud of me, happy to see me. They were carrying me around. I couldn’t go downstairs with that walker, they picked me up. They showed me a lot of love.” (Jon Spencer, Gannett News, Oct 17th, 2015)

Rod in the 'Shoe for the 40 year reunion

Rod didn’t know on that memorable day in the ‘Shoe that he had a staph infection from his neck surgery. He required another surgery to revise and clean out the infection which set him back a great deal.

On Thursday Oct. 12th, 2017, Rod had his third lumbar surgery and another small surgery to fix a component from his original neck surgery on his herniated disk. He is now home, in good spirits and on the road to recovery.

Being confined to a wheelchair, left Rod a long time to contemplate his legacy and what he wants to be remembered for.

A big part of Rod’s legacy is his children. Both Casey and Natashia graduated as valedictorians at South Oak Cliff High in Dallas. His youngest Casey went on to play defensive back at Yale, was a Rhodes scholar finalist in 2008, and then was chosen to speak at Harvard Business school’s graduation in 2014.

In addition to continuing his healing and reconciliation with his children, Rod wants to start earning an income again. He also believes God is calling him to public speaking. He wants to share his story with others to inspire them to not go down the same road he went; that no matter how low you go, God loves you and to never give up hope and always keep fighting.

Towards the end of the interview, Rod shared one of his favorite Bible verses, “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

He confessed, “You can be saved by your consequences. You can turn your life around, but most of the time it’s that love that does it.”

Rod went on to emphasize the importance of friendship and accountability to stay clean, “It’s in my mind and it’s in my heart and its even in my way of living.  I can hang up right now from you and call Archie Griffin and call Corny (Cornelius Green).”

Rod in the 'Shoe with good friends Archie Griffin and Cornelius Green. Photo courtesy of NBC4

Rod finished the interview with his usual unassuming nature and humility, “Even in a wheelchair I have so much to be thankful for. God has been so merciful and good.”

He later texted, “God is better to me than I am to myself.”

Rod knows pain and suffering both in theory and experientially.

His whole life is a testimony of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. He has come full circle as a son of a Baptist minister, to becoming the prodigal son and then being called home again through God’s love.

“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine just persons who need repentance.” (Luke 4: 6-7)

Rod’s vision now is to take this message of love to others and that’s why his next chapters in his life may be his greatest.

Author's note: Rod just had his third back surgery on Oct. 12th. He is home recovering and walking! Donations can be made here to help Rod pay for the back surgery and physical therapy. Thank you! 

Nicholas Jackson

Copyright 2017 Nicholas Jackson - All rights reserved.

Nick is a 1997 graduate of Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio where he received his B.S in Biological Sciences. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy at Andrews University in Dayton, Ohio and then his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He has been published in the Newark Advocate, The Granville Sentinel, and the St. Louis Metro Voice; and professionally in the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy. Nick has also been a guest host on 88.9 WLRY and 880AM WRFD

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Nick’s email:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Rod Gerald Story: Finding Redemption, Part One

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  (Luke 4:5)

Rod Gerald would be the first to admit that his life has taken a winding course. Rod never met his grandfather as he passed when his father was just two years old. Rod’s father was the son of sharecroppers in Tunis, Texas. He eventually left home and joined the army before settling down as a meat cutter. The same year that Rod was born, Mr. Gerald was called into the ministry; a call which he quickly accepted.

Born in 1956, Rod was the fourth boy in the Gerald family, a family that was used to going without material things. His first of three sisters was born in 1960.  Though difficult to afford, Rod’s father moved the family to a bigger house in a better area to provide a safer environment for the kids to grow up in. Life for the Gerald’s, consisted of church every Sunday. The kids were responsible for cleaning the church every day and cutting the church lawn. It was these humble beginnings and early underpinnings of structure, humility and love that would help shape Rod’s personality.

