There’s more to a name than you think
There’s more to a name than you think
By Issac Scoggin
Photos by Lissimore
Name – it is the most important information passed between your lips and another’s ears. In your life you will repeat it over and over to strangers and acquaintances, you will write it on your homework, later on checks or, now more commonly, credit card receipts. I can still remember when it was polite to answer your phone and state your name before engaging in conversation. One can turn a name into a brand, into a legend, into a disgrace, and if all goes well, a household name. One can build a name from scratch or tarnish it by actions. It is safe to say that your name embodies much about your identity as you journey through your life. Some names are passed on from generation to generation, bringing with them a certain reputation or degree of respect. Names can be a blessing or a curse; one that produces a shadow that blankets the individual as he or she tries to escape from underneath it’s choking embrace. A little dramatic, but it was all just build up for the name game that follows. The name game I speak of is an extension of the one you yourself probably took part in throughout your childhood years in school. You know, the one where you rhyme words with the person’s first or last name? How does it apply to SX of 2013? Simple, with overlapping first names and sometimes last, the fans can get lost in which “Ryan” or “Justin” is being talked about. Plus, my personal opinion is that the current trend of using a rider’s initials for a nickname is ridicules, and uncreative. A nickname should serve as an instant understanding to the rider’s tendencies, mannerisms, alludes to a funny story or concept about the personality either on or off of the bike. Thus, allowing a quick, hopefully funny, spark of information that captures the interest of the fans and produces a desire to understand where it came from. Let us attempt to remedy the initial polluted waters of SX by introducing a few fun, stupid, outrageous, and possibly vulgar nicknames to the rider’s we all know and love. Let the Name Game begin.
What is in a name? Well, if your name happens to be synonymous with racing then your name must be Daytona! Ricky Carmichael always believed the series did not actual start until this particular race. Obviously, that was a bit of a ploy on his part to belittle any hope the contenders had up to that point, as he made it seem like he was just warming up prior to Daytona. Whatever you choose to believe is up to you; however, it does not take a great champion to see the way the hybrid track of sand and Supercross obstacles tears down those already worn down from weeks of in-and-out racing. The winner carries momentum from the always historic win and more importantly, those left battered and bruised may never regain their previous composure for the rest of SX. What can be done to ensure 35 solid laps of racing? How about we make a track with longer laps times and make sure the soil is loose and sandy. That way it gets extra beat up, worn down, and we will even throw in some shady lighting in places to allow for mistakes. Sounds like it would work but it did not. The holeshot was still as important as ever, Musquin proved it and Villopoto gated ahead of all his main competitors. It really came down to whom made the smallest error because everyone got sketchy a time or two…even Dungey. If Daytona received a nickname I would guess it to be – Daytona “The dreaded”, or Daytona “Doom and Gloom” Speedway. It seems like every year, every rider anticipates this race and hopes to win it, but in the end it terrorizes man and machine. Only the strong, bull riding type tames the sandy death trap that is Daytona. Moving on.
Deano? That’s not that good, I think we can all agree on that.
The man that would win Daytona in 2013, what if I told you his name would be “Ryan”, would that surprise you? No. Both of them seem to represent “gnarly, passionate, methodical racing”, and those terms go hand and hand with the toughness of this race. “RV” won by taking chances early in the main event, which allowed him some breathing room as it took “RD” too long to execute his passes. Stop! Really, those are nicknames, those are two letters placed side by side because someone was too lazy to come up with something better. Let’s say you are a new viewer to SX and you flip the channel to Speed, and there you see a green bike being ridden like it was a bucking bronco by a jockey looking, tough S.O.B., and the announcer calls him…RV? Oh, makes sense when you think about it – a slow moving, box on wheels that usually carries old or retired folks around the country. I am intrigued. Tell me more, could their really be any scenario involving Villopoto worth warranting him this particular moniker? At least pick something that rhymes with his first or last name. Maybe a good nickname for the first few rounds this season would have been Ryan “Wreck it” Villopoto. I am just spit-balling here but what about these: Ryan “the Villo Show” Villopoto, “the Vespa” (named after the Italian scooter, now that is smooth and sexy…just say it. Let it slip off of your tongue), Velociraptor, Velvet Crab (see, red hair-crab, plus velvety) Viceroy Butterfly (hey, Muhammad Ali made a butterfly and bee work), Vulture (preying on the wounded and dead). Ok, maybe those suck too; however, my point is still relevant and loosely accurate. This sport needs nicknames and Ryan Villopoto should have a great one to describe his style, execution, his looks, his attitude…anything really. “The RV is circulating the rough track of prestigious Daytona with precision and elegance, making jump combinations out of the rough chop that has consumed many a lesser vehicles.” I am begging for a name change.
