Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Finding a Name

When I was a kid, someone left a German Shepherd puppy on my cousins' doorstep. Rather than turn the dog in to a shelter, they agreed that the right thing to do was take him in and do the best they could to provide him with a good home. One thing they couldn't agree on, however, was a name; for years, until they decided to start calling him "Max", that dog was known simply as "Pup".

I never understood how it could be so hard to decide on a simple name. Then I tried to name this blog.

My first blog, which is currently still in action over at Foxsports, was called "All The Good Names Are Taken", a reference to the fact that with so many innovative names out there, it can be difficult to find one that is both unique and interesting without stepping on somebody else's toes. It was also my own personal "Pup" - not bad for starters but also not good for the long-term.

With the move to this new space, I needed to find my own "Max". Toward that end, I searched high and low on the net, looking for something that stood out. I considered lines from my favorite movies and quotes from my favorite athletes; for a time, a fragment of Moonlight Graham's speech from "Field of Dreams", in which he talks about "...a sky so blue..." was the frontrunner, but even that ended up on the scrap heap (a little too poetic for my liking).

Then it hit me. There is a scene in the movie "Bull Durham" where rookie pitcher Nuke LaLoosh tracks down his catcher, the veteran Crash Davis, at a pool hall to give him the exciting news: he's been called up to the major leagues. Despite the bond that has developed between the two, minor league lifer Crash finds it difficult to be happy with his friend's big break, and proceeds to explain his definition of the fine line that exists between mediocrity and excellence:

"Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gork... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium."

Written by Ron Shelton, a former minor leaguer who never reached the majors, Crash's brief speech holds truth even beyond the obvious baseball implications. It says that for an individual to achieve real success, it requires more than raw talent, above-average intelligence or good old-fashioned determination; it also requires at least a small helping of luck.

And so I had my blog name. "One More Dying Quail" isn't perfect, I suppose - it might not have the same ring to it as "25 Hits A Week" or "One Flare A Week", but that's okay. I like it just fine.

1 Comment:

Sarah said...

If only I had a time machine...