Atticus Flinch

Atticus, follow the ball!

Atticus, support your teammate!

Atticus, two hands!

Atticus, Wake Up!

Now these were only a few things screamed at poor little Atticus by what appeared to be dad/coach/bullhorn on the other side of the soccer field. There were much more, but like Atticus, I wearily zoned most of it out. We all felt sorry for the pasty little thing and secretly hoped his team would win so that Atticus might get some pizza and ice cream after the game. We all had a feeling that losers don't get pizza and ice cream in the Atticus household.

Although, if you are going to grow up to a be a parent/coach/bully, I can't think of a name better suited for screaming across the soccer field.




Can't whisper "Atticus" It has to come from deep in the diaphragm.

Can't shorten or abbreviate Atticus.




Atticus is as much a declaration as it is a name. Strong, indistinguishable, non-comparable. Yet it compels me to wonder how Atticus came by his declarative first name.

It clearly wasn't the first choice of Dad/Coach/BugelHorn.

The sons of Dad/Coach/FireAlarm have names like Jack, John, or Peter.

Cause Dad/Coach/Megaphone is a simple man. He would like simple manly names. Danny and Chuck. Donny and Joey.

No, Atticus was clearly named by his mother. And I doubt it was because she was devoted to medieval era religious figures or ancient greek philosophers or even much of a Harper Lee fan. I think she's always held a little girl crush for Gregory Peck.

Which is perfectly reasonable.

Even I have a little girl crush on Gregory Peck.

It's impossible not to.

And you can see it in the broad shoulders, chiseled chin, and thick dark hair of Dad/Coach/HumpbackBlowHole. There's no actual resemblance, just enough body type for when the sun goes down.

Which is a terrible thing to say.

I take it back.

And I don't really mean to poke my "elitist stick" at parents who shout loud things at referees and eight year old children. I have a ton of friends and loved ones who enjoy getting super vocal at sporting events.

Let it rip, I say.

Sure I feel bad for your children, who end up going through life with daddy issues and inferiority complexes, but that just gives my own children a leg up in the future workforce of America. Which as we all know is going to be very competitive.

And I shouldn't be mocking anyone for name choice. I named my own child after a comic strip. (Although, if pressed, I will make up a whole bunch of stories, up to and including a love affair with high quality underwear model or a chance run in with the wide receiver for the Detroit Lions)

But Calvin turned out to be a Calvin. From the wild imagination to the astoundingly adroit philosophical observations. He's more Elven Warrior than Spaceman Spiff, but he loves sugary cereals and YouTube is just a modern incarnation of saturday morning cartoons.

Atticus did not strike me as an Atticus.

A Paul maybe. Or a Gunter. Sam? Definitely a name that suggests a fondness for chicken nuggets and chocolate milk.

Atticus' don't eat chicken nuggets.

Atticus' should live off the fear of their enemies.

Atticus is going to have to grow up to be 6'5", darken his hair, and learn how to speak softly in broken english.

"I am Atticus." he will say to the college girls "Take me someplace warm."

Or maybe he will become a poet and change his name to an ingredient in his favorite food.

Red Dye Number Five.

Or maybe, mostly probably, he will grow up to become the kind of guy that roams the halls of his high school knocking books out of people's arms, chewing his pizza with his mouth open and searching inwardly for unconditional love.

He'll pretend to punch you in the face, wait for you to jerk back and then give you two quick, but surprisingly painful jabs to the shoulder.

"Two for flinching" he'll say "Two for flinching"

Even at thirteen you'll feel sorry for the dude cause you know how hard it has become for him to run laps during P.E. How he tries to hide the sweat line under his belly. How girls don't talk to him and how teachers roll their eyes when he asks questions. He'll always be on a sports team (Catcher, Offensive Line), but the camaraderie will be left on the field and he'll try to take part in the shenanigans, but the rest of the group will most likely inch him to a quiet place in the back of the bus.

Poor Atticus, you'll say when you read his obituary on Facebook.

Should have listened to your Dad and followed the ball.

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