Friday, December 19, 2008
What's in a Name: IUPUI
1. a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I'm Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.
It is once again time for our “What’s in a Name” series. This week’s edition will focus on the visiting Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars. While Ben may be the English major, I have decided to take my own approach to analyzing IUPUI's bizarre relationship with the English language.
The visiting Jaguars may have the longest school name in NCAA Division I history. With a whopping 48 letters and 17 vowels, IUPUI is an English teacher’s (wet) dream. Secondly, and the focus of this week’s column, is that IUPUI is one of a few NCAA schools that is a palindrome. A palindrome is “a word, verse, or sentence (as “Able was I ere I saw Elba”) or a number (as 1881) that reads the same backward or forward.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Stemming from the Greek word palindromos, the Greeks used the phrase to capture the backward movement of crabs. I have to imagine that there are at least a few other NCAA schools out there that are palindromes, but IUPUI might be the longest.
The ancient Greeks used the word “palindromos” to refer to the backward movement of crabs, noting that crabs often retraced their steps by moving backwards the same way they move forwards. Having the ability to move backwards and forwards in the same line without altering one’s movements drastically is a lesson that we, as Seton Hall fans, can all learn from. That which may set us backwards – John Garcia’s knee injury, the seemingly everlasting wait for Big Mel and Keon to be cleared, disappointing recruiting news – can just as easily be undone by a few strong steps forward in the very same line.
And that’s all for this edition of “What’s in a Name”