BK in P.J.’s presents Guest Columnist Elijah Ringler

Elijah Ringler

The Sporting Wizards

So, the Royals are still allowed to play in the majors, and are holding spring training in Surprise, Ariz. The Chiefs have a draft approaching, and people seem to have shown some sort of interest in that event.

The Big 12 men’s basketball teams in the bi-state area are each intriguing for their own special way and March Madness is drawing near. Local high schools will soon be playing in their own Mini-Madnesses.

Even various Roos teams (namely, men’s soccer) have found some success this season and the golf and tennis teams look formidable going into the spring.

All this going on in the metropolitan area and the Kansas City Wizards changed their name to Sporting KC.

F^@&ing Sporting KC?!? This garnered my attention.

Just like a number of other Major League Soccer franchises throughout the continent (FC Dallas, D.C. United, Toronto FC) the former Wizards decided to pay homage to the foreign system of naming sports teams and adopt a European moniker to go with their move into a new soccer-specific stadium this summer.

That is stupid. This is America. We like Facebook, “Glee,” UFC and naming our sports teams after animals/forces of nature/mythical creatures that can wreak havoc and destruction.

European teams are often actual clubs where you can gain membership and participate in club events, much like a country club, or the NRA. This club-method is inferior and stupid.

Yet once again, much like in the cases of Dirk Nowitzki or the Gogolak brothers, America loses a bit of its sporting identity. D.C. United started the trend, Real Salt Lake gave it its lowest point and now Sporting KC continues it.

(By the way, the Real Salt Lake title actually does frustrate me. The word “Real” means “royal” in Spanish. The title was given to handful of Spanish clubs in 1920 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain, a place where they have kings and stuff. Utah, to my knowledge, does not have a king. It’s the little things that will likely anger me to death.)

A student section at a men’s basketball game recently performed sarcastic chants of “America” and “U.S.A.!”, likely unaware of how much of their local patriotic identity had been recently taken from them through sport. Poor Americans.

Anyway, now that I had read the first two sentences of the article informing me of the name change I, had of course, come to the negative conclusion that I have stated for you so far. I was not very pleased, and the KC Sporting Wizards front-office was clearly wrong.

I read on.

The name change, which took place in November (which means 600 years ago in journalism time), was accompanied with the news that the club would be an umbrella system for other sports, specifically lacrosse and rugby.

That is not stupid, that is awesome. Kansas City could use an influx of secondary sports to help broaden our local athletic culture, and rugby is a fine vehicle to do so.

Apparently Americans really adore violence and playing games that greatly enhance the risk of concussions. Rugby seems to be able to provide a bit of that. And they don’t wear pads, which means you get to actually see them bleed.

So, because I may have the chance to see some dudes get hurt, I can accept the name change. The practice of branding has proven to be very effective in our culture and the idea is for Sporting KC to become something larger than a mere professional soccer team.

But that only works if they bring along other sports like rugby and lacrosse under the Sporting KC umbrella. If not, we’re stuck with a beautiful stadium and an ugly name.

But at least it’s not the Wiz.

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