Not much about the year 2020 has been normal, but Josh Myers still found a way to do something special Saturday for Ohio State’s game against Indiana.
The Buckeyes’ center, a Miamisburg High School grad, switched from his customary 71 jersey to with with No. 50 on it.
The one-time switch was to honor his late grandfather, Donnie Myers and surprise his grandmother, Beverly, who still lives by herself in the home they bought together in 1963.
“They’re the type of grandparents that never miss a sporting event,” Myers said. “My grandma, ‘Mimi,’ is 78 years old, and all season the last couple years she would watch my cousins play in Miamisburg on Friday night and then turn around and go to my game in Columbus or sometimes even away games, and she would do that every weekend. She’s just the sweetest, kindest lady you could ever meet.”
Myers said his grandfather, who he called Papaw, passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2009, but the two were very close.
An all-sports star for the Vikings, Donnie was an all-state basketball player and made second-team All-Ohio in football.
Like his grandson, he played center on the football team.
“He was that grandpa that when the kids were five years old playing on a YMCA basketball team he would go to every practice,” said Brad Myers, Josh’s dad. “And he wasn’t hovering. There was no expectation attached to that. He just loved being a part of their life. He could care less if they never scored a point or scored 1,000. He just loved being part of their life.”
Donnie Myers worked at NCR and later owned a convenience store, but Brad Myers said family was his life.
“I don’t think they could care less what else they had or didn’t have,” Brad said. “I think if they had their family around them they were thrilled. I know she absolutely loves to watch the boys play.”
Beverly Myers has remained in close contact with Josh as his career has taken him from Miamisburg standout to Ohio State starter.
That includes a pregame text message to let him know there’s an angel on his shoulder watching out for him.
“I feel like for me at that moment I’m like, ‘OK I’m ready to play now,” he said.
Josh Myers said he chose this game to wear No. 50 this Saturday because he didn’t want to upstage Nathan Brock (who normally wears the number for the Buckeyes) on Senior Day when the Buckeyes are set to take on Michigan next month.
As luck — or lack thereof — would have it, the Indiana game was the first family are not allowed to attend this season, a move the university made with COVID-19 cases rising in Columbus and around the state.
Brad Myers said he and his wife and Beverly attended the first two home games and had plans to be in the Horseshoe on Saturday before the news came down this week.
He said he was not sure exactly what kind of arrangements would be made for Josh’s grandmother to watch the game because of advisements against gathering indoors with people from different households.
Brad Myers said they have been extra cautious with both Beverly and Josh’s other grandfather, Larry Schaefer, who is also very close with Josh.
“We would love to watch the game with her, but I’m just not sure if that is going to happen,” Brad said.
Josh Myers, who wears 71 because that was his father’s number when he played at Kentucky, said he got the idea to do the tribute because his grandmother has made a regular act of sending him a piece of jersey from his grandfather before every season.
“She writes me a letter and then cuts out a square of his jersey from high school and I wear it in my sock for every game,” he said. “I just though it would be a nice thing to wear it.”