Forget about scoring points on the field; the real glory in intramural sports lies in coming up with the best team name. After all, anyone can learn how to hit a softball or spike a volleyball, but it takes true talent to come up with a name that keeps both the audience and participants laughing. The best intramural team names are not only sport-specific, but also peppered with inside jokes, innuendo and more than a little controversy. Of course, the majority of colleges and universities with intramural leagues have rules in place to keep team names from becoming too explicit or offensive, but that doesn't stop students from pushing the limits. Some colleges even offer extra points to teams that come up with truly innovative and catchy names, while a name that breaks the rules could result in penalties.
With thousands of intramural teams participating in sports ranging from flag football to bowling, there's no shortage of crazy team names that display the wild and fun-spirited nature of intramural sports. Read on to discover our 10 picks of funny intramural team names.
10: Booze On First
It's hard to imagine a more typical college experience than one that combines beer and sports. Of course, many schools strictly prohibit alcohol at all sporting events, including intramurals, but that doesn't stop students from turning to beer as a source of team-name inspiration. Booze on First serves as the perfect name for kickball, baseball or softball teams. This name, and variations such as Brews on First, was used by intramural softball teams at Brown University, kickball squads at Florida's Coastal College and countless other teams across the country. Beyond the obvious salute to booze, this name also offers a nod to the classic comedy team of Abbott and Costello, whose 1930s Who's On First? routine remains a pop culture touchstone more than 80 years after it was first introduced.
9: Fake Madrid
For the ultimate intramural soccer team names, college students often draw inspiration from one of the world's greatest soccer teams, Real Madrid. Spain's Real Madrid has long served as one of the most successful and most football (soccer is called football outside the United States) teams on the planet. Teams from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee to the University of Waterloo in Canada have played under the name of Fake Madrid as an ironic homage to the greats. Not only is the name instantly recognizable, it's also sure to garner laughs from the crowd, and maybe even give players just a touch of that Real Madrid magic.
One caveat, though: Real is actually a Spanish term meaning royal, and it has nothing to do with authenticity. For teams not overly familiar with the game of soccer or the Spanish language, the joke just may be on the players themselves.
8: Heads In the Sand
While many players and fans take college sports incredibly seriously, intramurals are often all about having a good time. These recreational leagues attract players of all skill levels and abilities, and many are all-too-willing to poke fun at themselves when it comes to their team name of choice. Heads in the Sand serves as the perfect name for volleyball teams focused on the fun and casual spirit of the game, rather than on the win. While teams at the University of Florida claimed this name in 2010, numerous other teams have also used Heads on the Sand or similar variations. Some even give the name an ironic twist and choose it for court volleyball intramural leagues, in addition to games played on sand courts.
7: The Fighting Pickles
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts maintains an all-intramural sports league where all teams share the same name -- The Fighting Pickles. Perhaps even more amusing than the name itself is the team's mascot, which embraces the school's artistic spirit with its skirt made of piano keys, artist's beret and paint palette in hand. And yes, it's a pickle.
Despite its absurdity, or perhaps because of it, the UNC School of the Arts Fighting Pickle was named the second most loved college mascot in the U.S. in a 2011 poll by Reader's Digest, outranked only by the purple cow at Williams College in Massachusetts.
6: Scared Hitless
Scared Hitless serves as the perfect tongue-in-cheek name for the team that can't score and is proud of it. Not only is it a clever and politically correct alternative to the more controversial team names, but it also emphasizes a sense of fun and spirit rather than cockiness or competition. This name works great for baseball and softball teams and has been used in intramural leagues at Texas Tech, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Florida.
5: Slum Dunk Millionaires
It's hard to imagine that an Oscar-winning film about India's slums could be transformed into a funny intramural name for American basketball teams, yet somehow this unlikely connection works. According to ESPN, the name Slum Dunk Millionaires originated with a five-on-five basketball league at Notre Dame in 2009, with countless other teams using variations of the name since then. One popular version, Slam Dunk Millionaires, serves as a popular team name for slam-dunk or free throw competitions, though many standard intramural basketball teams also use it, including the 2010 University of Iowa women's champions.
