Donald Igwebuike and Jackie Zisblatt


I’m a fan of random nonsense that very few seem to find funny.

Hmm … how to explain this? Back when I was a kid, my Grandma Mollie was in a hospital in Washington, D.C. During a visit, my dad and I took a walk. It was election season, so campaign posters hung on every tree, every lamp post. For no good reason, we thought it’d be hilarious to take one of the signs, bring it home and hang it on a street corner in Mahopac, N.Y.

So we did. And it was hilarious—to the two of us.

Fast forward to 2015. I’m writing a profile of Matt Sandusky, alleged sexual abuse victim. I’m in the middle of a passage about how he picked a new name. It’s not a ridiculously common name, but not a funky one, either. Suddenly, I’m looking for two oddball last names to use as examples. I go with this …

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.24.13 AMWhy Igwebuike and Zisblatt? Easy …

Back when I was a kid, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a kicker named Donald Igwebuike. I remember little about him, save that he was African, he was good for a brief spell and he played for the team when they had the most awesome uniforms of all time.

Back when I was a kid, I attended Hebrew school with a girl named Jackie Zisblatt. I had an enormous crush on her, and desperately wanted to ask her out. I decided I’d do it at her Bat Mitzvah. I mean, imagine the thrill of having both a killer party and a date with THE Jeff Pearlman—13-year-old loser? Of course, I chickened out. But, six years ago, I did write this post about the memory.

If nothing else, I’m sure Dad is chuckling.