Archive for the ‘Washington’ Tag
At yesterday’s $12 adoption for 12 hours event I spent three hours portraying the mascot, Wags the Dog. My main job centered on standing out on New York Avenue, NE, in front of the animal shelter, waving to the cars. The truck drivers got a big kick out of it and always tooted their horns, like the did when we would ride past them in school buses.
I got to hug adorable dogs too. Some of the dogs did bark at me, as they weren’t sure if I was really one of their species or not!
A fun, quick read about all that has changed in my adopted city. It made me want to get on my bicycle and scout out the remnants of all these old buildings and facades.
This book is obviously the product of a good deal of research and investigation in a variety of source material. It is a great source for factual information and would have been even more valuable if the author had decided to add more analysis and comparisons with what happened in other cities in the US.
The Washington Wizards blogger for ESPN had fun this morning. What should the team nickname be? After spending three years writing about DC basketball, I’m still partial to the Bullets from the Baltimore days.
Wizards Exec Says “Probably Not” on Bullets Name Change, But Not in CAPS; Here are some alternatives
More anti-name-change news was made yesterday. Really, has a city ever been held under such an enduring siege of controversy surrounding the names of two of its professional sports team as Washington, D.C. has? Doubt it.
You have the “Redskins,” which can be a terribly racist term, and you have the “Wizards,” which can just be terrible—specifically, for a pro basketball team in the nation’s capital.
This latest tid-bit of info naturally pertains to the “Wizards,” previously known as the “Bullets” from 1963 to 1997.
On Monday, Joe Dupriest, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, told John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal that the franchise would “probably not” be renamed the Bullets, also alluding to the locker room gun incident between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton as being a factor.
“I don’t see us changing the name to the Bullets. But I see us using the Bullets with the Wizards mark and using that history a lot more,” Dupriest also told Ourand.
The DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg called the statement, “the strongest thing I can remember a team executive saying on this topic.”
Unlike Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who told USA Today in mid-May, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use caps,” Dupriest evidently did not specify a preference for CAPS in his statement. Perhaps related but not so much, the current description on Dupriest’s Twitter account (@joedupe) reads: “Caps, Wizards, Duke, Braves with plenty of Ronald Reagan ideology mixed in.”
So there’s that.
Steinberg also rehashed Ted Leonsis’ punting of this very issue in his Bog post. The team owner has several times claimed how “major” a name-change process would be, indicating that it would take “years” to accomplish. Meanwhile, over this offseason, the New Orleans Hornets have changed their name to the Pelicans, and the Charlotte Bobcats will soon return to being call the Hornets. Sure, there is a process [note: "process" is Ernie Grunfeld's favorite word], but if someone wanted to make it happen, it would’ve happened by now. For Leonsis, the action has only been in the bottomless pixel-talk.
So, this latest news is not really news. The language may be the strongest to date, and perhaps it came out of nowhere, but it is hardly a surprise. Even with the blessing of Irene Pollin, it’s long been suspected, by this blogger at least, that a return to the “Bullets” would be out of the question. My advice to people has been to move on. That said, the name “Wizards” should not be accepted. And choosing not to more strongly consider a name change puts Ted Leonsis in the realm of “obtuse” with the warden from The Shawshank Redemption. Then again, the ole pixel warden himself could have a trick up his sleeve.
Anyhow… in light of knowing that I will not be punished for blasting “Ave Maria” over a loudspeaker, I shall blog with freedom about the non-Wizards team name options that may or may not exist.
>The Washington Lincolns.
The city is named after the first U.S. President, George, but the argument can be made that Abe Lincoln is the most iconic. Not many teams are named after a person (the Cleveland Browns, the Charlotte Bobcats, technically (for now)), but Lincoln would be a worthy exception to make.
I mean, if Lincoln is worthy of being the subject of DeShawn Stevenson’s frontal neck tattoo, then what other reason do you need? Now, the marketing wizards at Monumental might have to get creative with team branding, but calling them the “Lincs” for short and having a fake beard promotional give-away night seems easy. Also, beards are popular these days.
Worth noting: there are calls for the U.S. Mint to kill the penny, which features an image of Lincoln—pennies cost more to make than what they are worth. Abe would still have the $5 bill in his corner, but should the penny die, naming a pro basketball team after Lincoln would be nice. Plus, the owner before Leonsis was named Abe.
>The Washington Stallions.
Horses have helped this country a lot, you know, with the towing of carts and stuff before there were cars. So after the eagle, perhaps the horse is the most American of species. And it would be tough to change the name to “Eagles” with that Philly football team up the road. That said, amongst the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, and CFL, there is only one team called the Eagles. Also, “Stallions” was one of the originally narrowed-down team name options in 1997.
>The Washington Federals.
D.C. is the seat of federal government in this country. That said, the District is also a land without the rights of a state—us residents pay federal taxes without any true representation in the legislative branch of government.
So I’m not sure if calling the pro basketball team the “Federals” would be ironically good or ironically bad other to say that watching the Wizards has been very taxing for fans over the years and they have noting to show for it. Thankfully, at least blogs provide the power to talk, which pretty much jibes with the power of Eleanor Holmes Norton.
