Today in Sports Names

I can’t claim to be much of a sports fan.

But I do enjoy reading about interesting personalities, and participating in an organized sport is one way to express your uniqueness. Maybe it’s the pressure of competition that brings interesting qualities to the fore. And for some reason, the sporting world attracts individuals with remarkable names. Especially baseball, where fan and jazz pianist Dave Frishberg was inspired to set to music this list of compelling monikers.

This comes up because I noticed today marks the birthdays of some sports figures from the past who had outstanding names -

All of Lottie Dod’s wins at Wimbledon came against the same player – the imposingly named Blanche Bingley Hillyard.

As an amateur sing-song poet and shameless creator of too many stupid little rhymes, I find this pair irresistible. And of course one of them has a perfect name for this justifiably unappreciated form.

Blanche Bingley Hillyard

Some sports can hinge on state of mind,
like tennis, golf and billiards,
Opponents can get in your head.
ie: Blanche Bingley Hillyard’s.

Though BBH was quite a champ,
(they will not soon forget her),
Each time they played at Wimbledon
Another girl was better.

The focus and the discipline
that Blanche brought to the game
was poised and stately, and it is
reflected in her name.

Lottie Dod

So it’s not fair that winning was
(if tennis has a God)
A major task for BBH.
And fun for Lottie Dod.

For Lottie didn’t practice
or prepare in any way.
She danced around the tennis court
and sang her name all day.

Lottie Dod, Lottie Dod,
Dotty Lottie Dod
Doodly Doodly Doodly dee
Lah dee Lottie Dod.

What sport comes easily to you?

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131 thoughts on “Today in Sports Names”

  1. Sleeping does not.
    I do have a willingness to pedal a bike, but not in any competition. I have been doing it for years but have only tracked the numbers the last 11 years, although those years have been my highest miles. I am close to riding twice around the world in 11 years. I have had many falls, three bad ones, all caused by dogs. Athletic skill is absent from my family, simply absent. So the dogs prove that biking is no sport for me.
    I did play football on about the smartest college team ever. I played center, wuich means I handed the ball to a real athletic and then did as much as I could to get in the other team’s way. I am pretty good at being in the way.

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      1. Freshman year I did not practice on Wednesdays because I had chem lab until 6. One week I finished lab early and got to practice at 4, the normal starting time. But the coach told me that it was still chem time, to go study chemistry.
        Of the starting 11, only the right guard and I don’t have doctorates.

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        1. 20 is a wonderful number. it mus tbe recreational to be in such an intimate class. my 6th grade daughter has a new teacher this year who has been a readign specialist in prior years specializing in 6th grade. i tld my daughter that she was lucky, when the school saw that classes would likely reach 30 per class in her grade the shipped in another teacher and brought it down to 24. she said she was in a smaller class but way more special needs kids this year but that the teacher is good at it.

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  2. Morning all. Despite the fact that my mother was a phy ed teacher, I am like Clyde – graced with absent athletic skill. I did dabble in cycling before I was a parent – did several across the state rides for a good cause. I own rollerblades, treadmill and stationary bike, none of which I use very often. I’m not even much of a sports fan, except during the Olympics.

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    1. My sister, no athlete either, was a great Phys Ed teacher, in part because she wasn’t athletic and saw the world through non-athletic eyes.
      I taught with a great PE teacher who once gave the best athlete in the school a B because he wasn’t learning/trying/studying. Tough thing to teach well and hard to decide how to grade.

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      1. They used to call my mom “Sargeant Carter” – she was tough but fair and her students loved her. And she is definitely an athlete… when her bad knee started to interfere with her tennis this year, it didn’t get a second chance – it was outta there!

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      2. Clyde, gotta wonder – why would your sister go into PE if she wasn’t an athlete? As a non-athlete myself, I can’t imagine being attracted to it as a career (unless she was actually a music teacher who had to expand to PE to keep her job).

