SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BOTHERED, SLIGHTLY BLUE
WORLD'S WORST SPORTING TEAM NICKNAMES
(The idea for a piece on eccentric sporting team nicknames was suggested by a former sport editor of mine at The Age newspaper.
Accordingly, I shuffled and poked around the interweb, assembled the candidates, and then wrote and re-wrote the piece a number of times in June 2007.
For whatever reason, it never saw print in the paper. Eventually, I put it up on my old website, quite a while ago.
I thought it might be ok for a second airing, and have slightly tinkered around with it again to freshen it up a little.
In fairness, there have no doubt been many new appalling sporting team nicknames in the intervening years. But I believe the examples in this collection more than adequately hold their own.
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 associated with either a legendarily awful Diana Ross/Michael Jackson movie or a popular 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" and "Mountain”.
However "Purple Pride" does deserve some kind of Honorary Mention citation as the only one of these that sounds exactly like a term that might have been used in one of the readers' letters in the old Penthouse Forum column.
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 unpleasant 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). Apparently somebody thought fans and players would find it inspirational to be 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.
LIKELY 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.
One imagines something along the lines,
"We're not just any mugs,
Our favourite dogs are pugs,
For some it's beer they chugs
But we all go for Banana Slugs!"