Before anyone asks, no, this was not an option when we were considering baby names.
PAMPA, Texas -- A Texas couple who named their son ESPN after the cable sports network will soon be getting a visit from the toddler's namesake.
An ESPN film crew is coming to this Panhandle town next month to interview the family of 2-year-old ESPN Malachi McCall for a feature on several children around the country named after the network.
ESPN (pronounced Espen) McCall is one of at least three children in the United States known to be named for the sports network. A couple in Corpus Christi named their son Espn Curiel in 2000, the same year Espen Blondeel was born in Michigan.
ESPN spokesman Dave Nagle said the feature will air Sept. 6 as part of a two-hour special celebrating the network's 25th anniversary. The special focuses on the company's history, growth and impact.
"We don't have viewers. We have fans," Nagle said Saturday. "And I guess there's no better testament than when someone names their child after your product. It just shows the bond we have with people."
Rebecca and Michael McCall said their son's name started as a joke after they heard on the radio about another couple naming their son "Espen."
"He looked at me and said, 'That's a cool name,'" Rebecca McCall said in Saturday's editions of the Amarillo Globe-News.
At the time, though, Rebecca said she "totally disagreed with it."
As her pregnancy wore on, the name grew on her. She and her mother made a trip to an ESPN store while in Chicago and bought shirts almost four months before his birth. Rebecca's oldest daughter, Haylei, now almost 5, called the baby in her mother's tummy "ESPN."
"I didn't like it until he was born," Rebecca said.
Then she couldn't think of calling him anything else.
So, it was official: ESPN Malachi McCall. His middle name is a biblical messenger of God, so his parents sometimes call him "the sports messenger."
Rebecca said people have called the name cruel, but she doesn't think it's any worse than an outdated family name. She admits it might be a challenge to understand the lack of vowels in his name when he's older, but thinks her son was given the gift of a unique and beautiful name.
Rebecca said people react mainly with confusion as to his name's pronunciation. And he's small-town gossip in Pampa, Rebecca said, but that doesn't bother her.
"I want him to grow up and be strong," she said. "I don't think his name can tear him down."
His parents said ESPN loves baseball, basketball and football, and Rebecca said she's hoping to have his room done in sports theme before the TV ESPN comes.
And, of course, ESPN enjoys watching SportsCenter every night with his father.
However, Michael and Rebecca said they don't think the name will put pressure on him to become a superstar athlete; they're just catering to his interests at the moment.
All in all, Rebecca said, she likes unique names. She wanted to name her two younger daughters "Disney" but was shot down both times by Michael. They compromised on Sterling, now 21 months, and Kendall, now 11 months.
If the McCalls have another son, would he be "The Deuce?"
Well, if ESPN had a twin, his name would be "EXPN." However, the McCalls don't watch solely ESPN for their sports. They planned "Fox Sports McCall" for a second son.
AP link via Vince.
UPDATE: Jesse is down with that.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 28, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack