Intern Insights: What It's Like to be a 'Painted Kid' at Ohio State Football
Our Sports and Society interns have a unique perspective on many aspects of Ohio State athletics, and we are honored to share some of their game-day experiences to show what it is like behind the scenes. In this article, former intern Savannah Deuer shares what it is like to be painted as part of the Block O student section.
Chances are likely that when watching an Ohio State Football game, the camera has panned over the student section, known as Block O, and shown students painted with body paint, with letters on their chest that spell out a specific message.
As someone who can speak from first-hand experience, being painted is an interesting experience. I’m an intern for SSI, and a member of the Block O executive board. I run the Buckeye Sluggers, Block O’s baseball section, but being on the executive board does mean I have responsibility for making sure the football section runs smoothly.
For the first two home games – Oregon and Tulsa – I was one of those crazy college students in the front row covered in body paint.
The process isn’t an easy one. The responsibility falls on our membership director and her committee to decide the phrase that will be spelled out that week – and then take almost two hours to paint people.
I enter the stadium for hours before kickoff when most people aren’t even on their way to the game from across campus. “Painted kids,” as we’re called, are lined up in the concourse at the entrance to Block O South-section 39A.
We’re lined up and given our letters. One person will come around with white paint and paint the letter on our chest and stomach, then another will come around with red paint and paint the front and arms of someone, and a third person will paint the front and touch up any details. After that paint is dry, another person will come around with black paint and create an outline around the letter.
It’s a long and tedious process, and it normally takes about two hours.
Multiple people ask me, “why would you ever want to do that?”, and the answer is simple: It’s fun!
Granted, trying to get paint flecks out of my hair after the game sometimes isn’t fun, but being a part of one of Block O’s most storied traditions is a great experience.
The next time you watch an Ohio State Football game and see those covered in paint in the front row, you’ll know the time, effort and dedication that went into creating that goofy message