A blazing quarterback/defensive back with 4.3 speed, Rod initially chose a school from each of the Southern conferences and left out the Big Ten. OSU coach Woody Hayes came in late and changed his whole recruitment. “The head coach from Tennessee was there in Dallas at my dad’s church. We were ready to sign, and Woody came in and changed the whole game.”

OSU had always been Rod’s favorite with players like John Brockington, Jim Otis and Rex Kern. Being from Texas, Rod was used to big rivalries. They decided to wait on his decision and went up as a family for the OSU-Michigan rivalry game in November. There they had a chance to meet Archie Griffin and Cornelius Green and in Rod’s words, “It wasn’t a hard sell.”

Rod Gerald, Cornelius Green and Lenny Willis

At 175 lbs., Rod took a chance in coming to OSU knowing he would have to run the ball a lot. “Running the ball that much, you are going to get hit. I liked running the ball, I liked the contact and liked to think I could run over guys.”  Rod’s freshman year he led the scout team as QB and ran all over the first team defense, setting the stage for him to start at QB his sophomore year. The Buckeyes had a stellar year in 1975 but ended with the disappointing loss in the Rose Bowl to UCLA.

It was a loss that according to Rod, Woody took very hard.  Many thought Woody would retire after that season, but perhaps not wanting to end his career on a loss returned for the next season. Buckeye greats Archie Griffin, Tim Fox and Cornelius Green graduated and thus began a new era of OSU football with Rod Gerald at the helm.

Photo courtesy of Rod Gerald

The Rod Gerald led Buckeyes started out 4-1-1 and were ranked as one of the top teams in the country. During homecoming against Purdue, however, Rod was about to be tested more than any other time in his life.  In Rod’s words, “Pain and injury are part of the game.”  He had dealt with injuries before and had always bounced back but this was different.

Rod was hit on an option play in the first quarter by Rock Supan of Purdue, a moment which Rod remembers vividly, “He hit me and I laid and it was a pain a had never felt. Dr. Bob Murphy (team physician) and Billy Hill (OSU team trainer) put me on the cart and drove me off.”

Rod ended up fracturing three transverse processes in his spine and was laid up in the hospital for a week. He recalls his teammate Greg Storer visiting him that first night, “He brought me some McDonalds. He was a 6’7’ tight end and was about as nice as you could be.” The injury was just the start of the many trials that Rod would face, some self-inflicted, but many stemming from the pain and chronic nature of his original injury.

While Rod was sidelined with his injury, OSU continued its winning ways with Senior Jim Pacenta at the helm. Pacenta was known as more of a passing QB, and many fans had wanted OSU’s offense to evolve into more of a passing team. The Buckeyes rattled off three straight wins until being blanked 22-0 to Michigan. “Woody had a fit. There was no doubt I was gonna play that next game. He didn’t care what condition I was in.”

Rod, however, was having doubts about even being able to play again for OSU. After a film session with Ron Springs, Woody called them both into his office and said he was going to go back to the running and option attack again and that Rod would be playing in the Orange Bowl. Rod told Coach Hayes he was not going to go and Woody went nuts, “After he threw some desks and some books, I said ‘Okay I’m going, I’m going!’”

OSU started out down 10-0 against Colorado at which point Woody inserted Rod. Gerald sparked OSU with a 17-yard run leading to a touchdown by Jeff Logan.  OSU went on to win 27-10 with Rod being named the back of the game with 14 rushes for 81 yards and a TD.

Photo courtesy of Rod Gerald

In 1977, with Gerald still not himself and battling lingering pain from his initial injury, the Buckeyes went on to finish with a 9-3 season, with losses to Oklahoma, Michigan and then Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. With a poor showing against Alabama, it was a not very well-kept secret that wunderkind Art Schlichter would be taking the reins of the OSU offense the next year.

When Rod went home that summer before his senior year, he was nowhere near the 4.3 athlete he was before his injury, “I knew I was in bad shape. I needed to go home and work on Rod. When I went home that summer I could hardly work out because of my back.”  Rod contemplated not coming back for his senior year, but the love of Buckeye Nation willed him to return.

