Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nutty Nicknames How about the Minutemen, Minutemaids?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nutty Nicknames How about the Minutemen, Minutemaids?

Article excerpt

Lions, Tigers and Bears can be scary.

Midgets and Bunnies, on the other hand, may make athletic opponents smile and shake their heads, while Zee-Bees, Volleydolls and Zipperettes are names a mad scientist could think up.

Browsing through Illinois' list of nicknames for high school teams can be enlightening.

Most name origins can be explained.

The Zee-Bee is a play on Zion-Benton, as in Zion-Benton Township High School.

The Zippers (boys) and Zipperettes (girls) of Monmouth High were named for their ability to zip up and down the basketball court, not zip up a dress or pair of pants.

Freeburg is proud of the Midgets nickname, says principal T. Warren Trumann. "The coaches don't care for it, though," he admits.

The school, 25 miles southeast of St. Louis, was playing in a basketball tournament during the 1934-1935 season, when a sports reporter said Freeburg's team looked like midgets against the taller Dupo squad.

"The monicker stuck," Trumann says. "We have no plans to change it."

It hasn't hurt the school's fortunes either. "We've been to the elite eight in Class A sports 15 times. We've had five state champions," Trumann says.

Astoundingly, during the same 1934-35 season, another sportswriter - Eddie Jacquin of the Champaign News-Gazette - was responsible for naming the Bunnies of Fisher.

"Harold Cagle and Ward Meneely were the first to wear a rabbit's foot on their belt during a basketball game and shortly thereafter the whole team began wearing them," explains the plaque in principal Roger L. Robert's office.

Jacquin dubbed them the Bunnies for their good luck charms and they have been called that ever since.

Elsewhere, the Pretzels of New Berlin and Freeport got their names from the delicacies of German bakeries in the towns.

The land of the Volleydolls (girls who play volleyball) is Tiskilwa (Tisk! Tisk!).

The Wooden Shoes and Lady Shoes of Teutopolis were named to honor the Dutch settlement. …

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