This week, our local high school football team is playing a team named the Screaming Devils.

Not the Blue Devils, not the Red Devils. The Screaming Devils of Warren County High.

I love it.

To give you an idea of my sentiment from the get-go, I think the greatest sports team name ever is the Macon Whoopee, formerly of minor league hockey.

Give me more teams called the Mudcats or Syrupmakers or Atomsmashers. They are original and unique and emit a sense of fun.

Tigers and Eagles? Meh. Not so much.

A while back, I caught a Time magazine piece online concerning the “Top 10 Worst Team Names.”

Here they are, in no particular order, accompanied by my own constructive comments:

♦ Evergreen State College Geoducks.

A Geoduck isn’t a duck at all, but rather a mollusk. A mollusk is ... (please wait while I Google) .... a shellfish. Unconventional enough that it lends itself to profitable marketing opportunities, and also lewd limericks from the opposition.

That said, I like it.

♦ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

Warrior = fierce. Rainbow = peaceful. Rainbow Warriors = stupid team nickname. This time, I agree with Time.

♦ NYU Violets.

Their name stems from the flower, not the color. Unique — yes. Good — no.

♦ MIT Engineers.

What are MIT students? Engineers, mostly. I don’t have a problem with it. It makes sense. Considering the alternatives (Nerds, Geeks, Dorks), there are certainly worse candidates for this list.

♦ The Pace (University) Setters.

I beg to differ with Time on this one. The Pace Setters is a fantastic team moniker. It’s whimsical without being dainty.

♦ St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics.

According to Time, “eutectic” is the term used to describe the process of combining two solids to form a liquid; which I thought was called “melting.” According to me, “Eutectic” is too obscure for a team nickname, and I’m not sure how to pronounce it either.

I’d go with St. Louis College of Pharmacy Melters instead.

♦ Long Beach State Dirtbags.

The baseball team at Long Beach is the only squad there that goes by Dirtbags. The other teams at the school prefer 49ers. They’re missing out. Dirtbags is an absolutely wonderful team handle and lends itself to all kinds of hilarious fan chants.

Which T-shirt do you think is more popular: Long Beach 49ers, or Long Beach Dirtbags? I rest my case.

♦ UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

The fact that John Travolta wore a Banana Slugs T-shirt in “Pulp Fiction” makes their inclusion on this list unfathomable. A banana slug is, again, a mollusk, which shows a disturbing anti-mollusk bent by the creators of this list.

♦ Grays Harbor College Chokers.

This Washington state community college claims a “choker” to be a logging device. To the rest of the world, though, a “choker” is someone who folds during a critical juncture, which obviously doesn’t jibe favorably with athletics. Might as well name them the Grays Harbor College Losers. Horrible nickname.

♦ Evansville Purple Aces.

Time whiffed on this one. Purple Aces, while not particularly inventive, isn’t an awful team name. It’s much better than the Stanford Cardinal. Cardinal, in this case, isn’t a bird, but a color. And Stanford’s mascot is a tree.

How could Time miss that one?

Methinks somebody involved with list at Time was a Stanford grad – and a mollusk hater too.

Email Len Robbins at

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