Bob Jender '82 (right) poses with Ohio State Marching Band director Jon Waters.
Bob Jender never intended to go viral.
“I just record videos for the kids in the band and maybe other people who might be interested in their shows,” said Jender, a former member of the Ohio State Marching Band and 1982 graduate of Ohio State. “They put on great shows and you hope to get a little more visibility for their hard work.”
Jender accomplished his mission in a way he never could have imagined this week. His video featuring The Best Damn Band in the Land’s Nebraska game halftime show from Saturday became an Internet sensation, accruing more than 13 million views on YouTube as of Monday morning.
This was an entirely unexpected experience for the Perrysburg, Ohio, resident who works as a district manager for ACE Hardware.
“It’s crazy,” Jender said. “I’m not experienced in shooting video. I don’t have a great camera. I’m just trying to fumble my way through a video that shows appreciation for the band and what they do.”
The video game theme of the band’s show certainly played a role in its popularity. Jender said early on he saw that the video was posted on video game Web sites—not typically traditional spots for marching band shows. From there, it exploded.
“We got home a little before 3 a.m., and I posted the video about 3:45 a.m.,” Jender said. “But something about it bothered me, so I re-posted when I got up in the morning.
“About mid-morning, it started moving and it went fairly quickly. We were just seeing strange numbers. The other videos on my account started to jump. The Nebraska video was gaining thousands at a time. You could just feel it. At some point it takes on a life of its own. It just kept gaining momentum.”
Jender watched the viral bloom spread: “It hit England, Australia, then the L.A. Times posted it, the New York Post, it went up on Yahoo!. Then (TBDBITL field photographer) Ed Crockett posted it on the TBDBITL Facebook page and it got faster.”
The whole experience has left Jender more than a little amazed at the power of the Internet. At the same time, he’s most happy that his video is reflecting well on an institution that means so much to his family.
He and his wife, Patti, are both Ohio State graduates and met at the university. Two of their four children—Michael ’09 and Sarah ’11—are alumni who now work for Boeing as satellite engineers. Their other two children are Ohio State students—Matthew is a senior and Rachel a freshman at Ohio State Lima. Michael is a band alum like his father, and Matthew is a current band member.
“The Ohio State Marching Band is my family,” Jender said. “That never goes away. Every year we are back for Alumni Band Day and we get to do ramp entrance again—together. We did the four Script Ohios this year on alumni day and we had a family member in three of them. It’s a special thing.”
Jender’s YouTube profile has been undoubtedly raised by this experience. His channel now has nearly 4,000 subscribers and the nine videos he’s posted—all featuring TBDBITL halftime and Skull Session performances—are gaining views by the thousands.
Still, Internet notoriety isn’t something that’s all that important to him. He’s just happy that the band is getting a special day in the sun.
“The band meant something to me before 8 million people watched that video and it will mean something to me when people move onto something else,” he said. “To me, the greatest satisfaction is in recognizing these kids’ great work and reflecting well on Ohio State. That is what’s important.”