Jeffro vs Sporting Team Names
What is it with sporting team names these days?
What happened to good, old fashioned team names based on ferocious, testosterone-filled animals such as the Richmond Tigers, North Sydney Bears and Penrith Panthers? To come up with a mascot in those days, one had to simply think of any animal that could kill an angry Chuck Norris with one paw.
But Australian sporting teams started to become soft. To illustrate my point, we created team names based on feathered flying birds. If a hawk is masculine and predatory, and a vulture is fierce and ruthless…well then a team named after a swan sounds plain poofy. How many schoolyard fights could have been avoided if Sydney called themselves the Sydney Pterodactyls instead of naming themselves after a gentle pink bird that would lose a fight with a comatose three toed sloth?
And these days, a team name doesn’t even have to be based on a living creature. Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Storm team names are literally based on violent disturbances of the atmosphere featuring strong winds accompanied by rain and thunder. This sounds almost as silly as if they called themselves the Melbourne Snowflakes.
Then there’s the teams that aren’t even based on an object, but rather a sound or a number. The Brisbane Roar and cricket’s Sydney 6′ers have as much credibility as Simon Crean at the Labor party’s monthly Marx-reading evenings.
Team mascots based on ancient mythical beings are a slight improvement. The Gold Coast Titans sound better than the team they replaced; The Gold Coast Seagulls, whose name conjures up pictures of happy, healthy holiday birds eating fish and chips out of the kiddies hands. This is quite a contradictory brand image for the NRL who have spent years carefully associating their football-code with masculinity, alcohol-influenced violence and non consensual group sex.
Don’t even get me started on team names based on colours such as the Carlton Blues or the Western Reds. It must’ve been a deliberate marketing strategy conceptualised at boardroom discussions during the club’s founding days. “Our geographical demographic doesn’t contain citizens belonging to the highest intellectual quintile. If we name ourselves the Western King Parrots, will our supporters know what colour to wear? Why not remove the confusion and just call ourselves ‘Reds’”.
A mascot name based on a stereotype of the team’s catchment area is fine in my opinion e.g. North Queensland Cowboys. Future team names could be called Brighton Rabbis, Darlinghurst Homos, Bankstown Rapists, or the Marrickville Ethnics. A future NBL game between the Dandenong Single Mums and the Cronulla White Supremists has a rather nice ring to it.
And in the tradition of naming teams after inanimate objects (a trend copied from the US such as the New York Knickerbockers), let’s extend this to Australian teams such as the Northcote Skinny Jeans and the Alice Springs Petrol Cans.
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