October 7, 2008

Nicknames Gone Horribly Wrong

Gellman's post on team names that bug him got me thinking about my days as a part-time sports reporter for my local newspaper, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, when I was in college. I know Gellman's post wasn't about college/high school nicknames but this is the story of possibly the most unique named sports team in America.

One of the guiding principles of the sports department was to write about, whenever possible, the smaller communities in the rural areas around the Eau Claire area. One such city was Hurley, Wisconsin. Hurley is pretty far away from Eau Claire but local teams would travel there to play basketball or Hurley teams would play local teams in the Conference championship tournaments. Writing these stories was a sports reporters dream because the nickname of the team from Hurley was...wait for it...the Hurley Midgets.

Now, the first reaction you might have to this is that maybe "Midget" means something other than an exceptionally short person...maybe it's some kind of German or Norwegian term for a heroic sporting champion? The answer: No.

Here the school's logo:
As a reporter, you could suggest article titles to the editors for your pieces but in the end it was their decision to include it or change it. Whatever the outcome of the game played against Hurley the proposed headline would be "Hurley Comes Up 3 Points Short" or "Team X Came Up Short against Hurley." Each reporter hoped that the copy editor would just skim the article and not make the connection to the school's nickname and the title and a Jay Leno "Headline" would be born.

1 comment:

night owl said...

A school not far from where I live used to have separate nicknames for their boys and girls sports teams. The boys' team was the Comets. Overused, but appropriate. The girls' team name was, no lie, the Raisins.