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8:21 a.m. - March 13, 2007
Nicknames. Yep, These Are Real...
WARNING: The following is semi-sports related. However, I do believe that the non-sports fan will enjoy it, because, well, funny names!

Well, tonight the NCAA basketball tournament starts with the (grumble, mutter) play-in game, taking two teams that qualified the RIGHT way (winning their conference tourney, ok, the semi-right way) and not two teams that were lucky to get an at-large bid to the tourney.

I’m traveling this week (Hello, DC! Woot! But you knew that!) so I won’t have time to write my first round preview, so I thought I’d take the time to illuminate something else regarding college sports.

Nicknames.

There’s a website that lists all of the nicknames for each college sports team around this great land of ours. Now some of them are nicknames for club teams, and not varsity sports, but still…it’s quite a listing.

And yes, there are some real lulus out there.

Sure, you have some common names like Wildcats (34 schools), Tigers (46), Panthers (24), Lions (32, not counting Nittany Lions), Knights (24), Eagles (52, not counting various colors of Eagles), Crusaders (23!), Cougars (30), Bulldogs (40), and Bears (24, not counting Bruins or various types of bears), but that’s not why we’re here.

We’re here to celebrate the unique nicknames!

And not nicknames that are kinda sorta unique, like the Anna Maria AMCats (yawn!), the really out there, unique names.

(Mind you, I’ve always attended schools with rather unique names. My high school was the Athenians, and not many of them out there. My college was the Little Giants, and my grad school was IU (Hoosiers) but it was at IUPUI (at the time, they were the Metros).)

So, let’s take a look at them, shall we?

All-Stars - Converse College. What a great name. Of course, many of you know that the shoe of choice for eons was the Converse All-Star (also known as Chuck Taylor’s). What you don’t know is that Converse College is a women’s college, and that this season they set a school record with a THREE-game winning streak in finishing 7-22. Perhaps All-Stars is a misnomer.

Anchormen Rhode Island College. Ahoy, matey! Of course, the women’s teams are the Anchorwomen. (No, I won’t do any cheap Ron Burgundy jokes. Stay classy, Providence. Oh, Damn!)

Angels - Meredith College. Good thing they don’t have a hockey team at that women’s college. “Penalty on the Angels for instigating, fighting, and a game misconduct.” The ref would have the wrath upon him.

Anteaters - University of California – Irvine. Oh, how cute and cuddly. Look, Maude, an Anteater! Myself, I prefer aardvarks. But they’re not the same – not at all. Aardvarks are African, whilst true anteaters are in this hemisphere. Then there are the echidnas and numbats. Now, would you like to play for a team named the Numbats?

Banana Slugs - University of California – Santa Cruz. Oh, those wacky Californians. Banana slugs? Groovy, man. They do get a lot of orders for t-shirts!

Battlin’ Beavers - Blackburn College. You know, in all my years, I’ve never really seen a beaver that battles. I suppose they could be fierce looking as they gnaw through a limb. For a while, the football team at Earlham was known informally as the “Fighting Quakers”. Oxymoron, party of one.

Blackbirds - Long Island University – Brooklyn. Basketball coach, as LIU is down 15 at the half, “Take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life. You were only waiting for this moment to arise!”

Blue Hens - University of Delaware. Many times, women’s teams are saddled with either a male nickname, or they make it something unwieldy (like Anchorwomen). But the men’s teams are Blue Hens. Well, now. Cock-a-doodle-do! The Sagehens of Pomona – Pitzer are in the same boat.

Blue Hose - Presbyterian College. Um, yeah. You have White Sox and Red Sox, but Blue Hose? What? They’d better be wearing blue socks, otherwise, that’s a nickname under false pretenses.

Blue Tigers - Lincoln University, Missouri. I’ve never see a blue tiger, and I never hope to see one. But if I see a blue tiger, etc. etc.

Boll Weevils - University of Arkansas – Monticello. This is the nickname for the men’s teams. The women’s teams are the Cotton Blossoms. Now wait, don’t boll weevils attack the cotton blossoms? Now, what does THAT say about the state of athletics at UA-M?

Britons - Albion College. We are all Britons, and I am your king. In the same conference, Alma College are the Scots. Hope College are the Flying Dutchmen. So, we’ve got a European war o’ aggression in the MIAA. Ah, geez. Bu the Saxons of Alfred are in New York, and can’t join this little tussle.

