We begin, as always, in the Bulltron, where this year's top seeds come from disparate backgrounds. The top contender, Cherries Waffles Tennis, is a young woman from Florida. The two-seed, Fra Pierbattista Pizzaballa, is a high-ranking member of the Franciscan order. It's Catholics vs. Convicts part two.
Cherries was arrested in 2014 for "allegedly making fraudulent purchases at surf shops in Jupiter, Florida," according to The Huffington Post. Her plural noun-heavy handle is hard to believe, which will lead many skeptics to wonder if Cherries Waffles Tennis is indeed her birth name. We think so. At the time of her arrest, Cherries was 19, just one year above the minimum age at which Americans can apply for a name change. If Cherries did adopt her unique moniker under her own volition, she did not waste any time, and if that is the case, we can only assume she told the judge the first three words that popped into her head, just to get the process over with as quickly as possible.
Father Pizzaballa, on the other hand, is one of several Italian Pizzaballas. As the Custodian of the Holy Land, he is the Franciscan order's primary representative in the Middle East. Among other duties, he is responsible for supporting Christian residents within the Holy Land and overseeing the many Christian shrines in the area. If you need further evidence of the power of Father Pizzaballa's position, consider his boss: Pope Francis himself.
These two figures, separated by more than just an ocean, will surely never meet in person. In the Bulltron, though, they are gearing up for a monster showdown. In this way, NOTY is the great equalizer. It does not matter if you are an alleged criminal or an esteemed man of God. In the Arena of Name, all are welcome.
That statement also applies to the other 14 names in the Bulltron, and both Cherries and Father Pizzaballa will be tested right from the opening bell. It's up to you to decide: Will chalk rain supreme, leading to a much-hyped culinary matchup in the Elite Eight? Or will upsets derail our precious seeding? The first eight matchups of the 2015 Name of the Year tournament await your votes.
#1 Cherries Waffles Tennis, aforementioned Florida woman, vs. #16 Dent McSkimming, the only American sportswriter to attend the 1950 World Cup.
#8 Pleasant Crump, the last verified veteran of the American Civil War, vs. #9 Sunshine Crump, an Arkansas reporter who resigned after conflict with the local police chief.
#5 Omar Hurricane, a physicist who researches nuclear fusion, vs. #12 Kermit Carolina, a high school principal in Connecticut.
#4 Forrestina Calf Boss Ribs, a Montana politician who goes by "Frosty," vs. #13 Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick, a singer, a TED talker, and the recipient of a double lung transplant.
#6 I Made Mangku Pastika, the Governor of Bali, vs. #11 Andromeda Dunker, voiceover narrator for House Hunters.
#3 Understanding Bush, of Brooklyn, vs. #14 Blundy Vildor, a football player who went to MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas.
#2 Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land, vs. #15 Lourawls Nairn, Jr., a Michigan State basketball player who goes by the nickname "Tum Tum."
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