Ohio University D-2 Hockey: From Natty Ice to the Ice at the National Tournament

“Are you drunk?”

“…Kind of.”

“Damn it, Darrow. Well, just go stand in front and don’t do anything stupid.”

To be fair, it was my roommates 21st birthday the night before, and even though we had practice at 6 a.m. the next morning, I wasn’t going to not go out. I got back to the dorm at 3 a.m. and knew if I fell asleep there wasn’t a chance I was going to wake up, so I just decided to watch some Netflix then head to practice reeking of the Junction.

It was what it was, it was the culture we created at the time. Showing up to practice or games hungover was the norm.

For those of you who don’t know the short version of my story, it goes like this:

I showed up on Ohio University’s campus in 2009 with every intention of playing division one club hockey. I turned down D3 NCAA offers to be there. The school was perfect and I wanted to contend for a national title. I got to campus, bragged for a week to everyone about how I was going to play hockey (like during those ice breakers on the first day of class), got cut, then had to seemingly live the next four years of my life with my tail tucked between my legs.

When news got out to the other programs that had recruited me, a few of them tried to get me to transfer, and I almost did. But, I was determined to work all year on my game and redeem myself sophomore year.

Tryouts sophomore year came about and I had, in my mind, the perfect week. I scored goals, played physical, and even grew my hair out so that I could add a little flavor to match my atrocious red equipment from juniors. But it was the same story.

I was told that I hadn’t made the top five centers and that I was being cut… again.

“Coach, I play wing.”

At the time, I felt like my life was over and that the last 16 or so years of work on the ice was worthless, but looking back it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Lucky for me, two former division one guys had decided they were going to start up a division two program. And my first thought was “perfect, now I can prove myself.”

I thought that the D2 team was going to be used as a farm system for the D1 team. If someone gets hurt, which happens all the time, they would call one of us up to fill the void. Turns out, that wasn’t the case at all, and it honestly makes sense looking back.

The D1 team had their identity. They had been on campus for decades and they were damn good every year. They were fast, tough, dominant, and albeit being a club sport, one of the most supported organizations on campus.

We, as the new D2 team, had to find our own identity. We decided we were going to be the most fun team on campus.

For the first two years, we were a bunch of borderline alcoholics who just happened to play hockey on weekends. For me, the earliest days of the program were embarrassing at times.

Our original roster was put together by attending a meeting. No joke, that was the original tryout. You walked into the conference room upstairs at Bird Arena and signed a few sheets of paper, obliged to pay the amount for the year, then showed up at practice the next day.

I will never forget the first day of practice. There I was, a former two-time first team All-State selection in high school, captain of my Junior A Tier-III team, now skating with kids who couldn’t make prep JV.

“What the hell are we even doing?”

Don’t get me wrong, there was still talent sprinkled throughout our lineup. But the first year, it was really thin.

Nick Frasse and Sean Roach started the team, and I wonder what was going through their minds as we practiced for those first few weeks. I wonder if they saw the potential of the program, or if they thought they bit off more than they could chew. Both had played D1 before, and now they were stuck with this.

We actually had a pretty good inaugural season. We went 13-8-2, and the core members of our team all became really tight. Frasse and Roach installed a lot of traditions that I believe are still in place today, we had 128 N Congress – the hockey house – and by years end, it really felt like a team.

As I mentioned, we had to create our own identity as a program, and that first year we did so many ridiculous things. Over the top celebrations were a staple. In the last game of the year against West Virginia, we scored on the power play, and four of the guys all huddled by the net while Jarrod Carley put his glove on the end of his stick and pretended to take a group photo. Classic.

After another PP goal, Frasse grabbed me by the back of the pants and threw me down the ice like a curling stone while K.C. Fraize used his stick as a sweeper.

We were, by no stretch, over the top ridiculous. And it was the most fun I had ever had playing hockey.

My entire life, hockey was a top priority, and I always loved the game, but there was always a serious stipulation behind every game. Playing D2, I realized I could finally relax and actually enjoy playing the game I loved.

But at times, we got a little too relaxed.

When my junior year rolled around we had finally organized a real, on-ice tryout for the second season of our program. We had a new coach, former D1 captain Phil Oberlin, and he inherited a bunch of guys who he was used to seeing trash the bar he managed.

