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Monday, April 27, 2020



Names. They can be tricky sometimes. 

I recently got an e-mail from an organization that asked me to do a "local coverage" article for them on the draft status of Louisville seniors Kylee Shook and Jazmine Jones. 

And, that has never been a problem for me -- talking or writing about those two excellent UofL women's basketball stars.

It was, though, referencing "Jasmine" and "Kaylee". 

Another funny thing was that the e-mail was address to Paulie Skyes of Cardinal Couple. I've dealt with that misspelling and mispronunciation of my last name (Sykes, not Skyes) my entire life -- so, I corrected them on the gaffes and sent them a few paragraphs highlighting the careers of these two "Cardinal Forever" student-athletes. 

I guess messing up names is a common occurrence when you've got a name that isn't so easily recognized or pronounced. I tell people a way to remember my last name with the rhyming sentence "Nobody like Paul Sykes". I did see a brief blurb years ago about me in a newspaper column that I got a chuckle about. It read, Paul Skies for 12 rebounds in the narrow loss..."  So, was the writer referring to my better than average jumping ability  (he skies for the rebound) way-back-then...or had the writer just botched my last name? 

I received the nickname "Paulie" back when I was a little boy, from my Mom, as a term of endearment.

I've seen that morph into "Pauly" "Pauley" and "Polly" over the years. I just refer to the movie "Goodfellas" character "Paulie" if people need a spelling on it. There was also a "Paulie" in the TV series The Sopranos"...and a movie about a parrot named "Paulie" in the late 90's. 

I haven't seen the movie. I liked the characters in "Goodfellas" and "The Sopranos" 

My favorite was a few years ago when I traveled to an out of state campus to cover a women's basketball game. They had trouble finding my credentials. The picture to the left of these words show the error in the spelling. "Skykes".

Really?  But, then was from IU. The ushers there also had no idea where the Media Room was for WBB. I got sent to the top of Assembly Hall, a grueling trip for me back then with recently replaced hip and bum knee. I'm glad we won the game...

Coaches and athletes fall victim to misspelling a lot. I couldn't tell you exactly how many times I've seen comments about UofL head women's basketball coach Jeff Waltz. Maybe it's just a case of where they let the auto-correct feature over-ride their best intentions to identify the Cards skipper Jeff Walz?  Or were they linking Coach with a popular dance form from generations ago?  I've never seen "Walls", though, in a reference to the popular Cardinal coach....even though I knew a Jeff Walls in high school. 

Another coach who had to deal with this over the years is the recently-retired Notre Dame head women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw.  I've seen a lot of articles that insist on adding an additional "t" to her first name....referring to Muffett McGraw. (I know there were a lot of fans that wouldn't have minded Muffet picking up an additional "T" during a game...but, that's not relevant to what this article is about).

 How many of you knew that her actual first name is "Ann"? 

My favorite picture of Cortnee --
with Asia Taylor. 
One of my favorite WBB players who wore a Cardinal uniform was Cortnee Walton. I saw her referred to as "Courtney'"or "Cortney" a few times during her student-athlete time at UofL (2012-2017). Writers usually got the last name correct, though. Maybe because of the success of Bill Walton or the TV family "The Waltons". 

"Good night, John-Boy...good night, Cortnee!" 

Sid or Syd?  This first name confuses people at various times for several UofL student-athletes. I've seen mix ups on  softball great Sidney (not Sydney) Melton, Cardinal WBB players Sydney (not Sidney) Brackemyre and Sydney Zambrotta. 

i wonder how often Howie Lindsey and Lindsey Duvall have been referred to as "Lindsay"? Sara Hammond as "Sarah" ?

How about former USF and Cardinal guard Briahanna Jackson getting referred to as "Brianna"? And, now, there is a Brianna Jackson that currently plays basketball for the University of Miami and a volleyball player named Brianna Jackson headed to the University of North Alabama. 

It also hits the Cardinal Couple staff. Our writer Case Hoskins occasionally gets the new first name ""Chase". Our friend and former Cardinal Couple Radio Hour contributor Daryl Foust gets it at times on both names...with "Darrell" or "Darryl" and "Faust". 

The legendary "C.B."
Candyce Bingham 
We all remember Louisville WBB great and now Bellarmine assistant coach Candyce Bingham. I'm pretty sure she was referred to as "Candice" or "Candace" during her UofL years.
And, have you ever seen the Newburg Road university called "Bellermine"? I have.

Sheronne Vails saw her both her names misspelled during her time as a Cardinal WBB front-line star. "Sharon Veils" was the most comical I ever saw on her. 

"Sonja", "Sonia" or "Sonya" is another name that has several different version. I have a friend who refers to my wife as "Sondra". 

Ah, the lucky ones....UofL WBB has had eight "Smiths". six "Jones" and five "Johnsons". Surprisingly, the WBB roster has never had a "White" or "Black", though...and only one "Brown"....when it comes to common last names. 

The WBB Cards officially add two "Smiths" this year in Kianna and Ahlana Smith. The last name of these two shouldn't confuse anyone, but I foresee variations of "Kianna" and "Ahlana" ahead. I wonder if anyone will resort to the nicknames "A.S." and "K.S"...a spin-off of how Boston Celtics fans referred to two of their players back in the 1990's --  guards Kevin and Dennis Johnson, known as  "K.J." and "D.J." 

An old retort that went "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" was popular when I was a child. At this time in my life, I'll grudgingly endure the name variation...because sticks and stones present a pretty big danger. 

I'll end today with a Rodney Dangerfield line: 

"I never knew my name was Rodney Dangerfield for the first five or six years of my life. I always thought it was "Hey You!"  because that's how my parents referred to me." 

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive...



  1. Funny stuff today Paulie. I never have had any trouble with my name Curtis Franklin, so I guess I'm lucky. I did have a childhood nickname, though, that my siblings sometimes still refer to. "Nope". It originated because, when I was a child, I'd answer questions with the one word reply


    Curtis "A/K/A/ Nope the Dope" Franklin

  2. Spell check gets a lot of people. Good or bad.

  3. Never had the pronouncing problem.

    -The Real Joe Hill -

  4. I've seen a few versions of Jared out there. Poor Katy (short for Kathryn) sees misspellings of her name quite a bit of the time.

  5. anyone else beside me wondering about a start time for students to return to campus and fall/winter sports having a possibility this season? I'm itching to see some reports, see some scores and analysis


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