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Jewish World Review April 6, 2001 / 13 Nissan, 5761

Matt Young

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Consumer Reports

Baby named after all-sports TV network -- CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- When Erica Curiel suggested that her brother name his baby after the sports channel he spends all day watching, she thought she was just being funny.

But to Jason Curiel, his sister's innocent joke was a stroke of genius.

So on Sept. 24, 2000, Jason and Kathy Curiel introduced the world to their newborn son:


"When my wife was about six months pregnant, I was sitting on the couch watching a game on ESPN, and my sister and I were talking about baby names," Jason said. "She just kind of laughed and said, 'Hey, you watch so much ESPN, you should name the baby after it.' My sister was just joking, but I brought it up to my wife.

"I kind of giggled when I said it, but then she said she liked the way it sounded," he said. "I couldn't believe it, but I was all for it."

Since then, Jason has caught plenty of flak for the name.

"No one ever tells my wife anything; they always get on me about it because they figure it must be my idea," said Jason, who works for Southwestern Bell. "When I told the nurses at the hospital, they thought I was joking.

"Usually, people think it's an OK name, until they see how we spell it and figure everything out.

"If I just say Espn (pronounced Es-pen), they don't catch on. When I say, 'We spell it E-S-P-N,' that's when everyone says 'Oh my gosh, how could you do that to your kid?'"

The way Jason Curiel looks at it, if you're going to do something as outlandish as naming your only son after a sports channel, you might as well go all out - and he has.

Espn's room comes complete with a set of goalposts and a chalkboard where he can diagram plays after naptime. Three of the room's walls are painted green with hash marks and yard lines like a football field.

"I'm even thinking," Jason Curiel said, "about ripping up this carpet and putting in Astroturf or a putting green or something like-"

"Uh . . . no he's not," Kathy Curiel interrupted.

No matter what others think, however, she is fine with the name.

"We never came close to agreeing on a name, and when I heard 'Espn,' I just liked the way it sounded," Kathy said. "My parents think Jason's crazy, but they've always thought that. Besides, they love the name."

The Curiels are believed to be just the second couple to name their child after the popular sports network. Chad and Alisha Blondeel of Newaygo, Mich., named their son "Espen" last January.

The addition of Espn gives the Curiels a starting five of Espn, Jason, Kathy and two daughters, Roxanne and Raelyn.

Will there be a sixth man? Possibly Espn2?

"Definitely not," Kathy said.

Matt Young writes for the Caller-Times in Corpus Christi, Texas. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, SHNS