Friday, July 06, 2007

We was always taking long walks, and we was always looking for a guy named "Charlie."

What's in a name? What's in a nickname?

Some good bull for your Friday. The author of this article laments the decline of nicknames in American culture & sports, their drop off in usage and their drop off in originality. (HT Thabiti Anyabwile)
"I don’t know why I’m surprised. Over the years, our culture’s gift for nicknaming has slowly vanished along with so many of our other celebrated American skills, like nation-building and math. The same country that came up with the Splendid Splinter, the Say Hey Kid and Mr. October now settles for A-Rod, T-Mac and AI. (Don’t even get me started on the San Diego Chargers’ franchise running back LaDanian Tomlinson, whose nom de plume, LT, is not only lame but recycled, too. Excuse me, LaDanian, but Lawrence Taylor called and he wants his nickname back.) What passes for creativity these days is taking the word “big” and sticking some physiologically or descriptively appropriate term after it. Which is why the sports landscape has a Big Hurt, a Big Papi, a Big Unit—which has never been confirmed, by the way—and even a Big Fundamental. That last one is Tim Duncan’s nickname. Or if you prefer, you can call him by his other nickname: Timmy."
I'm a big fan of nicknames and many in our congregation have them (e.g., King Pin, Oilcan, Shock (and Awe), Smokin' Joe, Tank, Double J, Mama J & Papa J, Horhay, and St. Nick).

My nickname is "Gunny," which I picked it up in college, but before that I was "E-Rock(er)" and "Rookie" around the extended family (much better than my cousin's "Farquar").

Some are too sophisticated for such tomfoolery, but it's fun and endearing, a sign of affection, it seems to me. You don't waste a nickname on someone about whom you are apathetic.

What are some good nicknames?

My favorite was when in high school, we had a gal in computer class who preferred to be called by her nickname. So, the first day when her name was called, she said to the teacher, "You can call me "Sweets."

What are your favorite sports nicknames?

In Cardinals baseball (2006 Champs), I liked "Stan the Man," the "Wizard" (Ozzie Smith), "Dizzy" Dean, and the "Mad Hungarian," (Al Hrabosky). Elsewhere in baseball, I like(d) "Charlie Hustle" (Pete Rose), "Shoeless Joe Jackson," and "Pudge" (Ivan Rodriguez).

In Cowboys football, Staubach was "Roger the Dodger" and "Captain Comeback," while Randy White was the "Manster," half-man, half-monster. Michael Irvin was "the Play Maker."

In basketball, there was "Magic Johnson" of the Mighty Lakers, George "the Iceman" Gervin (not to be confused with George "the Animal" Steele), and "Dr. J."

The whole ?-Rod thing is so silly and very unoriginal. I'd scrap all of those, or at least fine the players/commentators for encouraging such shenanigans!

Any good suggestions for sports nicknames?

Many of us had nicknames as kids, some we shed, some we kept. Did you have a childhood nickname? Do you have one now? If you had/have a nickname, what's the story behind it?

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At 06 July, 2007 11:58, Blogger Lance said...

My uncle was a chemistry teacher for over 30 years. His nickname: "WeirdWard" (whenever he sends a birthday card, he signs it, "W. W.")

He also nicknamed every single one of his students.

You can read some of these at a website started by his students:

At 06 July, 2007 12:45, Blogger GUNNY said...

That's some seriously good bull!

I particularly liked:
Oral Robert, Rasslin' Retardo, Pink Lloyd, and Nasty Jones.

Danke, Sir Lancelot!

At 06 July, 2007 16:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fighting Texas Aggie L-2 Class of 93:

Gunny, Chia, Squirts, Ripper, Truck, 4-Star, Navaho, Snatt, and Oilcan (me)

My non-reg college roommates: Tater and Eyeball

Cedar Hill High School 1989: Tater (same), Big Tommy, The Cheese, Gezzer, The Nose, The Lip, Happy Parrot, Happy Turtle, At-At, Smack, Rah-Rah, Aw-Dude, Uh-Uh, IQ Wayne D, Sweets, He-He, The Helmet, . . . anymore Gunny?

At 06 July, 2007 19:46, Blogger GUNNY said...


You're not gonna throw your ol' lady, the frog, a bone (i.e., Rottweiler/Frank)?

Good list, Oil. A few more from high school and the days of PORTFOLIO: Stan, Joey T. Thomas, the Baltese Falcon, "the Little Girl", A.O., "Is Her Hair High Enough?", L.D. Lusser, Seth Brundle Fly, Igor, Flash, Wobbie, Amazon, the Hog, and there are a few other folks who come to mind, but I can't remember their specific nicknames.

Remember, "Hortman, you gotta sister?"

At 08 July, 2007 20:19, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was always fond of junkyard dog, may he rest in peace.

-- Kook

At 09 July, 2007 08:19, Blogger Rev. said...

That is a very nice cover put out by Time, is it not?!? Stan "The Man." Pure greatness! I also appreciate several of the sports nicknames you mentioned, namely, "Dizzy" Dean, the "Mad Hungarian" (Hrabosky had some 'stache, huh? Saw him pitch at the very first ballgame I ever attended), the "Wizard of Oz", "Shoeless Joe Jackson" (who should be in the HOF). Then there is "Manster" and "Captain Comeback" / "Roger the Dodger" - don't forget the "Doomsday Defense", and with Staubach and Dorsett - "TD" on offense... oh... those were the days! In the NBA, I loved "The Iceman" and watching "Dr. J."

What about *worst" sports nickname? My vote: "He Hate Me".

My nickname: "Rev." Why? Because of a beloved parishioner who always called me that and showed me a great deal of brotherly affection. It stuck.


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