Anyone who has frequented BT Powerhouse or has seen me on Twitter probably realizes I'm a Purdue fan. My Boilermaker fandom also means most people assume I'm either from Indiana or have some ties to the state. That, however, isn't the case as I was born and raised one state over in Toledo. Living in Toledo has always been an interesting situation, especially when it comes to college sports as the city is evenly divided between loyal Michigan and Ohio State fans (with quite a few Notre Dame fans for football...with none of them rooting for the basketball team, for some reason).
While I guess I get the benefit of enjoying "the Game" and the rivalry without having to deal with the dirtier aspects of it, seeing both fan bases from a mutual viewpoint has made it even more apparent just how many fair-weather fans both teams have. I've long ago realized this holds true for plenty of teams, but constantly seeing Ohio State fans run their mouths when they only care about the team a few days out of the year always irked me, especially thanks to the cockiness routinely asserted from a lot of them. This led me to disliking Ohio State even more than a lot of Michigan fans I know.
So that's why I felt so dirty reading "Don't Put Me In, Coach," a book written by the former Ohio State walk-on, bench warmer and Club Trillion member Mark Titus. Not only was I enjoying something written from a pro-Ohio State standpoint, but I was identifying with Thad Matta and company and actually enjoying the stories about the teammates during Titus's tenure with the program.
After reading the book I can't hear Evan Turner's name without thinking of him as "the Villain," the nickname Titus dubbed for the former Buckeye throughout his novel. I guess it's better than the description Titus gave of Turner and his stance on exposing himself as often as possible. As for former Buckeye great, Greg Oden, the thought of him unknowingly licking a nerf dart that Titus had just rubbed all over his scrotum was equal amounts hilarious and cringe worthy.
Somehow Mark Titus managed to find a way to get me to (temporarily) not dislike Ohio State and to actually enjoy the characters on the team. While his book was mainly a sarcastic recap of his days on the team, most likely skewed and distorted to fit his narrative and make him look like a saint, it still may be one of the only times in my life where I showed no ill will towards Ohio State.
And for that I applaud him. If he can make someone who has a bitter resentment of his alma matter feel a little more welcoming, I can only imagine what he could accomplish if he'd aim for something a little more than turning his short collegiate basketball career into a mockery for basketball fans across the nation. Of course his book works so well as it provided a shockingly candid view of the Buckeyes program, one that helps put into perspective that the players out on the court tend to be your typical college kids, regardless of how differently we tend to treat them.