Look, it's a bird, an insect ... a bore
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 2, 2007
Soon, the Sunlake Still Looking for Names will have an identity. They will be known as Spartans, Yellow Jackets, Falcons, Hornets, Hawks or Ravens.
Which means the new school has already violated one rule: pick something distinctive.
Now granted, the last time I stopped by the school I was bitten by a Yellow Jacket while running to get a picture of this Hawk flying overhead, a rather spartan thing for a man in my physical shape to attempt.
But alas, the crop of nicknames is both ordinary and overcooked. Oh, the ho-hum-anity of it all.
It wouldn't take much to spruce up these names. For example, throw a Fighting in there. There are Fighting Scouts, Zebras thank you Lincoln High in California, Sandcrabs (Daytona Beach Seabreeze), a couple of Fighting Farmers (don't touch my corn!), Muckers, Scots and Quakers.
The Sunlake Fighting Hornets?
You're going down itching and swollen, Gators!
The secret is to pick something that is slightly intimidating. Personally, if I'm playing against the St. John's Military (Kan.) Muleskinners, the Central (Tenn.) Purple Pounders or the Konkrete Kids of Northampton, Pa., I'm a tad nervous.
Unlike going against the Benson (Neb.) Bunnies, St. Hubert (Pa.) Bambies, Havre (Mon.) Blue Ponies or the Hurley (Wisc.) Midgets; though the Mighty Midgets of Butternut scare me.
And give me a track meet against the Tuetopolis (Ill.) Wooden Shoes or the Madeira (Va.) Snails, but I'm calling in sick if the Bessemer (Mich.) Speedboys and Speedgirls are on the schedule.
It could have been worse, too, had Sunlake decided to play off its name for a nickname and gone with Sunlake FrontProperties or the Sunlake Booming Housing Markets.
This was not a lesson learned by Roosevelt (Minn.) Teddies, Columbus (Neb.) Discoverers, John Marshall (Ohio) Lawyers or the Speedway (Ind.) Sparkplugs.
(But we must confess to loving the Poca (W.Va.) Dots. Yeah, you heard me. If I don't have a Poca Dots High T-shirt by the end of next week, I should be skinned like a mule.)
Hey, Sunlake People, why not something just a little bit out there? We have Pirates and Wildcats and Gators, oh my, but no Appleknockers, Zizzers or Thunder Chickens.
The Sunlake Thunder Chickens. Every time - every single time - Pasco County came up, people would ask is that the home of the Thunder Chickens.
Sadly, it's not meant to be (unless a strong write-in candidate can mount a late charge. Oh, and the Thunder Chickens do admit an error in voting for the Iraq War, if that helps, and also support the production of a Larry Beets Bobblehead.)
Apparently, Spartans is the early frontrunner, and quite honestly the worst of the choices. I think of Michigan State immediately, and so will you.
To be fair, picking a nickname is no easy job. There's political correctness to consider, as the Crowley (La.) Ladies/Gents seemed well aware of.
But why not just name your school after someone, like the Sunlake Jims or Bobs or Izzies?
Oops, sorry, idea already taken by the St. Lawrence (N.Y.) Larries, Fairbury (Neb.) Jeffs , Frederickstown (Ohio) Freddies and Bellows (Utah) Academy Bobwhites.
Then again, maybe these safe names are just a way to keep us sportswriters in our place. How much damage can we do with "Spartans beat Cobras".
Imagine the fun if we could cover the Frankfort (Ind.) Hot Dogs vs. the Warrensburg (N.Y.) Burgers (heard their last meeting was a rout, and Frankfort never mustered a rally to catchup to Warrensburg).
Or the Mifflin (Ohio) Punchers vs. the Haskell (Okla.) Haymakers; the Mt. Clemens (Mich.) Battling Bathers against the Gettysburg (S.D.) Battlers (hope the press box is behind the Mt. Clemens bench.
Okay, okay. I'll stop. It's not like I tried to squeeze the Lawrence (Kan.) Chesty Lions in the paper or anything.
But you'll never stop me from pining for a job in Illinois, where I could cover the Wooden Shoes and Appleknockers, the Polo Marcos, Hoopeston Cornjerkers and not one, but two schools nicknamed the ...hold on ...wait for it ...Pretzels (archrivals of Bush High in Texas).
John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6261.