It used to be easy to name your sports team; just pick a dangerous animal and go. Unfortunately, there are way more sports teams in the world than there are cool animals, and the result is a lot of names that range from lame to laugh-out-loud retarded.
Webster University Gorloks
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL)
Key School Obezags (High school)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
From the Webster University website: "The Gorlok is Webster University's school mascot. It is a mythical creature that was designed by Webster staff and students through a school contest. It is reported to have the paws of a speeding cheetah, horns of a fierce buffalo, and the face of a dependable Saint Bernard."
The design team lovingly followed the instructions to the letter and came up with a lion:
The Key School Obezags meanwhile, have cleverly made an anagram of the word "gazebo," which would make no sense unless you knew that the school has a sort of obsession with gazebos, which it does. They don't seem to have a mascot, but with a name like "Obezags" they could have let their imaginations run wild and made it a ferocious clown with a barracuda for a penis. The merchandising would bring the school millions.
Meanwhile, Canada continues to have problems with words, inventing the puzzling "Tiger-Cats," and willfully pluralizing "leaves" wrong. This is a point of "dishonour" to their school system.
(Arena Football League)
South Dakota School of Mines HardRockers (College)
Indianapolis NW Space Pioneers (High school)
Cleveland Rockers (WNBA, defuncT)
Swing of the Quad Cities (Minor League Baseball)
"Soul" in this case doesn't refer to the eternal essence of self that many believe humans possess. Rather, it's a style of popular music in the 1970s known as Philadelphia Soul, making it highly relevant when this expansion team opened in 2004. This team was actually co-founded by Jon Bon Jovi, who is to soul what Arena football is to football.
Jon Bon Jovi, as relevant and hip as the team he co-owns.
The South Dakota School of Mines HardRockers and the defunct Cleveland Rockers of the WNBA do have legitimate connections for their wannabe-hip-sounding names. One is a pun on the school's mining focus; the other is located near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, they both end up reminding you of when a company tries to put forward a mascot with a backwards baseball cap, a skateboard and some kind of crazy-shaped electric guitar to appeal to "kids today."
The Indianapolis NW Space Pioneers, meanwhile, had the bad fortune to tie its name to the hot current event in the '60s, the space race, and have not mustered the energy to change it since.
Whoever renamed their team the "Swing of the Quad Cities" was obviously trying to go for something hip and fresh, but unfortunately swing is only hip and fresh to a demographic that is, for the most part, now dead.
Thailand Tobacco Monopoly
(Thai soccer team)
Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Stanford Cardinal (College)
St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectic (College)
While the American teams put up one hell of a fight, they were no match for good old Asian wackiness, as the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly soccer team leaves us puzzled and nearly speechless. Being named after a tobacco company would be pretty hilarious in itself. But being named after the concept of the tobacco business being dominated by one corporate entity without any competition, this is truly a masterstroke.
The NHL's Minnesota Wild holds its own, however, being named after a concept whose definition could range from generally uncontrollable to areas untamed by man. Adjective? Noun defining a concept? Who knows. There's a team whose commitment to keeping its opponents guessing runs so deep as to extend to even its name.
Meanwhile, the Stanford Cardinal is named after a shade of red, a concept so difficult to personify that team boosters have just torn out their hair and made their mascot costume a shoddy-assembled tree.
And finally, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy has dug deep into its obscure word bank and come up with the "Eutectic," which turns out is either an adjective referring to an alloy combination with the lowest possible melting point, or sometimes a noun referring to the substance itself. What it really says, obviously, is "We don't have to be good at sports because we'll have nice pharmacist paychecks soon, so enjoy your meaningless victory."
Hiroshima Toyo Carp
(Japanese Pro Baseball-NPB)
Brevard County Manatees (Minor League Baseball)
UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs (College)
Columbia College Fighting Koalas (College)
Atlanta Thrashers (NHL)
Montreal Alouettes (CFL)
Listen, Hiroshima Toyo ... no one is scared of carp. No one is scared of manatees either, Brevard County, but they're bigger, so you slide out of the top spot. One might have hopes for a second that a Toyo Carp is some kind of carnivorous carp, but unfortunately Toyo is just a reference to the sponsoring company. So, they are indeed just carp.
