Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

The Retreating Squirrels

The Beninese soccer team, having already advanced to the final round of African qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, sure has its priorities straight.

The nickname of the Benin national team, Les Écureuils, translates into English as “The Squirrels” – and now the country’s sports ministry has decided it simply is not fearsome enough.

Instead sports minister Ganiou Soglo has suggested a more intimidatory name – the “Emerging Panthers”.

It goes without saying, of course, that a sports team’s nickname is not generally correlative with that team’s success — or even its fearsomeness.  Rather, the compulsion to brandish an intimidating name seems to stem from some abstract sense of manliness — the idea that a team that mauls, attacks, and kills is stronger than one that, say, scurries and climbs trees.

The Beninese may want to consider a different tactic, though.  Consider that one recent winner of hockey’s Stanley Cup was called the “Ducks” (no longer even of the “Mighty” variety) — an animal that doesn’t exactly cause one to scramble out of the pond.  Or that the two last European World Cup champions are known as les Bleus and gli Azzurri — which both translate as the incredibly fear-inducing nickname of…”the Blues.”

(Image from flickr user clarapeix using a Creative Commons license)

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October 9, 2008 - Posted by | Soccer, Sports

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