Little by little, we were doing things that began legitimizing us as a program. We joined the TSCHL, which has since grown into a hell of a league, and finally began to develop a few rivals.

However, we also continued our ridiculous ways and refused to set boundaries on going out before games and practices. Our homecoming game against Eastern Kentucky my junior year was one of the most ridiculous hockey games I’ve ever been a part of.

After winning 17-1 on Friday night, I drank until about 4 a.m., with some of the guys (only the ones 21 and older of course) keeping it going until 7 or 8 in the morning. I went back to sleep, knowing we had a game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, but was woken by my roommate and his older sister who was visiting to go to Broney’s at 6 a.m. for champagne slushies.

Running off about 90 minutes of sleep from a six-hour bender, we stayed and drank there for three hours before I told them I had to go the rink. As I stumbled down Court St., I was dragged into The Crystal by one of the bartenders and we took a lunch box, before I finally made it to Bird Arena. I could barely stand, yet alone skate.

I looked around the room and realized I wasn’t alone. I took one shift, tried to take a slap shot from the point, got too dizzy when I raised my stick back, fell over, and then benched myself for the rest of the game. Only our freshman and sophomores played that game, and we still won 9-1.

Now, this article isn’t about my alcoholic tendencies and the cancer I probably was to our program by encouraging this type of behavior. It’s the fact that it was acceptable. We had made it and deemed it okay. And this was only five years ago.

Deep down, we knew we were never going to be a legitimate contender for a national title behaving this way, but we were having the time of our lives.

I just want to keep saying, this was the most fun I ever had playing hockey.

Heading into my senior year, and the third year of our program, we were really starting to make strides. We had talented players from top to bottom, and were one of the best teams in our league.

I, being the idiot that I was, showed up to the first two tryouts a mess. I was one of the leading scorers the two years prior and took that for granted.

I was probably the worst player on the ice for those first two days.

Jordan Frasse, Nick Frasse’s younger brother, told me the story about how he was a freshman and he saw how terrible I was those first two sessions and he looked at his brother on the bench and asked him, “This guy… scores goals? He’s awful.”

Before the third tryout, Coach Phil pulled me aside and told me that I wasn’t invincible, and that if I didn’t start taking this seriously, he was going to cut me.

It was later this year that the guys and Coach Phil started to try implementing the idea that maybe going out every night before games wasn’t the best idea, but we broke that rule weekly. We were there to have fun first and contend second – that was the atmosphere we created.

I remember trying out for the D1 team and the tryouts extend into the first weekend of the school year. The purpose is to have the players not go out and remain focused on the task at hand. It’s a test of will. It was hard to watch all your roommates go out and have a great time while you stayed in the dorm, but it was worth it if you made the team.

We tried adding Saturday and Sunday to our tryout schedule senior year and it was hilarious. The vets all went out the night before, and I remember walking into the locker room and half of us being keeled over and lying on the floor.

But the new guys abided. They stayed in. They showed up wanting to make the team. I remember thinking that morning that maybe this was the start of something. Maybe one day this would be the norm.

Senior year came and went, and so did our first full graduating class. We lost Frasse and Roach, and I was somehow voted the second captain of the program.

My final year playing D2 started disastrous. We began the year something like 0-7-2 and I had two game misconducts in the first nine games. Pretty solid leadership on my end.

This was really the year that there was tension on whether or not we should go out before games. The three years prior, we were still winning. We’d go out on Friday night, then win on Saturday afternoon.

Now that we had created a legitimate schedule, and were playing teams like Miami (OH) and Bowling Green, as opposed to the EKU’s and Wright State’s, our bad habits began to show. We just couldn’t get away with it anymore.

I remember all the seniors sat down and we went over a new policy. I’m pretty sure I was the only one of the six seniors who wanted to allow us to still go out before games. We came to a compromise – you can go out, but no getting over the top drunk.

It was clear that I may have been the one holding us back from getting over a particular hump, but I was selfish, and wanted to keep doing things the way we had in years prior.

We rattled off like 10 or 11 straight wins after our 0-7-2 start, and really began to show that we had the talent to belong. The culture of the team was also changing.

Coach Phil was recruiting players, and not just getting bodies, he was getting us legitimate talent. We had freshman who were quickly becoming our best players. They came into the program wanting to win first, and party second, a complete opposite philosophy of what we had been using.

