Through the Lens of Lentz

by Dan Lentz | 11/7/11 11:00pm

This was a good weekend. Football beat Cornell. Hockey beat Princeton. Field hockey beat Cornell (and on its senior day, no less). The Giants beat the Patriots. Yes, a good weekend all around.

A good weekend that once again found me listening to a debate about our great College's sports mascot or lack thereof. But instead of writing a column only about Dartmouth, I thought I'd take a look at the worst nicknames in the Ivy League. Here we go.

  1. Coming in last (or first, depending on how you look at it) would be the Columbia Lions. See, here we have a perfectly respectable mascot. The lion has always been seen as a noble animal, and it can also inspire fear. Did you know there is actually a man-eating pride near Kenya's Tsavo River? Have to love Google...

  2. Next we have the Princeton Tigers. Why are Tigers worse than Lions? Because Tigers remind me of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. To me and the approximately 99.99 percent of people at Dartmouth who have never had to worry about lions or tigers they are otherwise essentially the same animal.

  3. Now on to the Yale Bulldogs. Please simply picture a small little dog, or a rabid little bulldog, next to a lion or a tiger. It's not intimidating. Also it's Yale I really cannot bring myself to put them above too many other schools.

  4. Here we have the Brown Bears. Good, right? Bears are ferocious. Dwight Schrute fears them. But Brown is still Brown. They open themselves to mockery by having a school name that not only doubles as a color but also as the color of human excrement. Moreover, want to take a guess as to what its neighbor school, the Rhode Island School of Design, is nicknamed? The Nads. Think I am joking? Look it up and check out its mascot. This and the "brown" problem drop this League school below the "vicious" little yap dog.

  5. Cornell essentially reversed Brown's approach by calling itself the Big Red but having a bear as the unofficial mascot. If I have one rule about school nicknames, it is that you cannot have your official mascot be a color (sorry, dear old Dartmouth). For that reason, it gets ranked lower than Brown. Sad.

  6. And what is even more sad? Dartmouth, which comes third on the list of the worst nicknames in the Ivy League. I have said it before: We share a name with a 1995 kids soccer movie starring Steve Guttenberg called "The Big Green," (1995). We have a keg as our unofficial mascot, which is pretty cool, but is cancelled out by our other unofficial mascot, the moose. We need to think of something better I don't care how cute and kitschy alums think "DartMoose" sounds.

  7. Although the Big Green is bad, at least I can say one thing it's not the Crimson. I mean seriously. I could go on for a while, but all you really need to know is what Wikipedia has to say. First, Crimson was adopted in preference to Magenta in the 1800s magenta, which would have been even easier to make fun of. Second, the Crimson unofficially became the nickname when Charles William Eliot, who later became Harvard's president, bought Crimson bandanas for his crew team in a regatta. Lame. Regardless of the truth to these stories (we all know Wikipedia never lies), they just add to the pretentious mystique that is the Harvard Crimson.

  8. Lastly and firstly, the Penn Quakers. What can you really say about a school that counts a pacifist religion as its mascot? I am choosing not to say much more in deference to the religious faith, but I think ranking this below the Big Green and the Crimson says something. It's like making Dartmouth's nickname the Puritans, or something else of historical importance to our College's establishment. Wait, wasn't Dartmouth founded for another group as well? Nevermind, not touching that with a 10-foot pole...

Even though I ranked the list eight to one, the Quakers are not the worst name in all of Ivy League sports. That honor belongs to The Lens of Lentz and yes, I am considering myself part of Ivy League sports for the purpose of this article.

The few snippets of feedback I receive on my column usually go like this: "Oh you're Lentz, I know your column." I smile, but I also know what is coming. Next the jabs start: "Couldn't think of a better name?" That is then usually followed by what I like to think is friendly laughter.

To be honest, I agree with you. This name sucks. It is worse than the Quakers. Not as pretentious as the Crimson really, couldn't Harvard have just gone with red? but also not nearly as good as a small dog. I am taking suggestions.

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