The Nameberry Nine: Football, Facebook, fiction

For The Nameberry Nine this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain looks at Superbowl names, the Facebook effect, and the casts and characters of some upcoming TV shows.

If football games were decided on the basis of players’ names instead of points scored, I’d hand the Super Bowl victory to The New York Giants and their quarterback Eli Manning. Eli is on the rise, reaching #65 in 2010 before considering boys named Elijah, Elias, Elliot, and Elliott who might answer to Eli, too.

Brady, on the other hand, was boosted by long-time New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, plus Miranda’s adorable red-haired son on Sex and the City. But the football star has had a long career, and Miranda’s kiddo is growing up in infrequent movie sequels. The stylish Irish surname is fading, falling to #125 in 2010.

Of course, it really works the other way around. While Eli will likely rise regardless of the game’s outcome, would a big win for the Patriots reverse Brady’s slide?

We’ll have to wait and see. For now, here are this week’s nine newsiest names:

Lucas – The players who faced off in Super Bowl XLVI had quite the bunch of names: There’s Ramses, Zak, Rocky, Bear, Niko, Nate, Tiquan, and Lousaka, to say nothing of Chad Ochocinco. But if you’ve just delivered a bouncing baby boy on game day and want a subtle connection for your son’s name? Consider Lucas. In an age of corporate naming rights, few fields offer possibilities for a child’s name. Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts, is the exception.

Indiana – There’s also the name of the state where the game will be played. XLVI marks the very first Super Bowl to come to Indiana. The state is also a gender neutral option popular with actors – Casey Affleck has a son named Indiana August, while Ethan Hawke called his daughter Indiana. The –ana ending makes it wearable for girls, while Harrison Ford’s adventurous archeologist keeps it masculine, too.

Emmett – This name still brings to mind NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith, but it makes the list this week as a birth announcement from journalist and blogger Jill Cordes, mom to Fia Lily. Emmett Redmond was almost Simon or Liam or another L-name. But once he arrived, they chucked their list and started over again. Congratulations!

Madelyn – There’s asking for suggestions via social media, and then there’s turning the matter over to the anonymous many who voted in one couple’s Facebook poll. The parents made good with their promise to choose the top name. Madelyn beat out Emily, McKenna, and Addilynne, and so Madelyn Rae she is!

Astala – For every couple struggling to settle on a name, there are those who work it out well in advance. Count Peaches Geldof and fiancé Thomas Cohen among the latter. Their son isn’t due until April but they’ve settled on Astala Dylan Willow. The mom-to-be described their ideal name as “unusual but not ridiculous.” I’m not entirely certain they hit that mark.

Martin – Post-Super Bowl, we’ll all be ready for the debut of new television series. Here’s one to watch: Kiefer Sutherland’s new show Touch. He plays Martin, a character I suspect will be thoroughly admirable. Will it help Martin shake off some of his fustiness in favor of a certain Dean Martin retro cool? Or better still, will we simply recognize him as an enduring classic as worthy of consideration as, say, Jack?

Walter – Another leading man in a new debut wears a once-dated, now-prime-for-revival name: Walter, as in The Finder’s Walter Sherman. The Bones spin-off is rich with intriguing monikers, like Willa Monday. Is it any surprise that a television writer and producer called Hart Hanson knows something about naming a character?

Meg – Speaking of writing, did you know that celebrated young adult science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time has just turned fifty? Heroine Meg Murry remains ageless – a shy girl with a talent for math and more bravery than many of us could muster in our teens – the forerunner of Hermione Granger. While her full name is Margaret, she’s the kind of figure that makes a brief, three-letter name feel complete.

Tom – Speaking of three-letter names, let’s head back to the gridiron for just a minute. While Brady is fading, could Tom stage a comeback?  Thomas has never fallen out of the US Top 100, but he’s far less common that was once true. But Tom – just Tom – is in the French Top Twenty, and he’d be right at home with Max and Gus today.

