Mar 22, 2012

Bearcats & Buckeyes: A Match-up Made in Heaven, Part 2

One might think today’s Bearcats vs. Buckeyes NCAA match-up wouldn't be so “sweet” a tradition for couples divided by their opposing alma mater allegiances. But for a few brave souls who have made one of life’s greatest commitments to one of their proclaimed "rivals", today’s battle of the bUCkeyes may actually prove to be – like them – more of a match-up made in heaven.

Today’s exclusive “Sweet Sixteen” blog post series brings you an inside look at how six devoted Bearcat/Buckeye couples are preparing for tonight’s big game and not letting one of the tournament’s most celebrated match-ups come between them. Enjoy their spirited (and sometimes hilarious) responses below. If you’re facing a similar “house-divided” dilemma under your own roof, consider taking their advice before tonight’s big tip-off. As one couple said: "There will be other games."

And of course, at the risk of losing the attention of any Buckeyes reading this post (not to mention spoiling our unbiased credibility)…we must stand committed to our own allegiance and say, “Go Bearcats!”

Meet our couples…

Adam (UC) & Melissa (OSU) Kozzin
Zorya (UC) & Lauren (OSU) Kluska
Ryan (UC) & Mary (OSU) Nicley

One a Bearcat, the other a Buckeye…how did you possibly meet, much less fall in love?  

Melissa Kozzin: Adam and I actually met online via We ARE an online success story and will be married 4 years this April!

Although raised by OSU grads, Lauren Kuska attended UC
as an undergrad before attending OSU for Pharmacy school.
No matter the outcome, Thursday’s game is a “win-win” for her.
Zorya Kluska: We met at a mutual set of (Bearcat) friends’ graduation party down on Main St. in 2004 (back when there was some night life). Lauren was back in town (she grew up in Cincinnati) for her summer from pharmacy school at OSU. That, coupled with growing up in a Buckeye household, makes her a Buckeye fan. I was a few years into my career in Cincinnati. Despite overlapping as undergrads at UC for 3 years, both being Greek and frequenting the same establishments (e.g. Uncle Woody's), we never met previously. We were introduced that night and I asked her out, and we've been happily married now for 6 years.

Mary Nicley: My husband and I did not know each other during our college days…probably a good thing! We met at work and dated for several years and almost 10 years later, this September, we have been happily married!  

How are you feeling about Thursday’s big game? Any “parting” words? 

Ryan and Mary Nicley’s Bearcat vs. Buckeye rivalry
 is “exciting and all in good fun.”
Melissa Kozzin: Adam and I have some choice words for the upcoming game on Thursday, but may the best team win!

Zorya Kluska: I'm stoked, but also a little concerned. The last few UC games have been exciting but nail-biters, not leaving a lot of room for error. I really hope the team that played Syracuse shows up (vs. the team that played Louisville in the Big East Championship).

Lauren Kluska: I'm actually kind of dreading it! I grew up a Buckeye fan, raised by Xavier and OSU grads and even followed in many of my family members’ footsteps and attended Pharmacy school there.  I have deep roots at OSU and certainly have Scarlet and Gray in my blood. I also went to UC for 3 years for undergrad.  I attended CCM as a ballet major my first year, and eventually changed my major to pre-pharmacy.  UC is an amazing school with wonderful people.  We have a great core group of friends who are all Bearcat alums, and we tailgate and travel to watch the Bearcats together frequently. 

I am a big Bearcat fan, as long as they are not playing the Bucks, so I am torn. Mix in some OSU-hating Bearcat friends and it gets complicated! Someone told me it is a "win-win" for me, and I really am proud to have both my teams represented in the Sweet 16!

Mary Nicley: I am excited about the game this Thursday. To be quite honest, I follow Ohio State football a lot more closely than I do their basketball team, so I'm not sure how this rivalry is going to play out.  If I had some "parting words" it would be "O-H-I-O" all the way!!!!!!  My husband on the other hand, is a man of few words.  He just says "may the best school win.” 

How do you plan to watch the big game?

Melissa Kozzin: In our respective school’s gear, I’m sure, we plan to be positioned securely to our respective sides of the couch, with a possible bowl of snacks to SHARE in the middle (as a safe divider!)

Zorya Kluska: I was going to try to convince her to watch the game with our Bearcat friends, but she wouldn't bite (Lauren: I was dreading the hating from a certain group of people!). As we have 2 daughters under 4, and they made the game so late (again!) we'll be watching together on our couch (Lauren: and screaming at the TV!)

