Wayzata senior Miles Death has two requisite tools to deal with such a unique surname: a sense of humor and a lot of talent.
A three-year starter for both the hockey and golf teams, Death (pronounced DEETH) is well aware that his name always evokes a response of some sort.
"I've gotten all kinds of reactions to my name," he said. "A lot of people look at it and don't even try to pronounce it. They ask me how."
Staff writer Jim Paulsen talked with Death about his unique moniker and the final stages of a very successful high school athletic career.
Q So, give me a good story about your name.
A Once, in a squirt hockey tournament in Duluth, my dad filled in and announced my name like "death." Just as a joke, trying to intimidate the other team.
Q Have you ever heard anything about your name from people you've never met?
A I was in a hockey name contest in Canadian hockey magazine called the Hockey News. It was for the "Sickest Name." I made it to the final four. It was pretty funny.
Q Do you get tired of correcting people on your name?
A It depends. If they pronounce it wrong in hockey, I'll let it slide. It's a good name for hockey.
Q You signed with the University of South Dakota to play golf there next year. When did golf become your primary sport?
A At the beginning of my junior year. There were always people telling me I could play hockey at the next level, but golf always got in the way of offseason training.
Q What is your best round ever?
A Probably the second round at the state tournament last year. I shot a 72, and it was nerve-wracking. I knew our team was really close with Rogers. It was raining on the front nine. We ended up tying with Rogers for the [Class 3A] state championship. Under those conditions, I think that's the round I'm most proud of.
Q What makes you more nervous, standing over a crucial putt or the final minutes of a close hockey game?
A Golf, for sure. You have more time to think about failing. In hockey, everything is quick reaction. You don't have time to think or be nervous.
Q What is your secret to playing good golf?
A Try not to let one bad shot ruin your momentum. Don't get too high or too low.
Q What is your best hockey memory?
A The section championship against Eden Prairie in my junior year. It was double-overtime. It didn't end the way we wanted, but it was the best game I've ever played in.
Q How about golf?
A Our team winning the state tournament last year. I'll never forget being a part of that and how nerve-wracking it was, trying to post a good score in the final day.
Q Is it strange to think your high school career is almost over?
A Yes. It's just blown by. When I started and made the varsity hockey team in 10th grade and then the varsity golf team the same year, it felt like it was going to last forever. It's kind of sad that it's almost over, but it's been a blast.