Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cat scratch fever.. in Carolina

Nothin could be finah coaching Coastal Carolina in the mooooorrrning. Well, OK, scratch that, but their football coach, David Bennett, went off on a rather bizarre rant about not wanting any cats on his team. Besides meowing a lot, he mentioned how the little critters sneak in through screen doors and can't find their way back out, amongst other things. Bennett made no kittles about it -- he wants dogs -- make that dawgs -- on his team. At least he didn't start barking or grab a reporter's pant leg in his teeth and shake it, so I suppose it could have been worse.

But wait a second. A look around the landscape of sports serves up some very interesting nicknames. There's the terrapins (turtles), ducks, owls, beavers (no comment), and even the horned frogs. Our ursine friends are covered with bears, bruins, grizzlies, and even cubs.

Yet the felines seem to dominate. Consider tigers, panthers, jaguars, wildcats, and lions. There's even "nittany" lions at Penn State. Do you have the faintest idea what that means? I didn't either until I looked it up. Nittany derives it's name from a mountain lion that used to roam Mount Nittany, in the area of where the Penn State campus now sits. I'm pretty sure there's not too many mountain lions on that campus anymore. Then again, there's no wolverines in Michigan except at the zoo. Don't laugh, Spartan fans; the Romans obliterated your heritage a couple thousand years ago. In case you hadn't noticed, if you're still eating Little Caesar's pizza, the joke's on you. Notre Dame calls itself the Fighting Irish but the original Notre Dame is in France. Beats me how all this stuff works, but so it goes.

Conversely -- and nail me if I'm missing something -- the only team I can think of named after a dog is the Georgia Bulldogs. There's no beagles, bassets, collies, boxers, labs, poodles, let alone chihuahuas or pomeranians. And not a terrier in the bunch, though you'd think the Staffordshire terrier (pit bull) might be appropriate for a football team. Despite the Vick controversy, it's not like it was the dogs' fault.

Yeah, the Cleveland Browns, named after their legendary coach/owner Paul Brown, has it's "dawg pound" where the crazies reside. But Paul Brown left that team to go start a new one in Cincinnati. The Bengals. Yikes. Another cat. See what I mean?

Let's get back to David Bennett and Coastal Carolina where this all started. He doesn't like cats. He wants dogs. Coastal Carolina's nickname used to be the Trojans. At that time, the University of South Carolina was basically their mother, but when they gained independance, they wanted a new name. USC was, and is, known as the Gamecocks, so while CC wanted to show their appreciation to their "mother", copying their name just wouldn't do.

Somehow they arrived at what they thought was a fair compromise and took the name Chanticleer for it's sports teams. Turns out, this was a reference to a witty rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", which were written in the late 1300's. Seeing as how Columbus wouldn't "discover" America for another centuiry, I think it's a safe bet to assume nobody back then was overly concerned with sports names in a place they didn't even know existed.

Yet I can get on board with Bennett. One way or the other, I've been associated with a few dogs in my life. Even came to be fond of a couple. For now, I'm quite content with the two 4-legged ones (yorkies) that are both sprawled out on the bed waiting for their nightly belly-rubs as I write this.. But I digress.

Itt seems Bennett was off-target in his rant. Despite his reference to dogs, cats, and even a few meows thrown in, he missed the obvious.

His team is the Chanticleers, which presented him with a much better option.

Bennett should have flapped his arms and, going a little further along into the lyrics of the song I mentioned to start this mess --

 "If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day,
I'd make a wish and here's what (he'd) say"....


Now that would have been just about perfect.


  1. where do you come up with this stuff anyway? and you forgot the cheetah. i coud always run you down. lol. cat

  2. Cat. Fast, sleek,and occasionally deadly like a cheetah you were. Yet it was that Siberian tiger mix within you that made you truly dangerous. If memory serves me correctly, I believe they were called White Russians. Happy hunting. JL