You didn't know Bill Schroeder.
I didn't know him personally, either, but knew about his life through books, magazine articles, and the internet.
It was an abbreviated life, because, on Monday, May 4, 1970, the 19-year-old Schroeder was shot to death by the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University.
Schroeder, I learned, was sports-minded and loved basketball, and if he'd lived and been fortunate enough to grow old like the rest of us, he might've been a LeBron James and Cavaliers fan. He after all was raised in the community of Lorain, just west of Cleveland.
The Cavs, by the way, are scheduled to host Atlanta in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Schroeder wasn't the only one who was killed at Kent State that day long ago. Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, and Jeff Miller were also fatalities of 13 seconds of gunfire.
Nine other students were wounded, one of whom was paralyzed for life.
"Four dead in Ohio" should never, never have occurred but it did. It's a part of American history, now, and is being remembered today in a commemoration at Kent State.
After the massacre, the victims for the most part were not portrayed in a favorable light. Some Americans at the time even felt they had it coming to them. Unbelievable but true.
Folks, they were all just students - and could've easily been your sons and daughters, or brothers and sisters.
In a way, I can relate to Schroeder and his passion for hoops. When he was a freshman at Lorain High School, he apparently was too small to make the basketball team.
But Schroeder grew to be 6-foot and worked hard to polish his game until he earned a spot on the JV squad when he was a junior. The following year, as a senior, he made the varsity, and in his first game nearly scored in double figures (9 points).
Back then, a local newspaper ran a photo of him collecting a rebound during a game. As a blue collar player on the hardwood, his forte was mixing it up underneath the basket.
Schroeder also ran track, was the captain of the cross country team, and played the baritone horn in the band.
In the classroom, he was no slouch, either, and epitomized student-athlete to the letter, graduating 22nd in a class of 453 with an A-minus average.
After high school graduation, Schroeder attended a school in Colorado on a ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) scholarship. He then decided to return to the Buckeye State, and came to a fork in the road. Would he transfer to The Ohio State University in Columbus or Kent State?
He chose the latter, because it was closer to his home in Lorain.
In a nutshell, on that fateful day of May 4, Schroeder, clutching a folder in his right hand, went to the noon rally on the Kent State campus as an observer. He had his back turned when the Guard opened fire with M-1 semi-automatic rifles.
He and the other students never had a chance.
Rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, Schroeder died shortly afterwards.
I have to believe in my heart that had they lived Schroeder, Krause, Scheuer, and Miller would have led productive lives. They may even have married, raised families, and become grandparents.
It was not to be.
On July 20th of this year, Schroeder would have been 59.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at email@example.com