Arrow-right Camera
Spokane Empire
Sports >  Spokane Empire

Blanchette: Time for team formerly known as Shock to choose new moniker

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 20, 2015, 10:20 p.m.

Oh, goody. A contest.

Spokane’s Indoor Football Artists Formerly Known as the Shock are in need of a new identity. And they’ve decided to let you do the heavy lifting.

Just last month, in something of a mid-life crisis, the team filed papers on the Arena Football League and took up with a sweet young thing called the Indoor Football League. As with any divorce, there had to be a division of assets.

After much haggling, Spokane’s ownership group kept the shoulder pads, helmets, the team headquarters out in the Valley and the season ticket mailing list, along with some common sense and self-respect.

The AFL insisted on keeping the Shock name.

Yes, it’s a little like demanding custody of your spouse’s old baby pictures, but the AFL is funny that way. Hard to put a label on the league’s guiding tenets – Federalism? Feudalism? Fatalism? – but the economic and governance model has always been about bounced checks and balances.

In any case, a name-the-team contest has been launched – the deadline is Friday – with season tickets up for grabs. As all your creative juices are being funneled into imagining that perfect-pitch Halloween costume (gee, how many Rachel Dolezals will we see this year?), you’ll need some help.

You’re welcome.

First things first: if the team’s attorneys nix “Aftershock” as the No. 1 draft choice for fear of a trademark fight, then you can expect an IFL season full of fourth-down field-goal attempts by the home team. C’mon, show some stones, guys. We’ll promise to call them the “A-Shock” in headlines, just to rub it in.

Second: no plural nicknames. That sort of thing just isn’t done in the minor leagues anymore. That means no “Shockers” – which would be a ripoff of Spokane’s old Continental Football League team of the ’60s, anyway. Ken Stabler played for them, you know. And I’d have to give my vintage Shockers T-shirt to Goodwill.

The alternatives?

What about the Spokane Shack? With the old name kaput, Adam Shackleford – the once and current coach – is the lone identifiable link to the franchise’s championship past. Naturally, he’ll have to sign over his own nickname lest there be a coaching change in the future.

Or the Spokane Scream? Edvard Munch’s iconic image entered the public domain this year … wait, except in the United States. Well, no matter. If Hollywood can rip off a version, so can Spokane.

Attendance has been eroding at the Spokane Arena, and what’s the hottest social surge going? Second Amendment fever, that’s what. Which makes this the perfect storm for the Spokane Glock. As a bonus, running plays can be referred to as “open carries.”

I have a soft spot for the Spokane Slouch. No, it’s not fearsome or inspirational, but the club can fire up the video wall to play the “Caddyshack” clip of Ty Webb telling Judge Smails, “Don’t sell yourself short, Judge. You’re a tremendous slouch.”

Here’s a winner: the Spokane Stress. Is there a more indomitable force in society today?

In fact, there’s a whole cache of potential names in this vein. Sports’ singular nicknames inevitably lean to lame atmospheric or environmental motifs. The Heat. The Thunder. The Avalanche. The Storm, Sky and Sun.

Yawn. Why not “Bulldogs” or “Wildcats?”

There are far more expressive, passionate and unbeatable possibilities in the gamut of human emotion and feelings. Every animal is some other animal’s lunch and a mere umbrella can turn away the Heat and the Storm – but no arsenal of therapy and drugs has ever brought down these:

The Shame. The Cruelty. The Pity. The Regret.

Sports have become a trash-talking sewer, so let’s unleash the Spokane Contempt. The Rude. The Smug. The Mock.

We want our team to be every opponent’s nightmare. Well, the Spokane Angst will be. So will the Dread. The Torment. The Hurt.

You say it has to be alliterative? No problem. Cheer on the Spokane Scorn. The Spokane Smirk. The Spokane Spite – and given what prompted this identity crisis, this is the most appropriate of all.

One caveat regarding the winner: the furry, kid-friendly mascot that roams the stands and boogies with the dance team has to have something to do with the nickname. When did this become optional? There’s supposed to be a theme. You know … branding?

The Mariner Moose? Big Al, the Crimson Tide … elephant? Wha?

It’s admirable how the Spokane Indians have partnered with the Spokane Tribe to use the baseball club’s nickname to educate fans about tribal history and culture, and properly eschewed a demeaning, cartoonish image. But if the side effect is the non sequitur of Otto the Spokanasaurus, maybe the name really did need reconsideration. Same for the Chiefs and Boomer the Bear.

Which reminds me: if you don’t want to be another Rachel Dolezal on Halloween, there’s a Shox the Fox suit available. Cheap.


Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!


Top stories in Spokane Empire

Life without arena football: Faithful fans root for return of high-flying sport to Spokane

The season is winding down in arena football leagues across the country but not in Spokane. The franchise – known as the Shock for the first 10 seasons in arenafootball2 and the Arena Football League and the Empire for two seasons in the Indoor Football League – shuttered last July for financial reasons. The organization’s 12-year run was long by most arena franchise standards, but not long enough for its diehard fans.