Search Box

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why are there no sports teams named after primates?

There are sports teams named after all sorts of animals, but not a single one named after a primate.

Bears are well represented: both the Chicago Bears and the Memphis Grizzlies decided that the ursine family had fierce, intimidating qualities they wanted to emulate.

The cat family is even better represented: The Detroit Tigers, The Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Charlotte Bobcats, the Carolina Panthers (as well as the Florida Panthers hockey team), and the Cincinnati Bengals all wanted to associate themselves with the grace and power they saw in cats.

In fact, the tiger is considered such a ideal athletic role model that ten different universities have named their athletic teams after them: Auburn, Clemson, Princeton, Colorado College, LSU, Memphis, Missouri, Morehouse, Riverside City College, and Towson.

Horses are also considered symbols of magnificent athleticism as well: the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts are the only professional teams with equine names, but college teams with such include the SMU Mustangs, the University of Central Missouri Mules, the Colby Mules, and the Muhlenberg Mules, and the Laredo Community College Palominos.

The canine family -- known for its endurance and cunning -- is honored by both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Coyotes. Among the more famous college teams using such mascots are the Yale Bulldogs and the Georgia "Dawgs."

The weasel family numbers the Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers among their admirers.

There are a number of teams which wanted to show that they could fly, at least metaphorically: the Baltimore Ravens, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Baltimore Orioles, the Seattle Seahawks, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Saint Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Anaheim Ducks.

Sea-dwelling creatures are used by the Tampa Bay Marlins, the Tampa Manta Rays, the San Jose Sharks, and the Miami Dolphins. (And roughly every fourth swim club uses a fish in its name.)

There's even an insect represented, by the Charlotte Hornets, and a dinosaur, by the Toronto Raptors.

So what's the matter with gorillas? Are they not fierce and strong enough to merit their own team?


Imagine having that fellow on the front of your uniform? Wouldn't he be more intimidating than, say, a raven or a hornet?

Look at these two:


Do they not resemble two ferocious linemen going at it right after the football is hiked?

Nor are there any athletic teams named after chimpanzees or baboons. Why not? Each creature is fierce in its own right. Baboons have been known to kill leopards, and chimpanzees are famous for their inhuman strength.

One would think that these primates' vaguely human aspect along with their formidable strength and ferocity would attract a slew of teams which would want them as mascots.

So why are there no athletic teams named after these creatures? Honestly -- I'm completely baffled.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though most primates are fierce and strong (and certainly more intimidating than a duck or a fish) maybe teams are discouraged from using them as a mascot because we view them as a less developed version of ourselves - just a dumb brute. Though, come to think of it, that does describe lots of players in the NFL.

Steven said...

Sure, you're completely baffled and can't even think of a single issue that might be relevant.

Anonymous said...

Cmon JC, yer pullin' our collective drumstick here.

I cannot believe the immense musculature on that gorilla-boy.

Do they have the same muscles as humans, or just bigger?

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
The average adult male gorilla has the strength of approximately 8 men. The average adult male chimpanzee has a pulling strength of over 1000 pounds with each arm, compared to the average man's pulling capacity of somewhere around 125 pounds.

I've heard that the reason orange, chimps, and gorillas are so much stronger despite not being all that much larger is that their muscle fibers are somehow intertwined (compared to our fibers which run side by side). Don't ask me to explain that scientifically, I'm just passing along what I heard.

I sure wouldn't mind being built like that fellow in the top picture.

Steven said...

You only have to write 'how much can a' in the google search bar and 'how much can a gorilla bench' is the second suggestion. I know because I tried it once. Its comical how similar people (men) think.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Ha! True enough.

The thing is, both gorillas and chimps (but especially chimps) have much stronger pulling muscles than pushing muscles. A chimp can break a 40 foot fall by grabbing onto a branch with just one hand. That makes a lot of evolutionary sense when you think about it, given that they spend so much time in the trees. So while I'm sure they can bench press much more than similarly-sized humans, that particular exercise doesn't quite capture the difference in strength.

Steven said...

"A chimp can break a 40 foot fall by grabbing onto a branch with just one hand"

wow!

I think 'how much can a chimpanzee deadlift' is there too.

I saw an orangutan beat a load of men at tug of war once.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I remember hearing that a tree once fell into an orangutan enclosure and three men together couldn't lift it out, no matter how they tried. The orangutan later just lifted the tree with one hand. I don't know whether that's apocryphal or not, but I definitely heard it. We are by far the weakest of the primates.

Anonymous said...

Yep, they are strong, Chimps rip peoples hands and faces off. We humans can run 100km quite easily though with some training.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

But we have the biggest dicks. Well, YOU do. I don't.

So you can honestly say, "I'm the king of the jungle!" and beat your chest and let that poor chimp hang his head in shame.

I looked up the stuff about the muscle fibers. Their muscle fibers are much more dense and their motor control less fine but more uninhibited. This adds up to massive firepower.

Wow.

And - I read that some gorillas are SIXTEEN times more powerful than an adult man! I bet that gorilla in the top pic is more than 10X stronger than a man.

Coco, TOAO

John Craig said...

