North Dakota Fighting Null


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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171 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    What’s odd to me is that they had some interesting choices, and went with a thoroughly uninteresting one. It doesn’t seem that we’re incapable of naming teams; collectively, we’re not interested in good names.

    Also, the university president’s speech announcing the new name and what it means is awesome.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      Inability to come up with a good name is the curse of our age (see also: bandnames, where “#allthegoodbandnamesaretaken” is a recurring tag for me). I just got a (pretty good!) record by a guy calling himself “Car Seat Headrest”.

      When you are making a Robert Pollard fan who also owns albums by “Kleenex Girl Wonder” and “A Faulty Chromosome” shake his head…you’ve got to try harder.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph says:

        Oh, it’s just that musicians are oft uncreative things.

        “The Glitch Mob” — how’s that for a name? (yes, it’s taken.)
        Hydrogen Jukebox

        You can come up with nearly anything, and make it interesting enough to be a name. It’s just a moniker, after all.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        “OK, what are we gonna name the band?”

        [Scans the room.]

        “How ’bout Fold Out Ottoman?”

        “No, we picked that last time.”

        “Area Rug?”

        “That’s the name of Steve’s band. Remember? You were here when he picked it.”

        “Oh yeah. Let’s see… Glass Coffee Table? Ikea Lamp? Makeshift TV Stand? Bending Book Shelf?”

        “Bending Bookshelf! That’s gold.”

        “OK, should we be The Bending Book Shelf?”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        My best friend was in a band called The Drinks. Which I can mention freely because try googling them. You wouldn’t find them even before they broke up. (You will find another band because sigh.)

        You know what’s not enticing on a bar marquee? “Tonight… The Drinks!”

        They could have at least gone with “Half-Price Drinks”

        Anyway, you can listen to a bit of the music of the late, lamented “Drinks” (ugh) here.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Glyph says:

        I feel the same about new stadiums, theaters, and arenas. Shea Stadium, Fenway, and Candlestick sound more interesting than Citifield, Best Buy Theater, or AT&T Park and other corporate names.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

          It’s not JUST that they are corporate names, it’s that they change annually now so nobody is ever sure they are talking about the same thing. Far be it from me to suggest that the ginormous, taxpayer-funded, hella-expensive structure be called by one single consistent name for an extended period, but….

          It’s like they are collecting more AKAs than most career criminals now.

          Which, come to think of it…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

            Denver is still ticked about how they voted that they’d rather spend more tax dollars on “Mile High Stadium” than “Corporation Stadium At Mile High” but, of course, the local gummint loves money money money.

            So Invesco Field At Mile High is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High for a mere 6 million a year.

            And everybody just calls it “Mile High” anyway.Report

          • Avatar Mo in reply to Glyph says:

            Even worse is when more than one team in the same sport has the same sponsor. When the Mavs played the Heat, the games were played in either the American Airlines Center or the American Airlines Arena.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Not all corporate names are as bad as others. For instance, “Citi Field” for a team that plays in New York City kinda sorta works. If you didn’t know what it was named for, you wouldn’t really think about it. I feel similarly about Miller Park and Coors Field… yes, those are corporate names, but they are really closely linked with the respective cities and they roll off the tongue pretty easily; they aren’t a mouthful. Lastly, if I’m not familiar with the corporation in question, I similarly just think about it as the stadium’s funky name. I never heard of Pac Bell (Pacific Bell, I guess?). I’ve heard of Pac Bell Park and that is easy to say so I don’t think of whatever Pacific Bell does (phones?) when I hear the name, I think of Barry Bonds. So that is probably a fail by Pac Bell but a win as far as stadium names go.

          The ones that really suck are ones like TD Bank North Garden. Ugh. US Cellular Field. Gross. Though at least the latter just gets called “The Cell” which is kind of cool.

