This is yet another entry in the “What’s In a Name” category, but many times the name is all you need to see the humor in a situation. Around here, we have one particular name that stands out above all the rest.
Our school has a long and storied history when it comes to women’s basketball. We were at the forefront of bringing women’s basketball to mainstream America. It was our team that played the Russians, traveled to Mexico City for international tournaments and our coach pushed to change the rules of the women’s game to a full-court, 5-on-5 contest. Granted, we haven’t done much in the last 20 years, but with everyone else, including major state universities, picking up the women’s game, it has been a little difficult for our small, private school on the dusty plains of Texas to compete in the recruiting game. Our team has had only three losing seasons in its history. Unfortunately, two of those have been the last two seasons.
Still, our women’s program holds the collegiate record for the longest win streak (131 consecutive games) and our program has more wins (1,425 including Saturday’s season opener) than any women’s collegiate basketball program at any level. That’s more wins than Tennessee, University of Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina or any of the teams mentioned among the best in women’s basketball. The only potential drawback, however, is that the team is named the Flying Queens.
Yes, it’s an easy nickname to make fun of and it has been on several national lists as one of the worst nicknames in college sports. But there is a good reason for the name. In the late 1940s, the team was sponsored by the Harvest Queen Mill which still operates in our fair city. With their sponsorship, the school decided to name the team the Harvest Queens. This sponsorship was key as the team began to build to its historic status. A few years later, a local businessman, Claude Hutcherson, began flying the team to all its games in his fleet of Beechcraft Bonanza airplanes. Thanks to his sponsorship, the team became famous world-wide, and the name was changed to the Flying Queens.
However, it’s the latest team sponsorship that has given me cause to chuckle. It’s not a major sponsorship. This group isn’t shelling out thousands of dollars to have their name on the team warm-ups, but it is enough of a sponsorship to pay for schedule posters and things like that. And in so doing, the sponsorship name appears on the posters. It may not be a big deal to many people, but its not every day your athletics team is sponsored by Kornerstone Funeral Directors. …