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        1. Not quite sure. It is just her. She moves at only breakneck speed, as do I. She may not be athletic but she is a picture of health. Extremel;y organized. She has body intelligence, as per Howard Garden, if not athletiticism. She did not teach it that much. Quickly moved to administration as her kids grew up.

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  3. what sports am I good at?
    what sports am I not !
    is the question more apt to be answered
    i excel at all sports
    and am master of most
    at the ball im a fabulous dancer

    im such a grand fellow
    at all that I try
    i amaze even me on occasion
    in a world such as this
    a soul such as i
    have a right to be braggedly brazen

    in tennis or skiing
    the world is astonished
    my eptitude leaves you a clue
    as to the astonishing
    heights I can reach
    when I do compete against you

    its always been so
    im a natural it seems
    its apparently just my good luck
    bobby fisher I trounce
    in his sport of choice
    bruce jenner i make look like a schmuck

    sir edmund hillary
    may climb a mountain
    but what else has he ever done
    name a sport any sport
    and you find I excel
    when challenged I am number one

    the javelin the shotput
    the hurdles the pole vault
    archery or a foort race
    horse shoes badmitton
    ping pong or some curling
    i always end up in first place

    ive never been beaten
    and may never be
    my medals when hung fill a tree
    the only place where I lack
    ive been told by a few
    is in the area of humility

    but its hard to be humble
    when you are king
    of all that you see there before you
    and the people out there
    how they love to bow down
    and illustrate how they adore you

    a sports prima donna
    is the life that ive led
    from the time that I was a small boy
    ive been papmered and pandered to
    all of my days
    it’s a way of life that I enjoy

    base ball and football
    and basketball too
    are sports at which I do the same
    soccer and swimming,
    grand prix or bike racing
    i find them all wonderful games
    if life were a rec room
    and I had to choose
    which game I would like to partake in.
    id just go to vegas
    and check out the odds
    put my money down and I would rake in

    to start on a monday
    this is number one day
    a blog needn’t rhyme all week long
    but if it were a sport
    id be apt to report
    id be singing a seven day song.

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  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    People-watching. Other sports passed me by. Plus when I was a girl’ back in the 1800s there were no organized sports for girls so there were no opportunities to develop an interest.

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        1. It is so silly now to think of the opposing arguments. The sad thing was how many of the male coaches opposed it. Bu the great PE teacher I taught with was the one who enlisted me in the fight.

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  5. I’ve embraced Spelling Bees as my sport. Now someone has called my bluff. There is a Bee scheduled at work for charity. I fear I may have lost my edge since my glory years in elementary school. So far I am the onl;y competittor

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        1. A holiday after my own heart.
          Im inspired by the picture on the site for a daycare called “Diana’s PlayPen of Little Genius’s”
          The winner’s from last years paragraph contest were fun to read! I wonder if I would be able to use all the punctuation mark’s correctly under careful, professional, obsessive, scrutiny (its already well known that I (Lisa in Minneapolis (from Minneapolis) am very fond of parentheses)).

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        2. When my Molly (whose birthday is today, by the way, was a kid she would get official reports from the Saint Paul school system. And every year I would phone in my complaint. The head of the report card featured incorrect punctuation. As I pointed out to them every year, there were four correct ways to do the headline, but they had chosen the only incorrect way. They never acknowledged my complaints.

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        3. My favorite punctuation mark is the apostrophe because it is misused so often. It’s and its are the common ones that are messed up, but then there are all those people who think that any word ending in an S must have an apostrophe before the S: “Banana’s and coconut’s on sale now!”

          Not punctuation, but grammar-related – I also get a kick out of people who seem to think that the word “me” is always wrong if it is used with another pronoun or noun. So I am always hearing sentences like, “She came with Mark and I.” My absolute favorite example was something like this: “Mark and I’s house.” I’m just waiting for “I’s” to become a commonly used possessive.

