Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: Who Is Your Favorite Celebrity, Non-Athlete Ohio State Alum?
Jami’s Take: R.L. Stine
Anyone who knows me knows I am both an eternal 90s kid and also a horror freak at heart. “Goosebumps” is the perfect overlap of those things, so it goes without saying that novelist R.L. Stine is my favorite non-athlete Ohio State alumnus.
It is impossible to untangle my love of all things Halloween, horror, and scary from the importance “Goosebumps” held in my life as a child. The book collection was a constant companion of mine, and I am certain it laid the foundation for my adult self to live every day like it’s Halloween.
Stine, who began writing at age 9 when he found a typewriter in his attic, was inspired by the “Tales From the Crypt” comic book series, though horror wasn’t the only area he was well-versed in as a writer. While at Ohio State, Stine, who graduated with a B.A. in English in 1965, edited “The Sundial” — a humor magazine. He also created and wrote “Bananas,” a humor magazine for teenagers, under the name Jovial Bob Stine.
But “Goosebumps” (and “Fear Street”) are certainly what he is best known for. Beyond the very popular book series (these things flew off the shelves at those Scholastic Book Fairs, baby!), there was also a TV series based on the books, which aired for four seasons in the mid-to-late 90s.
Ask most 90s kids which episode of “Goosebumps” still haunts them, and I am willing to bet most have an answer at the ready. Mine? The one with the ventriloquist dummy - shout out to my childhood bestie Rachel Ruminski who was by my side when we were both scarred for life by this episode. (If you have an answer to this question, drop yours in the comments or on Twitter, I’d love to discuss).
Did the series also lead to my fascination with the occult? Probably!
All I know is that Stine - who champions reading for children - was influential for so many of my friends who went on to become creatives in the horror realm. I know painters, writers, filmmakers, and musicians alike who have drawn inspiration from the Stine stories that were foundational to them as children.
I am proud to have someone who has inspired so many children to read and create (and consume horror) as a fellow alum of Ohio State, and I am grateful for the lasting impact his work has had on my life and on the lives of my fellow creatives.
Matt’s Take: J.K. Simmons
During the early days of the pandemic in spring 2020, I put together a list of 12 things to watch, listen to, read, etc. from Ohio State alums since there were no sports going on at the time. I — of course — included R.L. Stine along with the iconic play-by-play man Jack Buck, NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, comedian Richard Lewis, soon-to-be Tony-nominated actress “Beltin’” Bonnie Milligan, the dudes from O.A.R., and more.
But, the only way to properly end that article was with a man who wears his Buckeye-love on his sleeve, the great Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons. Now, you, a dweeb, might tell me that Simmons never actually attended Ohio State and therefore cannot be considered an alumnus.
Then I would respond by pulling the back of your tighty whities over your head and giving you a swirly.
Simmons spent his formative years going to the then-unified Worthington High School while his father was a professor of music at Ohio State. J.K. then followed his dad to the University of Montana when the elder Simmons became the director of the School of Music there.
So, I have full faith that had his father not thoughtlessly and selfishly taken a job nearly 2,000 miles away from Columbus, J.K. would be an official OSU alum, so I am counting him and there is nothing that you can do about it.
What’s even more impressive about J.K.’s love for Ohio State is that when it comes to pro sports, he roots for teams from Detroit... as in Detroit, ❌ichigan. Before his dad took the job at Ohio State, the Simmons family lived in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
So the fact that he has willing bucked the ancestral rivalry of his home state to fully embrace the Buckeyes makes him alum enough for me. Besides, where else can you find a guy who can play Benny Southstreet alongside Nathan Lane’s Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” on Broadway...
... and look this swoll prepping for a Batman movie at 61 years of age?
JK Simmons got swole. Damn.— D-Piddy (@_dpiddy) June 8, 2016
No need for a Batman when Gotham City has Gym Gordon. pic.twitter.com/0bEWQJgJ94
Besides, for whatever alumni points that J.K. loses for not technically being an alum, he more than makes up for by repeatedly and without remorse trolling Michigan Man Rich Eisen on his own show:
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: R.L. Stine
Matt: J.K. Simmons