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Tuesday 16 Apr 2024

The Name Game
David Simmonds

It is a rotten time to be a statue or a sports team. At least three teams, the Edmonton Eskimos, the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, are searching for a new identity and can use all the help they can get. Well, I am out to confirm, in the case of the Edmonton team, at least, that I am no help to them.

Re-naming sports franchises.

Edmonton officials recently held a press conference to announce that the team would henceforward be known as the Edmonton Football Team, pending the search for a new permanent name, although it will keep the team colours green and gold and retain its Double E team logo, for now. The team has agonized over its team name for years and recently reaffirmed its commitment to the traditional name.

Something changed, maybe game sponsors put their foot down. “Eskimos,” as a team name, is not good for business nor does it any longer put enough bums in seats as is necessary.

The Edmonton brass says it wants to choose a name that celebrates the team’s unique position as the world’s northernmost football franchise. The team has the most successful record in modern CFL history. The sense of unity of spirit against adversity that a team sport requires. That opens a vast field of possibilities.

The retention of the Double E logo suggests the new name for the team should also be a Double E phrase. This would therefore cut potential names for the team, such as the Edmonton Maulers, which would play off the shopping centre, or and the Edmonton Poets, which would play off a famous ‘EE’ literary figure. It would also eliminate two tried and true CFL naming techniques; use another team’s name with slight modifications, such as the Edmonton Tigercats, or make up a name derived from the team’s uniform colours, such as the Edmonton GreenGolds.

Names with unpleasant overtones.

We can winnow the name choice down further by dropping names that have an unpleasant connotation. The Edmonton Epidemic, Edmonton Explosion and Edmonton Epicentre are all fit to bite the dust. Similarly, names may be just too violent, such as the Edmonton Erasers, the Edmonton Eliminators or the Edmonton Evaporators. 

Other names may sound too snooty. The Edmonton Expressionists, the Edmonton Existentialists, the Edmonton Empiricists and the Edmonton Ethicists are all names that would pander to that small group that watches the CFL primarily for intellectual stimulation. This is a good reason to reject them.

A political name might be too short sighted a choice, as loyalties tend to shift. The Edmonton Exporters, the Edmonton Exciters, the Edmonton Extractors and the Edmonton Engineers are examples of names that showed probably be avoided. The Edmonton Environmentalists may not be all that popular either.

Speaking of the environment, the world of nature has been picked clean already. Eagles, hawks, grizzlies, bobcats, ravens, timberwolves, buck deer and lynx have all been used before. Most of what’s left over violates the Double E convention, You would have to pass on calling them the Whitetails, or the Muskox or the Mountain Goats or the Great Horned Owls or the Wild Roses, You could call then the Edmonton Elephants, but that would just be asking for attacking fire from animal rights enthusiasts who protest that elephants are demeaned by their association with football. All you are left with is the Edmonton Earwigs or the Edmonton Elderberries.

There are some names that have a nice ring to them, which have to be rejected because, while they make nice sounding Double E expressions, they don’t describe a football team. The Edmonton Elves is one example, although I should add the Edmonton Elvises to be fair. The Edmonton Embroiderers is another, as are the Edmonton Enigma, the Edmonton Exalted, the Edmonton Elixir and the Edmonton Endomorphs.

A political name might be too short sighted a choice. The Edmonton Exporters, the Edmonton Exiters, the Edmonton Extractors and the Edmonton Engineers are examples. The Edmonton Environmentalists may not be that popular locally. 

All of that still leaves us with a good bunch of positive Double E expressions, Names such as the Edmonton Energy, the Edmonton Experience, the Edmonton Elders, the Edmonton Endeavour, the Edmonton Epic, the Edmonton Esprit, the Edmonton Explorers, the Edmonton Exemplars, the Edmonton Effort and the Edmonton Endurance would all fit the bill quite comfortably.

Two steps backward.

No doubt the team can eventually find something proper, without my help. I just hope the Team doesn’t do what Prince did and decide to call itself “The Football Team Formerly Known as the Edmonton Eskimos.” That would be taking two steps backward.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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