Something Old, Something New, Something Bothered, Slightly Blue
(Howdy, effendi. This piece on sporting team nicknames was suggested by folks at the newspaper I write weekly columns for, and completed, but for whatever reason, was never published. I stumbled across it in the Australian BBQ high season (technically between Xmas and New Years, but also essentially running through some of December and large portions of January until works inconveniently intervenes) in 2012 while frankly trawling around the archival section of my electrophonic computer device, looking for old stuff to post up here. So here she blows. It actually still seems funny to me, so I’m kind of glad it finally gets to see the light of day. It was apparently written, and re-written, several times on 13th June 2007.)
WORST SPORTING TEAM NICKNAMES
(Note – Examples given without team-names are either familiar/common enough to be called generic, or belong to US college teams.)
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS
Don your elongated Dr Who scarf and floor-length cape, strap on your cardboard sword, and sally forth into battle.
Dragons, Wizards, Magic, Knights, Kings, Mystics (Washington WNBA), Buccaneers, Gorloks, Magicians, The Pirate Ship (Greek national soccer team), Phoenix, Titans, Trolls, Vulcans.
Franchise Winner – Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards were originally known as “The Wiz”, apparently having seen no difficulty in being named after a legendarily awful Diana Ross/Michael Jackson movie and a slang term for urination.
AUDITIONING FOR THE VILLAGE PEOPLE
Columbus Crew (Major League Soccer), Cowboys, Indians, Admirals, Pirates, Cavaliers, Flames, Golden Flashes, Cotton Blossoms, Purple Pride, Violets, Student Princes, Wonder Boys, Tractor Boys (Ipswich – English soccer).
Franchise Winner – Saskatchewan Rough Riders (Canadian Football League). Two words – “Brokeback Mountain”.
UTILITIES, WEATHER AND THE SCIENCES
Warning: May result in sleepiness, telescope headache and static cling.
Lightning, Storm, Thunder, Force, Fire, Shock (Detroit, WNBA), Power, Sun, Sky, Westerwinds, Volts (Otago, NZ provincial cricket), Galaxy, Cosmos, Cyclone, etc
Franchise Winner – Golden Tornadoes. As if an ordinary tornado wasn’t bad enough.
STORMING INTO BATTLE
How could you NOT be inspired by fiery totems such as these?
Senators, Diplomats, Anchormen, Clippers, Lutes, Super Bees, Moundbuilders, Hatters (Stockport County – English soccer), Toffees (Everton – EPL)
FRANCHISE WINNER – Bryant and Stratton College – Cleveland Campus “Lemmings”. Well, you know what those things are famous for.
ALL THE GOOD ONES WERE TAKEN
(Mighty) Ducks, Indiana Fever (WNBA), Montreal Alouettes (Canadian Football League), Black Flies, Blue Hose, Green Terror, Hustlin’ Owls, Hustlin’ Quakers, Squirrels, Thunderwolves, the Billy Goats (FC Koln, German soccer), “The Meat” (Spartak Moscow – soccer).
FRANCHISE WINNER – Indiana Fever (WNBA) – who else is named after a symptom?
WHO THE HELL KNOWS?
Catamounts, Chanticleers, Yeowomen, Praying Colonels, Aggies, Sea Aggies, Hunter Jaegers (Australian netball), Rabbitohs (NRL), St Louis University Billikens, The Old Lady (Juventus, Italian soccer)
FRANCHISE WINNERS – College outfits the California State University–Long Beach “Dirtbags”, and the Southern Nazarene University “Crimson Storm”. Go you Dirtbags. “Crimson Storm” sounds like a Wacky Races character.
WORST TEAM NAMES – MISCELLANEOUS
Red Bull New York – Major League Soccer franchise named after a soft drink.
Minnesota Wild – NHL franchise, forgot to finish their name
Dallas Sidekicks – Continental Indoor Soccer League. The type of name that does seem to put a limit on hope and ambition.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University “Gobblers” – I’m trying to see any upside to this on any level of interpretation, and failing comprehensively.
Villarreal (Spanish Soccer) – “The Yellow Submarine”. You’re jerking my chain.
Perth Glory (A-League) – Like morning glory, only two hours later.
Utah Jazz – They don’t have jazz in Utah; just Mormons, a choir and Marie Osmond.
Major League Soccer’s “Real Salt Lake”. They don’t have Real Madrid in Utah either.
WORST SPORTING TEAM NICKNAME IN EARTHLY HISTORY
The University of California–Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs”. Tends to leave a bad taste in the mouth. Their theme song is presumably well worth hearing, though.