Everywhere I go in Viking blog-land, people spell Brad Childress‘s nickname “Chilli” or “Chili.” I however have taken to spelling it “Chilly,” the same way it’s spelled by Skol Vikings guy. Do I smell a controversy brewing? Probably not – but that’s not going to stop me from defending my “Chilly” spelling; yes, that’s how dead the news is.
I prefer Chilly for several reasons. First, “Chilli” to me just seems too effeminate and cute – like when a girl spells her name “Andi” or “Ami.” It’s possible, of course, that people who use “Chilli” are in fact trying to make some disparaging point about Childress’s masculinity, in which case I say shame on them. That’s childish.
Second, when I see the name “Chilli” I think of the food chili, a hot, spicy dish from Central America. When I look at Brad Childress – no, “hot” and “spicy” are not words that immediately leap to mind. I suppose you could argue that the “Chilli” spelling in this case could be considered ironic – and the “Chili” spelling especially so. However, this is a lame irony. I much prefer the literal-minded “Chilly,” which connotes coldness, emotional paralysis and all sorts of other things I have come to associate (perhaps unfairly) with our fine coach.
There are of course other spellings that could be tried – like “Chile” for example, as in the country Chile (which I suppose is actually pronounced Chee-lay, at least by news anchors who want to show how multi-cultural they are). My problem with that spelling is that, when I think of Chile, I immediately remember the CIA murdering democratically elected Chilean president Salvador Allende and installing murderous puppet dictator Augusto Pinochet. And that’s not the kind of crap I want to be thinking about while I’m watching a football game. Of course, when I think of Allende, I also think of his niece Isabel Allende, who wrote the fantastic book The House of the Spirits. So there’s an upside to the “Chile” spelling too.
In the end, though, I think “Chilly” is best. It fits Minnesota – and it fits the way the Vikings’ offense tends to perform. So the other blogs and message boards can have their Chilli – I’ll stick with what works for me, thanks very much.