Rod returned to a divided locker room.  Knowing how much pain he was having, Rod welcomed Art starting. The seniors who loved Rod, however, felt like they were doing him wrong by starting the freshman Schlichter. As a compromise, Woody moved Rod to wide receiver which led to one of his favorite moments as a Buckeye versus Penn State, “Both Art and I went on the field at the same time and the stadium went nuts, and that was just great.”

In 1986, a writer for the Columbus Dispatch wrote an expose on drug use at OSU. Rod agreed to speak with the writer of the Dispatch under the pretense that they would use his comments to help other Buckeyes to not make the same mistakes he had made.

The article ended up on the front page and included damning quotes from highly respected people like Dr. Bob Murphy and Woody Hayes about Gerald’s drug use while at Ohio State. Gerald quickly went from beloved Buckeye to a pariah in the eyes of Buckeye nation. Over 40 years have passed and some of the pain still lingers, “Buckeye nation, they’ve forgiven me, but the diehards, I don’t think they’ll ever forgive me for that.”

In the following summer, Rod felt so bad he was willing to stay in Texas, “I felt it was justified that I would be punished, I needed to be punished. I never thought I would be back in Ohio. I was willing to sacrifice because of what I had done.” Suffering the depression from his public shame and self-medicating his pain, Rod received a phone call that would take his life in a better direction.

Rod vividly recalls Woody reaching out to him that day, “Rod, you are going to go ahead and go back and finish and get that degree, right?” Rod didn’t know that day if he would, but he wasn’t going to tell Coach Hayes no again. Hayes pressed him to promise he would go back and said he was going to call him back in a week.

Photo courtesy of Rod Gerald

Unbeknownst to Rod at the time, Woody was very sick. That following Wednesday, it was reported that Coach Hayes had passed away.

Rod recalls his promise to Woody, “I didn’t care what condition I was in. Woody had the love for me to call and was interested in me getting back and getting my degree, I was going to do it.”

With $15 in his pocket, Rod stepped out in faith and left for Columbus. He didn't know, however, that he would soon be tested more than he had ever been in his entire life.

Continue reading, The Rod Gerald Story: Finding Redemption, Part Two

Nicholas Jackson

Copyright 2017 Nicholas Jackson - All rights reserved.

Nick is a 1997 graduate of Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio where he received his B.S in Biological Sciences. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy at Andrews University in Dayton, Ohio and then his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. He has been published in the Newark Advocate, The Granville Sentinel, and the St. Louis Metro Voice; and professionally in the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy. Nick has also been a guest host on 88.9 WLRY and 880AM WRFD

Permission to reprint article required from author
Nick’s email:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Celebrating the 95th Birthday of Ohio Stadium

 "We're heart and soul for this stadium, the fellows who know what it is to go in there and fight with all that's in it for Ohio State and her glory." Charles “Chic” Harley
Before Ohio Stadium was built, most organized sports at OSU were dedicated to speed and running sports dating back to 1877.  A quarter mile of track ran from the current site of the chemistry complex south to 17th.   By 1890, a multi-use field for track, football and baseball had been constructed west of Neil Avenue and south of the present-day stadium.   Track and field, which was more popular than football at the time, outgrew that space over the course of the decade.  
On November 1, 1890, Ohio State’s first home football game was held on a field in German Village where the Buckeyes lost to the College of Wooster by a score of 64-0... Within a decade, the team was playing on campus. In 1896, the University built its first gymnasium, the Armory, and the first campus football game was held at Ohio Field, at High and Woodruff, in 1898.   Within two decades, Ohio State had outgrown Ohio Field.  
Following Ohio State’s back-to-back Western Conference (eventually the Big Ten) titles in 1916 and 1917, the necessity of constructing a large stadium became apparent. When Ohio State and Illinois met for the Western Conference championship in 1919, 20,000 people watched the game in the bleachers or along Ohio Field’s perimeter; an estimated 40,000 people stood farther out. Spectators broke down the field’s fence and sat on the turf; nearby homeowners put up bleachers on their roofs and charged admission.
With the advent of World War I, the campus was being crowded by new field artillery.   Infantry regiments of 3,000 men were housed on campus.  Plans for a new stadium were now put on hold.  
University trustees reserved 92 acres west of Neil Avenue along the Olentangy River for the start of the stadium construction. Alumni were asked to raise one million dollars in a year. With the heart of the campaign called Stadium Week ran from October 16th to October 23rd.    On October 16th, a new plaster mock-up of the stadium was introduced.
OSU football star Chic Harley was instrumental in this campaign, so much so that Ohio Stadium is often called, “The House That Harley Built.”  In 1941, James Thurber described Harley's playing style, "It wasn't like Red Grange or Tom Harmon or anybody else. It was kind of a cross between music and cannon fire, and it brought your heart up under your ears." (Bob Hunter, "Chic-The extraordinary rise of Ohio State football and the tragic schoolboy who made it happen." Orange Frazer Press) 

