What's In a Name?

Posted: May 17, 2014 06:09 PM
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Westerville, Ohio (May 17, 2014) - Team names are a big part of any sport, and in ultimate, team names become something of an identity. Names can become so engrained in the team’s culture that their origins are lost or reimagined over a number of years. But for teams in Pool C of the women’s division at this weekend’s Division III College Championships, for Chaos Theory, Ruckus, Betty Gone Wild and the Greenshirts, their names are a bit part of who they are as a team and as individuals.


Hannah "Badger" LeBlanc claims that Chaos Theory all began when two physics majors at Bowdoin, Kama and Sutra, started the team back when there was only chaos. "It was a mess," she said. "There’s nothing else I can say about it." She compares their players to particles, heated up by the Frisbee energy. They were flying around the box, and finally, against all odds, they became a team. It was "something that should have been impossible," she said.

The name still shapes the team today, even though the exact time of formation has been lost. "We have a lot of fun," LeBlanc said, referring to the cow-costumed players and dragonfly tattoos present on her teammates. "It’s ruckus, and it’s chaotic energy, and it’s just what we need to play well."

Similarly, Wake Forest Ruckus had lost the origins of their name, but with the return of former player Shelley Sizemore as their coach, the team regained some important team records. "Raging Unleashed Chicks Kicking Ultimate Sass," Amelia Fatsi said. "That’s what Ruckus stands for. We used to be really small, but this year, we grew, and Shelley brought us back some lost team knowledge."

Sizemore said she’s working on incorporating more of the team history back into the present team culture. "When I played, we played that Wu-Tang Clan song," she said. "Sadly, that’s not really a thing anymore."

Although some of their history has been lost, Ruckus still feels their name captures the team’s spirit. "It embodies our wild spirit," Fatsi said, "and describes our unruly team members."

Betty Gone Wild’s Celeste Endlich said their name unites them in their efforts to get "amped up," for their tournaments. "As far as I’m aware, it’s from the song, ‘Black Betty,’ from the 70s band Ram Jam," she said. "We don’t know if it’s about a person or thing, but it’s about getting amped up, and that’s what we’re doing as a team.

It’s clear that the Betties are getting amped, as this is their first showing at D-III Nationals since they split from their men’s team nine years ago. They don’t seem intimidated by the big show, as they can be seen twirling streamers, running the sidelines with a giant flag and blowing bubbles during half time. 

"Every single person is a Betty," she said. "Together we’re Betties, individually we’re Betties. We play together. That’s how we got here."

For the Claremont Greenshirts, there are plenty of rumors about where their name came from. "No one knows for sure," Tessa "FotY" Bertozzi said. "It could be from the color your shirt turns when you lay out on the grass. It was said, once upon a time, you couldn’t wear green shirts because you would blend in with the grass. It might be that. We often joke with people that we’re from Claremont School for the Colorblind. And we’re also the dinosaurs, so they’re often green."

With all those rumors, it would be hard to know exactly why the name exists. "But really, I think someone just decided it would be funny," said. Bertozzi. Although they are not sure where their name comes from, this year’s incarnation of the Greenshirts makes sure to uphold their dino mascot. "We have a huge blow up dino," she said. "We also have dinosaurs all over everything."

So win or lose, and whether they know exactly why they are called what they are or not, these teams are determined to uphold their collective identities. With each game, they’ll be demonstrating just how proud they are to be part of what’s in a name. 

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