Coco --
Not me personally, I'm hung like a gorilla (that's actually a joke I've used before).

I don't know about 16x stronger than a man, I've read 8x in a number of places. That fellow in the picture looks particularly studly though.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_%28gorilla%29

Coco (not the gorilla girl)

John Craig said...

Coco --
I'd never heard of Michael Puig (why would they give him a human name like that?), though I was familiar with Koko.

I'm actually one of those crazy people who believe in Bigfoot, have been on several expeditions:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2010/06/im- coming-out-of-closet.html

Anonymous said...

I was surprised at the surname. I have no idea unless it's some Wikipedia mischief.

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
It's a little like naming your dog Timothy Sanders instead of Rex or Fido.

Gilbert Ratchet said...

There is a professional soccer team in Atlanta called the Silverbacks:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Silverbacks

Their previous logo featured the Atlanta zoo's beloved gorilla Willie B.

John Craig said...

Gilbert --
Wow, there really is. I stand corrected, thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Do they not resemble two ferocious linemen going at it right after the football is hiked?"
They could also be doing a rehearsed touchdown celebration. "Excessive celebration... on the gorilla... infraction occurred after the touchdown... fifteen yard penalty will be assessed on the kickoff."

John Craig said...

Anon --
Ha! Yes, very good.

Anonymous said...

Some people really go crazy over their pets & this has nothing to do with political persuasion. Rush Limbaugh referred to his late pet as Punkin Limbaugh and devoted an obit page to her.

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
I suppose that's true. My wife refers to her dog as "Tyke Craig."

Anonymous said...

Well, one team doesn't a trend make. And the fact that they call it the silverbacks makes me think they don't want to call a spade a spade.

NO double entendre intended, scout's honor.

OT, do you think Jackie Chan ever took steroids? I just happened to come across a photo of him and he's awfully ripped. Not saying he isn't a great athlete but most guys don't get that ripped, esp. Asians.

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
I just Google-imaged "Jackie Chan shirtless" and saw the picture you must be talking about. No, I don't think he's on steroids. He doesn't have any of the usual steroid "tells" -- humped trapezius muscles, weird definition between the pecs, veins popping from the front of the shoulders, a convex six-pack, etc. There are actually a decent number of Asian guys who are very fit for their size, in fact I'd say on average they're more fit than white guys.

Anonymous said...

I did the same search and none of those pics were the one I saw, which I found by total accident, so I can't reconstruct my steps. That said I don't think he's on roids either. His behavior is too rational.

I think Christian Bale was on roids when he freaked out. Funny stuff!

Back to the subject at hand there have been constant pesky demonstrations against the police. In NYC they shut down traffic. This is a major pain in any city but especially something as big as NYC. If this shit goes on for another two years, I think America may have a nervous breakdown.

Also the Minnesota transgender thing passed. I know it is easy to exaggerate, and it may be much ado about nothing, but I really feel that our society is not just falling apart, it is being provoked apart. It is as if a group of people is daring us with, "Take that," and then another, "Take that." At a certain point people won't take that, and you get a violent reaction. But maybe not. One would think that messing with people's kids would bring this about but Americans appear to have an infinite capacity for being provoked, as long as they get to shop.

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
You're absolutely right about Christian Bale, the weight/muscle gain after he made "The Machinist" was too great. And yes, I remember reading about how he had attacked family members and was famous for his temper on set.

The liberals remind me of nothing more than spoiled brats demanding more and more from their parents. Sooner or later the parents will have to discipline the kids. But in the meantime, the spoiled brats are driving more and more people into the conservative camp with their incessant unreasonable demands, not least the demand that we ignore reality.

Most people don't follow this stuff as closely as you and I do, but all of the demonstrations and hoaxes have been getting so much publicity recently that I think a certain amount is filtering into mot peoples' brains through simple osmosis.

Anonymous said...

I think Bale has been taking roids on and off for years.

He made a movie called Velvet Goldmine in 1998:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7qyfdcDGx1qayw3to1_1280.jpg

In 1997, Metroland:

http://66.197.49.67/cnt/christian_bale/photos/10.jpg

Look at how thin his arms are in Metroland.

Roids.

Coco

John Craig said...

Coco --
I think you're right. The Velvet Goldmine picture is hilarious: those arms don't go with that getup at all. And yes, in that other picture he's built like a typical unathletic high schooler.

Yes, 'roids.

Anonymous said...

You neglected to mention the Pittsburg State Gorillas.

http://www.pittstategorillas.com/

They're a NCAA Div. 2 school in southeast Kansas, and are usually pretty good at football.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Wow, had never heard of them. Thank you for that. There are now two teams that people have pointed out with primate names.

Anonymous said...

"Not me personally, I'm hung like a gorilla"

Really? Can't wait to find out! (wink-wink) XO Coco

tammanytom said...

There are a number of teams named after primates: The Cleveland Browns, all the teams named after Native Americans, the Saints (arguably), the 49ers. Humans are primates.

John Craig said...

Tammanytom --
Technically, you're right, of course. Given which, the Minnesota Vikings and the Boston Celtics are also named after primates. But what I as referring to in this post were gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans, the great apes.