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Michigan Baby Named After ESPN

NEWAYGO, Mich. (AP) — When Chad and Alisha Blondeel named their son, they weren't inspired by a grandfather or family patriarch. They didn't look to the Bible, either.

They picked up their remote control.

Welcome to the world, Espen Allen Blondeel.

The boy, born Jan. 26, was named for the ESPN sports network.

Dad, it seems, is a regular viewer.

``My wife had told me to think of some baby names, and one night when I was watching 'SportsCenter,' it came to me,'' said Chad, 24, who watches the show at least three times daily.

Chad Blondeel came up with the name more than a year ago, even before ESPN aired a commercial featuring the clueless cheerleader who actually pronounces the name of the magazine, ``Espen.''

``I was sounding out the letters, and I liked how it sounded,'' he said. ``About six months later, that commercial came out. I couldn't believe it.''

The baby's mother, Alisha, 21, thought the name was pretty — but was less than thrilled when she found its origin.

``I told him if he could find the name in a baby book, we could name him that,'' she said.

``I must have looked through about a dozen books of baby names, and then I finally found it,'' Chad. said. '``Espen' is Danish, for 'god-bear.'''

Alisha, never dreaming her husband would actually find the name, kept her promise.

The Blondeels, who live less than an hour's drive north of Grand Rapids, have no regrets about their choice. Their son even has a nickname — ``Espy.''

A picture of Espen and a story appeared in this week's ESPN The Magazine under the headline ``ESPN 3.'' Chad was interviewed Tuesday on ESPN radio's ``The Dan Patrick Show.''

``I don't think anyone thought we were serious, at first,'' Alisha said. ``But now they like the name. It's really unique.''

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale is already giving scouting reports on young Espen.

``What an absolute diaper dandy!'' Vitale bellowed Friday. ``Awesome, baby! With a capital A.''
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