From the Bench: The Legend that is "The Big Perm"

By Jeff Toquinto on October 15, 2017 from Sports Blog via

It’s right there in any of Bridgeport High School’s yearbook. As a freshman and a sophomore, if you go to the “Ds” you’ll find Noah Drummond – as you should.
That’s his given name. It’s the one those watching him perform on the football field who aren’t intimately close to the program or Noah himself know him as. He has no problem with his first name and if you yell it, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll turn in your direction.
There’s a few other things that will get his head to turn. And they’re a couple of nicknames he earned back at Bridgeport Middle School.
Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce you “Perm.” Or as is just as frequently uttered, “Big Perm.”
“That goes back to the eighth grade. I really started growing my hair out and I guess you could say it got kind of bad. Coach (Adam) King just started calling me ‘Big Perm’ and it’s stuck ever since,” said Drummond. “It doesn’t bother me at all. Most of the coaches call me that.”
While the moniker is unique to the Indians’ football roster, it’s not an original. In fact, King said he bootlegged it straight from Hollywood’s big screen from an iconic comedy featuring a comedian who had the nickname.
“I knew Noah from coaching his older brother Eli and I think it was at the time when I was coaching varsity wrestling and the middle school wrestling team would come in and I would work with those guys too,” said King. “That’s probably where it happened because when I saw that head of hair it just fit.”
King was inspired by the movie “Friday” that featured Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Another actor, Faizon Love, is a comedian who played “Big Worm” that Tucker called “Big Perm” due to his hairstyle in the film.
“When I saw it back when he was in middle school I just said it. I didn’t even think about it,” said King. “The thing is, even last year (as a junior), Noah’s hair was still pretty good and he had the look. Back in the eighth grade, anyone that saw it will tell you, his hair was phenomenal.”
This year, the hairstyle is cropped much closer. While the locks are gone, the nickname remains.
“Eighth grade is the time I really let it grow out. It just grows out natural like that,” said Drummond. “Since then, the coaches and most of the teammates when they want my attention they call me ‘perm’ and I’m fine with it.”
When asked about the nickname, BHS Coach John Cole laughed. Cole said after the North Marion game he didn’t know who coined the nickname, but guessed correctly on its origins.
“If you saw his hair in some recent years it’s a dead giveaway as to how he got that nickname,” said Cole. “I’m sure it was probably a coach because, as coaches, we do stuff like that.
“The thing is that if one of the coaches yells ‘perm,’ he knows it’s him they want,” Cole continued. “It’s all good natured and Noah just smirks or gives a little smile when you call him that. It helps to have a nickname if you’re good at what you do and he’s pretty good at what he does.”
What Drummond does is leads the BHS offense from his center position. It’s where everything gets started in the Indians’ pistol offense.
“I just pretty much call the defense that allows the backs to know where the holes are going to be and where the cutback is going to be,” said Drummond. “After that, I’ve got to get a good snap and block who I need to block.”
Drummond is a two-year starter at center and the coaching staff knows his value. Earlier this year, in the Indians’ lone loss of the season to Fairmont Senior, Drummond had to come out for one snap in the fourth quarter when his shoulder popped out. The next play without Drummond saw the snap go over the quarterback’s head and eventually give the Polar Bears the life needed to rally for a win.
Surprisingly, Drummond managed to return and finish out the game. After missing one contest to heal his shoulder, he’s returned.
“It’s good right now. It came out and we had trouble getting it back in,” said Drummond. “I’ve had it happen before. What’s odd with it is that the pain isn’t too bad at first, but when they pop it back in it really hurts.”
Drummond wants nothing better than to end his senior year back at Wheeling Island Stadium. He was a sophomore on the Tribe’s last state title team and was there last year when Fairmont Senior beat BHS in overtime to stop a fourth straight appearance in the Class AA semfinals.
“We know we’re capable of getting back there, but it’s up to us to practice and work hard in order to get back there,” said Drummond.
Bridgeport is 7-1 heading into a huge game this coming Friday against top 10 Keyser at Jamison Field. A win there, followed by a season-ending win against Lincoln could put Bridgeport in good position to host a game or two in the postseason.
“The good thing about Noah is he’s a quiet kid and a good kid that doesn’t say very much,” said Cole. “He’s the type of kid that you want to see have all the success in the world.”
Hopefully that success will take Noah Drummond and the Indians back to Wheeling. If so, he’ll take remnants of the “Big Perm” with him.
Editor's Note: Top photo is the one that led to the now well-known "Big Perm" nickname, while Noah Drummond gets some advice from Coach John Cole in the secon picture. In the third photo, the current hairstyle can be seen on the sideline. In the fourth picture, proof his mother Cynthia says he's had the ability to grow the curls from an early age. And bottom photo is of last year's homecoming when the "perm" was in effect, but not at the "big perm" stage. High school game photos by All other photos  provided by Cynthia Drummond.

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