How about a little nickname dropping?

College sports teams, I mean.

By what name shall we know and cheer these young men and women who run and jump and score points for the old school — that is when the old school is up and running itself and sending its finest out to compete?

College nicknames honor the proudest and sometimes strangest creatures, causes and colors imaginable. They can ….

Bite you: Lions, Tigers and Bears.

Scratch you: Wildcats, Bobcats.

Sting you: Hornets, Yellowjackets.

Or they can ….

Stab you: Lancers.

They might even make you change shirts ….

Hawks, Cardinals, Eagles, Falcons.

Some of the honored mascots could ….

Slobber on you: Bulldogs, Huskies, Greyhounds, Terriers.

Or sentence you: Brandeis Judges.

Color you: Maroons, Crimson, Orange, Cardinal.

Bray at you: Central Missouri State Mules and Jennies.

Fight with you: Fighting Irish, Fighting Scots and — I’m not kidding — Fighting Pickles of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Some mascots might steal from you: Raiders, Rustlers, Pirates, Vandals.

Or snap at you: Terrapins.

Blow you away: Cyclones, Tornado, Hurricanes, Storm and (University of New England, Maine) Nor’easter.

There are Monks, Saints, Bonnies, Johnnies, Longhorns.

And don’t forget the “Mad Hatters” of Stetson University.

Green Valley-ites can think back to their old schools, including grade school, high school and college, and come up with a handful of fascinating nicknames they’ve personally played for or rooted for.

Here’s my collection:

Bulldogs, Tigers, Crusaders, Gorillas and Tigers again. (I went to two high schools and two colleges).

How about you?

Were you perhaps a Hokie along the educational path? Or a Hoya? And if so, what the heck is a Hokie or a Hoya?

Maybe you were a Blue Hen (Delaware) or Sycamore (Indiana State). Maybe a Kangaroo (Missouri-Kansas City).

My favorites include the Fighting Artichokes of Scottsdale Community College, and the Banana Slugs of the University of California-Santa Cruz.

The Evansville Purple Aces are always trump cards in the nickname game.

And you’ve got to love the Ichabods of Washburn University. While we’re at it, let's hear it for the “Ladies and Gentlemen” of Centenary College.

Wake Forest, a fine Baptist school, became the Demon Deacons after a “devilish win,” according to the school paper, over Trinity back in the 1920s.

By the way, the Hokies of Virginia Tech formerly were known as the Turkeys. The Hoyas of Georgetown have a cheer called “Hoya Saxa,” which they claim translates to “What Rocks.” Go figure.

Whatever your school, the nickname is near and dear to you. I hope your Fighting Bears or Tigers or Ichabods, perhaps the Pickles or Artichokes, are out there on the field, the court, the pool or the course again soon, fighting.


Corky Simpson is a veteran journalist who writes a column for the Green Valley News.