How about that Ryan Dungey guy that circulates near the top of the podium race after race; hasn’t he earned a true nickname? He has been called “the Dunge”, “Dunginator”, and even “the Dung Beetle”, but none of these have stuck and so to the masses he is referred to as “RD”. I guess he is known for his race development and straight direction when pushing a motorcycle towards an impossible goal of perfection. Wait, I do believe that is wrong too. He is known for being wishy-washy, as he feels the need to change little things and constantly work towards perfection. He is afraid some secret setting will escape him if he does not actively find and adjust to it. Roger DeCoster has stated in interviews that Ryan’s lack of confidence causes him to stress out about what can be better on him and the bike. Sometimes you get something good and just run with it; after all, comfort is key to all riders of all calibers. So how about some of these: Ryan “the Rectifier” Dungey, “the Never Relaxing”, “the Raging” (whatever happened to nicknames that were ironic or sarcastic?), Ryan “Seek & Destroy” Dungey, “the Dirty Dinkus”(just a joke), “Dart Frog”, “Dodo Bird”, “Donkey”, “Dingo”, and “the Dude”(from the Big Lebowski). He has been consistent and ever improving, as his years of being a professional have gone by. Truly, he deserves a moniker that will rival that of “Too Hip”, “Hurricane”, and “Showtime”.
“Dart Frog” and “Donkey” are a couple of nicknames suggest for Dungey
Davi Millsaps has been around the game a while and his traits were very prominent through every previous year, but now they have changed. Prior to 2013 SX we could have labeled him “the Mystery”, “the Majestic”, or even Davi “No Desire” Millsaps. He has been called many names like “the Duke”, and “Big Treat”. Now, I believe he deserves a new nickname for this year: “the Milk Man”(he delivers kind of like Karl Malone did for the Utah Jazz as the Mail Man), “the Miracle Man”, “the Drunken Monkey”(he could pass for a big monkey), “Dropping Dookies”(the competition would agree with this for 2013, they have been stepping in it all year), “Dios Mio”(a little Spanish gives him some flavor), just some food for thought.
The 250 riders deserve nicknames as much as anyone. Let’s face it; they are as much the show some weekends as anyone could ask for. However, I do believe the 450 class contains the veterans and proven superstars that demand the most attention, and deservingly so. Personalities do not seem to blossom until the riders have had time to mature and find themselves. Usually, this does not happen until they make the leap up to the big bike class or are about ready to. This is a young mans sport, and although careers are lasting longer than ever, it still requires too much maturity too soon from its individuals. With that in mind, I am going to take a stab at some 250 riders with whom I believe are mature in their personalities and ready for a meaningful name. Wil “E Wonka” Hahn, “the Wrangler”, “the One”, “Hanker’n” Hahn, “Holy”, or maybe “hallelujah” would work for the rider who has come through plenty of adversity, and now sits on his bike wearing a red background. Dean Wilson is called “Deano” because it is easy – you add an “o”. Why not try something a little more creative, like: Dean “the Dutch Oven” Wilson (us Americans don’t know the difference between Scottish and Dutch anyway), “the Derelict” (he was without a job or home before coming back to PC), “Winnebago” (keeping with the RV theme), “Winnie” (the Pooh), or as of late – Dean “the Watered Down” Wilson. Blake Wharton has certainly been a personality in the sport for some time, and he has speed to go along with his massive hair. How about Blake “the Wildebeest” Wharton, “Baboon”, “the Wizard”, “White Cinnamon” (goes along with his singing, places him with Prince and Michael J.), “Waves” (curly hair), and lastly, “Wallflower”(he is quietly out there in the publics eye). A final throw-in of the Eastern Region 250s would be Jeremy “loving Matthes” Martin (see, sarcasm can be funny as a nickname).