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  6. we think we are passed all that now and then they want voter id, mexican id in arizona and gay bashing because its not the way we do it here in the tea party.
    one of my politically savvy friends says his inside dope is that the gop has given up on romney and his sorry presentation and will focus on christy, jeb bush and the next crop and dumping the tea party whack jobs and their following. i think if they dump the tea party they loose 1/2 thier contingent. should be interesting

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  7. Good morning. Does thumb twiddling count? I don’I know if I am one of the best at thumb twiddlers. However, I find it is something I can easily do. I did play some basketball and did compete in some track events, but wasn’t a top performer at these sports.

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  8. Morning–
    I don’t do sports. I’m a bad spectator – SQUIRREL! — and shiny objects distract me. Oh, look; a red car!
    Was Homecoming at my college this past Saturday so I was out making smoke again. I guess there was a football game too. We won 8-7 with a safety in the last two minutes. I know because they said it on the news.
    Game was at 1:30 PM so no lights, just smoke and more smoke for the players enterance. And for the color guard, they got smoke too.

    With my bad knees and ankles now as I watch them play all I can think is, boy that must hurt!

    Road trip to the cities returning smoke. I’ll be in the tan RCTC state car. Got my grape pop for the road!

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    1. Dang, had I known you were in town, maybe we coulda hooked up for lunch. Not that I actually remember eating lunch today (it was that sort of day).

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        1. First day at the “new job” was much like the last day at the “old job”…only with a new color on my badge and no need to track precisely how many hours I worked. I will be transitioning from one set of responsibilities to another over a few weeks – and maybe in a week or so moving to a new cube (that I don’t have to share), but it didn’t all magically start today. (And my “official” orientation isn’t until next week when I learn all the things I don’t know yet about the place I have worked for the last 3 years – the secret handshakes they only share with full time employees and not contractors, how the employee discount works, that sort of thing. )

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        2. Sounds intriguing! I think I remember where you work from previous posts, but I’ll get all that cleared up later; this is probably not the place to disclose such details. I bet it feels good to be getting a foothold.

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  9. I was inept at all team sports, so I was one of the last kids picked when we divided up for teams. I didn’t play sports in school. The guys who did often came out of it with injuries that plagued them in their adult years. I became famous as an adult for my ability to walk for hours and hours in rough country, hunting pheasants. Like Krista, I became quite accomplished at walking dogs. That seems so far in the past now, but it was just a few years ago. It took me two tries to make it, but I did finally walk the Superior Hiking Trail from Canada to Two Harbors.

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    1. Steve – I had a double whammy. Not only did I not have any athletic skill but almost every year between kindergarten and 6th grade, I changed schools at least once, so I was also the new kid. I don’t think I have EVER been anything other than last choice when choosing sides for an athletic context. However, it does make me happy that these days people fight over getting me on their team when we play Trivial Pursuits!

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      1. I love Trivial Pursuit! I have at least 13 different versions :) I know I have more, but I have to find them. It’s my favorite game.

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        1. “AT SEVENTEEN”

          By Janis Ian

          I learned the truth at seventeen
          That love was meant for beauty queens
          And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
          Who married young and then retired
          The valentines I never knew
          The Friday night charades of youth
          Were spent on one more beautiful
          At seventeen I learned the truth…

          And those of us with ravaged faces
          Lacking in the social graces
          Desperately remained at home
          Inventing lovers on the phone
          Who called to say “come dance with me”
          And murmured vague obscenities
          It isn’t all it seems at seventeen…

          A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
          Whose name I never could pronounce
          Said: “Pity please the ones who serve
          They only get what they deserve”
          The rich relationed hometown queen
          Marries into what she needs
          With a guarantee of company
          And haven for the elderly…

          So remember those who win the game
          Lose the love they sought to gain
          In debitures of quality and dubious integrity
          Their small-town eyes will gape at you
          In dull surprise when payment due
          Exceeds accounts received at seventeen…

          To those of us who knew the pain
          Of valentines that never came
          And those whose names were never called
          When choosing sides for basketball
          It was long ago and far away
          the world was younger than today
          when dreams were all they gave for free
          to ugly duckling girls like me…

          We all play the game, and when we dare
          We cheat ourselves at solitaire
          Inventing lovers on the phone
          Repenting other lives unknown
          That call and say: “Come on, dance with me”
          And murmur vague obscenities
          At ugly girls like me, at seventeen…

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  10. Easy is a relative term when it comes to sports. By all measures I’m a better than average golfer (single digit handicap), but it hardly comes easy to me. Or anyone, for that matter. Even the pros are constantly practicing, fiddling with swing mechanics, consulting sports psychologists, taking lessons, etc.