          Ultimately, though, it is really hard to care about these things. That is just how things work now. Shaking your fist at it isn’t going to do much for you. However, if things like what @jaybird really do happen, I find that objectionable. If the taxpayers ostensibly paid for naming rights and then had them sold out from under them, that is highly problematic.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

            And Heinz Field could almost be named after Senator Heinz.
            (also, Heinz is one of those Iconic Pittsburgh Things)Report

          • Avatar Mo in reply to Kazzy says:

            Sorta like how Wrigley Field was not a corporate name, but the Great Western Forum was, but both still work really well.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

            Miller, Coors, and Wrigley are also family names in addition to being corporate names. Going to a game at Miller Park seems more personal than TD Bank North Garden. Citi Field is one of the least worst offensive corporate names because it sounds almost normal.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I think the question is, “If you didn’t know it was a corporate sponsor buying naming rights, would you guess that it was?”

              Tropicana Field (in Tampa/St. Pete) is another one that works because it just sort of sounds like an adjective for the area.

              And then there are companies whose names are very generic. The United Center… is that named for the airline? Or just a kumbaya moment? I like to pretend it is the latter.

              And some names seem so out of place that I don’t associate them with the company at all. I only recently realized that the Staples Center was named for the office supply store because, I dunno, it just never occurred to me to link those two.

              All that to say is that corporate stadium sponsor names are weird but a weirdness we are likely stuck with.

              Just wait until the jerseys start carrying ads. And they will. Oh they will!Report

          • Avatar Bruce Webb in reply to Kazzy says:

            When I lived in the Seattle area some years back, before the Supersonics got stolen by Oklahoma, they used to play in Key Arena even as the Mariners played ball at Safeco Field.

            Which was kind of cool because nobody outside Western Washington really recognized ‘Key Bank’ or ‘Safeco Insurance’ allowing Seattle Fans to just say they watched sports at the ‘Key’ or the ‘Safe’. Which only got a little diluted with Century Link Field for the Sounders and Seahawks.

            Still you got a like ‘the Key’ ‘the Safe’ and the ‘Link’. If that damn tech company had just named itself ‘Century Lock’ we would have really had something going.Report

          • Avatar gingergene in reply to Kazzy says:

            That’s the reason I hate Comerica Park replacing Tigers Stadium, but I actually like* the Lions playing in Ford Field rather than the Silverdome. For one thing, the Ford family owns the Lions, so they can name the stadium the Edsel Arena if they want.** For the same reason, it’s not just a money grab from a random local megabusiness who has some advertising budget to burn. Most importantly, though, is that Detroit was made by Ford, among others, and it’s a not just a nod to a prominent local family business, but to the very roots of the city. It feels right.

            *To be clear, I like the stadium name. I would not describe my feelings about the Lions’ current season as “liking”.

            **Pretty appropriate right now, actually.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Glyph says:

        Forget band names, we can’t even come up with good nicknames. You just end up with the First initial, first three of last name or something equally lame. I actually suspect it is less about people of this era and more due to general blandening that is happening because of national and global media. And One players have much better nicknames than NBA players despite coming from the same sport and a similar cultural milieu.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The North Dakota Nickname and Logo Process Recommendation Task Forces would put the fear of God into any team.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Well, at least they didn’t come up with something like Univ of Oregon “Ducks”.

    At least South Carolina has a fighting bird, the Gamecocks, although that’s only moderately less stupid.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

      At least both of those are varying degrees of unique. (Ducks less so now.) I think Gamecocks in particular is pretty good.

      (Reminds me a bit of a storyline from The Shield, where Shane impersonated someone who trained cocks to fight. He didn’t think it would work because he’s white. The hispanic guy helping him basically said, ‘Dude, the half of the people on the scene who aren’t Latinos are hicks.’)

      (Shane. Sigh.)Report

      • I need to watch The Shield again, now that I know that Shane faked his death and moved to Kentucky.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yes, unique, but “duck” really doesn’t have the impact that “warriors” or some other violent-ish name does.Report

      • Avatar Bruce Webb in reply to Will Truman says:

        Colors are also popular in post–Native American nicknames. Fully half feature some reference to color, compared with just 7 percent of other schools’ nicknames.

