Lamenting the loss of nicknames
I wrote about nicknames yesterday, and how they aren’t as good as they used to be. I came up with the 10 best college football nicknames ever, a list that in no way do I claim is encyclopedic. A sport as historic and tradition-rich as college football will have hundreds of pockets of teams and players that don’t immediately spring to mind.
I do think, however, that anyone will be hard-pressed to beat The Galloping Ghost as a nickname. Or Crazy Legs.
I mentioned in the column this morning and the video yesterday that I had produced a top-10 list of OU football nicknames. Here are the 10:
10. Claude “Little Tub” Tyler: Little Tub wouldn’t go over today, but it’s a great name for 1919.
9. Raymond “Sugar Bear” Hamilton: I love nicknames that are opposites. There was nothing sweet about the way Ray Hamilton played defense, either at Douglass High School or OU or the New England football Patriots.
8. Forest “Spot” Geyer: OU’s first great passer, in 1915, nicknamed for his pinpoint passing. Hey, “Spot” Bradford has a nice ring to it.
7. “The Boz”: Pretty much sells itself.
6. “Bugger” Paul Parker: You know, I never have heard why Paul Parker was called “Bugger.” Doesn’t sound very nice.
5. Dewey “Snorter” Luster: Another opposite. Snorter was a mild-mannered coach.
4. Indian Jack Jacobs: Great quarterback from 1940. You never could get away with that today. Indian Sam Bradford?
3. Gilford “Cactus Face” Duggan: Same deal. If I called someone Cactus Face today, I might get a Mike Gundy rant out of Bob Stoops.
2. Leon “Mule Train” Heath: On second thought, this might should be No. 1 and probably deserves to be on the college football 10. Mule Train. Just a fantastic nickname.
1. Ed “Wahoo” McDaniel: I don’t know what it means, but I know I love the nickname of this 1958 linebacker.
My old friend Ed Frost wrote me today about this subject. It was good stuff:
“Agreed, today’s nicknames aren’t as good as yesteryears’. The question that interests me is: why? Are Americans less creative now? Are we falling victim to making everything shorter and quicker — and less interesting? Is it part of the technology and speed process? You know, like it happened with songs. Some of the old folk ballads used to have 20 or more verses and endless variations. But when records came along and disc jockeys, the radio stations didn’t want songs that lasted more than about three minutes.
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