For one of the two men who have made it to this year’s Name of the Year final, destiny awaits.
By this time next week, Canadian hockey player Jimbob Ghostkeeper or California family practitioner Dr. Narwhals Mating will be etched in NOTY lore. By navigating another wildly competitive field, the 2018 winner will join an exclusive club—one that brings deserved glory, but also reflects the weight of owning a spectacular name.
First let’s recap the paths our finalists took through the bracket. Ghostkeeper, who played a few games for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers midget AA hockey team in Alberta, tore through the Bulltron Regional like a winger on a breakaway. The No. 2 seed skated past, in order, Travis-Couture Lovelady, Dr. Dimple Royalty, Mosthigh Thankgod, No. 1 Salami Blessing, and, in the Final Four, Makenlove Petit-Fard.
Handicappers—literally the sports book Pinnacle—had Dr. Mating as the favorite to win it all. Seeded No. 1 in the Chrotchtangle Regional, the doctor took care of Clinton Bacon, Mahogany Loggins, Beau Titsworth, and Gandalf Hernandez. His Final Four opponent, Delicious Peters, was a light lunch. Along the way we discovered that Dr. Mating originally was Raymond Rex Spisak. But NOTY is good with legal name changes.
The winner of this championship throwdown will earn more than just an inside track to the Hall of Name. Our 2010 co-winner, Australian rules footballer Steele Sidebottom, generated headlines around the globe. A year after his 2014 title, English soccer coach Shamus Beaglehole turned up in a crossword puzzle by New York Times contributor Brendan Emmett Quigley. (36 Across. We think we know that one.)
But possessing a name strong enough to earn these laurels can be a burden. Consider 2008 co-champ and former University of Kansas softball star Destiny Frankenstein. In a recent article in the Tulsa World about the family name, Destiny’s father, Wes, said that schoolmates asked to see the bolts in his neck and made endless references to Young Frankenstein. “You just get tired of the class clowns,” Wes said. “They really rode it hard.”
Destiny said she didn’t experience the same level of schoolyard teasing. In fact, she campaigned openly during her NOTY run. “I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they thought I could beat them up, but I never beat anyone up,” Destiny said. “I was a softball player, and softball players have big muscles apparently.”
But then Destiny met and married a fellow Oklahoman named Steven King—yes, Destiny Frankenstein married Steven King—and opted to take his surname. Destiny told the paper she’s still proud of the Frankenstein name but was happy to trade it for something shorter.
We’re not worried about Jimbob Ghostkeeper or Dr. Narwhals Mating ditching their monikers. After all, Dr. Narwhals Mating changed his name to Dr. Narwhals Mating. And who wouldn’t want to be named Jimbob Ghostkeeper?