    They are the first to admit they’ll never completely master the game except for their few brief shining moments of near perfection. The best example would be Tiger Woods winning the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes over his nearest competitor. No one else came close to breaking par, yet he finished twelve under par. I maintain that is the single greatest individual sports achievement I’ve seen in my lifetime. A comparable feat might be Usain Boldt running a full second faster than the second-place runner and setting a new world record in a championship 100 meter dash, or a marathoner literally “winning by a mile” in world record time over an elite field.

    I was a three-sport participant as a kid, mainly because I like moving and sports were something to do and a good way to make friends. I tried football, basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, track, cross country, tennis, and rink rat hockey. But I wasn’t much good at anything except baseball. Even then, I was never good enough to make my HS team.

    So yeah, I guess golf comes “easiest” for me, but it certainly isn’t easy. Any sport I do now is just for the sheer love of the game. I X-C ski and ice skate in winter just for the sheer love of gliding “effortlessly” across snow and ice. And everytime I tee it up on the golf course, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “Maybe this will be the day I capture lightning in a bottle,” and achieve my TIger Woods moment.

    Chris in Owatonna

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      1. I pitched a no-hitter in Babe Ruth baseball when I was 14. That might qualify.

        On the golf course, My best round ever was a 6 under par 65, but unfortuntely I incurred a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball (*huge groan*) and had to post a 67.

        Adding to my dubious legend, this year I shot my second best round, a 68, but ALSO incurred a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball. Can you say “TOO STUPID TO LIVE!” And what are the odds of someone doing this twice with career rounds? Probably the same as getting a hole-in-one.

        My best competitive round was likely the closest I came to capturing lightning in a bottle. I shot two-under 69 the first day of our City Open, made five birdies and I think I made almost every putt I had under 10 feet. Tournament golf is completely different than casual golf, so the fact I held it together for 18 holes under pressure means I was at the top of my game, despite my nervousness. OF course, the next day I shot 83 and fell back to Earth with a resounding clank.

        I’m sure you’ve got a similar story, Steve. Care to share with the Babooners? ;-)

        Chris

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    1. There are moments for, I think, everyone who plays a game when, as athletes say, “the game slows down,” you get in a zone. I never retell or hardly remember my football days. But when I do think about it, I remember moments like a HS game, a momentous game, if such games are really ever important, when I saw perfectly what was happening and hit the pass receiver, who outweighed me by about 50 pounds, at exactl;y the right moment so another person intercepted, resulting in a short touchdown drive. I was a sub for a player who broke his arm. The next time we were on defense, I again saw the play happening before it happened, the game did slow down, and I caused a fumble, which resulted in another short touchdown drive for us. But most of the time I was too slow and in the wrong place.

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  11. I think I might have been pretty good at something if I’d had the desire and some belief in myself. I didn’t figure out I was coordinated till I discovered Folk Dancing at age 30, largely because I THOUGHT I was clumsy. High school PE didn’t help the way it was set up (very little folk dancing). When we played volleyball at Husband’s family’s gatherings, I was starting to get decent; with some effort and a lot of practice I might have been good at something.

    I picked up T’ai Chi in the 90s (did someone ask about that recently here?), and I’m not saying I could be as good as Joanne is in karate, but I could probably teach it if I put my mind to it.

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      1. More power to you! I’ve gained better balance, and it’s probably helped keep my arthritis down to a low roar. Would help if I’d do it more regularly.