>The Washington Freedom.
Maybe it could work. I mean, we all like freedom (even if it ain’t exactly “free” … amirite?).
Otherwise, I probably only mention it because my imagination takes me to a spirit squad dressed up like french (or, shall we say freedom) fries throwing out free trinkets, like T-shirts and burritos, while George Michael’s “Freedom” blasts through the arena and Ted Leonsis sings, “I won’t let you down, so please don’t give me up!”
I don’t know where all of this is going other than the fact that if I had to pick a “sleeper” of this whole charade, it would be Freedom.
Worth noting: Freedom was the nickname of a now-defunct women’s pro soccer team in the Washington area. After 10 years in operation, the owner of “magicJack” purchased the team, changed its name to “magicJack,” and moved the franchise to Boca Raton, Florida.
>The Washington Diamonds.
Has a team ever been named after a shape? (Do the Dallas Stars count? Even if they used to be called the North Stars?)
Now is probably not the time to start. Plus, without Virginia, the District is simply not a diamond. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…
>The Washington Hoops.
If you can have the Brooklyn Nets, why not the Hoops? Plus, if would be a good reason to bring back the old team mascot (from during the Bullets days), also named “Hoops.”
No, “Hoops” does not bring much of an association with the nation’s capital, but it’s at least 35.7 to 68.4 percent better than “Wizards.”
“HOOPS!” … in pin form.
>The Washington Dragons.
Like the Stallions, “Dragons” was part of the original name set along with Sea Dogs, Express, and … Wizards.
Unlike Wizards, dragons are real. Perhaps not the fire-breathing types, or even a magical dragon named “Puff,” but there are creatures that walk about this earth known as dragons. So that’s a start. [Full disclaimer: nope, dragons don't really exist, it's just that the name of certain lizards/reptiles includes the word "dragon" in them.]
Otherwise, such a nickname would be an ode to Chinatown, legendary creatives in Chinese folklore and mythology, but would perhaps also lend itself to unfortunate terminology … “I went to watch the Drags last night and boy did things get hairy.” … “Totally, I could’ve put out their lame fire-breathing with my Wiz.” … “Sounds ‘great,’ so when’s the next Drag Show?”
>The Washington Justice.
“Justice” seems popular, and marketable. And it’s perhaps the most reasonable option that’s been tossed about. In June 2010, I wrote a post about the nickname ordeal. The Washington Post’s Mike Wise was one of the many participants who opined. Wise:
The Washington Justice. Now that’s a name. You just got served.
Something tells me it’s going to be Monuments in three years—hence the company name change.
With Justice, there would more spins and local ties than a marketer would know what to do with… Plays on “Justice League” … “Just Us” … the list goes on like drawn-out litigation over several years that gets tied up in the judicial system.
>The Washington Monuments.
With Leonsis’ ownership group going from “Lincoln Holdings” to “Monumental Sports & Entertainment,” upon his assuming majority ownership of the franchise, calling the basketball team the “Monuments” seems so simply easy that it’s an improbability. You’d think that Leonsis would’ve pulled the trigger by now instead of simply diluting the presence of the word “wizards” with jersey changes and the what-not.
With Leonsis recently creating the Monumental Sports Network and likely aspiring toward one day owning the broadcast rights for all of his teams to show on said network, calling one of those teams the “Monuments” seems less and less likely.
Come to think of it… Maybe the big hang-up is actually on what to call the Mystics.
Or maybe this is just an unsolvable riddle with an answer that pleases no one. So the safe bet is to just twiddle thumbs while pixel saturation, like this very post, makes us increasingly numb toward caring until the day that we become so attached to the name “wizards” that we can never imagine life otherwise lest we carry pitchforks in revolution.
To be continued…
Great piece from ESPN blogger about DC basketball. What is the story with fans and pro sports teams in DC? Why have the Redskins kept so many fans after making the playoffs three times in twenty years?
What’s with the Wiz and earning loyalty of local fans?
National Basketball Association’s Commissioner David Stern gave a discussion about the last 30 years of professional basketball on Thursday night at the Native American Museum in Washington, DC. Over 100 people showed up at the Smithsonian Associates event to hear him.
Panelists included the Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise, the Post’s Wizards’ beat writer Mike Lee and local and NBA lawyer Phil Hochberg. In addition, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, played a basketball superfan. The panelists asked Stern good questions. The Commissioner appeared very relaxed and in great spirits. He seemed to care a great deal about the game and its individual players. Most interesting, he supported the players in their efforts to announce their political perspectives and take part as citizens in the country.
In the final half hour, a number of fans got up to ask questions. Overwhelmingly, most of the questions were very good. They ranged from asking Stern questions about how size of market influences a team’s chance to win to asking him what rule change he thought made the greatest difference.
My co-author and I got the chance to hand out fliers for our book, The Bullets, The Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball.
Another fine year for the DC Historical Studies Conference! The conference included a wide-range of topics and presenters, including students from local high schools, Howard and George Washington Universities, and independent and academic scholars.
This conference is interested in bringing many disciplines together. Historians, archeologists, linguists, sociologists all gave fantastic papers on topics ranging from the city’s school system, and African-American cemeteries, to gay community formation, and a how-to presentation on doing oral history.