It was clear to me that the program was headed in the right direction. I knew that I was probably negatively affecting the locker room in terms of wanting to enjoy my last year of college, and putting that above winning hockey games.

But this was the most fun I had ever had playing hockey in my life. Our team was so tight knit, and I wasn’t ready to give up race poker.

I knew that once all of the founding players were gone, it would be a completely different program. I knew that Coach Phil needed to get our booze-filled habits away from the new players.

I just never thought it would happen so fast, and I’ve never been so happy it did.

Two weeks ago, I sat on my couch with my six-month-old son and watched as my former team defeated Toledo (who we were I believe 0-8-1 against when I was in school) to advance to the National Tournament for the first time in our program’s history.

All I could do was sit there and mumble “unbelievable.” I must have said it a dozen times.

Only three years removed from my captaincy, Coach Phil and the leaders in the locker room completely transformed this team and made them an absolute force in the D2 club hockey world.

Looking at the roster, there are ten guys left who were freshman or sophomores when I was in my final year with the team. A lot of them know what it used to be like. And I can’t imagine what it was like to be a part of the transformation.

As far as I know, Coach Phil and his younger brother Patrick have this team as tight as ever. I can see on Snapchat the ways they spend their time together on the nights before games, and it’s not taking frozen fours at 1:30 a.m.

The D1 program at OU is one of the best, if not the best, programs in the country. They cast a huge shadow over the D2 program. We would joke about it, but it was tough watching the 1,000+ person crowd for the D1 game dissipate into the street as we took the ice. A few people would stand around and look at us and be like “wait, who are these guys?”

We would stand in the tunnel and pretend to be commentators to help ease the pain of watching every single fan leave.

“And the D2 Bobkittens take the ice to a sold-out Bird Arena crowd!”

But now the D2 team has earned, at the very least, a top-16 finish in the nation.

As an alum, the entire reason for this article is to just say how proud I am of all of you. And while I know the crowds aren’t large, and the recognition is hardly there, your alumni is so damn proud of you guys.

You guys have all made a sacrifice that I wasn’t willing to make when I had the opportunity, and I’m so damn proud that it’s paying off for everyone in that locker room.

I don’t regret any part of my four years playing D2, and I think I speak for every one of my former teammates when I say that, but I also know that there were guys in the locker room who would have given everything to play in the national tournament.

Watching you guys defeat Toledo was one of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed. I felt a part of it, even though I was hundreds of miles away.

What the players and coaches have done to transform our program into a contender for the national title in such a short amount of time is nothing short of unbelievable.

I went to OU wanting to contend for a national title. It’s why I went there. Sure, my path strayed off the straight and narrow, but watching the program I was a part of for four years actually have a shot at doing so is unreal.

Soak this weekend in boys, we will all be watching. And win or lose, we will always be proud.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Story of New York Rangers Forward Dominic Moore Will Break Your Heart

Dominic Moore jumps Into Dan Boyle's arms after a goal in game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Getty Images
Dominic Moore jumps Into Dan Boyle’s arms after a goal in game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Getty Images

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own adversities that we never stop and think about what the athletes who we call our heroes have gone through.

Dominic Moore, an NHL forward currently playing the New York Rangers, recently shared his story with Jeremy Schaap and it will bring even the strongest of us to tears. Moore, who could be called an NHL journeyman having played for nine NHL franchises, walked away from hockey during the midst of a playoff run in 2012; he then sat out the shortened 2012-13 season.

Some of us never knew why, but his story tells the tragedy of his wife, who he met as a sophomore at Harvard, and her eventually fatal bout with cancer.

The life of an NHL girlfriend or wife is not easy and it is a story that is seldom told. Hockey players might be the toughest athletes in the world, but many of them are only able to be so strong on the ice because of their other half, who consistently give up their own dreams in order to allow their significant other to chase theirs.

Moore’s story is a sad one, but it shows how professional athletes are people just like you and me. It shows that under all of the equipment, there’s still a heart. It shows that hockey players aren’t invincible. It shows what hockey wives will go through and how supportive hockey players can be.

Hockey players, coaches, fans, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, wives… This is a must watch.

The complete E:60 on Dominic Moore can be seen here on Vimeo.