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  12. I share Chris’ reservation about “easy.” I’ve always been reasonably well coordinated, and enjoyed all kinds of sports. Some, that I had a more natural affinity for, I didn’t enjoy as much as some that I found more challenging. Fencing, for instance was, easier for me than diving, and archery was more fun than swimming, even though I was a better swimmer than archer. I became a better diver because I practiced more, not because I had a natural talent for it. My all time favorite sport, however, was tennis. I never had a tennis racket in my hand until I was 23 years old, and I never became, what I’d consider, a good player, but I love the game. It’s physical, challenging, and you can learn the techniques to become good enough to keep the ball in play. Playing in a singles’ league became a life-saver for me when I got divorced. Unlike the case of vs’ mom, for me a knee replacement put an end to my tennis career, not to mention skiing and rollerblading. Pretty much the only sports I participate in these days is jumping to conclusions and casting aspersions!

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      1. Thanks, Robin, but I’ve got to get my exercise somehow. I try not to be too mean spirited about it, but hey, I’m in the age group that nobody takes seriously anyway. Gotta get myself a tattoo so people can see how hip I really am.

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        1. At the moment I’m having a hard time coming up with a “hip” place that would be unmentionable; especially if you want one that doesn’t cause you to gag or worse.

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        1. It’s been ages, Lisa. I’ve lurked off and on, mostly off lately. Some months are like that. But I did make pickles and go to Quebec. And I try to get outside as much as possible now while the days are so sunny and fresh.

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        2. Robin, I miss both you and Bill when you’re not here. It was good to see you at the book club meeting, but I didn’t get a chance to talk with either of you. Hope whatever has kept you away has eased up and you will join in the daily fray.

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  13. OT update on Identity Theft. I think Linda was the one who suggested the theft was in no way local, and it seems she is right. The purchases were made at stores in the Boston area. My number was probably stolen by someone who has a way of purchasing or accessing credit card numbers. I did nothing careless, and my card was never actually involved in any way. This is just what happens.

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    1. This is just how it happened w/ my card as well. In New Jersey! Even though we didn’t do anything wrong, it does give you a creepy feeling that this kind of thing can happen.

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    2. Happened to my son twice. They check their bank account online several times a day. Clearly the generate cards to use and not just the numbers. It is upsetting indeed. I have avoided it so far.
      Here is the worst: we had an employee we had to let go who got all messed up after her five year old son died of cancer. She among many other things sty\ole her mother’s identity.

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  14. Soccer and broomball came the easiest. I used to do gymnastics as well, but gave it up to play soccer. I started when I was around 8 or 9 and continued until high school. I would’ve played in high school but it was very competitive and I liked to play for fun. I played broomball for 4 years in college and never regretted my aching knees. I wish I could still play, but after my knee surgery, kneeling is very painful. Falling to my knees to take a shot now would be excruciating. Oh well, I had fun while I could ;)

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  15. Loved broomball. Pure MN WI.
    Drove the hour over to Mankato to deal with business issues. Was going to bring back a book my son gave me about baseball names. There have been some fun player names and nicknames in baseball. But I forgot it.
    Came back to Evan to learn my wife had forgotten to bring over a key drug. So we went to New Ulm to get it at a pharmacy there through our Mankato pharmacy, which we could. Three pills for $19 each.

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    1. They did not charge that rate because we ordered that way, as my poor writing seemed to imply. That’s what we pay while my wife is in the doughnut hole. It just strikes you when see the charge for only three. I had not dared to figure it out when we got 30. The druggist was very helpful actually.

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  16. Greetings! I was always fairly good at sports. As kids we played baseball and dodgeball and i was a hard hitter and a good runner. In high school I played mainly volleyball and jumped hurdles and sprint relays in track — I sucked at basketball, though. In college, I was a dancer doing ballet, jazz and modern. Then I got married and sat on my butt for 25 years, but now I am loving the martial arts and that’s the best damn thing I could ever do. Wish I had started it long ago when my knees were better. I can do martial arts in some form the rest of my life probably.

    To answer question from yesterday regarding my storable foods — when stored properly, they actually are still good. They are in solid, sealed cans stored in a cool dry place. Not the tastiest stuff, but as my dear mother said — “it will keep you alive.”

