Tuesday, August 3

What is a horse chestnut tree? Explaining Ohio State’s nickname, helmet stickers, and mascot


No. 3 Ohio State will conclude its season Monday with a showdown against top-ranked Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game – the largest arena available to the sport in 2020.

For those who don’t follow college football, or who follow college football but live under a rock, Ohio State might pose a curious question:

What are the stickers on the back of your helmets? And, to broaden that question: What exactly is a horse chestnut tree?

Apparently, those questions have been asked enough that Ohio State University devotes an entire page to the query. Sporting News is also here to help anyone curious about the Buckeyes’ tree nickname:

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What is a horse chestnut tree?

A horse chestnut has two meanings, one of which derives from the other: a horse chestnut, according to the state of Ohio, is described as a “small, shiny, dark brown walnut with a light brown spot”. This nut comes from the official tree of the state of Ohio: the horse chestnut. According to tradition, chestnut chestnuts are supposed to bring good luck when worn.

According to the USDAHowever, all parts of the horse chestnut tree (its leaves, bark and fruits) are “highly toxic” if ingested, resulting in symptoms of “muscle weakness and paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, paralysis and stupor “.

So: don’t eat them.

The second meaning of horse chestnut is a resident of the state of Ohio. According to the state of Ohio, the first person to be named Buckeye was Colonel Ebenezer Sproat 6-4, in 1788, 15 years before Ohio legally became the 17th state in the United States:

“Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, a 6-4 man of great build and swashbuckling gestures, led the legal delegation at the first Northwest Territory court session in Marietta. The Indians present greeted him with shouts of ‘Hetuck, Hetuck ‘(the Indian word for horse chestnut), is said because they were impressed by his stature and manners. He proudly carried the nickname of horse chestnut for the rest of his life and gradually spread to his companions and other local settlers. By the 1830s, writers were commonly referring to the locals as ‘Buckeyes.’

When did the state of Ohio adopt the nickname Buckeye?

According to the 2001 book “The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia,” written by Ohio State football historian Jack Park, newspapers have referred to the team as the Buckeyes since at least 1919. However, the team did not officially adopt the nickname until 1950. – 60 years after the team’s first season in 1890.

What are the stickers on the back of Ohio State helmets?

Sharp-eyed spectators can see stickers on the back of Ohio State helmets when they play. Those stickers represent horse chestnut leaves and are awarded to players for exceptional play:

(Fake images)

for 2008 ESPN article, the practice of putting stickers on the back of helmets began in 1968 with Hall of Fame coach Woody Hayes, at the suggestion of coach Ernie Biggs. The exact reason the practice started has been lost in time, but the prevailing theory is that Hayes and Biggs thought that if players were rewarded for big plays, it would encourage them to play harder.

And so the tradition continued, inspiring similar practices in Georgia (dog bones), Clemson (paw prints), and Florida State (spears).

What is the Ohio State mascot?

The Ohio State mascot, the aptly named Brutus Buckeye, actually predates the buckeye sticker tradition. According to the state of Ohio, debuted three years earlier, on October 30, 1965, as part of the team’s homecoming game against Minnesota (the Buckeyes won 11-10).

At the time, the mascot was constructed entirely of papier-mâché and resembled a giant walnut with a pair of legs. Later that season, Ohio State ordered a fiberglass version of the suit, as the previous construction was not durable. After the season, he was turned over to the Block “O” student organization, which was dedicated to school spirit. The organization ran it until 1974, when it came under the jurisdiction of the university’s athletic spirit team.

As for Brutus Buckeye’s origins, it was apparently the result of Ray Bourhis and other members of the student organization “Ohio Staters Inc.” According to the university, Bourhis and his fellow students persuaded the athletic council to adopt the horse chestnut as the Ohio state mascot, though it was also considered a male deer (live pets were common at the time).

The state of Ohio settled on the name “Brutus Buckeye” on November 21, 1965, after Kerry Reed submitted the winning fan submission for the names.




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