Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

February 2011

I mark my golf balls with a Roman numeral 10 and an “E” — XE. Tenney. Get it?

Amazingly, few do. “This has an ex on it,” some helpful golfing companion will exclaim when finding my ball. The object of the game of golf, by the way, is to find golf balls. You mark your ball in a distinctive way so only a real turkey would refuse to give it back.

No matter how many times I explain the cleverness of the mark, or how my sister registered it as cattle brand in Oklahoma as a Christmas present for me complete with a branding iron resting on a stump, most people just don’t get it. My sister got it; I get it. What’s so difficult?

Roman numerals are used for important stuff like world wars, generational namesakes greater than two, World Wrestling smack-downs, and Super Bowls. Come on, would you ever mistakenly say, “I remember that time in Rome when I saw Pope John ex-ex-eye-eye-eye”?

With names, except for royalty, the second one is suffixed “Jr.,” then Roman numerals. In the South, lots of kids are called J.R., while up here third generations are often called Trey. I don’t suppose a name-dropper ever bragged of being on the maiden voyage of the Q.E.-eleven. (Query: If I called my convenience store VII-XI, would I get sued?)

Baseball World Series are the World Series. Past World Series are the ’27 or ’84 or now, the 2004 series. Same with basketball, only they’re called NBA finals. College basketball playoffs are called the big dance, sweet 16, elite 8, final 4, and simply — finally — the finals.

So, what’s with football?

It’s all about the calendar, see? Football’s scheduled season is played in one calendar year, while its playoffs, ending with the Super Bowl, are played in the next calendar year. So the 2011 Super Bowl will decide the NFL champion of the 2010 season. Naturally, because this is a professional business promotion it’s called the Super Bowl and because it’s the 45th time, it’s called Super Bowl XLV.

This is in contrast to the amateur football championship game, which was called the Vizio Bowl, of course, so as not to be confused with the Super Bowl.

By the way, if you ever find a golf ball marked XE, it’s mine.