Justin “All Balls” Barcia seems to be a pretty good nickname according to Scoggins.
As a final collage of characters, I will attempt a few quick versions of various names belonging to some 450 riders I have yet to mention. Stewart, Reed, Barcia and Grant have all shown trends in how they approach racing. It should reflect in their moniker. Josh “Permanently Grounded” Grant, “Gooning”, “Justified” Grant (he is always justified, and that is also a Justin Timberlake CD title), and “Gash”, because wherever he goes, he leaves one. All good names in my opinion and all “justified” from one angle or another. Justin “All Balls” Barcia, “No Brains”(we have all considered this name from him at one time or another so don’t judge me), “Banging Bars”, “Nobody likes me” (I know, does not rhyme), “Bermuda Triangle” (because strange things happen around him and he makes people disappear from the front – ask Brayton), or “Bonsai”, as he repeatedly torpedoes riders or mechanics alike. Reed has been called “the Thunder”, “Skippy”, and now “CR22”. I prefer the likes of: Chad “the Iron Clad” Reed, “Team Captain”, “the Resurgent”, “the Havoc Wreaking” (you can always count on Chad to bring up the intensity), “Rock Steady”, “Roo”, “Razorback”, “Road Runner”, “the Royal”, and if you are into chess, “Rook” (formerly the Castle, it can move forward or sideways as far as it can possibly go, until it reaches an opponent or edge of the board anyway), kind of like Reed – moves that affect the entire season, a game changer. It would not be right to leave Stewart out of this equation as he has been the fastest rider, more times than not, throughout his career. “Bubba” was a name that came and went at James’s say so, but I think we can dig deep into his psyche and find another. What if we went with: James “Jump’n” Stewart, “Jericho” (the walls have indeed come crumbling down – think Biblical), “Geronimo” (sounds close enough to me), “Shit Stomp’n”, “Sex Appeal”, “Sea Biscuit”, “Stonewall” (if you are into history), “Swordsman”, “the Shenanigan”, “SpongeBob”, “Shackles and Chains” (according to the cops). Honestly, I think James should have a lot of fun with his butt patch and nickname. After all, he really is one of a kind out there. I mean his technique is different, his riding style is different, his bike setup is different, his personality seems quiet different, not to mention it is unusual to have a race within a race, within a race (did you get that)! I think it would be hilarious for him to run a patch that read simply, “Black Sheep”. Nothing makes people laugh more than a little humorous comment that points out something “cute”, that most people would be too hyper sensitive to say. Maybe I am alone on this but it would be cool to see all these guys ham it up a little through nicknames like the good ole’ days of yesteryear.
In a sense, our name is our immortality, or as close as we will get anyway. After our last days have come and gone, and the memories we have made fade as they always do, all that remains of any of us is our name. We pass it on to our children, it is inscribed on a stone resting with similar stones, and there is a short span in which we make a life, an identity, which can only be preserved through the association of it with our names. A nickname furthers the individual identity of the individual bearing a particular name. It is a method to help associate names to personas, to character traits or sometimes flaws. If nothing else, a nickname gives one the chance to explain who they are in a word or phrase. Often times a nickname may spark a conversation that includes a story of how it was earned. Every story told is a greater chance of reaching immortality of the name, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a good story.