Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Swim Geek Showdown: What's in a name, anyway?

"Lo, there do I see my father. Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers. Lo there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning. They do call to me. They bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever."

In case you haven't been paying attention, Chris DeSantis has thrown down the gauntlet. He has decided to enter the fray with David Rieder, “The Swim Geek,” in his prediction contest to see who can most accurately pick the Pan-Pac Team to be chosen at the upcoming US Nationals. At stake: David Rieder’s online moniker.

If I had the resources, I would make an awesome WWF-style commercial for them with my movie editing software. I want to hype up this showdown. It could be a really great blog fight, and the prize is worth fighting for.

I am all about the gimmick. I have been calling myself “The Screaming Viking!” since way back when the only swim blog site out there was Timed Finals. The name has some meaning for me. If you follow my blog you know that my home town, Petersburg, Alaska is obsessed with their Norske heritage and I do miss my home terribly. My high school and swim club mascots were Vikings when I was growing up, and I get pretty sentimental about all that. Heck, I even wanted to write the demand for a Viking funeral into my will long before I ever became a blogger.

Beyond that though is the humor factor. Hopefully you are old enough to remember the famous episode of Cheers where Sam, Norm, Carla and Woody conspired to run off the snobby new bartender by coming up with a drink that he had never heard of: the made up concoction they called The Screaming Viking. I am certain that it is a well known episode, because several commenters at floswimming have asked if I “prefer my cucumber bruised.”

That part has never been about naming my blog after a drink or a sitcom episode. It’s weirder than that. You see, I have always had this crazy fantasy that some day I will walk into a local tavern and… well, you’ll just have to see it. (Watch the video from about 18:30 to 21:45 and pay attention to the old guy when he walks in the door at around 21:05.)

I want this to happen to me someday, somewhere… hopefully when I am about 85 years old and walking into the bar at the hotel where I am receiving my ISHOF induction. (Yeah, right... I know. I said it was a fantasy.) I have remembered this gag since junior high when the show originally aired. I’m sure that somewhere in my subconscious, this scene was lying there waiting for it’s chance to influence me with my first creative endeavor. I just want to have a reason to spontaneously say that line. So if you just happen to sit next to me at a bar, please set me up for a good one liner by ordering a Screaming Viking.

There are a lot of cool blog names out there, but “The Swim Geek” is not just any name. It carries more weight than that. It implies that there can be only one. He who earns the honor, essentially becomes the King of the Swim Geeks, and that is a pretty large kingdom over which to hold dominion. Can the boy king continue to rule, or will the nerdiest of all the swim-nerds usurp the throne?

In a way, I hope that Chris wins, but only so he will add a little flash to his online persona and maybe come up with a new logo. I like the "Blue Ribbon" idea in his blog post, and maybe I could get my buddy Sly to make a cool banner like the participation ribbon picture he made for me a few months ago. It might make it easier to dress up in a Chris DeSantis costume if we ever really have a Swim-Nerd convention. But then again, I also hope that David gets to keep the nickname that was affectionately given to him at Swimming World, the same way we distributed nicknames to new members on every team I have ever been on.

Whoever wins, I hope they take the name and run with it. Good lick guys. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a fierce brawl.


  1. Good lick.. Nice throw back to a previous blog or was it?

    I do like the blogger name SV, not sure if we meet if I would call you coach or Viking but never by your given name.

    Let the battle begin, you could even put the name in a brief case at the top of a ladder in the middle of a steel cage...

  2. "I hope that Chris wins..." Thanks. Haven't felt much love so far.

    Just so you people know: when I was on the Morning Swim Show in January, GARRETT was the one who gave me the name. Yes, Garrett, Chris' friend. A man who I hadn't even met in person at the time and had pretty much talked to him only via facebook chats. Clearly, this is a title I deserve, and me alone. DeSantis better know what he got himself into.

  3. Oh boy. This is about to get good...

  4. Braden, you gonna jump in with some predictions?

  5. Sho' nough. Just sent you an email, actually. I'm working on them as we speak. Don't tell my boss.