Where does "Gazelle" come from? Great question.

It's been a long time coming, but the one question on every Fun 107 listeners mind when it comes to my name is simply the origin and the reason behind the name decision. Well... here goes nothing:

Back in 2003 when I was a sophomore in high school, I was trying out for the basketball team (as I did every year of my life leading up to that day). It was "do or die" or be cut from the team and that was simply not an option for me. As we were running drills, the coach called us all to the line and told us it was time to run 'Suicides' (a running drill that requires speed and agility up and down the court in a specific amount of time). NO ONE liked this drill, but the pressure was on. If you did not make it back in time, the entire group had to run them again. I was NOT going to be that guy... I was determined.

As I'm making my way back on the last sprint, I see the finish line, but with a matter of 3 seconds remaining on the clock. I hear someone yell "JUMP"! So, I leaped with eveyrthing I had left (in a Gazelle fashion) and was able to beat the buzzer.

A classmate/teammate by the name of Kyle Dore (see photo below) made the statement "He lept like a Gazelle!" and from that day forward, the name stuck, progressed and evolved over the years.

Kyle Dore and His Wife Megan Dore (Facebook)

The man you see above is not only my creator, but a good friend of mine. You see, back in those days, I wasn't exactly the most popular kid and was only "Junior Varsity" talented in the sport, regardless how much I loved ot play. I was surrounded by the popuar Varsity crew who didn't exactly aknowledge me as much, but for some reason, Kyle who was amongst the "Cool Clique" was cool to me and treated me kindly. So for that, Kyle, I've always wanted to just say Thank You... Means more now than it did at the time, it simply needed to be said.

Moving forward throughout the years, post high school graduation, I decided to get the heck out of Massachusetts and head up north to Vermont... but I have to do something first. I decided to get a tattoo of the nickname and of course a cople of actual Gazelles on each side of the name (See photo below):

TSM/Gazelle
TSM/Gazelle

Now, keep in mind... these were both done around the age of 18... I was much smaller in size back then.

As I reached Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vermont, I knew nobody. It was a fresh start to be whoever I wanted to be without a back story or anyone having to know where I came from or who I was. A bunch of colleagues noticed my tattoo and from that day forward, it stuck. NOBODY knew my realy name! I went by Gazelle and Gazelle only. I was happy with this change, it felt good.

That same year I joined the college Rugby team where everybody gets a nickname, no debate. Although we don't get to choose our nicknames, for some reason I simply got to keep "Gazelle" (THANK GOD). The more I played and realized how difficult and rough the sport was, the more I pushed myself to become bigger and started to add mass and size. I became faster and faster on the field and eventually, I became a force to recon with... I became the Gazelle that nobody wanted to hunt. I went from 185 pounds soaking wet to a solid 275 by the time I graduated college (thanks to the Rugby program and of course a little bit of beer, haha!).

Courtesy of Brandon Aguiar "Portrait of Gazelle"
Courtesy of Steve Shannon

Post-college, I returned home where my nicknamed was still well known, but spread out amongst only a close-circle of friends. Now, I've always lived life a bit on the "wild" side and have been told by a few people that I'm an "Animal" at the local parties, so the name stuck a little more. What can I say?! I love me a good time!

TSM/Gazelle

It wasn't until recently, a few years back, I joined the Morning Show here at Fun 107 and just as the nickname was about to die out... Michael Rock gave life to the name once again, when the decision to keep it my "radio name" was made. Now a large portion of the Southcoast (at least those who listen to the show) refer to me as Gazelle and I couldn't be happier. Now, let it be known, that I am not at all ashamed of my birthname... but having a bit of an alter-ego that represents confidence and a guarenteed good time is what I live for.

The Michael Rock Show

Moral of the story... be yourself. Be whoever you want to be, as long as it makes you happy. My ever-evolving life has may chapters ahead of it, but for now, I'm going to do my best to keep the legend of the name alive as best as I can.

Stay humble, find yourself, be the life of the party and never quit the pursuit of happiness. Search for your inner "Gazelle" and take on life by the horns, I promise you it's worth the chance. The #LifeOfGazelle will always live on, I'm not even close to being done yet.

#IAmGazelle