Sue Datish said she's impressed with how friendly the people in Texas are.
By ROB TODOR
VINDICATOR SPORTS EDITOR
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mike Datish proudly thrust out his right hand to the visitor.
On it sparkled two "Christmas gifts," as he referred to them -- a ring and watch -- compliments of The Ohio State University, rewards for being a member of the 1975 Rose Bowl Buckeyes.
"These come out," said Datish, "only on game days. On special occasions."
So naturally, they were on display outside Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, just hours before the marquee game of the college football season between the Buckeyes and Texas Longhorns.
Datish was a member of three Ohio State teams that played in the Rose Bowl, and his son, Doug, who played high school football at Howland, is a senior co-captain and center on the current Ohio State team, which came into the game ranked No. 1. Texas was ranked No. 2.
Mike Datish and his wife, Sue, who still live in Howland, were outside the Frank Irwin Center on the Texas campus, along with Sue's sister, Nancy Reynolds, and her husband, Wayne.
They were attending the Buckeye Bash, a pep rally put on by the university's alumni association. Inside, approximately 3,000 Buckeye fans -- just a small portion of the estimated 30,000-40,000 who were in town -- cheered on an appearance by Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and a performance by the OSU marching band.
"We've been traveling [to Ohio State games] for five years," said Sue Datish, "and the people here are among the friendliest we've ever met."
Most impressive, not surprisingly, were the tailgate parties, featuring authentic Texas-style barbecue.
Mike Datish hesitated when asked if Longhorn tailgaters had the edge over their Buckeye counterparts.
"Let's just say, they have the climate here for it," he said with a smile. "They're smoking everything. We found a few guys who were cooking a cow. For 10 bucks, he said we could stay there all day."
It was definitely a festive atmosphere outside the stadium. Of course, it was also four hours before game time.
"I'm OK now," said Sue Datish. "Once I'm in my seat, though, I'll be really nervous."