For ikke så forfærdelig længe siden berettede jeg om min gamle kærlighed for basketholdet Charlotte Hornets, der siden flyttede til Louisiana og blev til New Orleans Hornets. Men ak, intet er længere helligt og alt godt kommer til en ende. ‘Hornets’-franchisen står over for en navneforandring:
The New Orleans Hornets are expected to change their nickname to the Pelicans as early as the 2013-14 season, numerous sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Hornets planned to change their nickname since Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, purchased the team on April 14. Benson also owns the rights to the nickname Pelicans.
The Hornets also considered the nicknames Krewe (groups of costumed paraders in the annual Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans) and Brass.
Louisiana is the Pelican State. The brown pelican is the state bird and appears on the state flag and seal, and official state painting. Moreover, the Pelicans played minor league baseball in New Orleans in all but nine seasons from 1887-1959 and in 1977.
Gayle Benson, Benson’s wife, told Fox Sports New Orleans recently her preference for new team colors was navy blue, red and gold. The Hornets came to New Orleans in 2002 from Charlotte. New Orleans has also had an NBA team called the Jazz, which moved to Salt Lake City in 1979.
Nuvel, jeg kan sådan set godt købe de lokalhistoriske og kulturelle argumenter for navneskiftet. Man kan så selvsagt diskutere hvor godt et navn ‘New Orleans Pelicans’ er. Jeg må indrømme, at det gør mig lidt lun i trussen. Det fungerer hos mig. Særlig efter at have læst det episke forsvar i artiklen “Fuck You, Pelicans Are Awesome: A Defense Of The NBA’s Best New Team Name”. Det viser sig nemlig, at pelikanen er et ganske frygtindgydende dyr:
So it looks like the New Orleans Hornets are going to change their name to become the Pelicans. You look around, and there are a bunch of smartasses making fun of this new name. Oh, a pelican, that’s intimidating, they sneer. Well, here’s what’s up. These people don’t know anything about good team names, and they sure as shit don’t know anything about pelicans.
You’re probably picturing a big, clumsy poof of a bird stumbling around in the shallows, picking at weeds. Wrong. The pelican is fearsome. Take a raven, for example: it’s omnivorous. It eats bugs, and seeds, and fruit, and carrion. Compared to the well-rounded citizen that is the raven, the pelican is the serial killer of birds. Not only is it a carnivore—it is a hypercarnivore. (That’s a scientific term; look it up.) The pelican eats meat, and only meat. The pelican doesn’t eat anything that didn’t used to be alive. What’s more—unlike an eagle or a falcon—the pelican almost never scavenges someone else’s kill. It craves warm flesh, so it gets the job done itself.
The pelican will eat as much as four pounds of fish per day, nearly half its body weight. Its bloodlust is insatiable. It wants to kill you and everyone you’ve ever cared about. Don’t believe me? Here’s a pelican eating baby ducklings. And because that’s not cruel enough, it makes their mother watch.
And here’s a pelican eating a pigeon whole, in front of traumatized children.
ADVARSEL! DET ER TO STÆRKE OG POTENTIELT EMOTIONELT FORKRØBLENDE FILM! Jøsses, det er en grusom og drabelig fugl! Jeg får svedige håndflader og kuldegysninger alene ved tanken om ovenstående film. Og hvis det ikke er nok, så er pelikaner tilmed selvopofrende og holdspillere:
But the pelican isn’t just a mindless see-it-and-eat-it hunter, oh no. They work together. A bunch of pelicans will practice “cooperative fishing,” herding fish into a central area so they can take turns dive-bombing the prey. Hear that, rest of the NBA? Pelicans work as a team.
They’re so noble, they’re pretty much deities. During times of famine, it was said, the mother pelican would draw her own blood to feed her young, and the early church quickly adopted the pelican as a symbol for the Christ. Do you see anyone worshipping a seahawk? You do not.
We’ve already established that a pelican’s offense is unmatched. But they’re selfless defenders as well. Here’s a New York Times story from 1910, about a “marauding weasel” that found its way into the pigeon coop at the Central Park Zoo. Did the zoo’s pelicans, Hidalgo Pete, Signor Gomez, and Sanchez Hoolihoo, run away? Did they stare helplessly as the weasel trespassed on their property and helped itself to a meal? They did not. They chased the weasel away from the pigeons, and cornering it against a mesh fence, beat it to death. “Even after the animal was dead the two pelicans…kept jabbing their bills at it.”
Hidalgo Pete suffered a broken wing in the melee, but that’s just what pelicans do. They give up their own bodies to protect their court. There’s no way New Orleans will lose a home game.
Når nu vi har fået etableret, at pelikanen er en dræber og en bad-ass på niveau med de allerværste, er det på tide at få aflivet misforståelsen om at navnet ikke er stærkt nok. Skribenten ovenfor har følgende fornuftige pointe:
Most of the criticism of the New Orleans Pelicans name is that it’s not fearsome enough. We’ve established how bullshit that is, but you get the sense these bellyachers would have been happy with a more traditional predatory animal. Well, that’s how pro sports team got into the mess they’re in today.
The truly classic names aren’t aggressive—Yankees, Packers, Browns, Maple Leafs—and yet they’d never get past the first public Facebook vote today. Not edgy enough. For the last couple decades, franchises have just been picking whatever deadly local animal springs to mind. And so we’ve ended up with “cool-sounding” names like the Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Diamondbacks, and Devil Rays, which sound like they ought to be Arena Football teams. Barring that, the default has been the predatory cat, and just in the last 20 years, we have the Jaguars, Bobcats, two different Panthers, and the oh-so-imaginative Predators, whose logo is a saber-toothed tiger.
The Pelicans are here to assure you that your mascot can have a killer instinct and local significance without appealing to a fourth-grader’s sensibilities.
Jeg er helt enig. At døbe sit lokale hold efter et eller andet fjollet kattedyr, er på niveau med de to nordjyske ishockeyhold Aalborg Pirates og Frederikshavn White Hawks. Hold nu op! Vi bor ikke i Caribien, vel? Der er med megen stor sandsynlighed aldrig nogen aalborgensere, der har været ude på de syv have og kapre spanske guldtransporter fra kolonierne i Sydamerika. Og hvad har en eller anden lasket fugl i øvrigt med ishockey at gøre? Ja, jeg spørger bare.
Samlet set lyder New Orleans Pelicans slet ikke tosset. Jeg tror sådan set heller ikke, at mine favoritter fra Pittsburgh Penguins ville have fået godkendt det navn, hvis de overlod det til pøbelvældet på Facebook at bestemme. Ej heller højtelskede hold som Baltimore Orioles, der er opkaldt efter en farverig lille fugl. Sidst, men ikke mindst, så åbner det op for at der igen kan blive et Charlotte Hornets:
Some fans of the Charlotte Bobcats are hoping to get their old Hornets nickname back. The Hornets began playing in Charlotte in 1988. Bobcats owner Michael Jordan told The Charlotte Observer he would consider changing it back to Hornets if the name was available.
Hvad kan man ønske sig mere her i livet?