Heard any interesting names lately?

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13 Responses to “The Nameberry Nine: Football, Facebook, fiction”

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clairels Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 12:59 am

While we’re on the subject of upcoming TV names, I happened to notice the two main characters of “Smash” (debuts tomorrow), both women in their 20s/30s, are named Ivy and Karen. These are two names that couldn’t be more different, and I’d love to know how they settled on them.

Tressa Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 2:37 am

@clairels I noticed that too, and was thinking that maybe Ivy was a stage name?

Oh and random change of subject: I had a new student (about 6 yrs old) today who’s nametag said Walter. I was so excited to see that! So I said “Hi Walter” and his mom quickly corrected me and said “Oh. He actually goes by Iggy.” Uhhh ok?

Poppy528 Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 3:51 am

On the topic of Walter, I just finished watching Breaking Bad. Protagonist Walter White has a son named Flynn (love). Im giddy for season 5!

This article seemed to ramble all over the place.

Dantea Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 7:31 am

I had a student at the daycare not long ago named Walter and his little brother Waylen. I have a new born cousin named Brady Patrick (named after Tom Brady actually). And I have a Lucas, Madelyn, and Emmett at the daycare. lol ^_^

Sarah.Jane Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 8:28 am

I can honestly say that any name Peaches chooses has got to be better than the ones her father chose. It is on the edge of odd, but completely wearable.
Walter is one of my loves. He is so sweet, yet edgy with Walt as a nickname.
I love Emmett, but I am sure this will just be another boost of popularity.
Great list!!!!

lindseylikes Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have secretly loved Walter for years…I’m not sure if I’m happy or not that everyone else seems to love it, too. 🙂

Trustedwriter Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 10:49 am

I looooooove Walter! It’s on my future son list!

roselang Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 11:47 am

I just met a 10 month old Walter this weekend! So happy to see this name is getting more usable. And I have a cousin Martin who is in his 20’s, the only Martin I know (and he goes by Marty.)

tavn Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I’ve secretly loved Walter since The Painted Veil with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.

BritishAmerican Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Walter is a great name. I couldn’t convince my husband of that in 2007 though!

Anyone know how Astala is pronounced?

miloowen Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Thomas/Tom has been a family name for over six generations. My Tom was Tom when he was little but then started calling himself Thomas around grade 2. Now he calls himself Tom again….It’s a popular name in Israel too, just Tom.

Some of these other names — bleh. I like Walt but not Walter and Lucas has been done to death.

Madeleine L’Engle’s characters always had names that suited them perfectly. In A Wrinkle in Time, not only was there brainy but insecure Meg/Megatron/Margaret, but there was Calvin her friend and Charles Wallace, the endangered baby brother, along with twins Sandy (boy) and Dennys (boy).

Lauren Kate Says:

February 6th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Sybil! Is anyone else watching Downton Abbey? I love the name of the youngest daughter, Lady Sybil Crawley.

I like Walt too.

WendyMCoats Says:

October 2nd, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I really enjoyed reading this post and the comments. L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is my all-time favorite book. We pondered girls names including – Madeleine, Meg, and Margaret. So, I especially loved the part of the article where Meg was discussed with Hermione from HP and A Winter’s Tale. In November 2008, our beautiful (almost 4 year old little girl) arrived . . . . Hermione Tristan Coats. She is fully and completely a Hermione. Nothing short for it except, “H” at times. Even when I call her pumpkin or something silly, she’ll say, “Momma, I’m not a pumpkin, I’m Hermione.” (heart warmed) And all the little kids in her preschool call her Hermione with no problem. Though learning to spell and write all 8 letters is more of a challenge compared with the Gia or Mia or Kaya in her class. And for the most part nobody connects it to Harry Potter . . . mostly we’re asked about Hermione Gingold (you better know you’re musical theater, if you name a little one Hermione). We love it. She loves it. Because it’s in both HP and the Bard’s AWT,we say you can pick your literary reference. And we say “her -my -ah-knee”

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