A Field of Dreams: Peden Stadium

When I first came to Ohio University in 2008, I was just taking a weekend trip with my family to visit my parent’s alma mater for the first time. The brick roads, the smell of the Burrito Buggy, the exhausting hills, the trees. Everything in Athens to me was picture perfect.

But then I stepped foot inside a football stadium, but this was not just a football field with some bleachers. This football stadium had a spirit like I have never seen at any sporting venue. There was a hill that stretched behind one of the endzones, there was a view of the rolling hills just over the Hocking River, but there also was history written since 1929 stored inside every brick.

My first trip to OU in 2008 included my first trip to Peden Stadium.
My first trip to OU in 2008 included my first trip to Peden Stadium.

This was Peden Stadium.

I stepped foot on the field (though I was not supposed to), and felt a chill down my spine. If that chill was the spirit of Athens hitting me like a ton of bricks or just a cool breeze I will never know. But I realized at that moment that I too will become a Bobcat, just like my parents were 20 years earlier.

This may be considered the moment when I realized that I would become a Bobcat,
This may be considered the moment when I realized that I would become a Bobcat.

Fast forward five years, and it was my first week on campus as a student at Ohio University. I was overwhelmed by all the activity on campus, and I had a hard time becoming friends with my roommate. I decided to go to a football game with my learning community to celebrate my first week surviving college. Was it awkward? At first, yes, but as the night went on I bonded with my new friends about football, art, Billy Joel, Stephen Colbert and Big Mamma’s. By the end of the night, we all decided to go to games on a weekly basis and maybe hang out a time or two at James Hall.

 

This was during my first OU football game, where I met most of my best friends that I've kept at OU.
This was during my first OU football game, where I met most of my best friends that I’ve kept at OU.

Today, two of those guys are my roommates in our apartment on Court Street, and a few others from that night are still some of my best friends.

I still go to games on a weekly basis, even if it means sitting in freezing temperatures just to get a two-second cameo on ESPN. I have sang the national anthem with the Singing Men of Ohio on homecoming, and watched my friends play with the Marching 110. Every week in the fall is a new chance to make another memory at Peden Stadium.

I don’t love Peden because our football team plays well enough to go to a bowl game or because the Marching 110 is the most exciting band in the land when they play halftime (which is true). I love Peden because I felt that chill almost eight years ago to join OU, and because I met some people that would change my life all inside the brick walls of Peden Stadium.

Once I graduate from OU, I hope I can go back on the field and feel that chill one more time.

3 competitive sides to OU’s Marching 110

When thinking about college organizations that compete, the marching band isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind, but at OU that’s a little different. The Marching 110 of Ohio University has a long history of performing seemingly unforgettable shows, which makes sense considering they are the “most exciting band in the land.” With the level of talent and attention the 110 gets, competitions in various forms are inevitable. Here are a few glimpses into them.

  1. Between fellow band members: The name Marching 110 is a little deceiving because there actually are 250 members of the band. The “110” comes from how many members are on the field. But in the stands, all 250 members blast their horns and beat their drums. How do they narrow it down to 110? They compete. According to sophomore euphonium player Sarah Strinka, “We have to compete for our spots on the field for each show based on a marching and music score.”  Placing only the best members on the field ensures the band lives up to its reputation.
  2. Marching 110 logoWith other bands: The 110 has a unique style. This puts pressure on them to consistently perform at a high level.  This also presents another way the band competes — the Marching 110 is not the only notable band around. First off there is OSU’s band, and then there are the bands from the other schools in the MAC conference (the conference of OU). For example, at the OU vs. Marshall game a few weeks ago (Saturday, Sept. 12), Marshall’s band came to Athens. There is a little competition there already with two bands playing in the stands, but it escalated when, at halftime, OU and Marshall both performed songs by Bruno Mars. To compete with these other bands, especially Marshall at that game, the 110 sticks to its unique style.
  3. Offseason competing: Marching bands are in action during the fall football season. So what do members do when it’s not marching season? Some join other music groups around campus, some play music on their own, and some join a competitive marching band for the summer. There is something called DCI (Drum Corps International), appropriately called “marching music’s major league.” In a sense, DCI is like a professional marching band. What does this have to do with the 110? There are quite a few members of the 110 who, when they aren’t marching as a Bobcat, are marching professionally over the summer as a member of a DCI group. Drum Corps International is a competition-based league. Corps from around the world travel to a new place almost every week to compete. They do this until they all come together in early August at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN to compete in the DCI World Championships World Class Finals.

The marching 110 may not be the first Bobcat organization that comes to mind when thinking about competition, but they definitely compete. The marching 110 will be in action again at the Jackson Apple Festival in Jackson, Ohio, this Saturday, Sept. 26 and will be back home at Peden Stadium at OU for the homecoming game against the Miami University on Oct. 10.


The marching 110 during halftime of the OU vs. Marshall football game.