Day 16 of the A to Z April Challenge: P for Papa

18 April 2014

The affectionate term for father or sometimes, grandfather, Papa – like Kilo – is also a class of submarine. It is a Soviet submarine K-162 and was the world’s fastest submarine. The first to be constructed with a titanium hull, she was the only vessel of the Soviet Union’s Project 661 Anchar nuclear-powered attack submarine design. Best known as by the NATO reporting name Papa class, the K-162 was renamed in the year of my birth to K-222.

There are many people in history who have either been nicknamed Papa or called Papa (either by first or last name) including the American sportscaster Bob Papa and Papa Bouba Diop – born in the same year as me – a football player from Senegal. As a surname, two other footballers are named Papa, the Argentinian Emiliano Papa and Italian Salvatore Papa.

But did you know, PAPA is also used as an acronym? The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA) is an organisation supporting the game of pinball as a recreational and competitive sport. Currently owned and operated by Kevin Martin, the organisation is based in Scott Township, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. The World Pinball Championships run for four days and allow competitors to register in different divisions from beginners to skilled players. Each occurrence of the World Pinball Championships has been denoted by a number; for example, the 2010 tournament was known as PAPA 13.

I wonder how the name Papas or Pappas came to be a common Greek surname? Anyone doing a one-name study on the name?

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