What's in a Name?

March 8, 2014

Jennifer Gouveia, Jillian Tymchy, and Kenni Palmer

"It will be a very proud moment every time we hear 'The Mecca of Swole' over the PA system at regionals," Anders Varner said.

Photos courtesy of Charlie Zamora and Anders Varner

What’s in a name? Would a Kinnick Butter by any other name smell as sweet? 

Personalizing a team name isn’t just happening in SoCal with Jeremy Kinnick and his affinity for describing lifts—and now his team—as “butter”; it’s a trend with affiliates worldwide.
Current worldwide leaders Caffeine and Kilos, of Warriorz CrossFit in the Northern California Region, are pretty straightforward. 
“We love drinking caffeine and lifting weights. We’re having a good time,” said owner Charlie Zamora. “Caffeine and Kilos embodies our lifestyle. Our team likes to drink coffee and slam bars.” 
They don’t just like coffee; Warriorz CrossFit has three coffee machines constantly brewing in their box. 
Others are ascribing similarly personal, but deeper meanings and missions to their team names.
Perhaps most famously, CrossFit Unbroken in Colorado is paying respect to their coach Kevin Ogar by naming the team Ogar Strong this year.
“We want to represent him in a strong way during regionals as our team tries to get to the Games,” said owner Matt Hathcock. “It makes the mission so much bigger than just the team.”
Some team missions are more localized. New affiliate CrossFit Framingham in the North East Region tied a motivational phrase in with their local lingo to form a different team name. 
“Team name Go HAM or Go Home is a play off of the saying ‘Go hard or Go home,’ meaning if you are going to participate and compete, make sure you are giving 100 percent effort,” said CrossFit Framingham owner Matt Naimoli. “But CrossFit Framingham is located in the heart of Framingham and referred to as ‘The Ham’ by many of the locals and town residents.”  
Humor appears to be a theme in many team names, regardless of region. 
“We wanted to have fun this Games season,” said CrossFit Bayside owner John Beneduce of his team, Beefcakes, also in the North East. “We have a lot of beefcakes, (defined as) someone who is stocky and muscular. I am 5 foot 5 and about 185 lb., so I am pretty beef-cakey. So are some of my top athletes. We thought it would be fun to call ourselves Team Beefcake … plus I always like the beefcake South Park episode.”
Justin Wade from Five Rivers CrossFit said the double entendre in his team name, Hate the Runs, was an attempt to be more tasteful than the first name he and training and business partner Galen Godbey found in a random Internet search.
“One name did stick out: Got the Runs,” Wade said, “but we figured that wouldn't be appropriate for a casual T-shirt or business, although a great conversation piece ... Galen had the idea to change it slightly, and Hate the Runs was born.”
Nevertheless, team names on the Leaderboard are combining playfulness with their competitiveness. 
Jenny Butler of CrossFit West Chester calls her team Snatches and Jerks.
“We chose this name because we think it's important to have some humor in a stressful situation, like regionals,” Butler said. “It's easy to stress out, and get too caught up in the craziness of the moment.”
According to Butler, having a humorous team name made a difference in her affiliate’s performance (ninth) at the Mid Atlantic Regional last season.
“During regionals, when they would call our name as we came out onto the competition floor, I remember the commentator laughing at the name,” she said. “I was the female team member that did Jackie, and when I heard them announcing … and they said our name, I even laughed while I was rowing … We're serious competitors, but we always have to remember to have fun.”
CrossFit West Chester isn’t the only affiliate thinking of how their team name will sound over the regional loudspeakers.
Anders Varner of CrossFit PB’s team The Mecca of Swole is planning for it.
“It will be a very proud moment every time we hear ‘The Mecca of Swole’ over the PA system at regionals,” he said.
“The Mecca of Swole is kind of an attitude in our gym,” he laughed. “It sounds aggressive but I promise it is such an endearing thing in our community. ‘Swole’ is just a part of our vernacular.”
And such vernacular, both as inside jokes and names that encompass deeper goals, will likely continue to appear on the Leaderboard in the coming seasons.