Oklahoma City Thunder: Nick Collison not the only nicknamer
Nick Collison’s blog for GQ magazine continues, and the latest installment concerns Collins’ propensity for giving his teammates nicknames. You can read the blog here.
Which makes me and Collison sort of kindred spirits. I’ve been known to pin a nickname or two on my teammates.
Like Travis Haney, whose final OU football story appeared in the Thursday Oklahoman. Travis is leaving us after only seven months; he received a job offer so good, we couldn’t even get mad at him. But he was here long enough to get a nickname.
Dreamboat. When Haney interviewed last August, the females in our newsroom were lovestruck. Young and old, from executive to cub reporter, women swooned over Haney like those twins in Gone With the Wind, who went all mushy over Ashley Wilkes. So Dreamboat it was.
True story. During the Fiesta/Insight Bowl week, our staff went out for some pizza. Dreamboat’s friend, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, joined us. Andy is a super guy. Walk-on football player at Florida in the ‘90s. Does a great job covering college football.
Anyway, we were having a delightful conversation, and somehow the topic turned to girls and Travis’ past. Andy looked at us and in all seriousness said, “I don’t know if you guys have seen this yet, but Travis has a certain effect on girls.”
I almost fell out of my chair.
Anyway, Dreamboat is a good nickname. But it’s not my best. That honor is reserved for Miss Saigon, my name for Andrea Cohen, who covered OSU for us a few years ago. Great gal. We loved her immediately. But when we hired her, she already had a vacation planned. So we cut a deal. She came, worked two weeks and then went on this long-planned vacation – to Vietnam. So Miss Saigon it was.
Gina Mizell joined us in August to cover OSU. Before I even met her, I had a name. Vinegar Bend.
Remember the grand old Baseball Game of the Week on NBC, with Joe Garagiola telling old stories. He would talk about all these wonderfully-named players from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Smoky Burgess. Phil Cavarretta. Wally Post.
And a pitcher named Vinegar Bend (Wilmer) Mizell, from the Mississippi hamlet of Vinegar Bend. Mizell was a pitcher of solid repute who went on to become a U.S.representative. I’ve been waiting my whole life for a Mizell to come my way. Didn’t matter who they were. Vinegar Bend they would be.
Dreamboat’s predecessor, Jake Trotter, was a graduate of Casady high school and Washington & Lee University, two schools not exactly low in brow. So I called him Blueblood and still do, which is rich, since he’s wonderfully down to Earth.
Blueblood married a girl from just outside Dayton, Ohio, and back in September 2010, when OU played at Cincinnati, Blueblood’s in-laws invited a few of us out to their home for dinner. It was a lovely time, just superb. Last year, when me and Mike Baldwin were back in Dayton for the NCAA women’s regional, we met Blueblood’s in-laws for dinner.
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