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High School Nicknames

posted by xscot mcknight

In the good ol’ USA, high schools and sports are combined. Which means, every high school has a “nickname.” Most recent debates about nicknames have bee about political correctness, especially with respect to Native Americans. (I’ll avoid that one for now.) I happen to have grown up with one of the cruelest nicknames known to mankind. (Which maybe I’ve mentioned before.)
We were, and are, and (as the liturgy might say) always will be, the Freeport Pretzels. That’s right — our school fight song was about being the Pretzels! “On Freeport, On Freeport…” Imagine being strapped with that as your hope: “When I grow up and play football I want to be a Pretzel!” I can see wrestling teams wanting that kind of name. What names have you come across?
There are other names that rival the Pretzels, but few outflank them: the Monroe Cheesemakers, the Cobden Appleknockers, etc..
One of the lamest nicknames ever, taken on by the home of such notables as John Ortberg, Rockford East High School, is the E-Rabs. E: East high, R: Red, A: and, B: Black. Is that lame, or what? What do you say to your son or daughter, when they are little and watching games against Vikings, and they say, “Daddy, what is an E-Rab?” What can you tell them but the truth: “Nothing. It’s just a funny little acronym.” How do you inspire younger kids to grow up to be acronyms?

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Charlie Pharis

posted December 28, 2005 at 7:39 am

But the East Rockford team must surely have been the inspiration for that great Ray Stevens classic, “E-hab the E-rab, sheik of the burning sands…”
Our team was the Rebels. Our fight song was…get ready…DIXIE! Talk about politically incorrect! But it was a great way for our band to get attention in the big parades, what with all the bricks and bottles flying as we marched by!

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John Frye

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:14 am

We were the Z-ion B-enton (IL) “Zee Bees.” Get it? Z-B = Zee Bee, and we had a fierce looking bumble bee as our totem. Cool, eh?

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Mark Perry

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:43 am

Must have something to do with northern Illinois – how bout the DeKalb Barbs (so named because barbed-wire was invented in DeKalb). Outside of Illinois, in Iowa there is one school that calls itself the Orabs; no one seems to know why.

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posted December 28, 2005 at 8:50 am

Growing up in south GA (Warner Robins), our band also played Dixie as our fight song, and every time we scored a touchdown–which was pretty stinkin’ often! My senior year (1985-86) we didn’t lose until we got to the state finals.
Oh yeah–our nickname…
Can you picture it? An 8′ tall paper mache, Roman candle-spewing, pitchfork-wielding, fire-breathing, luminous green eyes, red and black DEMON. Yep. That’s right.
I got some seriously weird looks at Bible college walking around in a sweatshirt or letterman’s jacket that had the word and image of a Demon plaster across it. One guy even said, “Dude, you’re rooting for the enemy!”
Alma Mater?
On the city’s eastern border,
Led by God’s great hand,
Proudly stands our Alma Mater,
Dearest in the land.
We will ever sing thee praises,
Striving without fail.
Here’s to thee, our Alma Mater,
Robins High all hail!
good times…

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Lukas McKnight

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:56 am

Your nickname was not fierce; your full court zone press was fierce, and I speak from experience.
If you want political incorrectness, wasn’t Pekin’s (IL) old nickname the Chinks based on the Chinese immigrants that lived there? I’m pretty sure there’s none (much) worse than that!

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Denny Burk

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:58 am

My brother-in-law is from Poca, West Virginia. And, yes, you guessed it. Their high school mascot was the dot. No need to adjust your eyes; you read it right. They were the Poca Dots.
Go might Dots!

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Denny Burk

posted December 28, 2005 at 9:04 am

My wife is from West Monroe, LA, and her High School mascot is the Rebel–that is, the confederate rebel. So on football game-day, you see people riding around town with the Stars and Bars posted all over town and streaming proudly on car windows.
What can I say? People in that part of the country aren’t known for being PC.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 28, 2005 at 9:09 am

I remember getting a “tee” when coaching against the ZeeBees in their gym. They were up by 30 or so and it did little good.
The “Dots” is worse than the Pretzels.
ZeeBees and E-Rabs are at the top though.

