The funnest AFL names
I have a fun name. It helps to know that you have a fun name, and to let others know you know you have a fun name. “Sakata. Like the cracker”, I say. It’s a killer introduction. It says- I know I’m a racial minority, but life over here can be pretty fun and special.
The AFL has some really fun names to say. Out loud. To yourself. It helps provide meaning to a season when your team has had more debutants than wins. It helps you cope when your team is so horrible their games are now pushed to Saturday 2pm Foxtel. It helps distract from the reality that all that Foxtel Sports Package money (plus ten dollars a month for HD) helps fund a global political agenda directly opposed to your own self interest.
*sigh* Here, we go. Jayden Laverdé!
Jayden Laverdé (ESS)
It starts with ‘Jayden’, which is inherently uninteresting. But, Laverdé! We are in a tinned tomato commercial. We’re in a gondola. We’re buying straw hats in a building made from clay. Obviously, the fun part is the accent on the é. Now we’re in a hostel in Italy (trying to pick up other Australians).
Now we’re in a google deep-dive to find out if ‘Laverdé’ is Spanish or Italian. Then we look up and realise that whilst ‘Laverdé’ is fun and exotic, Jayden has a look that doesn’t scream diversity. He looks like he’s been training with high-tech boxing machines intercut with Paul Puopolo doing burpees in a barn. And we remind ourselves that a multi-cultural AFL is not always a visual experience and also that progress is incremental.
Orazio Fantasia (ESS)
At 72kg, the small forward gives us our strongest fun-to-weight ratio. Orazio is a strong, strong start. But Fantasia, Fantasia takes us to the next level. This is an intriguing exercise for the fun-name sommelier.
“It has notes of (*lips smacking*) Italian- no, Italian genre fiction AND (pause) classic Disney”
First name and last name together? Orazio Fantasia? Next level like you find a spiral staircase to an attic full of old, valuable Italian books about orcs and swords.
NB: a recent interview with Emma Quayle at The Age reveals a man who doesn’t know ‘a great deal’ about his family history, which is immediately upsetting, but also a young man who is planning a end-of-season (almost there, young Bomber!) trip to Italy to discover his roots. Next season, I am confident his name will be even better.
Callum Ah Chee (GCS)
Full disclosure: I don’t think Callum Ah Chee is a fun name to say. I think that Callum Ah Chee is a fun name to think about. Constantly.
The story behind the name Callum Ah Chee is a testament to our bloody great country.
The first Ah Chee came to the Northern territory from China in the 1800's. He took the name ‘Owen’ and married an Aboriginal Australian woman named Nellie. They had 10 children. For this to happen in the 1800’s is incredible. To provide perspective, it is 2016 and it would take an act of God for my mum to eat sushi not made by a Japanese person.
I walked past Callum Ah Chee in an airport once. In person, he comes across as a normal, comfortable human being. For someone with a Gaelic first name and a Chinese/Aboriginal Australian background, walking around as the most Australian man playing Australia’s most indigenous sport- walking around like the perfect Australian that he is- is so next level that you realise that the next level is actually the sky lobby to a level 120 floors above.
Dillon Viojo-Rainbow (CAR/VFL)
Dillon would have made the final three (probably ahead of Laverdé) if not for the fact that he hasn’t actually played at AFL level. He’s recently been named in Matthew Lloyd’s Carlton recruiting black hole. Dark days for Viojo-Rainbow and all fun-name fans. You know when Matthew Lloyd offers a ‘hot take’, your footballing situation is pretty obvious/dire. All the best Dillon. Your name is a whimsical treat, and can be shortened to ‘DVR’, which is also fun.
What about Nakia Cockatoo/Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti/Nic Naitanui etc. ?
Yes, these are all fun names. You know these names are fun. I know these names are fun. Yes, that recognition is life-affirming.