Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010



Many of us have heard "The Duner Rant" about sports team nicknames. So, for those you fortunate enough NOT to have heard this, here's a quick summary. Group A is for teams with horribly simply nicknames. Basic colors: THE CINCINNATI REDS or CLEVELAND BROWNS or archaic slang: NEW YORK YANKEES or PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. Group B contains fierce animals or people. This includes the DETROIT LIONS or GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. Group C is the most creative. It involves something unique about the place the team represents. For example, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS give tribute to gold miners. The PITTSBURGH STEELERS are named after the city's steel industry. (NOTE: Group C teams have trouble changing cities. For example, when the Jazz moved from New Orleans to Utah. Is there really any 'Jazz' in Salt Lake. Or how many lakes are there in Los Angeles vs. Minnesota?)

Anyhow, back to the blog's main subject: the WORLD CUP. With the games about to start, I began to wonder: Do the teams of NATIONS have nicknames as well? Of course they do! So let's see how well they fit into my categories: First up: Group A. Seems many teams go for colors to identify themselves. In South America, sky blue is popular. Argentina is Albiecelestes (white & sky blue) and Uruguay is La Celeste (heavenly blue). Nearby Chile is called La Roja (red), France is Les Blues , the Netherlands are Oranje and Italy is Azzurri (blues). Mexico is called El Tri (the three) which refers to the three colors on their flag. Finally, New Zealand is All Whites...don't confuse them with All Blacks...the rugby team! Then, there are those old terms. The US team is The Yanks and Germany is creatively called Der Manshaft (the team.)

Next, let's move on to Group B. These are fierce animals or people. Lions are always popular. Cameroon is The Indomitable Lions and England is The Three Lions. Eagles are another favorite. Nigeria boasts The Super Eagles while Serbia has Beli Orlovi (the white eagles). Not surprisingly, the Ivory Coast is Les Elephants, while three-time champions Brazil are the cute Canarinihos (the little canaries!) Algeria attacks with Les Fennecs (the desert foxes). Also, beware of South Korea's Taeguk Warriors and Slovenia's Zajceki Dragons. Finally, my personal favorite comes from everyone's favorite pariah nation, North Korea. Their nickname is The Chollima, a mythical winged horse that can fly a thousand miles!

Finally, there are Group C nicknames which pay tribute to an aspect of a nation's culture. Japan loves The Blue Samurai and Portugal's national crest dons the chests of the Seleccao das Guinas the 'team of five shields.' Denmark's Olsen's Eleven pays tribute to it's greatest head coach, Morten Olsen. Honduras is called Los Catrachos which is apparently what the rest of Central America calls people from Honduras! Paraguay's nickname is Los Guarani, or 'the people from the forest.' And...ready for this...Australia's national team is called The Soccer-oos! Crikey! That's silly!

So when, you sit down to watch the games, be sure to root on with the proper nickname! If you're rooting on the Host Nation, remember the South African team is Bafana Bafana (The Boys.) Good luck to all thirty-two teams!

AND...since my son David helped me write this blog, he suggested some INTER-ACTIVE fun. Here are two nicknames we couldn't categorize. Ghana's 'Black Stars' and Greece's 'Pirate Ships.' What do YOU think??

1 comment:

  1. I don't see Spain listed, categorized or explained. In fact, I only count 29. The missing three: Spain, Switzerland and Slovakia?

    La Furia Roja for Spain (the red fury),
    Schweizer Nati for Switzerland(if you prefer the German variant)
    I couldn't find anything for Slovakia. Let's make one up! "The Wacky Slovakis"?