Thursday, July 4, 2013

Da Doo Ron Ron

Talking with a fellow cycling fan on Sunday at the finale of the Tour of America's Dairyland, I had one of those funny little moments where one party knows what he's trying to say but he can't quite communicate it to the other party.

The Tour de France had begun the previous day. The winner of the first stage—and therefore the first maillot jaune—was sprinter Marcel Kittel:

My new friend was wondering whether Marcel were "Ron's son." In conversation you sometimes can't tell the spelling differences between two things that sound alike, so immediately I thought of Ron Kittle:

Ron Kittle is a former Major League Baseball player best known for winning the 1983 AL Rookie of the Year with the Chicago White Sox. He was an all-or-nothing power hitter who slugged 176 home runs while batting only .239 over 10 seasons.

Surely, the American baseball player Kittle has no connection with the German cyclist Kittel. It took me a moment to figure out where this "Ron's son" hypothesis took root:

Ron Kiefel is a retired pro cyclist who competed in seven Tours de France, won the 1984 Olympic bronze medal in the team time trial, and is a member of the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. He was one of the 7-Eleven pioneers who introduced a top-level American cycling team to the European peloton.

Ah, now that connection would make more sense! Still wrong, but good for a laugh.

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