A name can mean so much more


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Kim Porche, a 2017 senior defender, was a part of the soccer team, which has several players with nicknames.

Jacob Summerville, Staff Reporter

Whether it is a court or a field, support from teammates encourages players to perform to the best of their ability even if it means calling each other by different names.

For the soccer and softball teams on campus, it seems like most players are referred to as something other than their first name.

Sometimes nicknames are developed as a necessity like for Payton Colson, a senior forward.

“When I was younger, we had three Paytons on the team,” said Colson. “So, everyone started calling me Colson, and when you grow up and always playing a sport, people just kind of know you by your sport. So, everyone started calling me Colson. When I came here, there was a girl that was already here on my club team, and that’s what she knew me by. So, that’s kind of how I got introduced to everybody.”

Aubree Dillon, a freshman midfielder, explained that the softball team is not stingy with nicknames giving some girls multiple ones.

“Lexi Gundersen, we call her ‘Flex,’ ‘Chubs,’ ‘Lex,’” said Dillon.

Some players have nicknames based on their physical attributes such as Megan Gordon, a sophomore midfielder.

“Meg is the biggest girl on our team,” said Caroline Lee, a junior defender. “We just call her ‘Big Meg.’ She’s definitely the tallest.”

For the softball team, almost everyone has a nickname.

Tanner Wright, a junior pitcher, shared that most players are called a variation of their last name. 

Her own nickname, however, follows a different pattern.

“People, a lot of times, call me by my full name,” said Wright. “They just say ‘Tanner Wright’ like it’s kind of one word almost.”

According to Wright, the nicknames of many players formed by altering their last names. Brennan Bourgeois, a junior catcher, is called either “Bourge” or “Bourgie.” Ali McCoy, a junior pitcher and infielder, is called “Coy Coy.” Amberlyn Alfano, a freshman utility player, is called “Alphoneo.” Madison Watson, a sophomore infielder, is called “Watty.”

Whitney Sullivan, a redshirt junior catcher who is referred to as “Sully,” shared the backstory behind the nickname of Caitlyn VanHemelryck, a senior pitcher.

“Vannie, she’s a senior on the team too, her last name is VanHemelryck,” said Sullivan. “So, it’s a lot harder for people to say, especially out-of-state people. They don’t know it. So, we chose the name Vannie to shorten it up. Plus, it’s kind of fun.”

For both sports, players shared that the nicknames play an integral role in the fast-paced games.

“When you’re on the soccer field, you usually try to come up with the shortest name possible, just because it’s so fast-paced,” said Dillon.

Lee added onto Dillon’s statement.

“You’re going to make a 50-yard sprint, and you’re going to pass the ball, you don’t really want to say a four-syllable name,” said Lee.

Sullivan shared how nicknames help off the field as well by fostering a sense of familiarity within the girls.

“Nicknames honestly make you feel more personal,” said Sullivan. “Different people have different nicknames for people. It’s not just one nickname. Mine’s Sully. It’s off Monsters Inc. It’s pretty cool, and I love being called Sully.”

Wright shared the importance of having nicknames.

“I think that nicknames are helpful and important because it shows that we all have inside jokes with each other or just that extra chemistry and bond with each other, that we can joke around,” said Wright. “It just makes them feel important almost, like, have a sense of self because other people are calling them by that name.”