Are You Ready for Some (College) Football?

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Well, you’re not alone, since so many in the optical business are loyal and proud fans of their college alma maters. Yes, for many of us, the most lasting connection to our college days are those ties to Saturday afternoons at the stadium, and the memorable tailgating before the game, cheering and celebrating every touchdown or big defensive play, and then rehashing it all over again into the wee hours of the morning.

Win, lose or draw, every game was an experience. And they still are for some families, as shown in some of the stories and photos collected here.

Yes, college football, the place where friendships are made, hearts are won, tailgates and road trips are planned, bowl games celebrated and drinks are spilled… well, you get the picture.

And, even if you’re not a college football fan, you will be amazed at some of the stories we’ve rounded up for this VMail Weekend feature. One of our contributors got married at a college football game, can you top that?

Yes, we’re ready for some college football when the season kicks off later today with its first two games. So, it’s time to Call the Hogs all you Razorbacks fans, show us the Gator Chomp in Gainesville, represent as the 12th Man at Texas A&M, chant the “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk… KU” cheer in Lawrence and get ready for the “We Are … Penn State” cheer that shakes the stadium in State College.

I feel the goose bumps already. It’s time for kickoff.

Jim Greenwood
President and CEO, Vision Source


Baylor football fans are ecstatic about the new regime, including Linda Livingstone as the University's president and Matt Rhule as the new head football coach as we head into the 2017 season. Baylor is not running from the past, the school is learning from it! 2017 might be a challenging year, but we are thrilled about the strong foundation that is being laid.

Sic 'em Bears! 

Jim Greenwood (back row, left) with his family,
seven of whom are Baylor students or graduates, including a daughter-in-law and his two daughters’ boyfriends.





Drew Smith and his son, Noah, are
looking forward to Noah’s debut
with the McMaster University Marauders this season.
Drew Smith
Director NA Channels, Transitions


The end of summer signals the beginning of college football and the rise of new hopes for the legions of fanatical supporters.

I have always enjoyed this phenomenon, its energy and the undying fan loyalty displayed in so many crazy ways. Even though I am a transplant from Canada to the U.S., I can tell you there is a great love for football north of the border, whether it be high school, university or the CFL (go Argo’s).

Our family has been fortunate to be able to watch our son (pictured here) and his team advance to the Bowl Championship (equivalent to a state championship) for his last three years of high school. This year is especially exciting as our son, Noah, who has played since he was 8 years old, is a rookie defensive tackle playing college football with McMaster University in Canada, a top nationally ranked and contending team.

McMaster most recently won the national title (Vanier Cup) in 2011 and also made it to the title game again in 2012 and 2014. Expectations are nothing short of continuing this run of Vanier Cup appearances.

The Marauders have an outstanding program and play in Hamilton, a city outside Toronto that is as serious about its football teams as any town or city in the U.S.

The transition from seeing our son tripping over daisies in the field, so long ago, to playing at the University level always puts a smile on my face. So on Saturdays this fall I will be tuning into Marauders football from the great white north. 



Elle Eutsey
Marketing Coordinator, Jobson Optical Group


Let’s go… Mountaineers!

This is the famous chant of the wild and wonderful West Virginia Mountaineers. It is finally that time of year to head to Morgantown, W.Va., where you can experience something that you have never experienced before, something you can’t quite explain: West Virginia football.

Game day is such a serious event in this small town. From the moment you wake up till the moment your foot takes its first step into Milan Puskar Stadium, there is an energy that takes over unlike any other. The game may kickoff at noon or at night, but no matter what, Mountaineer fans are ready to tailgate for hours to celebrate the team they love.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, the Mountaineers face an old rival from the Big East conference, Virginia Tech, at Fedex Field in Landover, Md. This will be the first game I get to attend since graduating in December 2016. There is a saying, however, “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer,” and it couldn’t be truer.

Grab your Gold and Blue, and get ready to sing, “Country Roads,” because college football is about to begin anew.

Jobson’s Elle Eutsey (second from left in both
photos) is ready to join the singing of
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” when the
Mountaineers kick off the season Sunday,
Sept. 3, against old rival Virginia Tech.