Captains - Christopher Newport College. So many lines here. Ok, let’s go. No, the women’s teams aren’t the Tennilles. They’re your captains, and they’re feeling mighty sick. KHAAAAAAAAAAN! Ok, I’m done.

Chanticleers - Coastal Carolina University. Ok, we all know that South Carolina are the Gamecocks, and they have the hats and all that just say “Cocks” on them. But, at least one university in the South Carolina system has a dignified name. Oh, yeah, a chanticleer is a fancy name for a rooster. Sigh. But at least the weather is nice there. (Here’s one, the women’s teams are the Lady Chanticleers. Wait. Lady roosters? Um…biology class, please.)

Cobbers - Concordia – Moorhead College. Heh. He said Cobber…

Corsairs - University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth. Arrr! Matey! This be a pirate, yo. Avast ye landlubbers!

Diplomats - Franklin And Marshall College. What, they gonna bore them to death or something?

Duhawks - Loras College. Now, this is a shortening of “Dubuque Hawks”, and fits in with Coe College, also in Iowa, as they are the “Kohawks”. But I only put this here because I think they should be the Loras Lorax, and speak for the trees.

Eutectic - St. Louis College of Pharmacy. They’re just being all fancy and stuff, showing off their pharmacy terms. Yeesh. Snobs. But what a mascot they’ve come up with!

Express - Wells College. They beat the Locals, only because the Locals were stuck in traffic on the Dan Ryan, due to an accident around 30th.. (Har de har har.) Actually, Wells is in Aurora, New York.

Gentlemen - Centenary College of Louisiana. Of course, the women’s teams are Ladies. And you know, I bet they don’t have any brawls or hooliganistic behavior, and they tip well and hold doors and all that. Right? Similarly, Kenyon College are the Lords and Ladies, and in a name that creates all sorts of fun, Oberlin College are the Yeomen and the Yeowomen – never mind that the hottie with the mesh hairdo on Star Trek was a “Yeoman”.

Gorloks - Webster University. St. Louis has the Billiken, so Webster went with something just as insane and made up. A Gorlock? Has someone read too many Maurice Sendak books?

Governors - Austin Peay. Oh, just play the Diplomats so they can all bore each other to death.

Hardrockers - South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Duuuude. A team for Eve!

Hatters - Stetson University. No, they’re not mad. Honest.
Ichabods - Washburn University. So, the men’s teams are named after a skinny, tall fraidy-cat dude from a Washington Irving story? The women’s teams are the Lady Blues, which I guess was just pulled out of thin air.

Jennies - Central Missouri State University. Jennies, hmmm? The men’s teams are the Mules. So, yeah, I guess it works.

Judges - Brandeis University. No, they don’t have books that they throw at the opposing teams. But don’t make fun of their powdered wigs.

Jumbos - Tufts University. At least they’re talking about elephants, and not the size of drink that you can get with your Super Valu Meal.

Keelhaulers - California Maritime Academy. Yes! This one is for Violet!.

Koalas - Columbia College, South Carolina. OK, you name a team after a lazy marsupial that reeks of eucalyptus leaves, but it’s a women’s college to boot? Wow. And they’re the FIGHTING Koalas? Koalas sleep about 20 hours a day. I don’t think they have much fight in them.

Lutes - Pacific Lutheran College. For one, this is a lazy, lazy nickname. For two, a lute? Why not the lyres, or the recorders, or the celestes, or the harpsichords? Oh, I am trembling at the sight of a team named after a multi-string renaissance instrument.

Mastodons - Indiana – Purdue Fort Wayne. Yes, Mastodons are huge beasts. They’re also extinct. So you name a team after an animal that couldn’t quite cut it in the Darwinistic scheme o’ things? Makes sense, eh?

Missionaries - Whitman College. I wonder what position the Missionaries play? Heh! Heh! Oh, bad Smed. Bad wicked Smed.

Monks - St. Joseph’s College, Maine. There is no truth the rumor that the women’s teams have to play with tonsures as well. Though I think that should be Britney’s next look, eh?

Muleriders - Southern Arkansas University. Keep them away from the Jennies! By the way, they’re in the Gulf South conference. Since when is Magnolia, Arkansas near the Gulf?

Mustketeers - Xavier. All for one, and one for all!

Nanooks - University of Alaska – Fairbanks. Don’t be a naughty Eskimo! Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow!