Brooks Orpik Booming Hit on Jonathan Toews Springs Ridiculous Comments from Mike Milbury

Brooks Orpik Booming Hit on Jonathan Toews Springs Ridiculous Comments from Mike Milbury

Anyway you look at it, the hit was clean.

The two points that were up for grabs Sunday night when the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t matter much statistically, but if Jonathan Toews – the Blackhawks’ captain – was severely hurt after taking a vicious body check from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, then it may have cost Chicago a chance at a Stanley Cup.

Thankfully, it’s been reported that Toews’ shoulder injury wasn’t too serious and he’s listed as day-to-day, but perhaps the most newsworthy thing to come out of the play was the absurd comments made by NBC Sports analyst Mike Milbury.

“He hits to hurt people,” Milbury said. “He looks for players in a vulnerable position,” was another one of my favorites.

Now it’s no secret that I am a Pens fan, but saying that about a player like Brooks Orpik is just ridiculous. Sure, he’s a tough guy to play against and uses his body to his advantage, but the last thing he should be classified as is a dirty player.

That’s like calling Niklas Kronwall a dirty player just because he is known for his huge hits.

When someone donning the Penguins crest does something questionable, I’ll be the first to recognize it. Matt Cooke did eventually clean up his act, but there was a two-year span with the Penguins when he probably didn’t deserve to be on the ice.

Hell, six days ago I wrote an article about how James Neal’s antics are getting old.

Milbury’s solution on how the Blackhawks should have solved the issue was even more comical. Had Orpik kneed/elbowed/speared/sucker punched/jumped Toews, then I can understand the need for someone to step right up and force Orpik to fight.

Like I said, the two points didn’t really matter and an instigator penalty would have been worth it in that scenario.

But he didn’t. The hit was as clean as they come and Toews was simply caught on the tracks with his head down right before the train was coming through.

If it was 1985, then yes, Orpik would have had to immediately pay for his hit on the opposing captain, but it’s not, it’s a different game and guys like Mike Milbury need to learn to understand that. Orpik has 14 career fighting majors in the NHL, but jumping a player for a clean hit will never be justified.

Many of the guys in the current NHL didn’t grow up with the goon mentality. I’m sure many of them saw it at one point or another in their career, but it wasn’t the norm when they began to reach the elite levels of the game.

There is still a place in the game for fighting and I will always defend that, but the role of an enforcer has changed while the game has evolved. People like Mike Milbury either fail to accept that or fail to understand it.

Orpik knew that he had a target on his back for the rest of the game; Andrew Shaw attempted to take a run at him in the corner, but ended up doing more damage to teammate Patrick Sharp.

People that think Orpik should have immediately been jumped are, in my mind, the same people that don’t see an issue with what happened to Steve Moore. The fact that Todd Bertuzzi is still allowed to play in the NHL has always made me a bit nauseous. The psychology that goes on in a players mind has changed after a huge, legal hit – it’s one of the many changes that has taken place in the game over the last decade.

Mike Milbury is the Skip Bayless of the NHL and I understand why he’s on television. He creates controversy like this one, which in turn will lead to higher ratings for NBC Sports.

It’s just really difficult to take the guy who once climbed into the stands of Madison Square Garden and beat a man with his own shoe seriously.

 

 

My Goodbye Letter to Hockey

I never thought the time would come.

On Sunday, I took off my jersey and untied my skates for the last time. Sure, there will be beer leagues and drop-ins, but it will never be the same. 

Throughout the last 20 years of my life, I dedicated my life to hockey. Some of my first memories growing up are roller blading around my garage at my old house in Traverse City, Michigan, making up situations in my head. We all did it. It’s the championship game in overtime, and the puck is on your stick.

I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and watching Pittsburgh Penguins games with him. He would occasionally have a rum and Pepsi with him in a big glass, and when he’d jokingly offer me a sip, I always forgot there was booze in it and would take a drink anyway, only to spit it out in disgust.

I met my first friends through hockey, many of whom I still keep in contact with to this day. There’s something about the game that creates untouchable bonds between a group of people. Bonds that distance doesn’t break, which is something so rare.

Looking back, I was pretty lucky with all the things I got to experience. I got to be a captain in high school, juniors and college; I broke scoring records; I was first-team all-state twice; I got to play competitively until I was 23 years old.

