What’s in a nickname?

What’s in a nickname?

**Above:** Trey Johnson ’17, Trey Muraoka ’16 and Tre Nowaczynski ’17 (left to right) have each been given their own distinct nicknames so that people can distinguish between them. **Lower left:** Gunnar Goeden ’18 earned his nickname after an unforgtettable moment on the court. *Photos by Anders Voss. ’16.*
Above: Trey Johnson ’17, Trey Muraoka ’16 and Tre Nowaczynski ’17 (left to right) have each been given their own distinct nicknames so that people can distinguish between them. Lower left: Gunnar Goeden ’18 earned his nickname after an unforgtettable moment on the court. Photos by Anders Voss. ’16.
The sports world is full of great nicknames: “The Great Bambino,” “Big Papi,” “Magic Johnson,” “Mr. October,” “King James,” “Megatron.” Almost every nickname has a story behind it, whether it be an elaborate tale or a simple act of randomness. Throughout history, sports teams have always seemed to have a magnetic attraction to nicknames. Here are a few of the most interesting nicknames in Macalester Athletics.

Tre Nowaczynski ’17, aka “Tree!™”: Many of those who know Tre don’t know the true origin of his nickname. The common misconception is that it came about as a way of differentiating him from the other two Treys on the football team (Trey Muraoka ’16 and Trey Johnson ’17). The nickname, however, dates back before Macalester, when Tre was first beginning to grow out his dreadlocks. One of his friends had a slip of the tongue while calling his name and accidentally addressed him as “Tree.” Tre’s other friends got on his back about the mistake but saw some truth in the name, as they noticed that Tre’s dreads somewhat resembled the branches on a Tree. The name stuck and, when Tre joined the Macalester football team, he suggested “Tree” as a way of identification. Trey Muraoka is now often addressed as “Troy,” as suggested by former teammate Jole Miller ’15, and Trey Johnson goes by “TreyJ” or even “Chad,” which is the bizarre creation of his teammate Victor Bordo ’16.

Dan Abramowitz ’17, aka “Dangerous Dan”: Dan, a junior on the football team, acquired his nickname very early during his freshman year with the help of his former teammate Alex “Al Storm” Morrall ’15. Dan has a taste for cinnamon toast. He knows, however, that there’s a preferred way to prepare it. “I like to put the butter and cinnamon on the bread before I put it in the toaster” said Dan. During the beginning of the year, Dan experienced some difficulty in Cafe Mac, as the toaster kept catching on fire. When Alex Morrall witnessed this, he was reminded of stories his dad used to tell him as a child about characters named “Dangerous Dan” and “Scary Larry”. According to Alex, “Dangerous Dan” used to always do things that were extremely stupid, and “Scary Larry” always died. “I decided after I watched Dan butter his toast and then put it in the toaster, and the toaster catch on fire, he would then be known as ‘Dangerous Dan’ and his roommate Eric Connor would be known as ‘Scary Larry,’” said Morrall. Today, “Dangerous Dan” goes by the motto, “safety last”.

sports-heatcheck-WEB-dersGunnar Goeden ’18, aka “Heat Check”: Gunnar’s nickname stems from his first basketball scrimmage as a first year. Gunnar made the most of this competitive opportunity as a Scot, draining a three-pointer from the corner early on. His teammates went crazy seeing the first year make a huge play right away. The very next possession, following a defensive stop, Gunnar brought the ball up the court. According to Gunnar, “there was nobody guarding me, so I stopped where I was, two to three feet behind the three-point line, and just launched it.” To his dismay, it hit the back of the rim and bounced out. All of his teammates started calling him “Heat Check” since he threw up and bricked a deep three-pointer right after draining one the play before. The name stuck with him after that. Muraoka, who heard about the nickname and continues to call Gunnar “Heat Check” to this day, remembers the story differently. “He was more like halfway between the three point arc and half court,” said Muraoka. Specifics aside, Gunnar got his heat checked, and landed himself a nickname with a great story behind it.

Hardt Bergmann ’17, aka “Lavender Gooms”: Hardt adopted his nickname last year during the tennis preseason. One day, for a team building activity, the players and coaches went bowling. Instead of their real names, they decided to use nicknames on the bowling scoreboard, and Hardt immediately typed in “Lavender Gooms”, a nickname from the TV show Psych. In the show, Shawn always introduces his best friend Gus with a random nickname, one of which happened to be “Lavender Gooms.” After Hardt entered it while bowling, his teammates began calling him “Lavender” for short. Since then, it has gone so far that even the strength coaches Tony Morelli and Nicole West address him as “Lavender” when they see him in the weight room.

As you can tell, there’s no secret formula for a great nickname. Go out there, be yourself, and you might just get stuck with a nickname you love…or hate. Good luck!

October 16, 2015

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