Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#82: Thinking of Bookstore Basketball Team Names

One of the highlights of the spring semester for Notre Dame Students is the beginning of the traditional Bookstore Basketball tournament.  The single-elimination tournament is a massive affair that features roughly 700 teams playing in what the organizers claim to be the “World’s Largest 5-on-5 Outdoor Basketball Tournament” (how they can make this claim is anybody’s guess).

Because Notre Dame Students love basketball (see #76); all Notre Dame Students love Bookstore, and they love forming teams for various skill levels.  Some serious players form teams made up of the best ballers on campus (and one or two varsity Football players) in an attempt to win the tournament.  These teams will stage practices in the months leading up to the tournament, and will be ready when game-time comes.

Other teams use the tournament as a chance to do something that is SO college (see #11), and cause a malt-liquor induced ruckus while wearing spandex, clanging threes off the backboard, and coming dangerously close to sexual harassment complaints from any female opponents.  Frequently, these players will complete a halftime “boot and rally” to the delight of their ridiculously large crowds of followers, and they oftentimes have a secret stash of Keystone Light at the courts for shotgunning purposes.

Still other teams will be made up of casual basketball players that simply want to win a game or two.  These teams will be disappointed when they have to play the elite teams and they will be frustrated when they have to play the drunkard teams.  While each of these categories of teams might have different objectives on the day of their game; the one aspect of Bookstore Basketball that all teams take seriously is the naming of their team.

All Bookstore Basketball players have an innate desire to think of a clever team name that references current events and controversies while causing people that hear the name to laugh out loud.  It’s one thing to have a name that mentions Tiger “Long off the Tee” Woods or Rihanna’s lack of defense against Chris Brown, but it is a much more difficult task to make a team name stand out when 700 other teams are trying to do the same thing.

Making matters even more difficult is the fact that the tournament is run under the insanely arbitrary rules imposed by a Notre Dame Administration that takes offense to anything tangentially related to drugs, sex, alcohol, violence, or fun.  These Orwellian administrators (and their Bookstore commissioner agents) take a chainsaw to the list of team names every year and censor anything and everything that could possibly offend (except, strangely, violence against women, see #71).

Because of this, some students attempt to choose names that are clever enough and clean enough to get around the censors, while other teams just aim to make their team name a funny joke that spreads around campus like gossip.  Either way, the objective is the same: Notre Dame Students have an innate desire to show each other how smart, funny, and clever they are; and a hilarious bookstore name is the best way to achieve this goal.

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