However, there is no accomplishment that begins with the letter “I” that will ever come close to what I will miss most about playing hockey. One thing you learn early in hockey, is how much more important “we” is than “I.” The things I will miss most aren’t scoring goals, big hits and back-door feeds. I’m going to miss the locker room, the road trips, the stories, the chirps, the parties, the heads that turn when everyone walks into the bar together, and just the overall atmosphere that is created when a team is clicking on all cylinders.

I did it for the story” lives deep inside many of us.

There is something to be said about hockey players. We’re a breed unlike any other, and it may be cliché, but the only way to understand it is if you have been a part of it. It’s never just a team, it’s a family. You will fight with your family, but when it comes down to it there isn’t a thing in the world you wouldn’t do to look after them.

Hockey has taught me more about life than anything else on this planet. You learn about discipline, courage, toughness, teamwork and communication, but most importantly it was the first aspect of life that will make you look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “how far am I willing to go? How far am I willing to push for what I want?”

On the ice, as in life, the person who is rewarded is the person who scratches and claws the farthest.

While the amount of turmoil I went through growing up pales in comparison to many others, the ice was always my therapy. You can’t ever skate away from your problems, but you can at least avoid them for the hour or two you are at the rink. When you step on the ice, life is perfect and all your problems have been resolved for the time being.

There’s a reason why it’s much easier to go to the rink at 5 a.m. than it is for work or school.

When life gave me adversity, hockey was my counseling. Watching my Mom go through breast cancer treatment when I was in high school wasn’t easy. Most of the time, I didn’t know how to act or what to say. I was a stubborn kid who refused to accept what was happening. But when I was on the ice playing in front of her, I always knew where she was. After games, she was always the first to greet me. Win or lose, she didn’t care. She knew I was happy. 

During those moments at the rink, nothing was wrong. 

While we all chased the dream growing up, there’s a reason why so many of our relationships fail. We’ve already fallen in love with the game because we know it’s something that will never leave us.

Hockey never cheats on you; Hockey never gets divorced; Hockey never dies. There is always a fresh sheet of ice somewhere. There is always a net to be sniped, and that first deep breath of cold air when stepping onto the ice is a feeling that can’t be topped.

Without hockey, my life would mean little. Without the people I’ve met through hockey, my life would mean nothing.

So after 20 years, it kills me to say goodbye. Thank you for everything you’ve given me, I will always be grateful. You’ve taught me more about myself and about life than I could have ever imagined.

To those still in action, keep chasing your dream. Keep bettering yourself. But most importantly, enjoy the ride and don’t miss a moment.

My career may be over, but the memories will last forever.

Shane Darrow is a Graduate student studying Journalism at Ohio University. He is currently an NHL writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @ShaneDarrow.

Picture 28 Blog 1 Blog 3 Blog 4 Blog 5 Blog 7 Blog 8

This picture means the most to me. Pointing to Johnny after beating Alpens in OT. RIP buddy.
This picture means the most to me. Pointing to Johnny after beating Alpena in OT. RIP buddy.

Blog 10 Blog 11

Ohio University Division 2 Club Hockey Team will Lockout for 2012-13 Season

The biggest story in the hockey world today is that the NHL is currently locked out until a new bargaining agreement, which expired on September 15th, can be agreed upon by the NHLPA and the league. What people are not talking about, is the trickle down effect it has had on the Ohio University Division-Two Club Hockey Team, who have decided to lockout the upcoming season unless a new bargaining agreement with the ACHA can be made.

The D-2 Bobcats, who of course play in the prestigious Southeastern Midwest Lakeside Jurisdiction Hockey League, or SEMWLSJHL, have refused to touch the ice after the Gatorade vending machine in their home arena’s lobby was changed from $1.25 to $1.75.

8th-year Captain Nicholas Frasse had this to say on the situation, “People don’t think $.50 is a big deal, but do you have any idea how expensive it is to park under Baker?” He would continue to say, “This was just the last straw, they are making us decide between parking in a metered spot, and getting our daily electrolytes.”

The Bobcats, who had their inaugural season in 2010, have made great strides in the last few years. For example, their first tryout consisted of attending a rigorous meeting where Graduate Student and Head Coach at the time Matt Staehely had to make sure the players showed full commitment.

“I made them sign their names on a sheet of paper and be at most of the practices on time,” Staehely noted on the grueling first season.