 




The Cougars’ mascot, Shasta, is
a fixture at athletic events.
Gregg Groenemann
Vice President, Network Development, Vision Source

I went to University of Houston in the late 1980s, back when Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy. I fell in love with UH sports when Phi Slamma Jamma dominated college basketball courts! I now have season tickets and attend football games with friends from college.

We have had some exciting wins in the past two years, toppling traditional top teams such as the Florida State Seminoles and Oklahoma Sooners. In fact, we were ranked No. 6 in the AP Top 25 poll for five straight weeks at the beginning of the 2016 season.

We are excited to have a new coach this year. After losing our previous coaches to Baylor, the University of Texas and Texas A&M, we hope first-year UH coach Major Applewhite calls Houston home…at least for a while! 



James DeMatteis
Director, Digital Products, Regional Sales Manager, Jobson Medical Information


Flash back to January 2017: The front cover of Sports Illustrated said it best— “How Great Was That?”

After watching my beloved Clemson Tigers rally in the fourth quarter to stun favored Alabama, 35-31, with a TD on the final drive to win the National Championship and cap off an incredible season, all I can think about is, ‘Where do we go from here?’

The winds of change have swept through Death Valley, gone are the likes of elite players Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and Mike Williams, and Clemson is left with a lot of questions for the upcoming season. The one thing that I can promise you is Coach Dabo Swinney will have this team prepared and I am confident they will be in the mix for the ACC Championship again.

After that, why couldn’t we do it all again? I can’t wait to see what happens next—Go Tigers!

James with his daughter, Shea, giving a Clemson cheer.


The DeMatteis family – MaryBeth and James – are all in for the Tigers.




Jason Miller with his son, Jake, at last year’s
Ohio State-Michigan game.



Brutus, the Buckeyes' mascot (center), is
lifted by Ohio State fans following the
victory over Michigan in 2016.

Jason R. Miller, OD
Eye Care Professionals, Powell, Ohio


Every Buckeye fan will remember last season as a successful one that peaked with an instant classic, the double-overtime, OSU—Michigan showdown game in late November. There were many game-changing plays and defensive battles throughout the afternoon, which culminated with Curtis Samuel in the end zone for the winning TD in the Buckeyes’ 30-27 victory.

A disappointing bowl game has left many fans eager and excited to see what Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer have in store for the upcoming season. Yes, expectations are as high as ever in Columbus with so many returning starters for the Buckeyes, including our standout quarterback J.T. Barrett.

How about an “O-H…. I-O” cheer to get this season started? 



Terri Ossi Hannah
Senior Marketing Manager, Costa


Now that I am back living back in Florida, I’m allowed to go CRAZY for my college football team, the Florida Gators. So crazy that I actually got married at a Gator football game!

So as we look forward to the beginning of the 2017 season, the Gators are poised for success with their highest AP preseason ranking in the last four years, at No. 17. Even though the offense continues to be an area of concern, our outstanding defensive backs and a great field goal kicker will fulfill our hopes of a SEC East championship.
And, what a way to get started: next weekend, the Gators meet the No. 11 ranked Michigan Wolverines for the first-time ever in regular season at the massive AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas (home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys).

Back in Gainesville, “The Swamp,” as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is affectionately known, gives the Gators home-field advantage against our other major 2017 opponents: No. 25 Tennessee, No. 13 LSU, No. 15 Georgia and No. 3 Florida State (my husband’s team). We also are comforted before every game knowing that Tim Tebow will be praying, the “Pride of the Sunshine” marching band will have us swaying and the Orange & Blue will be slaying!

#GOGATORS

Terri Ossi Hannah with Alan Hannah,
a Florida State alum.


Terri Ossi Hannah.




Keith Cross with legendary
ND coach Lou Holtz in 2007.


Keith Cross carrying the ball at a
Notre Dame football fantasy camp.
Keith M. Cross, R.D.O.
Director of Sales, The Americas / ANZ & Global Rx Technologies, Optical Monomers and Coatings, PPG


I can't wait for the college football season to kick off! I am a die-hard University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fan.

As both a student and a fan, I have been very fortunate to have spent a lot of time on campus during football seasons. I completed the Executive Integral Leadership program at Notre Dame in 2009 and participated in the Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camps for more than 10 years. At the camps, I got to fulfill a childhood dream of touching the "Play Like a Champion" sign while running out of the tunnel and playing in Notre Dame Stadium alongside some of the greatest players and coaches in Notre Dame history.