4: Volley Lamas
For the team looking for a slightly more highbrow team name, Volley Lamas just may be the perfect solution. It's one of a limited number of intramural team names not inspired by sex, booze or profanity, and it served as the team name for the 2011 New Jersey indoor court champions, as well as many other intramural college squads. Given that many intramural teams need all the help they can get on the court, why not harness a bit of spiritual power with this name that draws its inspiration from Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama?
3: Vandelay Industries
Students majoring in business might naturally be drawn to the name Vandelay Industries. This name comes from the classic comedic TV series "Seinfeld," when George Costanza finally gave up his imaginary architecture career and turned to the import/export world in an attempt to impress yet another woman. Fans of the series choose this name for intramural teams in a variety of sports, including kickball, volleyball and softball, and it seemed to bring good luck to the Miami University intramural kickball team, who won top prize using this name three years in a row.
2: No Game This Week
If you don't think you can beat the other teams on the court, maybe it's better to try and outsmart them. This name just might be enough to trick the other team into thinking no game has been scheduled, so they don't show up and you score a win by default. Anecdotal evidence from ESPN (and a bit of common sense) shows that it's unlikely to work, but depending on just how bad your team is or how badly you want to win, it might be worth a try. An intramural soccer team at Boston College used this name in 2011, and countless teams across the country have attempted some variation of this ruse throughout the history of intramural competition.
1: I Think Therefore I Slam
Teams who prefer their sports with a slightly philosophical twist will appreciate the genius behind the I Think Therefore I Slam name. This team name draws its inspiration from 16th-century philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes, who is probably best known for his existential line "I think, therefore I am." Basketball teams may choose this name as a classier alternative to traditional raunchy team names, or simply to brag about their supreme dunking skills. The Santa Clara University intramural b-ball team claims credit for this name, though other schools have also used it.
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- Abbot and Costello. "Abbott and Costello Biography." (Aug. 5, 2011) http://www.abbottandcostello.net/nw_biog.asp
- Boston Phoenix. "College Quidditch." The Best of Boston 2011. (July 28, 2011) http://thephoenix.com/thebest/boston/2011/life/weirdsportsleague/
- Galindo, Brittany. "Student Named Sports Trivia Contest Winner Two Years In a Row." Daily Barometer. June 8, 2011. (July 29, 2011) http://www.dailybarometer.com/news/student-named-sports-trivia-contest-winner-2-years-in-a-row-1.2385891
- Nelson, Eric. "SCU's Best and Worst Intramural Team Names." The Santa Clara. May 6, 2011. (July 29, 2011) http://www.thesantaclara.com/sports/scu-s-best-and-worst-intramural-team-names-1.2222419
- O'Toole, Thomas and Wieberg, Steve. "Other Schools Set to Appeal Indian Names." USA Today. Aug. 23, 2005. (July 28, 2011) http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/2005-08-23-mascot-appeals_x.htm
- Ostiller, Nick. "Intramural Teams to Start Playoffs." The Santa Clara. May 19, 2011. (July 28, 2011) http://www.thesantaclara.com/sports/intramural-teams-to-start-playoffs-1.2230967
- Reilly, Rick. "That Would Make An Excellent Team Name." ESPN. March 27, 2010. (July 29, 2011) http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/package?id=3835199
- Sebert, Ethan. "UISSC and Ole School to Battle in All-U Final." The Daily Iowan. April 7, 2010. (July 28, 2011) http://www.dailyiowan.com/2010/04/07/Sports/16581.html
- Sentel, Chris. "Deming Wins Free Throw Competition." Den News. Jan. 25, 2007. (July 28, 2011) http://media.www.dennews.com/media/storage/paper309/news/2007/01/25/Sports/Deming.Wins.Free.Throw.Competition-2675959.shtml
- States, Sarah. "Pelican Pride Withstands the Test of Time." The Calvin College Chimes. Feb. 29, 2008. (July 28, 2011) http://clubs.calvin.edu/chimes/article.php?id=3493
- University of North Carolina School of the Arts. "UNCSA'S Fighting Pickle Named Second Most Loved College Mascot in Nation." April 15, 2011. (July 28, 2011) http://www.uncsa.edu/pressreleases/Releases2011/Apr11/Pickle.htm