Since then, The D-2 heroes from Ohio University have instated former Mr. OU, former manager of The Junction, and former Division 1 Club standout Phil Oberlin to take over the reigns, and things have escalated ever since.

“Our tryout consists of them scrimmaging now,” Oberlin said, “we figured it would be easier to judge their talent if we actually saw how good they were at the game.”

Last year, the D-2 “Bobkittens” finished an impressive third place in the SEMWLSJHL, and watched as attendance for home games skyrocketed. During a Friday Night game against West Virginia, there were over 50 people in the stands to watch them warm-up. Most of them however, were simply trying to leave the rink after attending the D1 game, but overcrowding helped the D2 team win over some fans.

“That’s who those guys were?” said 47-year-old Ron Thomas, an Athens resident for the last ten years, “I thought they were an intramural team or something.”

After making these strides, the Division 2 Club Hockey team decided that they would not continue to play until the ACHA and SEMWLSJHL agreed to renegotiate their bargaining agreement. Some of the matters at hand are:

  • The amount of pucks to practice with be raised from 25 to 35.
  • Each player shall receive their own spot in the cage for their equipment.
  • A paid trainer, preferably an undergrad female, attend at least one of every four practices.
  • The ice to be zamboni’d before every practice, not just went the staff feels like it.
  • The Gatorade Vending Machine in the lobby of Bird Arena to be reduced from $1.75 to $1.25.

This lockout could be long and devious, and the players have decided to stand by their teammates as they demand more from the leagues in which they contribute so much.

“We put dozens of people into the stands every year who don’t pay a dime to watch us play,” former football player turned hockey player in college Tyler Smith said, “imagine all the money we are generating for them just through that!”

One thing is for sure, the amount of people that will be affected by these lockouts could easily climb into double digits, but the players know they deserve better, and as the Beastie Boys once said, they will fight for their right to party.

The ACHA and SEMWLSJHL were both unavailable for comment, as neither knew this was even happening.

Members of the D-2 Club Hockey Team are seen attending Happy Hour, which has become a serious, pregame ritual.

My response to Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis

OU students and alumni everywhere, here is the e-mail that was sent out to every parent of an OU student regarding Palmerfest:

“Dear OHIO Parents and Families,

The purpose of my message is to seek your help in sending a clear message to students, reinforcing the importance of smart, civil, safe behaviors. My request parallels that of Ryan Lombardi, our Dean of Students, who has made you aware of the unauthorized multi-house parties in Athens that have historically occurred in off-campus neighborhoods each spring.

On Saturday, April 28th, a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites. This media coverage has “opened a window” to Ohio University and the Athens community, revealing images that are offensive, frightening, and embarrassing to our students, our distinguished alumni, our local community, and the parents and families of OHIO students and graduates.

We are better than this!  People that live in the Athens community, whether for just a few years or for a lifetime, reject these behaviors and their distortion of what our community is about.  The City of Athens and Ohio University join with your students and their friends and neighbors in condemning this behavior, which posed life-threatening risks and harmed our community.

Last week, our Student Senate issued a resolution condemning these dangerous behaviors.  The Senate resolution supports the stance of the overwhelming majority of our students, faculty, and staff who find this type of behavior destructive to the culture of Ohio University and the relationship that binds the University and the City of Athens.

We have scheduled a Town Hall Meeting for 5 pm this Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at the West Portico of Memorial Auditorium, on the College Green.  Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl and I have invited all community members, including students, to attend.  We will be joined by other University and City leaders to discuss these serious issues and answer questions. Please encourage your son or daughter to attend.

Ohio University, the City of Athens, our students – your sons and daughters – are better than this and we must show it.

Cordially,

Roderick J. McDavis

President

Ohio University”

If you are like me, this e-mail was not only unnecessary, but ridiculous. We can not sit back and have our University’s president degrade us like this, share your voice! I have e-mailed him my response, and here is what it reads:

President McDavis,With all due respect, the e-mail that was sent out to all the parents of Ohio University students was not only overly demeaning, but 100% unnecessary and untrue. I understand that you have a job to do, and rebuilding our reputation as something more than a party school is a top priority, but responding to the incidents of Palmerfest in that manner is not at all the right thing to do.Saying that “a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites,” is an egregious stretch of the truth. If you consider police officials abusing their power and tear gassing innocent students “dangerous behavior” on the students behalf, then yes sir, you are correct. If you consider one of my fellow students getting a police baton to the face and being sent to the hospital for, soberly I might add, crossing the street “dangerous behavior,” then yes sir, you are correct. If you consider undercover officers running into a bar and putting myself in handcuffs because they thought my ID from Michigan was fake “illegal behavior,” even though I am 21 years old, then yes sir, you are correct.

