Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is New Zealand Going Too Far?

When it comes to sports, they really love their nicknames down in New Zealand, don’t they?

Most people have heard of the All Blacks, the nation’s elite rugby team, and you might have heard of their soccer team, the All Whites (and the Football Ferns), but it doesn’t end there! No sir. They seem to have a nickname, in that pattern, for just about every national team on the slate!

Don’t believe me? Okay, I’ll prove it:

They’ve got the Black Caps & the White Ferns (cricket), the Ice Blacks (hockey), the Tall Blacks & the Tall Ferns (basketball), the Black Sox (softball), the Wheel Blacks (wheelchair rugby) and even the Black Sticks (field hockey).

At some point, you had to figure that this “nickname” business was going to go too far…and according to the New Zealand Herald, it finally has!

The paper says Badminton New Zealand is being forced to reconsider the proposed name of its national team, the Black Cocks, after “opposition from home and abroad,” which included some negative input from the International Badminton Federation.

As inappropriate as it might sound, the name refers to the shuttlecock, which is the object that players hit back and forth during game play.

Badminton NZ says each of its 27 regional associations will have a say at a meeting in November before a final decision is made on the name. President Nigel Skelt told The Herald though that it doesn’t really matter what they decide, because “whether the team actually adopt the name officially, they’re already known as the Black Cocks.”

Looking at the nicknames of the rest of the country’s national teams, I can see how Badminton NZ could end up where they did…but what I can’t believe is that nobody spoke up and said, “Are you guys serious?”

I mean, I’m no expert, but I would guess that a rule of thumb these days is that if you can’t safely search for it in Google, it’s not a good idea. Then again, I suppose if the point of the exercise was to gain a brief bit of international name recognition that stretches far beyond those who care about badminton, it’s a job well done.

Who knew badminton could be so controversial?

What do you think: Is it time for New Zealand to get out of the nickname biz for a while?

No comments: