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What’s in a Name? For Hill Softballers, Identity
Posted at 12:01 a.m. on July 19, 2012
Settling on a name is a weighty proposition for teams in the House, Senate and Congressional softball leagues. That’s why outside-the-box thinking is the norm rather than the exception. With one collective decision, the string of words will either cloak them in celebrity, provoke fear in opponents or make the masses laugh.
Sift through the standings on the trio of league websites and the names range from the humorous to the spiritual to the, shall we say, less than appropriate.
Naked Shorts, in the CSL, is of the innuendo variety. RAND Slam! from the SSL is a tip of the hat to both the policy-focused organization and the quadruple-run-producing homer. In the HSL, Licensed to IL gives off vibes of a Prairie State-Beastie Boys connection.
It’s true that some teams keep it vanilla. As with the publication, Bloomberg Government isn’t raising eyebrows or prompting laughter. But a healthy majority of Beltway softballers have decided to spice things up when it comes to the banner they play under.
CSL’s Softball With Chris Matthews went for creativity over blandness. While the aesthetics work, the team doesn’t have any official connection to the perpetually interrupting MSNBC host — its organizational home is VOX Global, a Washington, D.C., public relations firm. But Matthews’ nephew and namesake is a mainstay on the team, so it has that going for it. Which is nice.
Originally known as You’ve Been OutVoxed, the team’s name swap was intended as a psychological game-changer, a way to shake off the losing aura of the team’s first season.
“We thought just trying to get good people for a second season that maybe a new name and new start would be good for us,” co-captain Kum Kang explained. The original idea came from former teammate Bethany Hill, who suggested it during a brainstorming session with Kang and fellow captain Sam Fabens.
The younger Chris Matthews, who largely steered clear from the deliberations, originally supported changing the name to Gary Busey, the Oscar-nominated actor best known for his bizarre public behavior and his villainous movie roles. But he signed off on the name change.
“Oh, it’s fine. It’s a funny twist on a name for Washington,” Matthews said.
To strike a chord of intimidation, the Colorado Cutthroats of the HSL turned to an animal more hunted than hunter.
But that bit of food-chain reality hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for the fishy name.
“It sounds mean,” acting manager Adam Lowenstein explained in an email.
HSL’s Suspicious Packages turned to security notification emails from the Capitol Hill police for inspiration.
Six years ago the collection of California Hill staffers had a team but lacked a name. Looking down at their BlackBerrys one day, they noticed yet another email about a suspicious package arriving at the Capitol. The team found the rhetorical gold it was searching for, according to Bret Manley, legislative director for Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.).
For its logo, the team has revamped the California Republic bear flag with Capitol Hill office humor. Against a blue and gold backdrop, “California Republic” has been replaced with “Suspicious Packages,” and the star in the upper left corner is a fused-lit bomb. I’m sure they’re rolling in the aisles over at Homeland Security.
Correction: July 19, 2012
An earlier version of the item misstated the team name for Licensed to IL.