Another Six-Up Story?

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

My ancient Uncle Mort–with razor-sharp memory of the long ago but dullard-like on yesterday–has a mind recently clouded with “what if’s” concerning the World Cup.

This is surprising, since he doesn’t know a soccer ball from Cinderella’s ball. He barely knows that World Cup has “kicked off” in Qatar. He’s apologetic for “punning along” with a reference to “kick-off,” not knowing if they even have kick-offs in soccer.

“If they do, they may call it something else,” he admits.

A newspaper headline caught his eye days before the first matches. It mentioned that World Cup gurus had decided not to allow beer sales at World Cup matches.

One would guess that this would thoroughly tick off the Budweiser beer folks, major sponsor of the event. “This decision is bound to seriously bloat the king of beer’s inventory and suggests that biggest ‘Cup decisions aren’t made in a democratic manner. Also, all bets may be off if Budweiser was trying to grease the skids toward a name change,” Mort figures.

His last statement piqued my interest. I mean, what’s the deal on changing names? Mort had set me up, fully expecting my interrupting question.

“I’ve an idea Budweiser may have been working toward proposal of a name change from ‘World Cup’,” he admitted.

He figures the beer giant would gain considerable ground if the world’s most popular sporting event–often called “the Super Bowl on steroids”–would like to leave the word “World” in place, but substitute “Keg” for “Cup.”

I managed a gratuitous chuckle while he laughed until he snorted. Yes, I had been “set up” again.

Then, Mort switched gears about name changes.

“I heard tell that they once bottled a soft drink called ‘Six-Up,’ but the product missed mass acceptance by a single number,” Mort said. He rambled on about a later drink with the same ingredients and identical processing with a “Seven-Up” label that has done right well.

While on a side trail about Seven Up, a Google search of the drink’s name origin is a back-up for readers growing weary of board games and tiring TV commercials we’ve seen for umpteen times.

It seems likely that no one really knows why the Seven-Up name was chosen, but dozens of theories warrant smiles, and some of them may be right. One theorist points out that the drink was introduced in the 1920s as “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.”

Uncle Mort

Can you imagine a befuddled pizza shop guy taking a call for a take-out order of pizza and a pair of Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Sodas? I didn’t think so. It is noted that the drink has seven ingredients and is “uplifting” to many, so it makes total sense that the current name is 7Up.

Speaking of names: A decade ago, I tired of radio and television sports reporters’ early references to Baylor phenom Robert Griffin III. Trouble was, they always added “the Third,” which, of course, was technically correct.

Soon, though, his exploits were such that “RG-Three” provided identification enough. I’m not sure if G-I and/or G-II had sports pedigrees, but even if they did, they likely fell far short of Baylor quarterback/Heisman trophy winner RG-III’s collegiate football exploits.

(One could wish that Dallas Mavericks’ TV guys would get this memo. Surely their many references to “Tim Hardaway Jr.” could be shortened merely to “Hardaway,” at least after first reference. I’ll not mention another Maverick, McKinley Wright the Fourth, who sees limited action.)

Griffin was paired with another African American sports analyst, Mike Jones, on TV coverage of the University of Texas-Baylor University football game.

He struck the right chord for racial harmony when he opened the telecast with these words: “Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Black Friday.” Smiling broadly, he pointed to Mike, then himself, when he said, “Black Friday.”

His smile disarms, this class act on the field who is attaining the same status in the TV booth.

   Dr. Newbury, a longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak regularly throughout Texas. Phone: 817-447-3872. Email: Facebook: Don Newbury.

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