Sunday, February 3, 2013

What's in a Team's Nickname

SPORTS team monickers.
Since NBA has always been my first choice of sports leisure distraction, Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers easily occupy my fancy. Made me ponder, most Boston players are African-Americans but they are called Celtics. The Celts (or Kelts) were an ethno-linguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe--distributed mostly via the Gaels (Irish, Scottish and Manx) and the Brythonic Celts (Welsh, Cornish, and Bretons). I mean, Caucasians/Whites.

I am over-reading it, I know...
Another sports nickname that infuriates some (or most) of my Native American kin and friends is the Redskins, or NFL's Washington Redskins. Yes, “redskin” is a slang that refers to the indigenous peoples of the Americas (ie whites, blacks etc). The strongest argument though centers around alleged atrocities of Penobscot Indians by European settlers in mid-1700s. American Indian groups posit the the term redskin was coined in response to a 1755 Proclamation which institutionalized genocide of the Penobscots. Heavy, isn't it? In fact, “redskin” doesn't end there.
My former NYC roomie, Neil Yang (yes, that's his name), claimed to be a Redskin, not a Cherokee or Navajo (he's ethnic Taiwanese by way of Ontario, Canada)--but a socialist or Communist skinhead (also called redskin).
Back to the NBA. Next season, the New Orleans Hornets will be called New Orleans Pelicans, which their owners say, is more appropriate. I just hope that sportscasters cut the alias to a shortened Lycans, which is also kinda apt, I think—NOLA, being the setting of many supernatural/underworld novels and movies (notably Anne Rice's vampire books and Charlaine Harris' "The Southern Vampire Mysteries"--basis for the popular HBO series, "True Blood"--which is set in Louisiana). Lycan is an alternative name for werewolf. In the the Underworld film series, Lycans are biologically immortal transgenics--with greatly enhanced physical attributes.
Anyhow,  whatever, right?
I wonder why my home city's sports (baseball) team is called Asheville Tourists... Tourists are outsiders, not homeys. I mean, why wouldn't all sports-crazy cities adapt names that somehow connect to local culture (or subculture)? I mean, Asheville should be called Asheville Beerguzzlers, for example—being the beer capital of the US.
Meanwhile, since some teams make no fuss with naming their teams narcissistic/holier-than-thou (or badder-than-thou) names like (New Orleans) Saints and (LA/Anaheim) Angels or (New Jersey) Devils... Why not call teams via unlikely—but admittedly cool/awesome tags to young, fiery youths... like say, Las Vegas Sinners, Unknown City Motherfuckers, Pandora Bitches, Krypton Assholes etc etc. 
Oh well. Just watch the game...

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