        Sometimes, birds and colors are combined

        I can’t even believe you left the Stanford Cardinal off this list, previously the Stanford Indians. Particularly since they are NOT the birds. But only the color. Yet has a mascot which is a green tree. You might think those 70’s Stanford kids were screwing with our heads. Unless like me you were at their arch rival cross-bay school and KNEW they were screwing with your heads.

        Plus you get double points if you know that Leland Stanford Senior deliberately modeled the school he called Leland Stanford Junior College (something Stanford hasn’t QUITE lived down even though named after the kid) after Harvard. Which ALSO is just a color. (Or Colour). Giving us the Harvard Crimson and the Stanford Cardinal.Report

  4. Avatar Zane says:

    I didn’t even know what a Sundog was, but it was the best of those options. After looking it up, it was even better.

    I’m a fan of using historical names when possible, so I would have voted for Flickertails had I the opportunity. I support Cleveland changing its MLB team name to the Cleveland Spiders for that very reason. And think of the marketing opportunities!Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Zane says:

      On first glance, I would have looked askance at Sundogs (still better than Hawks) but on another glance it’s perfect and works on multiple levels (the phenomenon, dogs, unique, and superficially a contrast to perceptions of the state).Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Zane says:

      I really wish the Washington baseball team had gone with the Homestead Grays.

      Partially because I hate the National names. Prefer Senators, but if not Senators then Grays.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        Homestead Grays was already taken. That’s a Pittsburgh team!Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

          Pittsburgh may have a claim on the name, but DC has a stronger one.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

            How so? it was the same team, in both places (oddly enough). And homestead is in Pittsburgh…Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

              Mark this down as a case where Kim is right and I was wrong. Pittsburgh’s claim is stronger.

              But they have a name and DC needs one and DC has a claim! So Grays it should have been!

              Better than the Nationals!Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                Nationals is just a really weird name.
                But Washington Grays really feels Civil War to me. Dunno why.
                (unless they were really playing the Black Pride card, which would be well within their rights…)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

                If the African-American community objected on those grounds, then you’d have to discard it, but I think the Negro League association trumps it.Report

              • The classical music lovers could call them the Sheep May Safely Grays.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Will Truman says:

                Why wouldn’t they object? White people co-opting the name of a revered nego team name for profit?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to notme says:

                I’ll let them speak for themselves. Did anyone object to when the Pirates or Nationals wore Gray uniforms as throwbacks?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

                My first thought was that we were talking about the aliens. You could have the Greys, the Arcturians, the Reptilians, the Nordics, the Pleiadians…

                Maybe we couldn’t do the Nordics, now that I think about it.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

                Washington Orz!
                (particularly good if we can get them to speak in Esperanto).Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

                The Nationals was the original name of the 1901-1960 AL team, but everyone called them the Senators after the 19th century teams, so eventually they changed it.Report

              • Yeah, the history is the only thing going for that name.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                This is not quite right. The National Club was one of the most prominent amateur-era Washington teams, most famous for making the first western tour, in 1867 (assuming that the Athletics schlepping out to Pittsburgh a few years earlier doesn’t count, which it seems not to).

                The first National Club went defunct in the 1870s, but baseball has a long tradition of recycling names. The second National Club was founded in 1877, and last until 1881.

                Things then get a little muddled, but the third or fourth (depending on how you could a loosely organized semi-pro iteration) National Club was in the Union Association in 1884, the Eastern League in 1885, and the National League from 1886-1889. (The standard sources don’t recognize this connection: partly because the modern mindset doesn’t really accommodate this pattern, and largely because I am the only one who has actually looked at the primary sources).

