1922 Ohio Stadium Dedication. (Courtesy of The Ohio State University Archives.)
1922 Ohio Stadium Dedication. (Courtesy of The Ohio State University Archives.)
“These jolly days of priceless worth, by far the gladdest days on earth. Soon will pass and we not know, how dearly we love Ohio. We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame. So in college halls we’ll grow, and love thee better ... O-HI-O!”

– Second verse of “Carmen Ohio”

Ladies and gentlemen, as long as I can remember, watching Ohio State football games has been one of my all-time favorite pastimes.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a family tradition. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU, my dad has a degree from OSU, my grandfather received his master’s at OSU after attending Miami as an undergrad and my great-grandfather attended OSU – he even took a train to Ann Arbor, Mich. to see one of the first Ohio State vs. Michigan games more than a century ago.

My brother and sister graduated from Ohio State, as did a handful of aunts, uncles and cousins. Simply put, a lot of my family bleeds Scarlet and Gray.

It never fails that each time I attend the “Horseshoe” – Ohio Stadium – I get chills when the marching band comes down the ramp before the game and takes the field, playing the “Buckeye Battle Cry.” I like to get to the games at least three hours early to walk around campus and try be seated in the stadium approximately an hour before kickoff so I don’t miss the band.

I also get goosebumps every time “Carmen Ohio,” OSU’s alma mater, is played, and “Le Règiment de Sambre et Meuse,” more commonly known as “Script Ohio,” is performed.

It’s been written that the sounds of “Carmen Ohio” bring a tear to the eye and a lump in the throat. (It’s true, especially when the crowd sings “Summer’s heat or winter’s cold; the seasons pass, the years will roll.”)

The lyrics were penned in 1902 by OSU freshman Fred Cornell and remain Ohio’s State’s oldest school song still in use.

But what some folks might not know is that Cornell, a member of the OSU glee club and a four-letter athlete, was allegedly inspired to write “Carmen Ohio” after attending the 1902 Ohio State vs. Michigan game in Ann Arbor – a game OSU lost 86-0.

On the long train ride home, it’s been said Cornell wrote the lyrics on the back of an envelope. The glee club first performed the song in December of 1903, and the rest, as they say, is history. (If you have an old hymnal, you can play the tune by turning to the hymn “Come Christians, Join to Sing.” Go ahead, I’ll wait for a moment…)

“The Incomparable Script Ohio,” which is described as “the most memorable tradition in college band history,” also has ties to the University of Michigan. On Oct. 15, 1932 at Ohio Stadium, the Michigan marching band spelled out “Ohio” as a gesture of goodwill to Ohio State while playing “Across the Field,” one of OSU’s longtime fight songs.

Four years later under the direction of Eugene Weigel, the Ohio State Marching Band began its tradition of “Script Ohio” with the song “Le Règiment de Sambre et Meuse,” along with script movement and the traditional dotting of the “i.” It’s been argued that Michigan may deserve some credit for coming up with the idea, but “The Best Damn Band in the Land” (TBDBITL) turned “Script Ohio” into the one of college football’s greatest traditions.

That brings us back to the “Buckeye Battle Cry,” which was written by Frank Crumit in 1919. Ohio Stadium opened in 1922, and Ohio State put on a contest in 1919 looking for new fight songs. Crumit, an Ohio University graduate who was born in 1889, wrote and entered “Buckeye Battle Cry,” which won the contest and was published. Today, as mentioned earlier, the band plays “Buckeye Battle Cry” before each game, plus plays the “Buckeye Battle Cry” each time the football team scores and sings the song at the end of every “Script Ohio.”

Frank Crumit was born in Jackson, Ohio, and was a singer, composer, vaudeville star and radio entertainer who had several hit songs in the 1920s and early ’30s. He died in 1943 at the age of 53 after suffering a heart attack.

But nearly three quarters of a century later, his tune, “Buckeye Battle Cry” is still heard. However, he wrote the song with two verses; the second has been lost for the most part somewhere over the years.

Let’s pause for this week after singing the second verse to Crumit’s famous Ohio State song:

“We’ll scatter to the east and west, when college days are done. And memories will cling around, the dreams of everyone. We’ll play the game of living, with head and shoulders high! And where in wear the spirit of ‘The Buckeye Battle Cry!’”

Steve Roush is a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at roush_steve@msn.com.