Chic Harley

Built off the momentum from Harley’s exploits, campus turned busy with the fundraising campaign.  The student stadium committee had a map of Ohio’s 88 counties hung on the Armory. When the county met their pledge amount, the light bulb for that county was turned on.    Pledge quota on campus was met the fifth day of the drive.

Howard Dwight Smith, an OSU alum and architect, was tapped to design the stadium.  He drew a U-shaped design, combining designs of the two biggest stadiums at that time; Harvard and Yale. Sheltered from the North winds and open to the South, the proposed structure was to hold approximately 63,000 fans.   Ohio Stadium was the first horseshoe shaped concrete double decker stadium.  A horse drawn plow overturned the ground where the footers and foundation would be poured.  Trees were cut down and stumps were blown out with explosives.  
The official groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 3, 1921.    In autumn of 1921, the first construction of the foundation was laid with steel superstructures following in January 1922.  Four cranes were used to pour concrete around the stadium’s steel superstructure.  One concrete arch was being poured each day for a total of 78.  The first game in the stadium was played that fall, with construction ongoing.  The game was against Ohio Wesleyan.
There are many architectural techniques that were used while building the stadium/ At the base is a slurry wall to keep out the water from the Olentangy River since the stadium is sitting on the flood plain. Ohio Stadium was built, unlike the Yale Bowl, to have an upper deck that hung over part of the lower decks, giving the stadium its “A”, “B”, and “C” decks. Unlike Harvard Stadium, double columns were designed that would allow for more space between columns. The rotunda at the north end of the stadium was given beautiful stain glass murals of the offensive and defensive squads that make up the football team. It was designed to look like the Roman Pantheon.

