I probably watched every single Ohio State men's basketball game in 1987, but I can't be certain. I was 11 years old, a die hard fan of the NFL, and had never played a single second of organized basketball yet. I didn't even know where Columbus, Ohio was and I lived within an hour of it. But it didn't matter.
On the night of March 3rd, 1987 Ohio State guard Dennis Hopson, playing against Florida International in the old St. John Arena, broke Herb Williams' all time scoring record at The Ohio State University. It was an amazing feat considering the tradition of the program, certainly worthy of the celebration it received that night......
.........but I don't remember it. At all. But that doesn't bother me.
I created Buckeye House Call one month ago today on a whim and a suggestion. I was traveling for work and sitting in a hotel in Washington state, stumbled across a site that allowed me to build and design a blog myself, and so I did. I had no clue what I was going to do with it or how to even do it. In my 35 years I had written about 12 love notes, not a single school paper (but my sister sure wrote a bunch), about 4.6M e-mails, a few text messages, and exactly zero stories.
But I'm glad I tried.
A very quick 30 days later and this blog has afforded me a lot of peaceful evenings behind my laptop, an opportunity to write once a week for Ohio State's Rivals website, and a chance to talk to the very first Buckeye I ever rooted for.
Last night I got to bomb a few Twitter messages back and forth with @DennisHopson and all of a sudden I was eleven years old again. We briefly talked about him dropping 42 on Cleveland State (I had to find it on Google before mentioning it), our ages and memories, the fact that he wants to write a book (we're definitely coming back to that one), and he finished the conversation by showing support for today's Buckeyes. For an hour I was absolutely glued to my computer.
My father spent twelve years teaching me how to play baseball, showed me what golf was all about, and has been my dad, brother, best friend, bartender, bank, counselor, and career mentor my entire life. My mother taught me right from wrong, how to drive a 5-speed, and introduced me to basketball through the three channels on our television. My sister has been my biggest fan through everything good and bad I've done in my life and deserves half of my college degree. But Dennis Hopson introduced me to Ohio State.
This whole thing is funny to me because I'm a grown man yet the words alone turn me into a kid again. "Dennis Hopson." I hear it, think it, and type it and it literally takes me back to the apartments I grew up in. It reminds me of Jerry Francis, Jamaal Brown, Jay Burson, and Treg Lee and I'll willingly admit that I have no clue as I sit here where they all fall in order of Ohio State seasons without hitting Google again. But I know "Dennis Hopson" was the very first one in line. The words alone make me think of both of my grandfathers, the tallest uncle I have, and my late uncle Jerry. I was too young to know, or I'm too old to remember, but I can guarantee all three absolutely loved Dennis Hopson.
Last night he told me that he wanted to write a book but had no idea where to even start. I told him that I "hate to even ask" but offered him the opportunity (no sane person would call it that) to write up whatever he wanted and we'll post here at Buckeye House Call. Twenty-four hours later I can honestly say that was the dumbest question I've ever asked another human being. I would love to help him, but I can't. All I can do is write about him, with no experience, and hope that it in some way inspires him to pick up a pen himself. I'd be the first to read it and I don't even read.
To be 100% honest this blog post, unlike all others I work on, isn't even about how many readers I can attract tonight. This is as selfish of a column as I'll ever write. I decided last night that this is exactly what I would write about tonight because I wanted to personally go back to 1987. I'm about twenty-four hours into thinking and typing and it's been well worth it.
When our basketball Buckeyes hit the court in about three weeks there is going to be some eleven year old kid sitting in his apartment watching Jared Sullinger and he won't even realize it's triggering his love for our Buckeyes that will last until the day he dies. I love watching Sully, but I'm not jealous. I got introduced by Dennis Hopson.