How do you pick a good nickname?

I used to do a whole update, usually before the Final Four, incorporating all the nicknames in our pool.  Was hard enough when there were 80 but now that we’re regularly above 130, I’m not that clever anymore.  2010 was the last time I tried it and I had 117 nicknames to mention in that one.  So early on, I am always intrigued and usually smile as I see the nicknames that come through.  Sometimes it’s because it a familiar nickname, a 10+ year veteran of the pool and always glad that person has been loyal to us all these years (ah, Indy, Zippy, Flying Elvi… it’s like comfort food).  Sometimes it’s a slight change in the usual nickname I see (was chucking at our two-time champ Darryn B (Big Luther is his main handle) when his second entry was nicknamed Little Luther).  And sometimes, it’s just too bizarre (Harbaugh’s Khakis).

One thing that isn’t mentioned is that our system is limited to 21 characters in the nickname.  Thus, for example, SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE had to be reduced to So There’s A Chance and If Trump Can Win, So Can I had to be reduced to IfTrumpCanWin-SoCanI (this is Man V’s nickname this year, and interesting story: he had been using Yellow Monkey for 13 straight years with nothing to show for it, changed it to Will I Ever Win This in 2015 and finally won 5th place; but last year he switched back to Yellow Monkey and finished 52nd).  BTW, people have been really good selecting nicknames that don’t offend, curse, or belittle others so we have a tasteful group out there.  The only personal preference for nicknames in the pool is that first letter is always capitalized as it looks better in the standings (so every year I have to keep changning Suzanne M’s suznana to Suznana, much to her chagrin, I’m sure).  I also at times will downgrade an ALL CAPS nickname (again, looks better in standings), especially if the other info is in all caps (forgot to turn it off) but for now, I’m leaving FV LOCALS alone but changing FRANKFROMSEATTLE, PRIDE OF TROY, and MROSEN1 to FrankFromSeattle, Pride Of Troy, and MRosen1.  Unnecessary symbols are usually removed, especially incompatible ones (So Swallow, Bob is now Swallow Bob).

Defending champ Jonna J is making her presence known, choosing the proud nickname 2016 Champs while 57th-place Ted J (husband?) chose 16 Chumps.  Ingenuity is alive as we have nicknames Tim and Tom (no these are two people Tim T and Tom C; yes, it would have been a great nickname if it was one person named Tim and Tom).

I’ll likely go with either The Fabone XXIII or Air Fabone 23 (in honor of Air Jordan #23) for my primary entry as this is our 23rd year.  With Star Wars movies every year now, I’m probably going to lay off the Star Wars-themed nickname for my second entry (though it’s well-represented with Elizabeth W’s ANewHope and Joe D’s Darth Vader).  A lot of extremely improbable stuff happened in the past 12 months from Brexit to the U.S. Presidential Election to Oscar fail to Suicide Squad not being a bad movie (wait, did I say that out loud?) to crazy endings for sport championships (started with Villanova’s 3-point buzzer beater to win the NCAA title last year; then we had the Cavs becoming the first team to come back from being down 3-games-to-1 to win their first NBA title, the Cubs coming down 3-games-to- to win in extra innings in Game 7 for their first title since ’08 (1908 that is), the barely qualifying-for-playoffs Seattle Sounders winning in a dramatic shootout in the MLS Cup, Clemson’s rallying twice with the latter touchdown to beat Alabama coming with just one second left to win in the College Football National Championship, and then the New England Patriots somehow coming from 25-points down to win Super Bowl LI in overtime).  Wow.  That was an extremely long and unnecessary parenthetical.  Only the NHL had a relatively lackluster final series with Pittsburgh winning 4-games-to-2 and I missed the USC crazy rally in the Rose Bowl.  Of that, I am leaning on choosing Brackexit so no one choose that!

As always, Dave (The Mighty Mobelfakta) and my picks will be posted on the blog before 9 am on Thursday as I look to extend my winless streak to 14 years (25 entries or $250 down the drain).

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