For some Ohio State fans, trip to championship about more than football
The to-do list in New Orleans is endless for Ohio State fans.
Family fun and restaurants. Bars and casinos. History and museums.
Jim Thoma has one important activity planned.
“We’re going to visit with our son,” the Mount Union College sports management professor said.
Jon Thoma is the holder and backup punter for the Buckeyes, who face LSU in Monday’s BCS college football title game in the Superdome.
Jim Thoma reminisced about taking a tour of the Superdome when Jon, a St. Thomas Aquinas graduate, was in junior high.
“Little did we know he’d be playing there someday,” Thoma said.
Louisville’s Ted Street just wants to get in the Superdome.
The 58-year-old owner of Main Street Tours is without a ticket, not willing to pay the $800 to $1,100 price tag. He’s driving to New Orleans anyway and meeting good friend Larry Lawther, a Minerva native who lives in Houma, La.
Lawther, a big LSU fan, attended every Tiger game -- home and away – this season. Street is a Bucks nut, one who flew to Arizona on a whim last year with son Corey to take in the national championship game.
(What’s weirder? Minerva and Louisville natives who are good friends, or Minerva and Louisville natives who are good friends and also happen to be fans of LSU and OSU, respectively?)
Lawther, who has a ticket, is keeping an eye open for an extra one, but, “I told him he’s on his own.”
Street isn’t sweating it. This trip is about more than football. He plans to hit up Harrah’s Casino and have lunch at Emeril’s. He’s attending a big LSU alumni bash with Lawther where former Green Bay Packer great Jimmy Taylor will be in attendance.
“I do have an LSU shirt and hat I’m willing to wear to the bash,” Street said, “but I’m wearing Ohio State gear to the game.”
That’s “if” he goes to the game.
After Monday, he’s headed to Houston to visit an old Air Force buddy.
Thoma’s trip to New Orleans isn’t just destination football.
He’s loading the van with wife Judy and daughters Louise and Andrea. Louise’s boyfriend, Dustin Ford, is coming along, and they’re picking up one of Ford’s cousins along the way. Stops in Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama are planned for reasons of food and family.
Thoma has seen a lot in Louisiana. He saw it snow on LSU’s campus during a 1989 track meet. On New Year’s Eve 1975, he saw a certain fedora-ed coach scanning Bourbon Street, probably making sure his players weren’t having too much fun.
“There goes the Bear,” Thoma said of legendary Alabama head football Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, “sitting shotgun in the car.”
Things for Buckeyes to do on the Bayou
- French Quarter and Bourbon Street
- For shops and cafes, Royal Street (also in French Quarter)
- Ernst Cafe (A Buckeye friendly place)
- Harrah¹s Casino
- The Riverwalk
- Audubon Zoo
- The National World War II Museum, which is currently holding a special
- Aquarium of the Americas
- City Park with 13,000 acres of land
- Watch Chris Paul, the best point guard in the NBA, play for the Hornets