But most importantly, you are attempting to put a scare tactic out to all of our parents and have them diminish their image of our college, and that sir, is dangerous behavior.

Every single student that is lucky enough to call themselves an Ohio University Bobcat has an immense amount of respect for their college and their campus, and maybe you are not out enough on our campus to realize this.

As a leader of my organization, and a representative for all of greek life, the disrespect here is absolutely undeniable. Saying that we embarrassed our local community… Well sir, let me state my rebuttal on that statement. While you collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in perhaps the poorest community in Ohio, we (and by we, I mean all of greek life, as well as many other student organizations) are out finding new ways to make our community better. Tens of thousands of dollars are collected every year that go out to respected charities, as well as our community to help rebuild and make it better.

A week ago, all the fraternities on campus pitched in to help a student who was affected by the tornado last year. The kid has almost no money, works 2 jobs, plays 3 sports, and is a great example of perseverance. His dream was to have a suit for prom. So we all helped out by purchasing a suit, shoes, a watch, cologne, hair gel, etc. But that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Just this Saturday, my fraternity raised hundreds of dollars to help students with disabilities, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Next weekend, Sigma Kappa is holding a golf outing in which they will raise over a thousand dollars for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Earlier this year, the language department held a can drive that ended up raising an 8-foot-tall pyramid of canned goods for our struggling community, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? These are just a few examples, and believe me, I could go all day.

President McDavis, I respect your position, I really do, but handling the situation in the way you have is not even close to the right one. Obviously, there are students that made poor decisions that day, I’m not denying that. But you are looking at a number around 25 students. Deciding to send a message with that aggressive of a tone, and placing it upon 20,000 students is absolutely absurd.

Some drunken student that was visiting attempted to set a house on fire, not an OU student. Out of all the arrests made during fest season, not even half of them are OU students. The aggravated rioting charge from two years ago during palmerfest, which is perhaps the most aggressive offense in my college career, was not an OU student. And most importantly, the people that have the dearest respect, and absolute love for this campus and our community, are OU students.

My greatest fear as a student here is that my degree will be diminished by our school’s reputation; however, having the interview skills to find a way to turn our social life into a positive is what helps me realize this will never be problem.

But having our University’s president exaggerating the actions of OU students is in no way helping the 20,000 of us who share this same fear of our degree’s being somehow lessened. You sir, are better than that.

Once again, with all due respect,

Shane Darrow
SD195408@ohio.edu
President – Pi Kappa Phi: Theta Chi Chapter

5 Reasons Why Bobcat Nation Trumps Everything

After last nights loss to UNC, my phone exploded. People ranging from Florida to California to my hometown city of Traverse City, Michigan were blowing me up (humble brag) congratulating us on our run in this years NCAA tournament. As a journalist, it is absolutely impossible to describe word for word what makes being a bobcat so great, but let me give it my finest efforts. All of my friends are business majors, and this is simply what my role is throughout this unreal city. So let me attempt to put a smile on all of bobcat nation.

OU? Oh yeah.

1. Athens, Ohio is home.

Everybody else I’ve ever talked to that doesn’t go here, describes their home as where they grew up, and where their parents are. Not here. People at OU describe going home as going back to Athens. I’ve seen hundreds of tweets (@VincentVanFlow) from winter and summer breaks that explain how badly they want to go back home. When I visit other schools, I miss how homey this city really is. From north campus to south campus its a 15 minute walk if you aren’t in shape. Where I am currently sitting writing this, I could come back in 5 minutes with Chinese food for under five dollars. The atmosphere here never seems real. The only time people even argue here is when Crystal gets out of line and the argument over whether Sigma Pi is better than Pike erupts (rush Pi Kappa Phi). There is no doubting that every person who goes to this school is in their most comfortable state when they drive in off the interstate and see that stadium: Peden Stadium. That is when you know you are here. Of course, you have only gone to one football game, and thats because it was on ESPN 2 and you left after the first half because you lost your buzz, but it’s still the landmark that puts that OU smile on your face.