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Paul J

posted December 28, 2005 at 9:34 am

Check out this list of unusual high school nicknames:
Some of my favorites… the Poets, Little Johns, Hermits, Hillbillies, Earwigs, Honkers, Winged Beavers, Conchs, Hoboes, Syrupmakers, Orphans, Cornjerkers, Magi, Chemics, Nimrods, Awesome Blossoms, Spoofhound, Bambies, Irrigators, Feet, and the always intimidating Praying Hands.

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posted December 28, 2005 at 9:56 am

Or what about the Belfry (Montana) Bats?

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posted December 28, 2005 at 11:59 am

Cruel indeed! I grew up in good ol’ Alabama and was proud to be called a stallion. Even more cruel though was my wife’s Sr. year theme song of “Freebird.”

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

posted December 28, 2005 at 12:18 pm

In Canada that would have been funny- The Zed-Bees!

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posted December 28, 2005 at 2:22 pm

The winner out here in AZ is the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 28, 2005 at 2:31 pm

I’m beginning to think Pretzels isn’t all that bad, BBerger.

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meggan judge

posted December 28, 2005 at 2:51 pm

does it bother anyone else that many christian schools, including the one i graduated from, adopt the crusaders as their mascot? lets go love our enemies, and while were at it, kill them…
now, the artichokes, thats a team i would have been proud of.

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Ted Gossard,

posted December 28, 2005 at 2:53 pm

I would think Zee-Bees and E-Rabs would possibly have some advantage over opposing teams not used to their names. Pretzels ain’t bad either. I like Paul J’s list too. Wow, too many on these comments to mention them all.

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Luke C.

posted December 28, 2005 at 4:06 pm

Sorry, I had to put this one up there, even though it isn’t my old school – the Pioneers – but it is my kids’ high school.
Charles Brush perfected the arc light in the 1870’s (an arc light has no filament that glows – light is generated by electricity “arcing” across the gap between electrodes). The high school is named after him – Brush High School. The team name is, of course… the Arcs. Lightening bolt emblem, mascot that looks like a light bulb. Colors are brown and gold.
An arc can also be generated, accidentally, by electricity jumping from one location to another in a short circuit…
On, mighty Arcs!

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posted December 28, 2005 at 6:26 pm

This post reminds me of a time when one of the staff at a men’s shelter I worked at in Toronto decided to hold a “name the drop-in” contest. There were several interesting options but the greatest creativity was demonstrated by an anonymous participant who submitted several “nice” sounding names that were actually acronyms for crude words.
Hi, welcome to the Brothers In Trouble Community House!

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David Wright

posted December 28, 2005 at 6:43 pm

Better to be a Pretzel than to have no nickname at all. I went to high school (all 8 years) in Austria. My school’s name?
Bundesgymnasium/Bundesrealgymnasium Lerchenfeldstrasse.
Pretzel seems pretty good . . .

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Ron Fay

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:20 pm

My wife teaches at ZBTHS, so she also is a Zee-Bee.
The worst college nickname I have ever heard has to be the Delaware Fighting Blue Hens. Not only does the name stink, but so do blue hens in general.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:52 pm

David, at that school did you meet the
I think that is where she went to school, too.

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Scot McKnight

posted December 28, 2005 at 8:53 pm

Blue hens are not as smelly as Mud Hens.

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john alan turner

posted December 28, 2005 at 9:22 pm

I went to two Christian high schools in my career. I was a Valley Christian Crusader and a Greater Atlanta Christian Spartan.
I could kind of understand how to be a Christian Crusader, but I had no idea how to be a Christian Spartan. At the time, I opted for the latter.
Then I went to Pepperdine University where I was a Wave.
Our mascot at the time was Willy the Wave — he looked like Gumby with blue shag carpet glued all over him. I wish I was making that up.
Fortunately, they changed it. Willy was retired. Unfortunately, he was replaced by a terrific looking Roman god Neptune.
And then I guess Pepperdine remembered that they’re a Christian University.

