What are some things about your hometown that bother you most?
Is it too cold? Are there too many people? Is there not enough going on?
Do these drawbacks make you consider leaving one day, or are they things you hate-love and would secretly miss if they were no longer present in your life?
In “Let’s Hear It for Your Hometown Shortcomings!” Victor Mather writes:
When a group in Minneapolis-St. Paul started an ultimate Frisbee team, it could have chosen a nickname to honor the two cities, like the Twins. Or something about the region’s heritage, like the Vikings. Or a celebration of the great outdoors, like the Timberwolves or the Wild.
Instead, the Minnesota team in the American Ultimate Disc League is called the Wind Chill.
It’s a curious thing that some professional teams choose nicknames not from their city’s best features, but instead, arguably, from their worst. It doesn’t seem like the wind chill, which regularly dips deep into negative territory in Minneapolis, would be a local selling point.
Ben Feldman, a team co-owner, had an explanation: “In Minnesota, we experience some of the most brutal wind chill temperatures in the winter months, and we want our opponents to feel that very same pain when they step onto the field to play against us.”
Fair enough. But what about the New York affiliate of Premier Ultimate League? With so many great things to choose from in the city, the team picked … the New York Gridlock. Perhaps the logic is wanting opponents to feel pain similar to being stuck in stop-start rush-hour traffic.
Surely these teams could have done something nice for their tourism boards by trying to sugarcoat their nicknames? But it’s the Miami Heat of the N.B.A., not the Miami Sunshine or the Miami Delightful Beach Weather.
And then there are the teams named after potentially deadly natural disasters endemic to their regions. The San Jose Earthquakes, the Colorado Avalanche, the Miami Hurricanes and the Iowa State Cyclones. What attracted you to Ames? The chance of a deadly twister!
The article concludes:
As teams seek more and more colorful nicknames to stand out in a crowded marketplace and sell merchandise, the trend of highlighting the worst of a region may continue. Perhaps we can look forward to the Los Angeles Mudslides, the New York Noise and the San Francisco High Cost of Living.
Students, read the entire article, then tell us:
What are your hometown’s shortcomings? How do these shortcomings affect you personally? Is there one that bothers you most? Tell us about a time when you directly experienced this.
Do others share your opinion of this local defect? Are there any local jokes or sayings about this aspect of your town?
Do you, your friends and family spend a lot of time complaining about these shortcomings? Or, have you come to accept them? Have you or has anyone you know ever tried to address, change or improve these features of your town?
Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.