It’s football season in Northeast Ohio and this means I am cheering on my three favorite teams to victory. Okay for two them, I’m actually just yelling a lot. But I have noticed that “my” teams all have odd nicknames which warrant some discussion.
College: The University of Akron
Team Name: Zips
The team at my alma mater was originally named the “Zippers” after a new rubber boot that featured this new-fangled closure. The name had to be changed a few years later when zippers became an important part of men’s trousers. This would have been a great opportunity to select a new name, but no, the bad name was just shortened to Zips.
The name Zips can mean a quick movement or it means nothing, as in “you got zip”. This latter meaning is very useful to headline writers whenever an Akron team gets shutout. The name also made developing a mascot difficult. If the school was true to its heritage, it would have a guy in a huge rubber boot jumping around the field. Instead a great mascot “Zippy” (a kangaroo) was created and actually was named Capital One Mascot of the Year in 2007. It could have been worse; they could have gone more generic and named the team the Akron Rubbers.
College: Ohio State University
Team Name: Buckeyes
You might be surprised that I cheer for two college teams, but almost everyone in the state of Ohio roots for the Buckeyes. It my case I have to. The other two teams mentioned in this post have a combined 6-33 record dating back to the start of last season, so if I want to back a “winner”, this is my team.
Ohio State is having a great season, but is ineligible to compete for the national championship because the team is on probation. Apparently this is due to some people valuing something called “institutional integrity” over the players being able to receive free tattoos! This is an outrage. Nothing should ever trump the opportunity to receive free tats. Come on man, it’s part of the uniform!
However, “Buckeyes” is a ridiculous name. Of course the buckeye is the state nut, but why does Ohio even need an official nut? The buckeye is also inedible, which means it is a useless nut. So Ohio State fans, your team represents a useless nut. The name is laughable. No other team is named after a nut. You don’t see the Arizona Almonds playing the Wisconsin Walnuts, do you?
The mascot is Brutus Buckeye, which is a tall student running around with a huge nut for his head. Unfortunately this resembles a, well ah, okay it looks like something you would see at a fertility festival. This is why you never see Brutus interacting with the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders are not allowed to hug, squeeze, or sit on top of him. And under no circumstances are they allowed to rub or kiss his head for good luck. The last time that happened, poor Brutus suffered some stiffness that last more than four hours and had to seek medical attention.
NFL Team: Cleveland
Name: The Browns
There are only a few things in the world that are naturally the color brown, and most, let’s say “dirt” for instance, are unpleasant (politically correct insert: this does not include people!). The team was named after Paul Brown, the first coach, but that was a long time ago. You should never name teams after people, because things change. Just imagine if a team had been named the Penn State Paternos? Paul Brown was eventually fired, so now most people believe the team is named after the color.
The name Browns makes having a mascot difficult. They tried having “Brownie the Elf”, but a weak, boyish, symbol does not instill fear in an opponent. And you can’t have someone running around in a long brown sock with eye holes. This would scare the children and would risk having the mascot being continually picked up and disposed of by stadium maintenance. The sad part is that since the new Browns have returned to Cleveland they have played like brown stuff, smelly brown stuff.
Because I am a Browns fan, many people have asked me if the recent passing of the former owner, who moved the team to Baltimore, has caused me to change my opinion of him. Of course it has. What type of callous, uncaring, person do you think I am? Before, I regarded him as a bastard. Now, I regard him as a dead bastard.