Mary Nicley: We will most likely just watch the game at home since we have 2 small children…which is fine because sometimes I can get a little loud during the games.  Yet, he always seems to stay calm and cool.  We seem to balance each other out in that area.  

Who do you think will bring home the win?   

Melissa Kozzin: I know that this is for the UC Alumni Association, but I can’t root against my school – GO BUCKS!!!!!

Zorya Kluska: UC of course! 

Lauren Kluska: Hmm probably OSU, but would be thrilled to see UC advance! Should I just plead the 5th on this one??

Mary Nicley: For me, I believe Ohio State will bring home the win and it will probably be in true Ohio State fashion and come down to a nail biter in the last few seconds of the game.  My husband says he knows, not thinks, that UC will bring home the win.  As you can see, it is truly a house divided!  

What advice would you offer to other couples in your “situation?” 

Adam and Melissa Kozzin’s advice to other Bearcat/Buckeye couples:
“BREATHE, but have fun! At the end of the day, it’s just a game.”

Melissa Kozzin: BREATHE, but have fun! At the end of the day, it’s just a game. Though one of the teams is going to come out with a loss, you still have each other and that’s what matters…right???

Zorya Kluska: Don't take it too seriously, and make sure someone other than you is a bigger “hater” of your spouse's team (e.g. I have plenty of Buckeye hater friends). It takes a lot of the heat off of you.

Lauren Kluska: Try to support one another! Zorya watches Buckeye games with me and my family, and even cheers!  I root for UC and attend UC games and events.  We try to make it fun, and support the universities that we feel grateful to have been able to have attended.

Mary Nicley: Whether it's OSU playing UC in football or basketball, it can be a sticky situation at times.   But we are always respectful of each other and support each other.  Yet, at the same time, we remind each other frequently who the best team is!

Are you raising your kids as Bearcats or Buckeyes?

Adam and Melissa Kozzin tell us their daughter is a born
and raised Bearckye…50%cat, 50%nut!
Melissa Kozzin: Our daughter is a born and raised Bearckye…50% cat, 50% nut!

Zorya Kluska: We have a 3-year-old, Ava, and an 18-month-old, Faith. Our girls cheer the UC fight song with me every game we watch together, but Lauren's dad has been working on them for Buckeye cheers too. Not too long ago he was trying to get our 3-year-old to say "Go Bucks" and all she would say was "Go BEARCATS!" They must have gone back and forth a dozen times until he gave up. A classic moment!

The Kuskas' daughters dressed to impress in their
“Bearckyes” cheerleading uniforms.

Lauren Kluska: I asked my 18-month-old who would win Thursday and she responded with “Buckeyes!”  Their papa and nana have definitely taught them to be little Buckeyes. They have both UC and OSU cheerleading outfits and they root for both teams!  When they see sports on TV they say, “Buckeyes? Bearcats?”  Our 3-year-old has even started saying "Bearckeyes" Our girls will grow up to be a rare breed of open-minded UC fans that love and root for the Buckeyes!

Mary Nicley: We do have two children…a son who is 7 and a daughter who is 5.   I have probably had more of an influence on them as far as what team "we" or "I" like better.  I have bought them Buckeye jerseys, t-shirts, hats,  etc ever since they were babies. On game days we put on our Buckeye shirts, our Buckeye necklaces and then listen to "Hang on Sloopy" and "Across the Field".  It's kind of a tradition that I started with them.   So, yes, the kids are more Buckeye than they are Bearcat.  We all get along thought and make the most of this divided house.  

All in good fun of course: How difficult is it to love a rival Bearcat/Buckeye during times like this? 

Melissa Kozzin: Honestly not difficult at all. If the Bearcats should pull out the win, there will be no hard feelings. Now, Adam on the other hand…he might have other thoughts!

Zorya & Lauren Kluska: Not difficult at all!

Mary Nicley: It's exciting and the rivalry is all in good fun.  Either way, a great team will win Thursday's game!  But I wouldn't be a true Buckeye if I didn't say "LET'S GO BUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Is tonight's game a win-win for you and your significant other too? Comment below to tell us how you're feeling about tonight's game!

1 comment:

  1. There seems to be theme that every OSU girl needs a Bearcat to take care of her! Ha ha - Kidding (kind of)