Ohio State University: Ohio State’s Block O prepares for a return to game day traditions

When the Ohio State football team returns to Ohio Stadium next week in their home opener, among the loudest and most passionate fans will be the students in Block O. After a year lost to the pandemic, these students are ready to get back in the stands.

“Last year was really difficult for Block O and Ohio State University in general in terms of normality,” said Lucas Bruckmann, a third-year finance and economics major and football director for Block O’s executive board.

Bruckmann said many first- and second-year students have either never attended an Ohio State game or never experienced it as a student.

“I think it poses a really amazing opportunity for Block O, for Ohio State football culture and athletics in general, because everybody has this pent-up energy and excitement,” he said.

Few organizations are better equipped to channel that energy than Block O. The university’s largest student organization has been leading the cheering in the student section for more than 80 years.

With elaborate card stunts and students covered in scarlet and gray body paint, the Block O football supporters can be found bringing excitement to the north and south stands at Ohio Stadium. The organization supports student sections for 10 sports at Ohio State.

For Block O membership committee member Jaci Taylor, a fifth-year computer science and engineering major, the game day traditions are critical to the overall student experience at Ohio State.

“I think they’re really important, especially when you’re first coming into [Ohio State]. College can be very stressful and very intimidating,” she said. “Building those traditions, meeting people and getting to do those things that are constant every year, even if other things are changing … it’s just so important to have those things that you can hold on to and that stay the same.”

Bruckmann said the interest and involvement for Block O remains high. A Welcome Week sign-up event in a driving rainstorm still ended with dozens of students joining, and Block O football tickets sell out quickly.

Beyond the desire to share game day traditions with their peers, both Taylor and Bruckmann said the student sections are critical for sports beyond football and basketball. Block O students are often the loudest supporters at wrestling, hockey or volleyball events. Taylor said the student support can change the dynamics of a game.

“We’re super excited for this upcoming year. I know last year was really tough, but we look forward to seeing everybody in the ’Shoe and with our other sports sections throughout the year, because as much as we have missed it, our athletes have missed it as well,” Bruckmann said. “This is THE Ohio State University, this is big-time athletics. We want to make sure that the kids that come here to play in the scarlet and gray are given the support they deserve.”

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