                The thing is, the National League didn’t go in for colorful club names. It mandated boring names like “Chicago Ball Club.” So the National Club changed its name to “Washington Ball Club” (or something equally uninspired). The curious side effect of not having an official colorful name is that this opened up space for journalists to create colorful nicknames. In this instance, they likely were inspired by Maryland Senator Arthur Gorman. Gorman had been a prominent member of the original Nationals, and was still a fan, frequently sneaking out of the capitol to attend games. So “Senators” stuck, in much the same way that the Cleveland team is the “Indians” because of one player being an Native American.

                Now jump forward two versions later, to the American League team of 1901. The American League had not silly prejudice against colorful names, so many of its teams adopted traditional team names from the previous century: Redsox, Whitesox, Browns, Athletics… and Nationals. The press, however, also used what was by then the traditional nickname of “Senators.” The two appear interchangeably for many years. I suspect that the press was also influenced by the common practice in two-team cities of referring to the, e.g., “Chicago Nationals” and “Chicago Americans.” “Washington Nationals” for an American League team would seem odd: hence a gradual trend to favor “Senators.”

                As a point of information, the team names you find in are more often than not utter bollocks for the 19th century, and in some cases up to the mid-20th. The list has a bunch of tacit assumptions built into it, which are anachronistic until the second half of the 20th century.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                LOL. There were actual senators playing? ROFL.
                Okay, that’s a far better reason to have that name than I had previously considered.

                (Same with the Cleveland Indians…)Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

                We wasn’t a senator when he was playing. He was friends with Stephen Douglas, who got him appointments to various Senate posts beginning with page and working his way up to Postmaster of the Senate.

                He lost that position in 1866 and was appointed to a position as Collector of Internal Revenue. I don’t know the details behind that, but that latter appointment shows ties with the Johnson administration. The National Club also had such ties. This was the nominally amateur era, so their payroll was buried in the Treasury Department budget. This also explains why the club went into decline with the coming of the Grant administration. Gorman is often credited by modern writers for that Treasury Department connection, but this is incorrect. He was far too junior at that point.

                He was elected to the Maryland legislature in 1869, and to the US Senate in 1881, serving three terms.

                Probably more than anyone wanted to know…Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There is only one time I can think of a school’s student body fighting to keep the weird mascot.

    This is when UCSC students wanted to keep Plato the Banana Slug and the jocks wanted to be the Santa Cruz Sea Lions:

    • Banana slug wins serious points for originality, but Sea Lions is also good!

      Both are better than the Hawks!Report

      • Nebraska is currently the Cornhuskers (adding an adjective would just be silly). For several years before that was adopted they were the Bugeaters, which is not as bad as it sounds, being derived from a slang term for the common nighthawk. The threat by the University of Missouri team to not play earlier this year prompted me to go back and look up something I thought I remembered. In 1892, the Bugeaters got an official 1-0 forfeit victory over U of M, when Missouri refused to take the field because one of the Nebraska players was a black med student.Report

        • Southern Tech was the first school of its station in its region to deliberately integrate its athletics. Reading about it – and how other schools responded – is interesting. It’s been over 50 years and we haven’t since played some of the schools we played year in and year out before.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Wait… are they still the Banana Slugs? Isn’t the idea behind that as a mascot is that they have no natural predators, therefore putting them at the top of their food chain? That’s sort of badass. Even if only on a technicality.

      Note: I base this on the USSC shirt I had with a big cartoon banana slug on the front and the tagline “No Natural Predators” (or something thereabouts) across the back.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Kazzy says:

        I thought it was because the banana slug had a male reproductive organ that was as long as the slug itself. One species of banana slug had a name that literally means “long penis”.Report

  6. Avatar notme says:

    Liberals created this problem with their PC demands and will continue to do so as people give into them. Just look at the demands that Princeton erase W. Wilson from its history.Report

  7. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Mammoths would also have been good. Not only unused, but bigger than Bison!Report

  8. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    I was in a brand new school in eighth grade: Standley Middle School. The student body got to vote on the mascot. (Why does a junior high need a mascot? I don’t know. My kids’ elementary school has one, which is equally pointless.) The choices were anodyne, but there was one interesting item: the Standley Steamers. I lobbied for it. The winner was the Seahawks. It turned out that the student body as a whole was not as interested in obsolete automotive technology as was I.

