The name of the game
It's been a tough offseason so far for New England Patriots football fans. Some long-time favorite players have moved on to other teams, and it can be hard to say goodbye.
Especially if you just shelled out a hundred bucks for a replica jersey.
Across New England, fans are staring glumly at shirts that say #4 Vinatieri, knowing that kicker Adam Vinatieri is now a member of the hated rival Colts. As a wardrobe problem it's just a nuisance. But what if you'd named your child after him?
Consider the most visible Patriot, quarterback Tom Brady. Brady is the 122nd most popular boys' name in America -- but #53 in Massachusetts, home of the Patriots. (It firstcracked the top 100 in the state in 2002, the year Brady led the team to its first Superbowl victory.) Brady is signed to a long-term contract, but who knows what the future may bring?
Naming a child after a living person is risky business. By and large, today's parents are wise to this. There's now a time lag in naming babies after presidents -- parents wait to see how the term in office works out. Yet sports stars are inspiring more namesakes than ever. Not only are athletes, like any young celebrities, subject to unpredictable slumps and scandals, but they change teams. Look at another New England star, former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, who's now...gulp...a Yankee. How do you explain to little Damon that he was named for a guy in pinstripes?
If you want a sure thing, name for a sports star whose career is already safely in the record books -- or better yet the history books. Jackie Robinson and Johnny Unitas jerseys never go out of style.