You park your car on High Street in Columbus, Ohio’s Short North neighborhood. You’re so excited, you forget to pay the meter. You walk around a shady corner where a red sign reads “HOMAGE.” You walk into the little shop to the sounds of The Brothers Johnson’s “Get the Funk Out Ma Face.” You smell the wood of old backboards that have been repurposed as a checkout counter.
You look to your right. There is a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Larry Bird hanging out by an old Coke machine. You think to yourself, “Oh man, this is so great! ‘The Hick from French Lick’!” You look to your left, there is a working scoreboard and canvas bins filled with colorful sports-themed t-shirts and Starting Lineup figurines. You are immediately transported back to Nipher Middle School. Your friend Bryn is lacing his Nike Air Flights. Just after one last pump on his Reeboks, Danjo is schooling a kid named Duck on his latest version of Tim Hardaway’s killer crossover dribble. There’s a red-headed kid named Robbie who is wearing Etonic sport goggles. And Nick is sporting some tube socks so long David Robinson would be impressed.
My purchases while visiting Homage Clothing in Columbus, Ohio
Then, out of the corner of your eye, you spot a t-shirt, and suddenly you’re seven years old. Your dad puts you to bed in one of his a threadbare oversized University of Kansas T-shirts. He gives you a Coors Light kiss on your forehead. You roll over, a stuffed Jayhawk permanently under your arm. Dad leaves. You hear him descend the stairs. You rush to the floor. You lay awake all night with your head pinned to the berber carpet, soaking up the sounds through the second storey’s floorboards, as the laughs grow louder, the “Oh, no!” the “Oh… YES!” You hear your mom, a Mizzou grad, yell a sacrilegious, “C’mon, K-U!” And finally, everyone shouts, “DANNY!” Shortly thereafter, your dad runs to the staircase, “Max! Benny! Come downstairs! KU just won the National Championship!” Your heart soars. You think, “it doesn’t get better than this.”
Snoopy, Lifelong Buckeye Fan
The late, great Dennis Wilson
As a Midwestern kid whose dad would drive him around with the top down listening to Beach Boys tapes all summer, I totally identify with the desire to Surf Ohio. I still jump on my kickboard at the pool.
This cardigan was made exclusively for Homage by someone in Columbus, Ohio.
That’s what this store does well. This little shop on a side street off the High Street on Columbus’ Short North drums up so many warm recollections of a childhood spent obsessing about sports, it’s a veritable factory of memories. Every time I wear my Surf Ohio or my Danny & The Miracles T-shirt, I spend the whole day thinking about my old favorite T-shirts, hoping Ryan will find one and make a reissue. His shirts fast became my favorite t-shirts, and so too will they be your favorites in no time. Pay homage to your childhood heroes today.
Special thanks to Ryan Vesler and all the wonderful people behind Homage. Thank you for jogging my memory.
For more from my visit to Homage in Columbus, Ohio, see Flickr.