Super Bowl of Syllables

  • By Tony Caridi
  • |
  • October 05, 2010 02:09 PM
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It’s 3:47 A.M. and I’m wide awake - can’t sleep - and don’t even want to waste my time trying. It’s quiet; the only sound is the newspaper delivery guy’s car that just made his daily circuit in the neighborhood as if he was testing his tires for next year’s race at Indy. My man needs a muffler bad, but that’s not why I’m awake.

It’s this UNLV football team that’s on my mind. Yep, the Rebels. I’m serious. Yes, I know they’re 1-4. I know they have a first year head coach. I’m well aware the game is in Morgantown and not in Vegas. However, unless you have taken as close of a look as I have you won’t understand the challenge posed by the boyz from The Strip.

It’s not their offense, defense or special teams that’s got me shaking. It’s their player’s names. Yeah, their names as in first name and last name.

Oh how I yearn for those olden days when guys had names like Jon Jones, A.B. Brown, and Stacy Smith. It was a different time, a kinder, gentler time for the tongues of announcers everywhere. Call it pronunciation Camelot.

And, then came UNLV.

The names of the Rebels provide the ultimate polysyllabic challenge. This is not something you throw a young announcer into; it could shake his confidence and he’d be lost for years. You think I’m trying to be funny, I’ve done the research and it’s true.

Each week a school will publish game notes, which are loaded with all type of information about a team, including a pronunciation guide for players. In week one, Coastal Carolina listed 12 players; Marshall and Maryland each listed 16 and LSU had 17 names. Now let’s roll out the carpet and welcome the UNLV Rebels, who provide pronunciation assistance for, get this, 39 players. And just to make things doubly interesting, six of the nine members are on their coaching staff.

Go ahead laugh. You think it’s funny that I could spend most of my Saturday sounding like Porky Pig? That’s why I’m wide awake studying names like I’ve never studied before. Think it’s easy? Then go ahead and take a try. Welcome to my world. Here’s just a taste.


Isaako Aaitui, e-saw-AH-co ah-ah-2-e
Brandon Baineaux, BAB-ah-no
Alex De Giacomo, DEE JOCK-ah-mo
Ramsey Feagai, fay-ON-guy
Starr Fuimaono, FUEY-mah-OH-no
John Gianninoto, g-ah-NOT-oh
Tajh Hasson, TAHHJ HAH-sin
Ben Jaekle, JAKE-ill
Daniel Kaanana, KAH-ah-NAH-nah
Tate Knutson, cuh-NEWT-sin
Matt Kravetz, crah-VETZ
Tani Maka, TAHN-e MOCK-ah
Evan Marchal, MAR-shill
Daniel Mareko, muh-RECK-oh
Kjelby Oiland, KELBY OY-lind
Irshad Stolden, ER-shod
John Therrell, thah-RELL
Imari Thompson, ah-MAR-ee
Eric Tuiloma, 2-we-LOW-ma
Michael Tuiloma, 2-we-LOW-ma
Willie Tupou, 2-po
Reggie Umuolo, OO-mow-low
Anthony Vidal, vuh-DAHHL
Coach Cedric Cormier, cor-MEER
Coach Dominic Daste, DAS-tee
Coach Mike Gerger, GUR-burr
Coach Bobby Hauck, HOW-k
Coach Rob Phenicie, FEN-ah-see

Now you see what I’m talking about. So if anyone tries to downplay Saturday’s contest as just a regular game, please remind them it’s really not.

Look them straight in the eyes and tell them it truly is the Super Bowl of Syllables.

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