The Port Arthur News
Some things to talk about while I obsess about nicknames for an entire article...
1) Best local nicknames
Over at Grantland.com, NBA writer Zach Lowe did a two-part column on the best and worst nicknames in the NBA. He then went on Grantland founder Bill Simmons’ podcast to discuss it. Reading through Lowe’s piece and then listening to the podcast this weekend got me thinking. What are the best nicknames in Southeast Texas? Here’s my top three.
Sabine Pass Sharks – It’s got a lot going for it. There’s the alliteration of Sabine and Sharks. There’s the fact that sharks probably do come within 25 miles of the school. Oh, and the fact that Sharks are really, really cool. It’s almost a travesty that I haven’t gotten an opportunity to do a Jaws-themed article about them yet.
West Brook Bruins – Look, I know Bears is a popular nicknames. There are plenty of Bears, including one over in Little Cypress. But, its commonality makes it less distinctive. Now, change it up and make it the Bruins? That’s a bear with a neat name. Also, it’s not overused, so it gets bonus points.
Memorial Titans- I like the tie-in to a great football movie (even if it is slightly sappy) in Remember the Titans. It’s a powerful nickname, reminiscent of those most powerful of Greek gods. My only quibble with the Titans is the logo. C’mon, PA. You can do better than modeling your logo off the Tennessee football team. That’s the same team ripped away from Houston by its owner. Not a pleasant association for many football fans.
Apologies to the Indians and Bulldogs, as they’re as generic as can be. I like what you’re doing Nederland, but one out of every 10 teams in Texas is named after a dog. As for PN-G, there’s a simple fix. Go the Florida State route and call yourself the name of an actual Indian tribe. Wouldn’t the PN-G Cherokee sounds just as nice?
2) Best state nicknames
So, my obsession with nicknames doesn’t just stop in Southeast Texas. I’ve developed quite a few favorites over the years from around Texas
Hutto Hippos – This has been one of my favorites for years now. Pity the poor girls who have to play for the Lady Hippos, though.
Weatherford/Killeen Kangaroos – Are you kidding? It’s a kangaroo. Marsupials are inherently awesome. Points deducted for multiple teams using it, though.
Southlake Carroll/Round Rock Dragons – If we’re holding a statewide contest to see who’s mascot beats up everyone else’s mascot, a dragon has to make the Final Four. Again, though, duplication discounts it.
The Woodlands Highlanders – Of course my alma mater makes the list. What’s a Highlander? Watch that movie, see people get hit in the face by a claymore and marvel at the awesomeness of Highlanders.
Aldine MacArthur Generals – Yeah, I’m also a history nerd. Naming a team after MacArthur and calling them the Generals scores big points with me. Think of the football signs: “I shall return…to the end zone.”
New Braunfels Unicorns – If you’ve ever used the internet or seen an internet meme, you’ll no doubt realize that unicorns are the unofficial mascot of everything. Why not name a football team after them?
Frisco Raccoons – Only one team in the nation is named after that tiny, furry thief. But, I’m guessing after Rocket Raccoon gets introduced to the world via the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, many more teams will be wishing they were as cool as Frisco.
3) Most egregious omission?
Here's one that really puzzles me. Out of the 25-30 football teams in Southeast Texas, not one is nicknamed the Gators?
Only two teams in Texas have that as their nickname, Dickinson and Gatewood Christian in Dallas. Why not in the Golden Triangle? One of the best minor league nicknames was the Golden Gators. A high school can't capitalize on that?
Yes, I realize the Florida college also is the Gators and I'm not a fan of copying nicknames of colleges, especially ones out of state. But, there's not a more Texas-centric mascot than the gator, right? It'd have a cool mascot and neat logo possibilities. Just seems like a lost opportunity.
Feel free to send in any suggestions, other omissions or defense of some of the other nicknames mentioned here. The best might even sneak into a Talking Points post later this week.
David Coleman is a sportswriter for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.