Sport / Columnists

Tamlyn Patterson
3 minute read
21 Apr 2017
3:02 pm

1, 2, 3, 4… ‘Gunter, Glieben, Glauchen, Globen’

Tamlyn Patterson

Not too long ago there was an injury cloud hanging over Quinton de Kock heading into the third Test against the Kiwis.

Tamlyn Patterson

So as the main sports story, we decided to promote the potential setback on our front page. As is always the case, space is an issue, so without thinking, we opted for the “Quinny” route. I mean everyone knows who Quinny is, right? Besides, it’s his Twitter handle, duh.

Well, the actual question is: do we want to know him by that particular name? Judging from the responses of some of my colleagues to the term of endearment used for our mainstay wicketkeeper, I have to agree that nicknames can be rather unfortunate and unnecessary … well mostly.

You see, it all depends on which team you’re batting for: getting a job done versus banter over a couple of beers with mates. Brilliant headlines are more often than not one or two characters too long, so we as sports editorial staff, embrace nicknames. Although once you’ve been down the “been there, done that” route, there is no turning back … until the next edition that is. Can I remember the last, say for instance, Chelsea headline? No. So the chances of the majority out there remembering are luckily close to zero.

Beyond the realms of nausea, there are some pretty good ones out there. Below are a trio of corkers that come to mind:

  • Colin Montgomerie – Mrs Doubtfire: Unlike the 53-year-old Scottish golfer, the Robin Williams character was likeable, stockings and all.
  • But who could entirely blame US Ryder Cup fans in handing this little gem down as the heckling war reached a climax during the 1999 edition of the always highly-anticipated team event at Brookline. Like one fan let loose: “We don’t hate you Monty, we just want you to lose”.
  • Andre Nel – Gunther: The former Proteas fast bowler was a rather fiery individual so it came as no surprise when he revealed a German persona named Gunther. “When I walk on the cricket field I get all worked up and quite aggressive,” said Nel, who retired from international cricket in 2009 – in an eight-year stint that included 123 Test wickets.
  • With his moniker common knowledge, he went on to take six wickets for 43 after skipper Shaun Pollock scribbled his nickname on his run-up. As far as his activities off the field go, we’ll rather move on, but one can’t help thinking about the Offspring song “Pretty fly for a white guy” and its accompanying gibberish German intro. Well, he must’ve thought he’s pretty fly anyway.
  • Louis Oosthuizen – Shrek: Oosthuizen got off lightly with “Shrek” considering his real name Lodewicus Theodorus, and admittedly so.
  • The 2010 Open Champion says he refuses to acknowledge any family member opting for the full-blown version and if the ogre comparison is at all avoidable, Louis will do.
  • On the subject of ghastly, bald green monsters, if anyone deserves the nickname “Shrek”, it must be Dutch darts world champion Michael van Gerwen. But instead, the current world No 1 escaped with the rather mild “Mighty Mike”. To sum up, all I’m saying is that sometimes you need to thank your lucky stars. Life could be worse – imagine being stuck with “Eldrick Tont” for life?

Sorry Tiger.