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Brad Boydston

posted December 28, 2005 at 11:58 pm

Embrace it. It says that a team has the confidence to not take themselves too seriously. Some of my favorite teams:
Tilamook High Cheesemakers
UC Santa Cruz Bananna Slugs
UC Irvine Anteaters
Scotsdale Community College Artichokes
Jonathan Edwards College (Yale) Spiders (“…in the hands of an angry God”)
The Mighty Ducks
Delta State Fighting Okra
Bismarck State Mystics
Brooklyn Bridges
Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens
Earlham Hustling Quakers (It was better when they were the “Fighting Quakers”
Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters
Evergreen State Geoducks…

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Scot McKnight

posted December 29, 2005 at 7:06 am

Great one.
the Banana Slugs must be high on the list, but what is “fighting okra” — that is what I did when my mom put it on my plate!

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posted December 29, 2005 at 8:38 pm

My mother was a Pretzel, and I would have been an E-Rab had I not moved to Iowa (not sure if this was salvation or damnation…).

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Kevin Law

posted January 2, 2006 at 8:08 am

Like Stacy from Warner-Robbins, we too were the Demons, only of the Blue variety. I guess the Red Demons would have been way too demonic. Anyway, the real irony of it all is our town name – Christiansburg. Yep, the Christiansburg Blue Demons, complete with large goateed blue figure painted on the wall.

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posted March 8, 2006 at 9:41 am

my favorite is from my days in omaha (living there, not attending high school there). the toughest school in the whole city, with the biggest, baddest, meanest football team, was the Benson Bunnies. The football helmets had cute little pink cartoon bunnies on them.

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posted March 8, 2006 at 9:43 am


[…] scot mcknight’s got a great list going (in the comments section) of some of the weirdest and most awkward high school nicknames. would be fun to read to your students. feel free to add more here! No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> […]

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Scot McKnight

posted March 8, 2006 at 9:58 am

Are they still the Bunnies? What a hoot.

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posted March 8, 2006 at 10:42 am

I am from a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA and I went to Quaker Valley High School. We too were the Fighting Quakers.

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Scot McKnight

posted March 8, 2006 at 10:43 am

I hope you had psychologists aplenty!

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posted March 8, 2006 at 1:02 pm

In college, I was a Sycamore. The Mighty Big Blue Trees. Back in the 80s, the mascot was a guy in a tree suit, until the Butler Bulldog got hold of him.

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posted March 8, 2006 at 2:04 pm

My high school sported a green Trojan…
College was a little more benign… Parsons.
I lived in the Omaha area recently and yes, it’s still the Benson Bunnies. There’s also a school in the area whose girls are the ViQueens.

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Ken Holsinger

posted March 8, 2006 at 5:00 pm

OK no one has it worse than mine! The “Maranatha Great Danes”. The name is not where the worst of it is. As you can guess by the name “Maranatha” it was a christian school and the former pastor of the church wrote a book called “Angels on Assignment” where, you guessed it, he and his Great Dane “Queenie” were taken to heaven with an angel one night and given a word… Top that one!

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Todd Roll

posted April 17, 2006 at 12:35 pm

What about the Glenville Tarblooders – what is a Tarblooder anyway?

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Janis Byrd

posted July 11, 2006 at 8:16 am

I am from West Monroe, Louisiana and am very proud to be a “might, mighty REBEL”. I just wish people would study their history and learn the difference in the various flags that flew under the Confederacy. The flag that the kids fly on football Friday is the battle flag – NOT THE STARS & BARS. The Stars & Bars was the First Confederate flag that was often mistaken for the Stars & Stripes. The battle flag was carried into battle – just like the students at West Monroe High School do . . . .carry the battle flag into battle against the opposing football team.

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posted July 20, 2006 at 6:22 pm

You have left off the S in E-Rab(S) which stands for spirit and if you ARE an E-Rab you would know to tell your kids that is what it stands for, and you don’t need some putz in a costume to be inspired.

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posted September 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I just wanted to say that I am proud to be a Cobden Appleknocker!! :D

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