SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Ohio State v. Michigan game is a special one for many Buckeyes. The game always falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, allowing families to gather around the TV cheering on the Bucks in hopes of beating the Wolverines.
A Springboro grandfather and grandson have watched this game together for the last 10 years, but this year, their tradition is going to be a little different.
The Hensley’s are Buckeye fans through and through.
“Been a die hard never miss a game,” Ron Hensley said. “Listen to them on the radio back in the day when they wouldn’t be on TV, and since never missed a football game on TV.”
Ron Hensley’s infatuation with football started when he was 11, but he fell in love with Ohio State after stepping into the Shoe for the first time.
“There’s nothing like it in Columbus and around the stadium and around the campus,” Hensley said.
Hensely passed this same love of football down to his grandson Jake Mitchem.
"I played throughout peewee, played through junior high and high school and just played it since I could,” said Mitchem. “I love the sport. Forever I will love the sport.”
Buckeye Saturdays are religious practice in their house, including rituals of cooking food and even sitting in the same exact chairs.
“When we watch the football game, it’s myself and my wife Billie, and the two of us, we want no interruptions and that’s the way it’s always been,” Hensely added.
There's one game that remains supreme, which Jake and his grandfather have watched together for the last decade.
“The Michigan game is even more special. It is the game, and there’s only 1 person that’s ever sat here and watched, and that’s 10-plus years, my grandson. Jake is the only one he sits here and watches the Michigan game with us,” said Hensley.
Though, as Mitchem got older, his grandfather started questioning how much longer this tradition would last. Then, he heard some bad news one evening
"He shows up and says, 'I’m not going to be here for the Michigan game',” said Hensley. “I’m going to go to tears”
“I thought it would be smart to trick him and say I’m not going to be able to watch the game this year," Mitchem said.
“He pulls out the sheets of paper. Tickets to the football game,” added Hensley. “He’s taking me. He bought the tickets out of his own money. Spent over 1,000 dollars to take me and him to the Michigan game.”
Mitchem saved up his tip money delivering pizzas all summer long in exchange for a memory of a life time with grandfather.
“We don’t have them our whole lives, so make best when we do have them,” Mitchem said.
Hensely said this means everything in the world to him and that it touches his heart.
Over the years their “O-H” picture has been taken right in front of the TV, but this year the background will be the Shoe, with crowds of scarlet and grey right behind them.
“He’s my boy and I’m his paps,” Hensley said. “I can’t wait.”
Catch the Ohio State versus Michigan sports special 'Road to the Big Game' on ABC 22 this Friday.