I love the start to a new football season—full of hopes and dreams hanging on every single play by the Fighting Irish. There is nothing better than being part of some of the most historic rivalries and one of the most prestigious programs in all of college football.

To me personally—as long as we beat USC, no matter our final record, the season is a success—but to quote the legendary Ara Parseghian "We have one goal and one goal only—undefeated National champions." What a great way to approach the season...

Go Irish!



Mark E. Schaeffer, OD
Schaeffer Eye Center, Birmingham, Ala.


It’s another fall in Athens, which only means more college football for us Bulldogs! As usual, we are hopeful for another season atop the SEC East Division, if projections hold. We return a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but most importantly in the backfield with the duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

The defensive front seven looks impressive again, but injuries among the secondary raise some questions. However, as a UGA fan, I’ve grown accustomed to heartbreak and tense moments throughout a season. I’ve been a University of Georgia fan as long as I can remember, a result of growing up with parents who went to UGA. When it came time to choose a college, there wasn’t an easier decision as Red and Black runs through our veins. The whole family ended up as Dawgs, even a couple of cousins, too!

I remember, as a freshmen, going to the Auburn-UGA game with my sister, who was a senior at the time. The winning team would clinch its respective SEC division title and play in the SEC title game. Auburn went up big on the scoreboard, but UGA came back and won in the last 90 seconds after a critical fourth-down conversion. UGA went on the win the SEC title for the first time in 20 years!

Now, it’s just about time for “Calling the Dawgs” to get this 2017 season started: Goooooo Dawgs, Sic ‘Em, Woof, Woof, Woof! 

Mark Schaeffer and his wife,
Sarah, at a UGA game.



(L to R) The Schaeffer family—Brooke Kaplan,
Mark Schaeffer, David Schaeffer, Justin Kaplan
and Jack Schaeffer—outside the stadium.





Autumn, Ryan and Mike Cymbor at
a Penn State football game.


The Nittany Lions run onto the field following last season’s overtime victory over Minnesota.
Michael Cymbor, OD,
Nittany Eye Associates, State College, Pa.


Growing up in the Pittsburgh suburbs in the 1970s, college football fans overwhelmingly rooted for Pitt. That is, except my father, who properly raised me to cheer for the Nittany Lions of Penn State University. Of course, this led to many grade-school fist fights, standing up for the Blue and White.

Although my college career did not include PSU, my wife is a Penn State graduate. As students, I vividly recall attending PSU football games with her, cheering in unison with 100,000 other fans, passing the Lion mascot overhead and up the stadium bleachers (a Penn State tradition) and having an all-around great time.

After optometry school and residency, I joined Nittany Eye Associates in the shadow of Beaver Stadium. I attended PSU football games on many Saturdays. The energy was so intense, it was almost palpable. During some of those banner years, it seemed as if every patient who came to the office would just gush about PSU football.

My brother-in-law was hired by Fox Sports Pittsburgh, and he covered Penn State football. I often accompanied him on the sidelines to help carry equipment. I also had the privilege of helping with post-game interviews. By helping, I mean holding the microphone in front of the athlete’s face. I “helped him” interview such outstanding linebackers as Sean Lee, Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor, and even coach Joe Paterno.

The 2016 season came with few expectations. PSU started the season with a 2-2 record and hopes for a successful season began fading. The team then went 9-1 the rest of the way with a highlight win over Ohio State. PSU finished the season ranked No. 7, which was the highest-ranked finish for PSU football in 11 years.

The energy and expectations are sky-high this season. PSU football is ranked No. 6 in the preseason polls and probably has the best running back in all of college football in Saquon Barkley. The energy is once-again palpable, and State College’s denizens are once again basking in the glow of potential success. I can hardly wait for the season to begin.

As I write this article though, my wife and I just dropped our daughter off at Clemson for her freshman year. So I may now be rooting for both the Lions and the Tigers this season.


Penn State defeated Wisconsin to claim
the Big Ten championship in 2016, to
the delight of Jobson’s Mark Tosh and
his son, Jonathan.