2. Our unreal excuses to party.

Okay, so I understand that whether it’s TGIF or Saturday, almost every college throws their ragers. But here? We take any excuse and find a way to make it into an uptown fiesta. Green beer day is a perfect example. This day party was thrown on a Wednesday more than a week before St. Patty’s day. Our entire campus went uptown to get sloshed because the beer was simply dyed a different color. After we lost last night, I died a little inside. I was ready for the biggest riot this town had ever seen, but what I witnessed had me cheesing. Everyone was just so damn proud. We are a school that knows we aren’t known for our athletics, yet everyone pulled together and toasted to the most improbable run that no one outside of these borders could have predicted. We had faith in DJ, we had faith in Offutt, but most of all – we had faith in this school, and this city. Coach Groce I beg you, don’t leave us!

3. Nightlife.

Where else do you find over 20 bars in two blocks? Whatever clique you desire to be around, there is a designated spot that was created to fulfill those needs. There’s a hockey bar, rugby bar, football bar, basketball bar, greek bar, etc. If you wake up and say, “hey, I want to go get down with DJ Cooper (I’m shouting you out all day my dude)” I can tell you exactly where to find him. But it doesn’t end uptown. Spring corner is upon us, and while most college students are losing it about how they lost their internship due to a tweet (oh shit, that was just me), Ohio U is ready for the greatest ten weeks a college student can ask for. Gorgeous weather, beautiful women, bowling class, and the fests. Oh the fests. Our school is known for Halloween, and that is a proven fact, but ask any OU student what is the best part of the school year, and they will tell you the fests. On Halloween, we get hundreds of jagoffs who come and disrespect our campus. Yes, there are hundreds of arrests every year on that glorious day in late October, but usually only about 30% are OU students. The fests are our time, and when people visit then, they tend to respect our campus. Well, except for when we set shit on fire, but hey, if Manny can be Manny by intercepting a throw to the cut-off man… than that’s just OU students being OU students. We have two mindsets: class and partying. But definitely not in that order.

4. We actually have really good academics here

I have been focusing on solely the point of our abilities to party, and to all of the corporate folk out there that probably didn’t make it to this point in the article because you have already thrown my transcript out the window, I apologize. But to all you yinzers out there that continued to read on, may God bless you today. The schools of journalism, business, and aviation are all unbelievably prestigious. You don’t believe me? Watch your roommate go through the 8 am cluster, and then show a little more respect. The only phrase I hear more here than “I have to go meet with my group” is “I’m going uptown.” Our aviation school, while I know there aren’t many in the United States, is one of the greatest. It has been around since 1939, and has produced an absurd amount of commercial pilots. So next time you are sitting in row 35 and look out your window for a nice view and see the engine, realize that there is a chance that the man who has your life in his hands studied at Ohio University. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn since I’m in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, but by checking a few websites, were on average ranked the fifth best journalism school in the entire country.

All I’m saying President Roderick J. McDavis is that if you look beyond all the aspects that our school is “known for,” you will see an academic program that is eventually set up for us to succeed. But considering I’m a hard six male in the journalism school, I’ll practice right now what I’ll probably be saying after I graduate. “Do you want fries with that?”

5. The People

This one is unbelievably hard to explain. Well, no it’s not. I’m just imagining the look on the peoples faces who don’t go here that are thinking to themselves “I bet the people here are better.” Hear me out though sweetheart. I live 600 miles away from here, I came here knowing absolutely no one. Yet the people of this school embraced me immediately as one of their own. How many times have you walked into a party and didn’t know a soul, and then got asked who you knew in the party, you said nobody, and they kicked you out? Well if you go to OU the answer there is zero. How many times have you walked into a kegger and paid to drink? If you go to OU the answer there is zero. It’s a respect thing. When you are a freshman and sophomore, you drink for free, unless you are helping to throw the party, in which case you chip in for the beverages. In return, when you are a junior and senior, you buy and let the underclassman drink for free. It’s a system that I have never seen at any other school. Everything is based on respect, and the students that go to The Ohio University understand that as they progress through their years of paradise. If you are visiting, you will never feel more accepted anywhere else but here. And if you go here, your character rises immensely.

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Bobcat nation: I salute you. Once again: OU? Oh yeah.