Confessions of the stadium sort
Usher Trevor Zahara’s compilation has made him a hit on the speakers’ circuit.
Trevor Zahara never imagined his commitment to document some of the humorous stories he’d heard as a longtime usher for Ohio State football games would put him in such demand as a public speaker.
“It’s been fantastic,” said Zahara ’71, whose self-published book, Confessions of an OSU Usher, has earned him invitations to talk to alumni clubs, library audiences, service organizations and pub patrons. “I can’t do them all because I babysit my grandkids four days a week.”
An usher at Ohio Stadium’s Portal 8 B for the past 18 years, including the last six as a supervisor, Zahara took it upon himself to pull together the tales he and his fellow ushers had been swapping for years. The book came out last year and so far has sold more than 1,400 copies.
And with every presentation, he hears more stories. “I could probably write a follow-up,” he said, acknowledging that thought has crossed his mind. But for now, he’s going to stick with the speakers’ circuit.
Some excerpts from the book:
From Mark Wise ’79, an usher at Portal 25 A:
“In 1968, I was at the Ohio State vs. Purdue home game. … This was back in the old days when the stadium held 84,000. I was sitting in the bleachers and the crowd was going wild. Confetti was coming down all over. I looked down [and saw that] a piece of confetti landed on my knee. I realized it was a ripped up phone book, and to my surprise, what landed on my knee was my own name, address and phone number.”
From Phil Stidham, an Army veteran, an usher at Portal 13–15 A:
“On Oct. 26, 2002, No. 10-ranked Penn State came to the ’Shoe to play No. 2-ranked Ohio State. The pregame fever was sky high as all the usual traditions were taking place. The flag-raising is one of those time-honored traditions; ROTC cadets march out in precision to take their positions in the ceremony. The huge flag is unfurled as cadets on both sides of the flag hold it in place while other cadets grab the ropes to start raising the flag up the 150-foot pole. When the flag reaches its pinnacle, the last cadet holding the rope runs down the ramp to secure the ropes.“Unfortunately, it was a very windy day. The flag caught a draft and as the cadet was heading full speed down the ramp, that draft pulled the rope taut and the poor fellow rammed headfirst into the casement and lay groggy on the ground. You could hear the whole crowd groan at the same time. As he staggered to his feet, his unsympathetic sidekick was laughing his butt off while trying to gallantly hold his salute.”
And from Adam Demchak ’13, a member of Block O:
“Over time I have made friends with several of the ushers in and around Block O. I am proud to call each my friend and work alongside them. Many people don’t know this, but our ushers are considered members of Block O, and we recognized them every year with Block O usher pins that they wear on their jackets. The ushers are very accommodating of our needs.”