The history of the school system and its governance shows how divided the group has been on how to best serve the children of white and black families. The papers hint at some of the reasons behind the current difficulties. A session on discovering the Black community of Georgetown showed how the history can engage youngsters and help them build the skills of researching and analytical thinking. The Mount Zion Cemetery is listed as one of the most endangered in the country.
The DC Public Library discussed a grant they are receiving to build a web application that will enable people to read passages from works of fiction that describe the area where they are currently standing.
The History Network filled the Great Hall of Martin Luther King Jr. DC Public Library. Non-profit organizations, including the Arlington Historical Society and Cultural Tourism DC, offered brochures and suggestions about experiencing the variety of historical sites and activities in the area.
The Studio Theatre produced another strong play. Part of its Second Stage productions, the DC theater company unveiled The Big Meal by Dan LaFranc.
The play shows five generations of a single family in the Midwest U.S. of today. Showing characters in pairs, quartets and occasionally in larger groupings, the play provides strong and interesting characters. The actors are very strong playing a multitde of roles.
The play addresses the ups and downs of rather middling lives, highs of weddings and romance and lows of jealousy, sibling rivalry, and racism. None of this hits one over the head but instead flows naturally out of the characters. Younger versions adopt good and bad habits of their parents as they age, all the types of things that we each discover about our selves.
Coming up in May will be the second annual LiteraryHill Bookfest in Washington, DC.
Find out more at:
A few of us talked about it last month. Five people met ten days ago and figured out the host houses and their part of the meal. Using Evite, people responded if they were coming and what kind of food they would be contributing on Sunday.
Fourth Street in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw and Truxton Circle neighborhood is part of Old City II. The group of twenty four houses on one side of the street dates from the early 1870s and are a number of small houses, ranging from 1200 to 1500 sq. feet on two to three floors. The other side has bigger houses of three stories, erected near the beginning of the last century.
Our house would be the second stop: appetizers. We saw who planned on bringing appetizers from a glance at the list. My husband made stuffed mushrooms and stuffed grape leaves. I waited until the last minute to grill chicken sausages so that they would be as fresh and hot as possible. Starting at 2 o’clock people came from around the street to drop off their appetizers. We laid them on our circular dining table.
Washington had ice and a little snow the evening before. We’d gotten rid of most of it but a chill remained. At 4 in the afternoon, the party started up the street in one of the larger of the smaller houses. The open floor plan enabled guests to stand around in the living room and dining room. Drinks and cocktails sat on a long table in the dining room. Two of the children made name tags for the guests as they walked in. Around 35 people enjoyed their drinks and conversations. I found our Dutch host’s art very interesting. She made one photo collage of a bull licking his private parts in different colors that gave me a smile. I asked where her cats were and discovered she put them in a room upstairs because the big one might have wanted to lay in the middle of the party.
I left early to get to my house and finalize preparations. Then as the appointed time to arrive past I grew nervous. Our cat Lila, a 16-year-old all-black domestic short hair, gave me a few meows as if anticipating something. My husband came home first and told me to relax. The first crew came in and I took their coats upstairs. Our cat remained downstairs to the joy of an 18 month old girl who couldn’t wait to pet her.
As more and more people came we piled the coats on the upstairs bed. I announced that the AFC Championship Game was on upstairs in our office. However, almost all the people crowded around our kitchen. Downstairs is only 400 square feet so all these people somehow found a space and could communicate.
As we showed people around, highlighting our African safari pictures of a leopard in a tree and a baby hyena to some of the other children who came, Lila needed to get away. She moved outside but as it got colder I wanted her to come in. I showed the children how Lila eats shrimp out of my hand then let her try to escape.
The football game between the Patriots and Ravens came down to one final drive in the fourth quarter. I announced to people who had an interest the circumstances and all eight of us squeezed inside the office to watch the Ravens’ final drive. One of the our good neighbors announced that the partiers intended to move across the street for the dinner. I said fine, thanks we’re watching the game. She laughed. We watched until the missed field goal.
Before I left I looked for Lila. As owners know, when the cat does not want to be found, you will struggle to find her. I made sure that she was not outside the house and went across the street to enjoy the dinner. The family had done a ton of the organizing of the event.
The feast included three sets of chicken, vegetarian dishes, assorted other specialties. The family dog waited under the table. Good, quiet but hopeful. The walls contained a nice collage of family photographs. While some people watched football and mingled in the kitchen, groups clustered all around the sofa, series of chairs near the dining table and the hallway. I discussed trips, my books, people told me about their relationships, children, interests.
On the way to desert and coffee back across the street and down to the end of the block, I checked in on our cat. Lila felt relaxed and ate from her bowl. The newlywed hosts for the last stage have a house close to ours in size. Their settee proved comfortable for many on this last leg. The central table near the kitchen counter bar area held towers of cupcakes, a cheery cobbler, ice cream, chocolate pudding and chocolate chip cookies. Urns with drinks filled most of the counter space. Many of us clustered around the table and kitchen finishing conversations, or adding new elements, or maybe trying to meet someone new until groups went off home one by one.