    More recently, a few years back, the independent Atlantic League put baseball teams in York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They chose to eschew the traditional names for minor league ball teams in those towns: the White Roses and Red Roses respectively. They instead are the York Revolution and the Lancaster Barnstormers. I was thoroughly disgusted.

    The upshot is that I have been trained nearly my entire life to expect disappointing sports team names, even was presented with much cooler possibilities.Report

    • When I was in middle school, a new middle school was built. So they had to choose a mascot. The administration liked Cadets because it was taken from land of a government installation where that name was appropriate. The kids didn’t like it. There was a groundswell of support for a different name, the Cobras. It was universally popular with anyone and everyone who cared.

      The district immediately assumed that it must be some sort of gang thing and went with Cardinals.Report

  9. Avatar rexknobus says:

    Traveling in the northwest many years ago, I stopped in to watch a high school game between the “Eagles” and the “Spuds.”

    The “Spuds.”

    It seemed to me at the time that growing up in a school system where your high school team was called the “Spuds” was a particularly evil form of child abuse.Report

  10. If NDS is the Bison, UND should name themselves after this guy and be the Tenniels .Report

  11. Avatar notme says:

    Kim: (unless they were really playing the Black Pride card, which would be well within their rights…)

    Within whose rights? Jesse Jackson or an MLB team?Report

  12. Avatar Mo says:

    I like the fact that Sleepy Hollow’s high school mascot is the Headless Horsemen.Report

  13. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Considering that it is North Dakota, why didn’t they go for the North Dakota Oil Riggers? Oil Riggers are seen as tough and hardy people and would be a good mascot for a football team, exceedingly few people would have been offended, and it’s original.Report

  14. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    They need to get some Iain Banks up in this piece.

    The North Dakota And You Mother Too.

    The North Dakota Subcutaneous Haemorrhages.

    The North Dakota Hyperextended Groin Injuries.

    The North Dakota Late Hits.

    The North Dakota Banned From NCAA.Report

  15. Avatar Chris says:

    The University of North Dakota Leci N’est Pas Une MascotteReport

  16. Avatar Zane says:

    Will Truman:
    Biggest issue is that while the state enjoys oil revenue but doesn’t identify itself by it. It’s not wrapped in its history and self-image like Texas and Alberta.

    And the University of North Dakota is in Grand Forks, the other side of the state from the oil activity. North Dakota is not a tiny state. It would be no surprise that the university community might feel little affinity or connection with drilling that happens hundreds of miles away.

    North Dakota has fairly skewed college and university placement. The two big state schools are on the Minnesota border.

    (And I’m not sure why this reply fell out of the thread that Will’s was in….)Report

  17. Avatar greginak says:

    A good mascot should really inspire you or make your opponent cringe.
    So….. The North Dakota Lutefisk.Report

  18. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    I believe Dartmouth has found the best solution to this:

    Although, part of me wants North Dakota to call themselves the Fighting Swedes, that way my soul could be torn between them and Notre Dame.Report

  19. Avatar El Muneco says:

    I think that Roughriders would be a good name, but only if they followed the CFL precedent and made every college in ND use it as its mascot.Report

  20. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Falcons. Ospreys. Raptors.

    There are lots of cool bird-themed names, not everyone has to be hawks.

    But three of Canada’s seven NHL hockey teams are named after the concept of being Canadian (with another three named after local industries), so we really don’t have any grounds to criticize.Report

  21. Avatar Sam says:

    The North Dakota Badlands. There. Done. What’s next?Report

  22. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Nobody mentioned the Frackin’ Falcons?Report