the Laws of Biology
By Richard McCord
female men on horses play basketball
female gentlemen? Hmm.........
the passing parade of things, it was not the biggest of events.
The girls basketball team from St. Michael's High School beat
the girls from West Las Vegas in the District 2AAA Tournament.
Or as the headlines said, the Lady Horsemen beat the Lady Dons.
teams brought losing records into the post-season elimination,
and one of them had to lose the match. Nor could the winner expect
to advance much further. So what intrigued me was something outside
was fascinating was the very concept: that "Lady Horsemen"
and "Lady Dons" could even exist, much less do combat
with each other. It defied the tenets of two proud languages,
and also the laws of biology. It was a hoot.
I wonder if anyone else saw it that way.
naming of sports teams is often an irrational affair, in which
fierce emotions leave clear thought and discourse behind. Then
once a name is chosen, it becomes "tradition."
the "Lady Horsemen." Undoubtedly the name's origin goes
back to the time when only boys played sports for St. Michael's.
They took the Horseman as their symbol--and it was a good one,
blending romance and both the Western and Spanish heritage. By
the time changing mores dictated that girls should have teams
too, the Horsemen had a proud tradition--and the girls got stuck
with it. The same thing happened to the Lady Dons ("don"
being the Spanish word for "gentleman"). In both cases
it was a no-brainer. Literally.
here we have female men on horses playing female gentlemen, and
nobody giving it a second thought. Still, it could be worse. What
if we had the Women Horsemen vs. the Women Dons?
but so too could it be better. I think the answer for both teams,
if anyone cares, could come from the gracefulness of the Spanish
language. Yes, the English word "Horsewomen" is clunky,
which probably is why it was rejected in the first place. But
how about "Caballeras"? Its literal translation would
there's a pretty word, and plausible as well. St. Mike's, it seems
to me, should be proud to be symbolized on fields of athletic
valor by the Horsemen AND the Caballeras.
names are synonymous, are linguistically and anatomically correct,
and both honor the Western/Spanish heritage. And the combination
would be out-of-the-ordinary, another plus.
in West Las Vegas, the answer is not quite as simple. The easy
fix, of course, would be to name the girls team the Donas--the
female counterpart to the Dons. But in an English-speaking society,
most people would not get it. Soon the school's teams would be
known as the Dons and the Donnas, bringing chuckles and lack of
what if the girls were the Marquesas? Now there's a noble pairing:
a don and a marquesa. Again, the terms are consistent, linguistically
and anatomically plausible, and mindful of a special, long-established
heritage. The Spanish word Marquesa (or Duquesa or whatever) would
soon become as familiar for WLV as the Spanish word Lobo has become
for the University of New Mexico.
that is my modest proposal. However, I do not expect it to go
far. As noted, the name of an athletic team is an irrational business,
swayed far more by sentimentality, emotion and "tradition"
than by due deliberation.
else could explain the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a town where--unlike
the old Brooklyn, where early teams played in the streets and
had to "dodge" trolleys--I don't think they have trolleys
or any other public transportation YET? What else could deposit
the Utah Jazz in a city where there is no Bourbon Street--and
hardly any bourbon?
else makes teams cling tenaciously to outdated and questionable
names like the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves--and the
obviously objectionable Washington Redskins?
colleges and high schools have dropped such symbols in recent
years, and already the new names are settling in. And so would
new names quickly become traditional for the Lady Horsemen and
the Lady Dons.
I'm not holding my breath. Several years ago at a great center
of learning, Colorado State University, the students were asked
in a referendum if the time had come to rename the female teams.
The result was a resounding vote to hold onto their old name:
the Lady Rams.
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