I found out I was pregnant with my first child in May of 2011. Detroit Tigers baseball was back with a vengeance, and I was faced with trying to come up with a name for the tiny person I was about to bring into the world. I didn’t originally intend for my daughter to be named after an athlete – specifically a baseball player – but it just so happened to work out that way. Well, now here we are about to start the 2016 season and the Tiger my daughter was named after was traded. TRADED. So, that got me to thinking…
- Your player could get traded. Unless you Yankee fans named your child Jeter at any point before his retirement, this is something you have to accept. Though, the thought never crossed my mind when I settled on Avila (a la Alex Avila) that he could possibly be traded. And to the Chicago White Sox of all people. Geez. He could’ve at least went to the Cubs and not a division rival. Oh well, at least it’s not the Yankees.
- Your player may be having a fluke season. Alex Avila had an okay 2012, and a crappy 2013. I absolutely got ridiculed by friends, family, and random Tigers fans when they would hear my daughter’s name. “Avila? Tell him to start swinging that bat and actually hitting the ball!” Me: “Yeah, I don’t think you’re understanding which Avila I actually have some control over, but okay random sir, trust me when I say that I absolutely feel your pain.”
- Your player may be found out to be a cheater/liar/some how a bad person. Not that I’d ever understand why someone would name their kid after him in the first place, but I really feel for the ones that named a child after Alex Rodriguez for example. Even though he’s a Yankee, Derek Jeter was a very classy man on and off the field, so being associated with him isn’t a bad thing.
However, you can’t foresee what someone is going to do in the future, and what exactly you consider to be “bad,” but think carefully about their quality of character both on and off the field.
- They may stop playing their sport all together, or get demoted so far down you don’t ever hear about them anymore. Even though Jeter is a legend, and avid baseball fans could absolutely still use it at any point for their children, I have a friend whom named her son Brandon Inge. Shortly after her Brandon’s second birthday, the long-time Tiger was traded away to Oakland. From there he had a shaky career and was then traded again. I lost track of him after that, but according to my friend he was demoted to his last team’s AA and AAA leagues and rarely heard from again, especially since he wasn’t in Michigan anymore.
- Your child might not even like the sport your player plays, let alone the player. Perhaps they like a different player on that team, or even a different team. Obviously I love baseball, and so Avila’s name is legitimately something near and dear to my heart. And of course Avila claims to like basketball. No matter how excited I try to get her about baseball, she would rather have me sign her up to play basketball. We are going to go to a Tigers versus White Sox game this summer as a family, but she’d probably rather go see the Pistons. Which, yeah, she’s gonna have to talk Matt into because I just can’t sit through a basketball game. Well, anyway, the point is that right now, she really doesn’t care about baseball or Alex Avila. She knows she’s named after a baseball player though, so there’s that at least I suppose.
- People may not “get” that it’s an athlete name. We are Detroit Tigers fans that live in Michigan. I’m seriously surprised as to how many people DO NOT “get” Avila’s name, or how to pronounce it, or anything. There have been two people in her lifetime that have pronounced it correctly on the first try: A social worker from the Autism Center that is a huge baseball fan, and actor Stephen Amell during our Chicago adventure (whom is also a huge baseball fan). Though, most often if people are commenting on her name, it’s to tell me how beautiful/unique/interesting it is and how did I ever find something so pretty. My response, “Uh, I was watching a baseball game, Alex Avila came up to bat, and I had just said I wanted a name that started and ended with ‘A.’ Then he hit a home run. Boom. Avila.”
- They’ll end up marrying or befriending someone that is named or a fan of a rival team/player. My luck Avila is going to end up marrying someone/having a forever friend named Jeter. Just because I “jinxed” us in that sense. Perhaps it’d be like my friend’s situation; she’s a Jewish Red Sox fan and she married a Christian Yankees fan. When they had their kids, they “compromised” and are raising them as Jewish Yankees fans… Which, I told her she got a bad deal on the baseball part and her husband should totally hand over all naming rights to her or something. I would have busted out some Bibles or something because I couldn’t ever raise my kids as Yankees fans. So I applaud all of you that do. Then again, there’s always the possibility of marrying/friending a family that’s really into a different sport. Maybe they’ll be more into football, or hockey, or God forbid, basketball. 😉
So, those are a few things to think about if you’re considering an athlete-inspired name. I know I only have experience with baseball specifically, but I’d imagine it holds true for any sport. Obviously, I think you should essentially do whatever you think is best for your child, and your family, but I thought those were a few interesting things I’ve found so far on my Avila’s journey.