In a time where remakes of movies are coming out constantly and every thing is starting to look the same, it is always refreshing to see something that stands alone.
As a sportswriter, I encounter team nicknames everyday in my job. Sometimes the task of finding nicknames becomes monotonous as there are multiple Patriots and Bulldogs, just to name a few, that seem to pop up all around the high school ranks. Even in professional sports, nicknames cross over league lines. I am not saying that these “generic” nicknames are bad, I am just saying there can be too much of a good thing. But when I see a nickname that is refreshing, it sticks with me and I always remember it because of the “shock value” and uniqueness of the name.
For example, in the recent months, New Orleans Hornets’ owner Tom Benson has decided to scrap the Hornets nickname for something more relatable to the home town of the team. The huge media hoopla and comedic remarks made in regards to the name change seem childish and somewhat moronic as the new mascot reflects the city of New Orleans along with the state of Louisiana. Benson and his staff at the NBA affiliated team will now be known as the Pelicans following the close of the 2012-2013 campaign.
New Orleans is home to great sport nicknames and as a life-long Saints fan can tell you they all make sense with the Big Easy. From the Saints in the National Football League and the New Orleans Voodoo in the Arena Football League, the mascots all have a tie to the city. And after a lot of speculation surrounding the possible move out of New Orleans for the Hornets, getting a nickname which reflects the location of the team was a great decision to put roots into the market. The change to the Pelicans makes me want to adopt the New Orleans NBA franchise as my team to pull for in the professional basketball scene because of their boldness and creative juices that were flowing. Even though the Pelican does not strike much fear into the hearts of opponents, it is still a great represented of everything Louisiana and New Orleans.
Using the New Orleans Pelicans as a mild taste of wackiness, I introduce the Great American Conference (GAC). An NCAA Division II athletic conference, the GAC began very recently as institutions of higher learning in Arkansas and Oklahoma split from the Gulf South Conference and the Lone Star Conference. The joining of these eleven members seems almost perfect as the team mascots are more memorable than the college or university they represent. Some highlights include the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys and Golden Suns, the University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils and Cotton Blossoms, and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savage Storm. It just seems like the pure bizarreness of the nicknames brought all eleven colleges and universities together to form this conference.
I know that I probably have not hit on every bizarre or wacky nickname, but I just really love a unique mascot. It displays either the culture of a school or city and can be a homage to something great locally. All in all, nicknames no matter how “normal” or “wacky” can be a great rallying cry for any team, fan base, and community.