Nick Jackson got plenty of advice beforehand.
His big moment would be over in the blink of an eye.
Savor it. Take it all in, he was told.
So that’s what he did.
As the Ohio State University sousaphone player marched into place to dot the “i” in the Script Ohio in September at Ohio Stadium, he soaked up the experience.
“I still remember every detail about it,” said Jackson, 22, a Jackson High School graduate and Ohio State senior.
The game was against Northern Illinois. There were 104,095 fans. And the temperature was in the low 70s.
Jackson plans to cherish every second at Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game, too.
Jackson, who grew up in Tallmadge before moving to Jackson Township, will be one of two marching band members to dot the “i” as the band performs a double Script Ohio at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Script Ohio tradition dates back nearly 80 years, with a fourth-year musician following the drum major around until he breaks off the final “o,” falls into position on the “i” and takes a bow.
It’s considered a great honor.
Jackson’s first time was special because it was before an adoring home crowd and his family was there.
This time will be different because it’s on enemy soil with Ohio State’s biggest rival, but still special nonetheless.
“I’m really excited for the game coming up because it’s such an intense game,” Jackson said. “The fans are always really heated. And tensions are flaring up before the game. I’m going to make sure I never forget that experience when it happens because it’s easy to let it fly by you.”
Jackson dreamed of dotting the “i” while he was in the high school band.
He was a saxophone player when he arrived at Jackson High but then-band director Thomas Holliday convinced him to take on the sousaphone, a form of tuba.
Holliday, now an adjunct instructor at Kent State University’s Stark campus, recalled having too many saxophone players. He saw talent in Jackson and convinced him to learn the sousaphone.
“He’s a very bright young man and very talented young man,” he said. “He’s a very good musician and ... I’m not surprised at all [that he was chosen].”
Holliday noted that Jackson is his sixth former Jackson High student to dot the “i” at Ohio State.
Jackson will graduate after this semester with a degree in jazz studies. He wants to return to Ohio State to study classical music composition, with his ultimate goal to work in the entertainment industry scoring music for film and television.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.