On Thursday night, Northwestern shocked me, you, and everybody by overcoming their injuries and staying ahead of title contender Ohio State for 37 minutes. Unfortunately for Evanstonians, referee Ed Hightower gave Deshaun Thomas license to kill in those last three minutes, calling fifth fouls on the well-positioned and immobile Kale Abrahamson and Mike Turner as they were pancaked to the floor. These foul-outs left Northwestern with only five scholarship players (and Reggie was limping) so the ensuing 12-0 Ohio State run was hardly surprising, and Ed “Homer” Hightower quickly earned his spot as Big Ten Network’s Sixth Man of the Match. All Big Ten basketball fans know Hightower has a history of homerism, but few are aware that he comes from a long dynasty of home team helpers, a criminally obscure, historically significant family. Let’s give just a few examples.
399 BC – An ancient ancestor of Ed Hightower named simply Haitos T’s up Socrates for excessive social criticism of the hometown Athenians, the penalty at that time being death by poisoning. After hearing that Socrates still managed to walk around for forty minutes after being poisoned, the Northwestern basketball team looked into poisoning their remaining healthy players to lengthen their playtime.
177 – Edus Gaius Taurus is a prominent official at the Roman colosseum, where he infamously called a personal foul on a Christian Martyr who had clearly established position outside the restricted zone just before being tackled and eaten by a lion. The home team Pagan Lions would go on to win 76-0.
1066 – At the Battle of Hastings, Edouard Hyghetowyre blows his recorder (whistles weren’t invented yet) and calls foul on home team captain Harold Godwinson’s shield wall for three [hours] in the key [battleground position, along the hill’s ridge], forcing them to charge downwards into the valley where they were famously massacred by William the Bastard’s forces, awarding England to the Normans. Seeing the terrible ramifications of what he’d done, Hyghetowyre vows that his clan shall never again make a call against a home squad.
1274-1281 – Two successive Mongol attempts to invade Japan are foiled by Edo Haitawa (エド・ハイタワー), who does the ancient traditional “I’m Ed Hightower and I’m about to call a charge” dance then points west, summoning a typhoon to destroy the Mongol fleet.
1863 – The Confederate army drives to the hoop at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Union home territory), but War Observer Beauregard Hightower claims that Confederate Major General George Pickett illegally assailed an entrenched Union position, resulting in the famous historical blunder known as Pickett’s Charge.
1948 – Israel is founded, finally earning a home ground for Jews, a people on a record-length 2000 year road trip. A government memo signed by David Ben-Gurion specifically mentions the Hightower family’s calls against visiting Jews over the previous centuries in Spain, France, Russia, and most recently Germany as egregiously home team-biased, and the primary incentive for the creation of the Zionist “Maccabi Home Court” Movement.