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LGHL staff picks: Who we’d invite, living or dead, to dinner

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Ya know, once we’re allowed to leave our homes

During this time where we’re all forced to #StayAtHome, one of the luxuries I truly miss the most is going out to eat. Anyone else? Being surrounded by family or friends while someone else cooks for you, pours you drinks, and cleans up the dishes? I long for the days when a nice waiter/waitress would appear by my side. “Would you like to look at the dessert menu?” Of COURSE I would, nice waiter/waitress.

But alas, it seems as though our restaurant-attending days are over, at least for the foreseeable future. Thus, each of us at LGHL decided we could at least pretend like we have dinner plans. And, since we’re pretending, we’re inviting whoever the heck we want —dead or alive—to join us.

Here’s who each of us chose and where we’re taking them to eat:


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Meredith Hein: J.K. Rowling. I want to hear about how she built the world of Harry Potter and managed to keep fighting to get her work published! I guess we’d go to a pub in London and have a beer. As a backup, I might go with Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the father of microbiology, and ask him about what it was like when he got to see microorganisms with his own eyes and how he managed to convince the world there is life at a microscopic level.


Connor Lemons: If I could have a meal with any one person, it would be my grandpa. He passed away when I was a freshman at Ohio State in 2016, but had been in decline because of Alzheimer’s for several years before that. He was an umpire and loved baseball, and definitely passed that onto me when I was little. I feel like I never got the opportunity to really talk about the game, or life, with him very much because by the time I was older, he was already struggling with Alzheimer’s and then passed away. He had a sweet tooth just like me, so I would have loved to have been able to take him to Buckeye Donuts.


Randy “Macho Man” Savage File Photos

Brett Ludwiczak: If I could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, it would have to be “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Hearing about how he started off as a baseball player and then moved to wrestling would be interesting. As a wrestling fan I would love to hear some of the stories from the road with some of the other greats of pro wrestling, and how he came up with some of his promos. Just feels like it’d be a fun meal overall.

Since the Macho Man is from Columbus, I’d love to have a meal with him at one of the best places in Columbus where you can relax and shoot the breeze. Instead of dinner, I’d actually like to have a breakfast/brunch at Tommy’s Diner. A Columbus institution with someone who many think should have a statue in Columbus.


Caleb Houser: I’d invite the first person from my family to come to America. Have always wanted to hear from the source our heritage and family history. I’d take them somewhere in Columbus that’s plain Jane, like Roosters or Raising Canes, to give them a taste of stuff they’ve never had.


Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Gene Ross: I think I would have to choose David Wright. Growing up a huge struggling New York Mets fan, Wright was the lone bright spot on so many bad Mets teams over the years, and I was so excited that he got a chance to play in a World Series before he ultimately was forced to retire early because of spinal stenosis. I got the chance to go see him play in his last game ever in 2018, and it was a special moment I’ll never forget. He seems like a pretty genuinely nice guy, and I’m sure he’d have some crazy stories from the clubhouse throughout his years in New York. As far as where we’d go, I’m sure he’s got the hookup at some of the nicest steakhouses NYC has to offer.


Charles Doss: If I could meet someone dead or alive for dinner, it would definitely be Joe Exotic. From big cats, politics, to Carole Baskins, imagine all the stories that jack of all trades could tell ya... No in all honesty I would sit down with my grandfather. We didn’t get to see each other a lot due to living in different states when he was alive, but we used to have the greatest talks when we got to see one another. From baseball and fishing, to made up stories just to make me laugh, he was one of a kind. I miss him, and can only imagine the conversations we could have now that I’m grown.


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Tia Williams: Mina Kimes. Not just because of her hilarity, quick wit, and sports knowledge (I’d obviously still pick her brain for advice on all of the above), but because I simply think we’d make the best of friends—a conclusion I’ve come to based on my borderline Twitter-stalking these past few years. Where are we going? Chrissy Teigen’s house (for most of the same reasons I listed above.)


NBA Paris Games 2020 - Milwaukee Bucks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images

Matt Tamanini: I am going to assume that this is post-coronavirus so that the current rules of social distancing would no longer be in effect, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be picking a 72-year-old leukemia survivor and quadruple bypass recipient. So, feeling safe in that assumption, I am going to go with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Obviously, his sporting accomplishments are unparalleled; perhaps the greatest player in the history of college basketball, a six-time NBA MVP, and a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer. But, as much as I would love to listen to him spin tales of playing for John Wooden and his two decades in the NBA, the things that I am most curious about are those that he did outside of the gym.

In addition to his on-court prowess, Abdul-Jabbar has become one of the most interesting and compelling athletes of all-time. Dating back to his religious conversion and name change in 1968 and boycotting that year’s Olympic games, Abdul-Jabbar has been a thoughtful and out-spoken activist and advocate for a whole host of important issues. He has served as a U.S. Global Cultural Ambassador and has been awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition, Abdul-Jabbar was a Jeet Kune Do student of Bruce Lee’s; yes that Bruce Lee. He has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows from “Airplane!” to “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” and many, many more.

Abdul-Jabbar has also become a documentary filmmaker, television writer, and best-selling author. His film “On the Shoulders of Giants” is a fantastic look at an early, over-looked African-American professional basketball team. He’s also written on TV shows like “iZombie” and “Veronica Mars” (two of my faves), and he has written some of my favorite books of recent years. Along with Anna Waterhouse, Abdul-Jabbar has written a series of books centering on Sherlock Holmes’ oft-misunderstood older brother, Mycroft. The series started as novels (three to date), and has branched out into a comic book as well.

So, because of the eclectic breadth of his career, the sheer brilliance that he has shown throughout his lifetime, and the breathtaking number of really cool experiences, to me there would be no better dinner companion than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Also, since he is rich and appears to be a really nice guy, chances are he’d pick up the check!”


Maybe we should make this a group potluck. We’d make a pretty fun dinner party, if I do say so myself! Alright, we want to hear from you. Let us know in the comments who you’d invite to dinner.