The stadium was formally dedicated October 21st, 1922, in a game against Michigan.  There were over 71,000 fans in attendance that were treated to 21-gun salutes and patriotic songs.  Vendors that day sold 10,000 hot dogs, 70,000 bottled sodas, 8,000 boxes of Cracker Jacks, 70 gallons of coffee, and 25 gallons of mustard. Unfortunately, it was one of the few times that Michigan can claim victory over OSU, 19-0.
The first of many modifications came in an infamous Michigan game.  In front of a standing room only crowd, Ohio State failed to stop Michigan’s passing game.  Michigan led 17-10 with two minutes left to play; Ohio State scored from the 12-yard run……and missed the extra point.  Over 90,000 Ohio State fans stormed the fielding breaking glass, breaking arms and legs and Ohio State banned standing room only fans.   That rule stayed in place for over 50 years.
In 1944, a University report to the State of Ohio for budgetary needs included a proposal for an octagonal building to be added to the stadiums north end.  In October 1944, the OSU Alumni Monthly said, “From any angle, the monstrosity looks screwy.”  It was relocated 500 feet north and is now known as St. John’s Arena.  On March 22, 1974, the Ohio Stadium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, joining Oxley and Hayes Halls.
During the 70’s and 80’s, the stadium concrete was sealed and resealed.  In late 1995, administrators had $150 million for renovations.   With that $150 million, they built the Schottenstein center and in the summer of 2000, renovations began on Ohio Stadium.  The playing field was sunk to create a new seating deck to replace the track, the south end was enclosed and the seats above C deck were added.  The additions also included a 30 x 90 scoreboard.  
After each victory, the victory bell rings for 15 minutes since it first rang on October 2, 1954.  It was a gift from the classes of 1943, 1944 and 1954 and was installed in in the southeast tower 150 feet above the field.  Members of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity ring the bell after victories.   
In 1970, Astroturf was installed to support Woody’s running backs and running game.  A group of former OSU players that went onto discover the Geno’s drive-in chain would pay for the Astroturf with $380,000.00 of Geno’s stock.  The stock value of Geno’s was dropping and made the University support the project from its general fund.  
In 1978, the Astroturf was worn out and was put out to bid.  Sections of the old turf were sold to support the new turf.    Injuries to players were happening at a high rate, so teams began to go back to grass. The initial cost was $1 million, with annual grounds keeping costs at $50,000.  The 2001 renovation had created an indoor climate and had shielded the sod from rain, sun and air.
Field Turf was installed in 2007 and the sod was given to the city of Columbus to be installed in three baseball fields.   
Events held at the stadium now include tours of the stadium in groups of 10, movies on the big scoreboard, concerts such as the Rolling Stones, Buckeye Country Concert with the proceeds going to the Urban and Shelley Meyer Cancer Fund; and who could forget TBDBITL with their unbelievable half time shows.  At a game, never miss the ramp entrance of TBDBTL; and at the end of each football game, win or lose, never miss the singing of “Carmen Ohio”.

Graduation is held there each May with over 10,000 new Buckeyes joining the Alumni Association from the Shoe.  In 1997, shortly after the communication exercises had started on Friday, June 13, a downpour caused the ceremony to be cancelled.   Graduates waded in knee deep water in the end zone before heading over to French Field House to receive their degree.   President Gee noted that “one graduate remarked she wasn’t sure if she graduated, but was certain she had been baptized.”
In 2016, professors in Ohio State’s School of Earth Sciences and in partnership with Miami University and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources conceived a program to measure fan seismic activity in the stadium. Geologists planted sensors around Ohio Stadium to measure seismic activity with seismographs in the lower level of the stadium.   One result they were not expecting was TBDBITL caused the fan quakes to amplify.   The largest fan quake they recorded so far was triggered by Curtis Samuel’s touchdown catch at the beginning of the second half versus Nebraska on Nov. 5. The shaking lasted more than two minutes and reached a Fan Quake Magnitude of 5.2.
Another program underway at the stadium is that they are sustainable.  They are the largest stadium in the country to achieve zero waste status continuously.  That means they defer 90% or more of their materials from the landfill by recycling, repurposing and composting.   They are ranked #1 in diversion rate within the Big Ten conference for the past four years.  In 2016, the diversion rate was 95.4% and the season high diversion rate was 96.23% at the Michigan game.
The iconic stadium is currently undergoing a renovation project that will be completed in 2020.  The goal according to The Ohio State University is to “restore and re-coat the 94-year old concrete on C-deck, Upgrade power distribution systems for the east, west and south stands, Improve and upgrade B-deck to include better lighting, larger televisions, an improved sound system and better scoreboards, which will improve the experience of fans with obstructed-view seats, Renovate the premium seating area to consolidate the university suites into one University Suite and add 35 loge boxes and 12 luxury suites.” (

These renovatioms will ensure that Ohio Stadium will house other relevant non football events and continue to be the premiere location in America to watch college football.
From its humble beginnings in German Village and on Ohio field, to the current majestic Ohio Stadium, Ohio State football has a rich and glorious history. 
There is no better place in the world to watch football and “Sing Ohio’s Praise.”
A very happy 95th Birthday to the 'Shoe.
Jenn Campbell