What’s the equivalent of Child Protective Services in Norway? I ask because the soccer world has given us, the global community, the chance to change the course of a child’s life, even if we’re a little late to the cause.
Were we on time, we would have been in the delivery room to stop two Liverpool-obsessed parents from naming their child “YNWA” – the acronym for the Reds’ iconic anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Instead, we were scattered across the world, respecting people’s rights to make rational decisions with their children’s lives, subconsciously knowing that some people will screw it up.
As a result, there’s now a four-year-old girl in Norway whose identity is irrevocably tied to the English club, which prompts another, more timely question: Is it a good thing that young YNWA will be making her first trip to Anfield in May? The young girl has been promised the trip when she turns five, according to The Guardian. There she’ll get to hear 45,276 sing out her name before kickoff of a game that will likely affirm Liverpool’s upper-mid-table finish.
“Her full name is Karoline YNWA,” her mother, Eirin Iversen, notes, knowing some dumbass blogger would try ignore the Karoline part. Had the baby been a boy, he would have been named Gerrard, though it hardly seems fair to give a boy a straight-forward name while allocating an unpronounceable one to the girl. Maybe “YNWA” is easier to say in Norweigan, but in `Mericuhn, it comes out as YUH-nah-wah … which, now that I type it out, isn’t that bad.
“Her father has promised her a trip to see Liverpool when she is five, so now she is looking forward to that very much. She already likes to sit with her father wearing a Liverpool shirt to watch matches.”
‘[W]e couldn’t really force her to cheer on Liverpool. But she is very proud of her name.”
Still, there’s an assumption here that may not check out. In alluding to Child Protective Services and being generally poo-poo-y to these parents, I’m assuming YNWA is a bad name – a curse, of sorts. Not true, says a trusted part of the internet. Take it, BBC:
Richard Zweigenhaft, a psychologist at Guilford College in the US, pointed out that wealthy, oddly-named Americans are more likely to find themselves in Who’s Who. He found no consistent bad effects of having a strange name …
As the BBC magazine piece notes, strange names often reflect societal factors more closely aligned with real casual mechanisms. The article discusses wealthy families choosing odd names for children who grow up to appear on Who’s Who lists, when alludes to a famous study that found résumés in the U.S. were more likely to be passed over if the names on them “sounded African American” than if they “sounded like they belonged to white people.” Little YNWA may not devolve into a degenerate merely because her parents gave her an unjustifiable name, but as one doctor in the piece notes, “[Children with odd names] actually benefit from that experience by learning to control their emotions or their impulses, which is of course a great skill for success.”
Maybe nobody’s done YNWA a disservice, and all of my premature judgements have proved wrong. I’m still calling her Karoline, though.