He parked himself in his fold-up chair in front of the doors to the University of Toledo ticket office at 9 p.m. Sunday in the hopes of getting tickets to see his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.
And there he stayed all through the night at the front of the line as more and more fans arrived, until 9 a.m. Monday when he could buy nearly two dozen of the remaining 6,500 tickets for the UT-OSU football game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sept. 19. Tickets cost $45 and $55.
The 47-year-old Toledoan, who would not reveal his identity because he had called in sick to work and didn't want to risk losing his job, said the experience was worth it even before he bought the 20 tickets when he finally arrived at the counter.
"It wasn't too bad," he said. "It wasn't too cold. It didn't rain, thank God. [I] just hung out. I've been a Buckeye fan for years and have yet to go to a game, and I can get tickets here and see them play my hometown team."
The unnamed buyer passed the time by sleeping, he said, and brought with him only his chair, a bottle of water, and a blanket.
"And patience," he added.
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Until Monday, those wishing to buy tickets had to be a UT season-ticket holder, donor, alumnus, or student. Anybody wanting to buy tickets who didn't fit into one of those categories could make a minimum $100 donation to join the Rocket club for priority seats at the game.
But last week, with tickets left over, UT decided to open up sales to the general public, setting up the hoopla yesterday on what would normally be a slow summer morning on campus. Tickets will be on sale Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. at the UT ticket office, with more than 1,000 seats remaining.
"This is probably the first time we've had a line like this since the glory days of the basketball team at Savage Hall [in the 1980s]," Paul Helgren, UT athletic department spokesman, said. "It's great. It's a huge game, obviously, against Ohio State. This is just one more thing that adds to the excitement of this game."
Ohio University graduates and fellow OSU fans Michelle Sidner of Dublin, Ohio, and Melissa Mackey of Worthington, Ohio, were the next two people in line.
The 26-year-olds arrived on the north side of Savage Arena an hour and a half before the 47-year-old Toledoan, but when they found no one in line yet, they decided to grab a bite to eat and find the nearest bathroom.
Ms. Sidner and Ms. Mackey came back to begin their wait around 10 p.m., and eventually were joined by about 30 people for the overnight camp-out for tickets.
"I only got like two hours of sleep," Ms. Mackey said. "My husband is a huge Buckeye fan. His dad went there, along with his grandpa and mom. We wanted tickets so he and I could enjoy the game together."
Ms. Sidner bought eight tickets and planned to go to the game with friends. She wasn't sure if she would camp out for tickets again, though. "If they were selling tickets like this later in the season, I don't think I would do it because it would be pretty cold," said Ms. Sidner, who donned a gray OSU hooded sweatshirt and jeans as temperatures dipped to about 60 degrees overnight.
"But being that it's July, it was a pretty good [time to camp out]."
The crowd had swelled to around 100 by 6:30 yesterday morning and numbered more than 200 when UT ticket manager Roseann Croop came outside at 8:30 to alert the crowd that there was a 30-ticket limit per person.
"My objective is, I want to take care of everybody in this line," she told the crowd. "I don't want anybody to not get tickets. That's why we're going to do it that way."
By the time the doors of the Sullivan Athletic Complex opened at 8:45, 236 people waited in line. The number continued to grow, reaching about 300 at the peak. Of those 300, the majority were decked out in Ohio State gear, except Lindsey Hanely.
The 2008 Oak Harbor High graduate and incoming freshman at Walsh University looked a bit lost sporting a gray Bowling Green State University hooded sweatsuit.
"It's a comfy sweatshirt," Ms. Hanely said. "I'm not going to stop wearing it."
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