Ohio State football, other sports aren’t just celebrity fodder

Every sports fan I know wants the “inside story” on what’s happening with their favorite player and team. Or in some cases their least favorite player and the team they cannot stand. Schadenfreude, right?

From my 93-year-old mother to the college students I instruct – “Professor Oller” still sounds a tad pretentious for a sports writer – everyone wants the skinny on the thin-skinned coach, goofy-grinned golfer and… LeBron.

Well, sorry to disappoint, but you won’t find that here, in part because I learned long ago that members of the media really do not know the people we write and talk about, at least not beyond basic personality traits. We get just enough of a look at our subjects to accurately describe their surface, and sometimes catch a glimpse of what’s underneath. But humans are good at being chameleons, at compartmentalizing work and home and revealing only what we want others to see.

Generally speaking, it is smart to stick with what we observe happening on the field, court, ice and track. But not always. Sometimes sharing an athlete’s “inside story” helps outsiders connect through the shared experience of sports.

Blue Jackets rookie Nick Blankenburg (77) will keep the puck from his first NHL goal but also the memory of celebrating that goal with his teammates.

Most of us will never know what it is like to enter the Horseshoe to the cheers of 102,000, gloving a puck to deny Alex Ovechkin or burying a 3-pointer to win an NBA playoff game, but most can relate to the camaraderie built through winning , losing and – mostly – laughter that had nothing to do with X’s and O’s.

“Most people get to see the bright lights of college football, but they don’t get to see the absolutely best times, and those happen off the field,” former Ohio State wide receiver Dimitrious Stanley said in a text.

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