It started out simply enough: I liked Willie Stargell, the captain and left fielder turned first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He wore #8, I wore #8. It stuck for 30 years, and then my son started wearing number 8. Once I discovered golf, and began picking up my ball after 8 strokes, the “snowman” wasn’t just my number but also a nickname for what I carded on most holes. Throw in a few holiday parties where I got to play Frosty the Snowman, a general love of building snowmen, and an affinity for the snowmen riff in Bill Watterston’s “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip, and it’s a lifestyle.
I have an unnatural attraction for the number 8: yes, it is a symbol of success in Chinese culture, but more than that, it’s a bit of my personal sports sports history. I’ll always check out a team to see who wears number 8, and we’ve had some good ones (Igor Larionov, Danius Zubrus) and some mild ignominy (Vadim Sharifijanov, anyone) in the red and black world. It’s also the only single-digit cube, which is cool if you’re a math geek like me.
“Snowman on Fire” is a play on the “burning” sports shows, and the nickname. For a while I used the “Morning Snowman” as a handle for my technology oriented work blog, as a play on “Morning Drive” (the time when most people listen to broadcast radio) and the snowman theme.