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A (mostly) Perfect Union May 11, 2009

Posted by Master Shake in General blog.
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If you have been following the continuing “name the Philly MLS team” saga, you know that it has been one of the most hotly debated topics on the BigSoccer.com boards.  Now, just so you know, I hate reading the posts on Bigsoccer.com; most are  inside jokes, flamewars (which I have been accused of starting) or my least favorite topic “what should the <insert non-existant MLS team name here> jerseys look like?”.  It’s an utter waste of time, not so much in the “World of Warcraft” kind of way, but more in the “I’m pretending to care about this more than I probably do” kind of way. It’s the problem with being a self-proclaimed soccer fan, once you make that public committment, you have to ride the sports geek stigma until the end, just to prove you are undeterred by the name calling and disrespect that soccer (or if you are a real dork, football) receives from the more mainstream sporting community in our fair land.

The name of the team, Philadelphia Union, was leaked on Friday and officially announced today.  I have to admit, at first, the name did nothing for me.  At first glance it’s very basic and boring when compared to the other MLS squads–I mean, how can you compete with gems like “Crew” and “Red Bulls”?–but really, do we want to be stuck with some silly, cartoony, meaningless name like “Dynamo” or “<city name> FC”?  No way Jose.  

Once I saw the team logo, I was convinced the name “Union” was a perfect fit.  A circle with “Philadelphia” overtop the somewhat iffy shield (more on this later), ringed by 13 stars at the bottom.  Maybe more than any other MLS name, it goes to the heart of what Philly is all about (there will be no history lesson, please go to Wikipedia if you need to know why).  By comparison, the rest are goofy parodies of events or places or representative objects or even movie characters.  Other names like “FC” are just plain dopey (this is North America, it’s SOCCER). In the case of the NY team, well, it’s an energy drink, and not a very good one, either. I’m not going to even mention those teams with foreign-sounding names.

pitfall_snake

Which are you more frightened of?

As I mentioned above, the shield design is a bit iffy.  I really like the concept, a rattlesnake, as in the Gadsden flag and Ben Franklin’s 1750s political cartoons. Snakes are terrifying. Fall-off-a-horse terrifying. And yet awesome at the same time, so it’s not only historically relevant AND cool, it’s also intimidating.  The rendering of the snake is what bothers me, and really only just a little bit.  It’s just not that scary.  The blocky snakes in Atari’s Pitfall were way more frightening.  One false move and you were toast.  Don’t doubt it.

Find out more about the Philadelphia Union here, the Sons of Ben Supporters here, and the Atari 2600 here.

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