This is a story I love to share and often do when the opportunity presents itself; which, as you can image, happens frequently with a name like Rockne. It’s not exactly a name that you hear everyday; unless, of course, you inhabit South Bend, Indiana from early September to late December.
With Rocknes arrival only days away my wife and I had yet to decide on a name, although my mother would tell you different. She was convinced that we had agreed on Brody and proceeded to tell all of her co-workers of the wonderful news. Another name that was held in high regard was Liam, a strong name that we both liked every other day. So, where does the name Rockne fit into all of this?
Jokingly, a co-worker of my own kept asking me, “Why don’t you name him Joe Pa?”, after the legendary coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. After days of me laughing it off, he finally said without the smile, “How about Knute?”
“Are you kidding? I am NOT going to name my son Knute!”, I said.
“What about Rockne?”, he returned and a lightbulb exploded in my head.
I absolutely loved the sound of it. It was a good strong name without going over the top. When I say over the top I mean names like Axl, Spike, and/or Snake. It was also original which I longed for. In the four years since Rocknes birth I have only come across one other, a five-year-old who lives less then thirty miles away. Imagine that. So now the only problem was convincing my wife.
I knew she wouldn’t go for it but I was persistent. Day and night I brought up that name hoping to chip away at her armored suit. With each attempt there would be a longer pause and I knew that my efforts were paying off. But how to get her to say, yes? This is where the story gets interesting.
My wife goes into labor on March 11, 2010 (I was hoping for St. Patrick’s Day but that may have been asking for too much!) and we still don’t have a name. I knew better than to bring it up during labor so I waited. Shortly after the commotion of this eventful afternoon died down it was just my wife and I sitting in her recovery room.
“So, what name are we going to go with?”, I asked.
“I like Liam or Brody”, she said matter-of-factly.
This is where the true miracle happened! I suggested that we put the three names into a hat and whatever was drawn was what we would go with. We agreed that she would draw the name but there would be no do-overs, best out of three, five, etc. She agreed and I almost fainted. We put the three names in and I shook them up. After a short prayer to the powers that be, I stretched out my arms allowing her to reach deep into the hat. She pulled out a sliver if paper and read it to herself. I could tell by the sideways smile on her face that I may have just won. It was a smile that said, “It’s not the name that I wanted, but I think that it will grow on me.”
As she turned the piece of paper toward me I can remember jumping in the air; fists pumping in jubilation. We had just won the National Championship of Baby Naming. Our son was named Rockne!
To this day my wife will tell you that I cheated, that it was somehow rigged. But I didn’t have to cheat…she drew out of a Notre Dame hat. And as for my mother, well, she got to announce the arrival of little baby Brody a second time one year later.
Submitted by Wayne S.