Monday, Jul 25, 2016
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What's in a name? An invite to meet a legend

Local twins Jack and Nicklaus have day to remember

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Jack Reichert, left, and his brother, Nicklaus, pose with Jack Nicklaus at the golfing great's house in Dublin, Ohio. The Reichert family spent about 45 minutes with Nicklaus during the Memorial golf tournament last weekend.

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B.J. and Connie Reichert had two daughters when they learned in late 2010 that twin boys were on the way. After a big Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family -- grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. -- sitting around and relaxing, the subject turned to possible names.

B.J. is a former high school and college golfer whose grandfathers got him started in the game at age 7. He grew up caddying at Belmont CC, studied golf management in college, and worked for three years as an assistant club professional. He'd been waiting for this moment.

"How about Jack and Nicklaus?" he asked.

He remembers there were a few chuckles, but only a few. He just might be able to sell this, B.J. thought.

"It seemed fitting," Reichert said. "Jack Nicklaus is a championship athlete, a great family man, a Buckeye. From the time I can remember, you wanted to play like him, live your life the way he did, and be that same kind of person. Who better to name my sons after?"

Jack and Nicklaus Reichert were born on March 9, 2011. Less than six weeks later, for their first Easter picture, the twins were dressed in argyle sweaters, white slacks, and tiny Ben Hogan caps.

Within a couple months, through some intermediaries, a copy of the picture landed in Jack Nicklaus' office in Florida. He was so tickled that he took it home to show his wife, Barbara.

And so it came to pass last weekend that Jack and Nicklaus met Jack Nicklaus during the latter's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

The Reicherts, who live in Whitehouse, and extended family were Nicklaus' guests for the whole tournament, and 14 of them were there on Saturday morning to meet the legendary golfer. But it wasn't merely a handshake, smile for the camera, sign a golf ball, see you later meeting.

"We met one of Jack's associates, Andy O'Brien, near the media center, and he said we were going to take about a 10-minute walk," said Cot Marquette, the one-time Rossford High basketball coach and the twins' great-grandfather. "I asked, 'Where are we going?' Andy said we were going to Jack's house. I said, 'Jack who?' I couldn't believe it."

After a brief walk across the course and up into the woods, Barbara Nicklaus was waiting at the front door to greet the Reicherts. After all the introductions were made, she led the group through the house to a room where Jack was sitting on a couch in a gray Ohio State Alumni T-shirt, a pair of shorts, and no shoes.

"People have asked me what it was like, and in a lot of ways, it was exactly as I envisioned it," B.J. said. "Here's this icon, but he's just a normal guy, and there we were hanging out with him at his house. You know, family is his No. 1 thing, and he's got 22 grandkids, so this wasn't any big deal to him. I was holding Jack, and Mr. Nicklaus immediately gave him a high-five. He was picking them up and giving them kisses on the head. He was holding both of them at one point, and I stepped away and realized just how special that moment was."

The special moment lasted for about 45 minutes. There was a lot of getting acquainted, considerable small talk, and a ton of pictures were taken in front of the house. Nicklaus obliged some autograph requests and signed Muirfield Village/Memorial Tournament pin flags with personal messages for both of the twins.

"I think he was really appreciative," B.J. said, referring to the twins' names.

The twins' entourage was certainly appreciative.

"Jack's son, Jackie, and his family came in, and we got to meet them," B.J. said. "Everyone was so gracious. It was like we'd known them for years. Connie and Barbara Nicklaus exchanged contact information, and they asked us to stay in touch. It was just an unbelievable experience.

"The boys didn't really have any idea who this guy is or what was happening, but someday they'll know. They'll have all the pictures and those flags for the rest of their lives."

And those names too.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.

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