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Road Trip Dad - Lake Placid - Day Three: What's In a Name?

By Dan Witmer, 08/04/16, 11:00AM EDT



Well, Day Three saw the crowning of nine divisional champions today, and by 1:30 some 89 scholastic boys and girls teams had started to head home. However, before we could take a breath or exhale, there were another 30 teams showing up for their first games. The Super Grand Masters (50+), the Ultra Grand Masters (55+), and the Past Masters (60+) all kicked off their week with games.


The athletic trainers’ tent was packed with tape jobs, ice bags, and all kinds of special requests as long-time teammates reunited from all over the country. Some of the players looked very much like grandfathers and others looked far too young to be playing in those age groups.


But as the scholastic teams departed and the older men’s teams streamed in, I was struck by some of the names of the teams. I think I’ve written before about the clever names of some of the many university alumni teams (which I’ll get to later), but I noticed, for instance, that many of the scholastic teams that had “Elite,” “Select,” “Committed,” or “National” in their team name struggled to win this week. I guess the takeaway might be to avoid using those adjectives unless you’re got a REALLY stacked team.


I think if I were to create a tournament or club team, I’d try to come up with something unique. There are Catamount teams – maybe they’re from Vermont (where the University of Vermont teams are the Catamounts), or maybe they’re not. There was a team called Buffalo Catamounts that made me curious. Other seemingly original names included Monster, Crabs, Blaze, Dax Lax, 4 Leaf Lacrosse Army, and Adirondack Northmen. In the next few days we’ll also see Not Your Fathers Daughters, BAE Watch, Twisted Sister.


Other distinctive and original team names include the legends like the Sailin’ Shoe, Cloudsplitter, teams that have been at the Summit Classic for most of its 27 years. Newer creative names include Achy Bones, Checkmate, Last Call, and Team Steak. New this year or last are Faber College, The Athletes Formerly Known As @26_win, the Ungrateful Dead, and The Running Dead.


A newer development in the girls’ scholastic divisions were teams of “committed” girls playing together. This week we had the Cats (Northwestern), Baby Blues (UNC), Golden Domers (Notre Dame), V A Metro (UVa), Baby Orange (Syracuse), and the Lady Eagles (Boston College).


Some team names are geographic indicators – the LI Warriors, Team Colorado, TriLakes, Team Cape Cod, Clarence, and Spencerport. Others are club-sponsored – Rhino, FCA, Sweetlax, Orange Crush, and CNY Roadhawks. Not much mystery there – you know where the team comes from.


Still, probably the most creative names are the many alumni teams, typically playing in the older men’s divisions. You’ve got Burnt Orange (Syracuse), Big Red Steelheads (Cornell), Gray’d Danes (U Albany), Old Army (West Point), Eldest Statesmen (Hobart), Creakier Gates (Colgate), Outdated WU (OWU), UMassters (UMass), Dutchmasters (Union), Olden Flyers (Nazareth), Olde Quakers (U Penn), and North Country Dirty Birds (Plattsburgh).


Over the years we’ve seen teams show up in uniforms with Star Wars, Flintstones, Power Rangers, and the 1980 USA hockey team themes. We’ve seen camo, tuxedos, rasta, and more.


We’ve talked about creating a NASCAR uniform, with different drivers’ names on the backs. Or NBA, MLB, or NFL jerseys, with Hall of Famers’ names on the back. What about a team called the Club Lacrosse Club? You could have jerseys looking like playing cards, with numbers 1-10 and a Jack, Queen, King, and Joker. Or a Game of Thrones/Walking Dead/Breaking Bad jersey, with favorite (or maybe minor and obscure) characters’ names on the back?


The sky’s the limit. I know teams like to – or have to – promote sponsors, alma maters, and club programs, but c’mon everyone; let’s get creative! Which team will be the first to sport – you guessed it – Pokemon uniforms?


Getting’ silly – sorry. Guess I gotta get some sleep.


Until tomorrow, then. Please remember to drive carefully!


- Dan Witmer