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Dotting the “I”

Dotting the I

Dotting the “I”

Ohio State fans young and old look forward to the performance of Script Ohio and the dotting of the “i”. However, not so many of these fans know the lengthy history of its performance, and its significance in school history.

Back in 1936, band director Eugene Weigel often changed up the band’s movements and formations on the field. None of them realized the significance of marching someone from the top of the letter “o” to the top of the letter “i” at the time. In fact, the first Script Ohio was actually dotted by a trumpet player, John Brungart, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, on October 10, 1936. Today, the honor of dotting the “I” is known worldwide, and only a privileged few get to do it.

It wasn’t until the following fall of 1937 that Weigel decided to put a sousaphone player in the dot instead, and Glenn Johnson got the honor for three years, starting on October 23, 1937. It wasn’t until the following year that the flourish of the kick, turn, and bow at the dot was added, quite by accident. Glenn Johnson says he added it as an impulse because the timing between the drum major and himself was off just a touch. When the crowd roared wildly, it became part of the tradition as well.

Over 60 years later, sousaphone players from all over the country come to Ohio State to be a part of the OSU Marching Band, and to get their chance at dotting the “i.” Only fourth-year members are eligible, with the sousaphone player who has marched in the highest number of pre-game ramps given first choice of which performance they want, and so on, until all fourth-year members have picked their dot. They then move on to any fifth-year members, and if any dots are left after that, all of the sousaphone players can put their name in a hat to be drawn for the honor.

During the frequent post-season performances, which are usually double scripts, fourth and fifth-year members have to compete in “dot-offs” to decide who gets the honor. The entire sousaphone section watches as they perform their “I”-dotting routine and vote on the top two.

On very rare occasions, the OSU Marching Band has honored people near and dear to the band, the University, or the State of Ohio by allowing them to dot the “i.” Honorary dotters have included beloved Buckeyes Coach Woody Hayes, Ohio-born comedian Bob Hope, Columbus-born heavyweight boxing champion Buster Douglas, OSU Presidents Gordon Gee and Novice Fawcett, and their wives. At the National Championship celebration in 2003, all thirteen senior team members dotted the “I” with the OSU Alumni Band. Most recently, Ohio native, astronaut and state Senator John Glenn and his wife Annie dotted the “I” during the Alumni Reunion Game on September 5, 2009.

Guest post by native Ohioan and Buckeye fan Denise Gabbard for Discount Vouchers, where you will find Dixons discount vouchers and Apple discount codes

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