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home : sports : sports   May 29, 2016

4/16/2013 10:56:00 AM
Yucus: The nickname game

Chris Yucus
NewsTribune Photographer

Since the beginning of this school year, your humble narrator and fellow NewsTribune sports scribes Kevin “Chlumdog Millionaire” Chlum and Jared “Pocket Hercules” Bell (sorry Jared, I couldn’t resist) have done a weekly area prep sports video blog called NT Prep Preview.

Each week we talk area prep sports and try to have as many laughs as we can along the way. (Our production budget of a $1 tablecloth doesn’t afford us the opportunity to take ourselves too seriously.)

One of the segments that we have the most fun with is the alliteration-sensation NT Prep Preview “Powerhouse Players,” in which we single out three of the area’s top performers each week for recognition. It’s a fun way to give credit to the athletes who have put in the work to reap strong performances in their respective endeavors.

And each week, I do my best Chris Berman impersonation and try to come up with a wacky nickname for the athlete I feature.

It all started as a little office joke after I christened Marquette senior Curtiss Johnson “Durty Curty” last fall for his down and dirty running style as the running back for the Crusaders’ football team.

Since then it’s become a compulsion and, unlike most instances, Jared and Kevin have been egging me on for more.

I wax historic, like with Putnam County junior standout hoopster Daniela “Big Dog” Pavlovich (Get it, Pavlov’s dog?).

Other times I throw in a pop-culture reference like with “Life in the Fast” Lainie Schweickert, the ace on the St. Bede softball team.

Sometimes, it’s just a silly rhyme. For instance, L-P junior Noah “Woah-oh-woah-oh-woa-ah” Lamboley.

The 2012-13 NewsTribune Boys Basketball Player of the Year, L-P’s Jens Soderholm, was Jens “Home, Sweet” Soderholm after he rallied the Cavaliers to a big fourth-quarter comeback on their home hardwood, while Mendota hoops standout Trae Blumhorst became Trae “in full” Blumhorst during the Trojans’ regional title run.

There’s a few guidelines to crafting a wacky nickname.

As stated earlier, try to rhyme if at all possible and alliteration and assonance score extra points.

When in doubt? Use something with “big.”

University of Illinois football and baseball recruit and NT Offensive Football Player of the Year, Michael Hermosillo of Ottawa, is the “Big Show” Hermosillo.

At 6 feet, 7 inches and 250 pounds, St. Bede senior and Western Illinois University football signee Joe Pyska is “Big Poppy” Pyszka.

Doing NT Prep Preview is seriously big fun, and I hope you tune in to see what we can come up with next as we head down the home stretch of this school year.

Check out past episodes of NT Prep Preview on the NewsTribune’s YouTube channel, and check each Thursday for the latest installment.

A special thanks goes out to NT La Salle reporter Matthew “Touchdown!” Baker for producing NTPP. We couldn’t do it without you Matt.

P.S. — We’re still taking submissions for my nickname. Let’s try to come up with something cool.

NewsTribune Sports Writer Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.

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