It’s okay to be disappointed over the way this season ended for the 2020 Ohio State Buckeyes, but that doesn’t make this season a disappointment.
This season wasn’t even supposed to happen, and as the saying goes, “‘Tis better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.”
On August 11, the Big Ten announced there would be no football season. And then said nothing else for over a week. Players had questions and coaches were left holding the bag.
How do you keep a culture going when the discipline and goals required to even create a culture now have no direction? Rumors and questions flew that maybe there would be a season, only giving hope to shadows and whispers. Eight days after canceling the season, conference commissioner Kevin Warren doubled down on the decision saying that it would not be revisited.
Ohio State, however, was among the schools that chose to revisit said decision. They chose to fight and fought every day since. Today is their first real day of rest in who knows how long.
Five weeks after canceling the season, the Big Ten once again opened up for business, doing so in a short-sighted, uphill kind-of-way that put more pressure on the programs than was necessary. But Ohio State did everything they could to make a successful season happen, and there is no shame in coming up one game short in a year unlike any other.
Sure, the 52-24 loss to Alabama in the national championship game was rough, and the team fell shy of its ultimate goal, but sometimes when you choose to fight, you get knocked down. The Buckeyes chose to fight this summer and the fans were right there with them.
Should the fans abandon the team now that the fight didn’t go their way for one night?
Should the excellence demanders ignore the fact that it required excellence just to get to this point? Without excellence, there would have been no call for a season to even begin. There would have never been a fight. It required excellence to even stand up to the very Big Ten Conference that shot them down.
This was a program that wanted an opportunity to play. Their families wanted it. The coaches wanted it. And you the fans wanted it. You can’t now look back and say you didn’t just because one game didn’t go the way you wanted.
Don’t cheapen what everybody in the Ohio State program went through by letting your emotions get in the way of their accomplishments.
This isn’t sunshine pumping. This is a request for people to appreciate the difficulties of pulling all of this off. The endless hours of protocols. The stopping, the starting, the stopping again. A year full of disappointments, but yet it also had football. And football made everyone happy. Don’t lose the happy in the fray of disappointment.
This was an amazing season. Ohio State lost players by the week and found ways to move up and move on. The culture prevailed even as it was held back by a pandemic.
This has been a difficult year for all of us. Every person reading this and every person not. You got to watch the Buckeyes this year and for that, you are thankful. How can you not be? In a year where we’re all begging for distractions, the Ohio State football program handed you three-and-a-half months of them.
A national title would have been nice. You aren’t the only person thinking that. Everybody in the Scarlet and Gray wanted it and did what they could to make it happen.
They are hurting today because of the loss, but at least this time they got to have a say in how their season was ended.
Ryan Day has said on several occasions this season that he had grown tired of giving the team bad news. The bad news kept coming in the week leading up to the national title game against Alabama. More players tested positive for the coronavirus. More players had to be told they could not play this week.
After the game, Day said the team needed a break. They needed to get away from football. They needed to spend time with family. Recharge. There was no thought of getting right back to work. That is the toll this season has taken, but it’s a toll the players willingly paid. And no doubt would pay again.
And now they all get to go be what they haven’t had a chance to be for months – husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, boyfriends. They get to rejoin the real world, which is something that they were able to distract you from throughout these last four months.
For that alone, you should be thankful for an unforgettable 2020 football season.