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Column: Carrier classic means so much more than basketball

November 12, 2012

 

Ohio State and Marquette were set to square off on the U.S.S. Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Until tipoff. When the floor started to accumulate condensation. After an hour delay, the game was called due to excessive condensation, and the safety of the players was in serious jeopardy. 

I guess that’s the risk of playing a game on a boat. Parked in the ocean. In the middle of November.

The floor was warmer than the outside air temperature. Combined with the humidity and the water particles from the ocean just feet away, man was defeated by mother nature.

It wasn’t for a lack of effort. For about an hour, event staff, officials and even players were on their hands and knees trying to wipe up the condensation. But it just kept coming back.

People knew the risks of playing a game outdoors. The weather could have played a part in the outcome of the game. There could have been wind. It could have been freezing cold. It could even have been raining, but in the end the decision was made to cancel the game.

Which is unfortunate. It’s the result no one wanted. The 2,000+ armed forces members that came out to watch a top 5 basketball team (Ohio State) had to return home with a feeling of disappointment.

And that’s really what this event was all about. The troops. The veterans of this great country. This Veterans Day idea to honor the armed forces was a great idea, thwarted by complications out of control of man. 

It was refreshing to watch the members of Ohio State and Marquette on the floor of the USS Yorktown signing autographs and talking to fans and veterans alike. 

It doesn’t make up for the lack of game. It doesn’t ease the pain of driving or flying in from out of town to watch their team in the opening game of the season not happen. But I saw smiles.

I saw armed forces members smiling, chatting with junior guard Aaron Craft about life, basketball and the situation.

The risk of injury was too much. In the end, it is just a basketball game. And risking the health of student athletes in the first game of the season was too much.

So Ohio State will play their season opener at home on Sunday. They were not able to entertain a crowd of 4,000 fans and service members.

But yeah, I feel your pain OSU fans. I would have loved to see an errant pass go over the side of an aircraft carrier into the ocean. 

But if the point was to honor troops on Veterans Day, that was accomplished. Remembering why this country is great, remembering those who served is more important than the outcome of a basketball game.

And seeing service members smiling, laughing with some of their heroes of a collegiate basketball team was heart warming.

Because the veterans are the heroes. Go out of your way this weekend to thank a service member. 

Go out of your way this weekend to remind them that they are the real American heroes.

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