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  17. Never really good at anything much, although in college we were required to take two years of PE including at least one class in a team sport. For a brief time, I actually enjoyed running games – lacrosse, soccer, field hockey. However, I only enjoyed being outside and running around in good weather. I was terrified if the ball came in my direction, as I had no idea what to do with it. Some of my PE teacher friends say that I am not the only one who has that reaction. It makes it hard to be good at much of anything.
    I am quite good at playing and coaching Knowledge Bowl (not exactly a sport – a little more like Trivial Pursuit, but with academic stuff.) And I seem to even be able to be competitive at that activity. (Although one son-in-law doubts that I have a competitive bone in my body…)

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    1. Hurrah for you! My two older sons were and are in Knowledge Bowl throughout high school.here in Big Lake. A very worthy sport and pursuit. They both enjoy it tremendously even though they are somewhat athletic — especially the 17-yr old who is a 2nd degree black belt with excellent technique and athleticism.

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      1. Thanks, Joanne. I think somehow this had come up once before. Good for your boys!
        Our principal was a basketball player and Knowledge Bowler, and my students are amused by that. He came to practice once to visit, but refused to answer any questions with us.

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  18. I did some fencing in high school and after college – that lead to a brief stint taking lessons in stage combat. I enjoy swimming, though I pull slightly to starboard as I swim. Perhaps today, in honor of National Punctuation Day, I shall take up competitive semicolon use; it seems a worthy endeavor.

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  19. Another vehicular enigma: on Hwy 14 west of Mankato parked on the side of the road with its hood up, a full length stretch limo. Attached to it a heavy-duty tandem-wheeled trailer with a load of old heavy planking.

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    1. Reminds me of an incident that happened when I was still working at the alternative school. The school’s secretary (the one that balked at having a 60th birthday celebration) had, somehow, won a limo ride to and from Treasure Island Casino. She invited five coworkers to join her, and, on the agreed upon evening, we set out for a gambling adventure. It was a pretty uneventful evening (nobody won or lost a large sum of money) until the limo came to pick us up for the ride home. We had a lively conversation going until, a couple of miles from our destination, the limo abruptly slowed down; it quickly became apparent that we were having major engine troubles. The six of us ended up pushing that fancy stretch limo about one quarter of mile, to a storage area where the limo company had other limos parked. There we picked up another limo to take us back to our drop-off point. It was my first and only limo ride, and frankly, I don’t care if I ever have
      another.

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        1. Lisa, it was a storage place. Dark and not a living person in sight anywhere. More like several garages adjacent to each other. I’ve often wondered about what kind of an outfit this really is. No glamour behind the scenes, that for sure.

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    1. I voted for Bleak House next, since I was the only person at the last meeting who had actually reread it for the meeting. Clyde, don’t know that I am supposed to spill the beans here, but, as it turned out, I was the only person who had read Bleak House for that meeting. (I had not attended the previous meeting where the Bleak House assignment was adopted as code for “Clyde’s and Steve’s books). The most recent meeting, held on BiR’s beautiful new screened-in porch, discussed, among lots of other things, your’s and Steve’s books. Everyone had enjoyed both books. Members had been concerned that announcing that would make the two of you uncomfortable. I suppose that once Anna post her record of the meeting, you’ll get a more detailed report of what went on.

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        1. Anna, didn’t mean to rush you. Just didn’t want to ignore Clyde’s question, although in retrospect, Linda, technically, had answered it.

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  20. Greetings! I just returned home from Minnesota. My dad is still alive, but in the hospital and a little goofy (we hope it is temporary) but clearing cognitively each day. What an experience for all of us. I will give more details tomorrow.

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    1. Glad to hear that your dad is improving, Renee. Goofy can be disconcerting and/or amusing. If it doesn’t clear, I hope the latter.

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  21. I have always agreed with Bill our hardware store guy. Bill and my favorite outdoor sport is sitting in a patch of ripe tomatos with salt shakers. It better than baseball.

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