Meanwhile, UC Santa Cruz has chosen the banana slug, mostly as a joke, which at least inspires revulsion if not respect.
Columbia College has made some kind of half-assed attempt to inject some threat by adding the "fighting" prefix to their koala name, but has only succeeded in creating a more ridiculous mental picture.
Two professional teams round out the list by inexplicably choosing small, non-threatening birds to represent themselves-thrashers ...
and skylarks (alouettes):
We can easily picture some team executive hearing "Thrashers" and, picturing fierce teeth and razor-sharp claws that thrash things, saying, "Yes! Go with it!" That guy was probably fired the first time somebody bothered to crack open an encyclopedia. There is no excuse for "Alouette," since it's most famous for having various body parts plucked off, verse-by-verse, in the well-known French song "Alouette."
King Faisal Babies
(Ghana's Premier Football League)
Centralia Orphans (High school)
Cordozo Clerks (High school)
Cairo Syrupmakers (High school)
Wikki Tourists of Bauchi (Nigeria Premier League)
We can only speculate why a professional soccer team would name itself the "Babies," but odds are they have an odd sense of humor, wish to lull their opponents into a false sense of security, or the ownership was so fed up with the players' whining that they changed the team name as a sort of punishment. Or, possibly it's all three.
Meanwhile, we assume the Centralia Orphans get pumped up for every game by thinking of themselves as impoverished waifs with nothing to lose, because everything they ever loved is gone, which must lead to some awesome pep rallies. The Cordozo Clerks are located near Washington D.C., which is still no excuse, because San Fernando Valley high schools never feel the need to name their teams the Pornstars. Still, the compulsion seems to be universal, vis-a-vis the Cairo Syrupmakers (Cairo being where Karo syrup is made, sadly).
Teutopolis Wooden Shoes
Presbyterian College Blue Hose (College)
Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes (College)
Frankfort Hot Dogs (High school)
Victoria Salsa (British Columbia Junior Hockey, defunct)
It's hard to explain why wooden shoes don't feel so threatening, as logically, they could be used to bludgeon someone over the head quite effectively. Nevertheless, the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes inspire a sort of stunned, mild lethargy that none of the others in this category were able to match.
The Blue Hose could arguably belong to the upcoming "Sounds Dirty" category, but we chose to take the high road in this case. Meanwhile, the "fighting" prefix does even less for artichokes than it did for koalas.
The Frankfort Hot Dogs continue to prove that the pun is the lowest form of humor, and the Victoria Salsa, whether referring to the dance or condiment, lose badly on either count.
(Due to forfeit by New Zealand Black Cocks)
Cleveland Browns (NFL)
Rhode Island School of Design Nads (College)
Deportivo Wanka (Peruvian soccer team)
Chattanooga Central Purple Pounders (High school)
Young Boys Bern (Swiss soccer league)
Butte County High School takes the prize with their simultaneously appropriate and completely inappropriate team nickname of "Pirates." The New Zealand national badminton team, the Black Cocks, would have beaten them, only the name was shot down at the last minute by the international badminton authorities and the protests of many angry people with no sense of humor. Fortunately, they managed to cancel the naming just in time to save the world's respect for badminton.
It's hard to point out what's dirty about the Cleveland Browns nickname without being crude, so let's just say that one favorite euphemism for number two in the bathroom is, "Taking the Browns to the Superbowl."
The Rhode Island School of Design has an impressive entry with their "Nads" hockey team. It was only slightly diminished by the fact they obviously did it on purpose, which is somewhat atoned for by their team cheer, "Go Nads!" and their school's matching basketball team, the Balls.
The Nads mascot, forcing the team onto this list
Deportivo Wanka of Peru was a hit on their visit to the U.K., although admittedly somewhat puzzled by the snickers that greeted them. For those unfamiliar with zany Brit slang, the "Wanka" appear to be some sort of tribute to masturbation.
Beyond puzzling are the Chattanooga Central Purple Pounders, and last but not least, the Swiss professional soccer team with the vaguely disturbing name Young Boys Bern, who play in Wankdorf Stadium.