Paladins - Furman University. You know, they may not be successful on the athletic floor, but it’s hard to be very successful when you’re lawful good and always have to keep calling fouls on yourselves that the ref misses. (Oh, yes, it’s a Dungeons and Dragons joke!)

Poets - Whittier College. Ah, yes, while the Poets are concocting their free verse, the opposing team is scoring a touchdown. Yes, Whittier plays FOOTBALL with a name like the Poets. Ye, gods.

Pointers - University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Here boy! Here boy! Where’s the bird? Where is it? Good boy! Good boy! Here’s a Snausage.

Prairie Fire - Knox College. They’re burning, they’re burning, they’re burning for you. Heh.

Professors - Rowan College. If they play Whittier, it’s the Profs against the Poets, and the crowd will be….going…zzzzzzz…..

Presidents - Washington and Jefferson College. There is no truth to the rumor that they are changing their nickname based on the performance of this current administration.

Ragin’ Cajuns - Louisiana – Lafayette. I garontee they are an angry sort. But I do think they need some Xanax, don’t you?

Railsplitters- Lincoln Memorial University. Now, Lincoln lived in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, so why is this college in Harrogate, Tennessee, near the Cumberland Gap? Anyone?

Rainbows - University of Hawaii. The women are Rainbow Wahine, and the football team is the Rainbow Warriors because a previous coach was afraid of the implication of the term “Rainbow”. You know what implication that is. Yeesh.

Ramblin’ Rams - Bluefield College. Have you seen a ram really ramble? I didn’t think so.

Retrievers - University of Maryland – Baltimore County. Unfortunately, I used my “here boy” joke already. But it fits here, too. See also the Pace University Setters or the Hiram Terriers. Woof!

The Rock - Slippery Rock University. No, Sean Connery is not the mascot. Nor is Nicholas Cage.

Sailfish - Palm Beach Atlantic University. Kind of a neat fish to be named after, really. But they have no swim teams! Pity.

Spiders - University of Richmond. Now, this, this is a nickname that can strike fear in the hearts of many opponents, just for being oogy. But remember, everyone, spiders are our friends.

Squirrels - Mary Baldwin College. What, are they going to hoard you to death? Bounce acorns off of your noggin? Yes, they are a women’s college, and they’re the FIGHTING squirrels. Yeah, when I think of pugilistic animals, I think of…squirrels.

Stags - Fairfield University. Again, the women’s teams are also the Stags. Um, isn’t a stag a male deer. Aren’t “stag parties” where the guys sit around, play poker and watch porn?

Stormy Peterels - Oglethorpe University. What, you ask, is a stormy peterel?? Well, here is the answer. Though, an old swing era song pops into my head whenever I hear it.

Student Princes - Heidelberg College. How Machiavellian they are. Well, they should be, because their football team has lost 36 games in a row. So they need some new tricks, I suppose.

Swedes - Bethany College, Kansas. Bork! Bork! Bork!

Tars - Rollins College. No, it’s not an old racial term. A ‘tar’ is a sailor. Ahoy!

Tartans - Carnegie Mellon University. No truth to the rumor that there are posters of the Bay City Rollers all over the locker room.

Toreros - University of San Diego. Ole!

Vandals - University Of Idaho. I guess the “Graffiti Taggers” would be too long to put on a jersey, right?

Violets - New York University. Uh, oh, if the Violets play the Keelhaulers, who would Violet and the Keelhauler root for? Hmmm…

Vixens - Sweet Briar College. They may be a bit distracted by wolf whistles from the crowd of the opposing team. On their athletic web site, the words “Go Sweet” appear in bold letters. As opposed to going sour, or going mental, I must say…

Wasps - Emory And Henry College. Now, wasps are sometimes just downright vicious, so, yeah, why not?

Wonder Boys - Arkansas Tech. What IS it with all of these Arkansas schools anyway? The womens teams are the Golden Sun, which is kind of nice, but Wonder Boys? What are they, a hero in a Disney movie from 1973 starring Joe Flynn and Bob Crane?

Zias - Eastern New Mexico University. This is the women’s team nickname. The zia are a indigenous tribe in New Mexico, and the sun symbol on the state flag is the symbol from that tribe. The men’s teams are the more boring and blah Greyhounds. (Not that Greyhounds are blah – heavens no – but that’s a nickname a few teams have).

Well, there you go. If you sat through it all, you saw where colleges sometimes can just go crazy-go-nuts with their nicknames. Now, I’m off to conference. Woot!

 

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