Gender tests, soccer hand-balls as act of God, crack-taking tennis stars, deliberate concussion-causing head-shots — the problems of sports grab front-page headlines while scores have become after-thoughts.
But the real headline in sports should be the problem with announcing them.
As if baseball wasn’t bad enough with all those Spanish-sounding names, basketball introduced us to the muslim multi-syllables, then hockey triple-played with all the unpronounceable Russians and Czechs and worst, Finns.
But the biggest problem with announcers in sports today … and with fans, is in football.
Who can pronounce and then remember all these African-American first names? Gone are the Johns and Toms and even Alexs. Now, we’ve got all these cobbled-together truncations often with gratuitous apostrophes.
Used to be that first and last names were a kind of cause and effect: you’d never get a Tarkington without a Fran, or an Etcheverry without a Sam. One inspired the other, going both ways.
Not anymore. These new names require vivid memory and hybrid spelling skill. Each one is as unique as they guy owning it.
I’d give you some examples but I can’t remember any. And that’s my point. When you have a hard time with the first name you’ve lost the memory clue to the last name with a result that you tend not to remember either. At least, that’s what I’m finding.
I do remember Mooki Wilson, but that’s it.
Hey, call yourself what you want. But for those of us who actually remember ‘i before e except after c’ and all the other English language rules, don’t expect us to remember you. We can’t.