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Which goat is the GOAT?

It’s the end of school. One of my part-timers is graduating from Presbyterian College.

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Monte Dutton

I’ve entered a lot of baseball players’ names in my cell this spring because that’s the way I keep score nowadays. In my phone. I’m shooting photos at the same time, and there are only so many innings I can score by scrawling on my palm and down my forearm with a leaky pen. (Imagine getting COVID from ink.)

So, in tandem with the annuals being distributed throughout the land – they still have them, right? -- I’ve taken a look at those names and made a list of my own superlatives.

Mostly likely to drive in NASCAR: Dreher’s Cole Coleman.

Most likely to one day enjoy an evening cocktail: Broome’s Jameson Duncan.

Most likely to argue balls and strikes: Emerald’s Tyler Rude.

Most likely to be asked ‘how you say that?’: Newberry’s Zsyheum Epps

Second most likely: Newberry’s Miyquan Darby.

Most likely to be a hockey player if it was cold here: Chapman’s Jay Highducheck.

Most likely to enter law enforcement: Woodmont’s Mace Harlan.

Most likely to get lost: Woodruff’s Nemo Cochran.

Most likely to ride shotgun on a wagon train headed west: Laurens Academy’s Hack Hardy.

Most likely bit player in a film noir: Presbyterian College’s Joel Dragoo.

Most likely to have sold a vowel: Presbyterian’s Logan Ymker.

Most likely to enjoy idle chitchat at a soiree: Greenville’s Lathan Sellers.

Most likely to tell some other kid to scram: Batesburg-Leesville’s Pacer Buzhardt.

Most likely to own a pair of jeans that don’t have the knees shredded: Easley’s Levi Recio.

Most likely to wish they still used wooden bats: Wofford College’s Matty Brown.

Most likely to ask “nowum saying?”: Wofford’s Dom Marcoccio.

Most likely to be descended from a president: Wofford’s Coulson Buchanan.

Most likely to celebrate: Greer’s Gavin Hug.

Most likely to have high aspirations: Berea’s Amazay Robinson.

I don’t know any of these young men. None of it is personal. Nothing could be further from the truth for some of them. Some of them are, by sheer coincidence, on the money.

What were the best names ever?

In my boyhood, a linebacker named Steve Stonebreaker played for the Colts and Saints.

No quarterback had a better name than Johnny Unitas. In his final game in Baltimore, a plane flew over dragging a banner that read “Unitas We Stand.”

Cecil Fielder had a great name because there is a word, “sessile,” pronounced the same way, that means “immobile.” Cecil Fielder was a sessile fielder.

Baseball once had a player named Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish. They called him Cal.

Tyrone Power was a great name for a movie star, Audie Murphy for a war hero and Rocky Marciano (or for that matter, Graziano, or, come to think of it, Balboa) for a boxer. Joe Frazier was a great name but only the way Muhammad Ali pronounced it, “FRAY-zhuh.”

Was there ever a better TV guy’s name than Pat Summerall? I think not.

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Have you noticed how initialisms and acronyms are making a comeback? Once all the presidents went by them? FDR, JFK, LBJ … then we had a succession of presidents – RWR, WJC, GHWB – where the initials didn’t flow easily, and it went out of style.

They’re coming back. It used to be that the “goat” screwed up a game. He struck out with the bases loaded. He misjudged a fly ball with the game on the line, fumbled at the 1-yard line or blew a layup at the buzzer. Nowadays, GOAT stands for “greatest of all time.” No one calls the president BHO, DJT or JRB, but he is the POTUS. The Supreme Court is the SCOTUS. This First Lady is the FLOTUS. The yacht is the BOATUS, presumably.

LBJ is now LeBron James. RFK is a NASCAR team. Fannie Mae makes loans. Or is it Freddie Mac? This I know. The Gamecocks play at Willy B.

OBJ is a pass catcher. AOC is a Congresswoman. Sometimes I get them backwards.

Initials are running wild. I spend way too much time looking up what in tarnation they mean. The initials are dutifully recited – “42nd in the latest BQHYABR rankings – and others nod as if they, too, know what they mean even though “they” haven’t a clue.

Uh, Boys Quarter Horse Youth Athletics Barrel Racing?

“You know what they say?”

“No, and who are they?”

Maybe this learning disability runs in the family. My sister used to call a certain linebacker Buck Ditkus.

As the late, great Roger Miller used to sing, “My uncle used to love me but she died. Chicken ain’t chicken ‘less it’s lickin’ good fried.”

I can’t imagine him being sober when he wrote that.