July 18, 2002

Reader's Guide to Nicknames

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If you’re a sports fan, you will doubtless become familiar with the various nicknames that are given to teams in the different sports that is if you aren’t familiar with them already. Most people become frustrated with their utter stupidity and randomness — but eventually you’ll learn to love them. The reason for the nicknames is twofold. First of all, each Cornell squad is called “The Big Red” or Red for short, so we need to distinguish them from one another. Secondly, we have to make headlines fit, and “basketball team” sometimes doesn’t fit as well as “cagers.” That said, we present the following list of nicknames, and a brief explanation of each for you our reader.

Gridders (football): They got this term from “gridiron” — a nickname for the field itself.

Booters (soccer): Not people who have drunk too much, contrary to popular belief.

Stickwomen (field hockey): One of our favorites.

Harriers (cross country): Also means a small hound used in hunting rabbits — you make the connection.

Spikers (volleyball): Self-explanatory. Sounds a lot better than bumpers.

Skater/Icers (hockey): They skate on ice, get it?

Cagers/Hoopsters (basketball): In the olden days, they used to play the game in a cage. Really.

Tumblers (gymnastics): Seems to us like that the better gymnasts would be the ones who do the least tumbling, but who are we to complain?

Matmen/Grapplers (wrestling): Saying “wrestlers” all the time would get boring, wouldn’t it?

Tracksters (track and field): If you need help with this it’s time to transfer to Penn.

Diamondmen/Nine (baseball): The three bases and home plate form a diamond. Each team consists of nine players. Works for us.

Squashers (squash): OK. It’s not very original, but it works well in the puns Sun Sports Editors love to use in headlines.

Softballers (softball): The team felt that “underhanders” was an offensive nickname, so we came up with another one of our original replacements.

Laxers (lacrosse): Makes former athletes ex-laxers.

Linksters (golf): Named after the old “Links” of Scotland — the birthplace of golf.

Netters (tennis): Not those who fish, actually. Besides racketeers was already taken.

Rowers/Oarsmen (crew): See, there are these things called paddles…

Riders (polo): What do you do when you get on a horse? You ride it.

???? (equestrian): The equestrian team members used to be called the “trotters” but they hated it. So, any suggestions are welcome.

Swimmers (swimming): Get the picture?

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