Smith's Trophy Journey Now Complete
By John Porentas
There's nobody named Homer on the OSU football roster, but the story of Troy now includes an odyssey by the OSU quarterback that rivals that of the Greek poet's epic work about a different Troy at a different time and a different kind of travel.
For those of you that failed that classics course (or didn't take it) Homer's Odyssey detailed the wanderings of the victorious Greeks after winning the battle of Troy. Fast forward a few thousand years, and this time it is a victorious Troy who did some wandering, first on his way to the victory, then on his own journey home.
Homer's Greeks traveled about 1,400 miles round trip to Troy and back, and took more than a decade to do it. Troy Smith, on the other hand, has spent the last few days traveling from Columbus to Orlando, Florida, to New York City and back to Columbus, by our reckoning about 2,500 miles. Of course Smith had the advantage of doing it on a jet, while Homer's Greeks did it on sailing ships and on foot, but you get the idea, there was a lot of wandering around going on, both now and then. The Greeks picked up a few prizes along the way, a city or two, some loot, and a lady named Helen. Smith picked up some stuff too.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Smith left Columbus on December 6 for the College football Award Show in Orlando, Florida, and ended up with two prizes to show for his first 900 miles of travel, the Davey O'Brien Award for the best quarterback in College football and the Walter Camp Award for the best player in college football. On Friday December 8, Smith left Orlando with his booty and headed North about 1,000 miles to New York where he picked up the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. He spent Sunday and Monday there and finally on Tuesday completed his journey with a 500 mile trip from New York to Columbus.
The Greeks were victorious at Troy, and Troy was the winner in Orlando and in New York. Just like the Greeks who came back home from Troy, Troy was glad to be back home.
"It feels great to be back home after a long, long stay in different states and different cities. Being back home in Columbus is what it's all about," said Smith Tuesday shortly after his arrival at the Columbus airport.
The wandering Greeks faced some serious trials and plights along the way. We'll let you read that book for those details if you're so inclined. Smith's trip was a bit more cushy, but had it's own trials.
In a matter of a week Smith went from being the center of attention of the Ohio State fan base to being the center of attention of the entire college football-watching world. Along with that designation came media attention usually reserved for rock stars and politicians.
"My ears are still popping," said Smith. "I've heard a million clicks of the camera, so many flashes of lights that I'm immune to it all by now."
Smith's ability to cope with the media demands of the past week have been, to borrow from Greek literature again, Herculean. He not only coped, but did it with a grace and poise that surprised even those who have covered him over the last five years. OSU director of sports information Steve Snapp, who has put in his share of miles on the post-season awards circuit over the years, said that the demands on Smith were above normal.
"I'd say it was a bit higher than usual, yes. It's tough to quantify that, and obviously Eddie (George) had a lot of attention, but Troy was in a little bit of a unique situation. We're an undefeated team, ranked number one all year long, he's a quarterback which gets a lot of attention anyway, so probably a little bit more (attention),' said Snapp.
Snapp said that Smith's ability to handle it all was remarkable.
"I think it depends on the kid," said Snapp.
"Troy seems to have the ability to be able to take all that in and embrace it and not let him affect him. He's got a lot of poise. He came to us with a lot of poise to start with and he's gotten even better as time has gone by."
Smith appeared tired on Tuesday, and politely asked that reporters be brief after making an opening statement. They weren't, and that's when the best of Troy Smith shone through, because he never pouted, became sulky, or short. He simply did his best to accommodate everyone despite his obvious fatigue.
"I'm ready to get home and enjoy my place where I rest as opposed to a hotel and hotel food and more cameras. I do appreciate everybody coming out though," Smith told reporters.
"I want to let the City of Columbus know that I'm very, very proud of everyone who has not only shown myself some appreciation but the Buckeyes."
The limelight had been on Smith all week, and continued to be on him at the Columbus airport. As brightly as it shone, Smith tried to deflect the attention to his team, something he has done since starting his odyssey.
"I think it's enough about me. I think that the last couple days have been not too much for me to handle, but enough for me to handle and now is the time to start getting back to the people who I think are really responsible for myself being in this situation," said Smith.
Smith was accompanied at the airport by his fellow Buckeye captains, Doug Datish, David Patterson and Quinn Pitcock. All three had gone to New York to join Smith for the Heisman dinner on Sunday. Smith was pleased that his fellow warriors were able to be with him at the event.
"I think was a total class act of the university to have the rest of my fellow captains come and experience and celebrate this situation with me because in essence we've been four or five years together, through thick and thin, and I'm very, very, very thankful that they got a chance to share all of this with me," said Smith.
"That was my first time wearing a tux, so that was cool."
"Before the ceremony Coach Tress called me into his office and said that if he wins we're going to see if we can have the captains go out to the banquet that Monday," said Patterson.
"I just knew I was going to New York because I knew he was going to win, so I was really looking forward to it. It was a great experience. When we first got there we only got to see Troy for about a minute because they had him doing so many things, but after the banquet we got to hang out. It was just really fun spending time with your friends and we were just to proud of Troy and everything he's done," Patterson said.
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