Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's in a name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet and fall in love in Shakespeare's lyrical tale of star crossed lovers. They are doomed from the start as members of two warring families. Here Juliet tells Romeo that she loves the person who is called "Montague", not the Montague name.

Sorry Juliet, I don't buy it. Would plain old Eldrick Woods sell as much Nike, Buick, and Gatorade product and so thoroughly psych out his opposition the way Tiger Woods does? Not likely.

Names and nicknames carry a lot of weight. Remember Giants DB Elvis Patterson, nicknamed Toast because he was burned so often by receivers? It stuck ... Elvis "Toast" Patterson. Reggie Jackson was "Mr. October" because of his reputation for delivering in the clutch. The contrast was Dave Winfield, disdainfully labeled "Mr. May" by George Steinbrenner because he delivered in the early season when it really didn't matter.

I started thinking about my own name, Dale Moss. Short, simple and doesn't get misspelled often. Dale is one of those types of first names (like Carol or Gail) that can be male or female. When I was really young I disliked that aspect especially because Mrs. Roy Rogers, Dale Evans was probably the most prominent "Dale" around. Having "Dale" as a first name brought a certain amount of elementary school teasing.

Those of a certain age will also remember the "Mrs. Burke, I thought you were Dale," Grape Nuts commercial. It was widely parodied and another example of a female Dale. View it here:


Thanks to the internet and names.mongabay.com website, I have learned that "Dale" is the 109th most popular male first name in the United States. Not totally obscure, but not nearly as common as say, David (my brother's name) which ranks 6th. By the way, as a women's name, Dale ranks 696th.

Combine that with "Moss" which ranks as the 353rd most common surname in the U.S. and you have a short, but fairly obscure name. I started wondering who else has my name. Back to Google where I discovered the following group of Dale Mosses.

I already knew of Dale Moss, a top executive with British Airways. I had heard of him when he ran the BA operation at O'Hare and we were living in Chicago. Now he is the managing director of BA's OpenSkies subsidiary providing transatlantic service. He's an American and also a top motivational speaker. Follow this link to see what fees he commands for a motivational speech:


(If he's ever busy I would be happy to step in and give a "Dale Moss" speech at these rates!)

Being a Journalism school graduate, it was interesting to discover that another Dale Moss is a columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal. His column is "about all things Hoosier — his beat is north of the river." Says he's 52 (same as me) and a heart attack survivor (thankfully not the same as me). Here's a link to his columns at the newspaper:


Being in the basketball business, I was surprised to learn that there is also a Dale Moss who is a 6-4 junior guard on the South Dakota State men's basketball team. He's an honor student and his uncle Johnny Rodgers won the 1972 Heisman Trophy at Nebraska. Here's a link to his bio and a video showing that he has crazy hops. Perhaps a Harlem Ambassadors contract is in his future!


Now I'm thinking, wouldn't it be great to have a get-together of Dale Moss, Dale Moss, Dale Moss, and Dale Moss? Dale Moss could arrange to have it in London. And Dale Moss can write about it. I'll make sure that Dale Moss is there!