On Wednesday, Feb. 12, the UNLV women’s basketball team traveled to Lawlor Events Center to take on Nevada. The game ended with a Wolf Pack victory but left me with a lingering question.
At some point in the second half, UNLV called a timeout. The individual working as the in-house broadcaster boomed out, “timeout, Lady Rebels.”
The Lady Rebels? Really? Why not just the Rebels—or the Runnin’ Rebels, like how the men’s team is labeled? It just seems rather redundant to gender-specify a team.
This got my brain rolling a little bit. I typically ignore the play-by-play commentary while covering a game, both as a reporter or as a photographer. However, after that piece of dialogue, it made me pay a little more attention.
I kept listening to the rest of the game while going about my duties as a photographer. The term Lady Rebels was used multiple times throughout the remainder of the game, but the same can not be said for the Wolf Pack.
Whenever the Nevada squad was mentioned, it was just the Pack—or Wolf Pack. Maybe we should be applauding Nevada for their gender-forward thinking? Possibly, but this should simply just be the standard.
Would sports fans be okay if we began to gender specify the men’s teams? Introducing the “Men Rebels” or “Manly Rebels.” No, that would be utterly ridiculous. But why do some teams/universities insist on keeping this?
Maybe it’s due to tradition. For many teams that have this naming method, it’s that this has been the standard for the team for decades. Why change it now?
It could be that this is just simply an outdated term and maybe teams/universities should take this under consideration.
I don’t have an answer persay to how the gender barrier should be addressed in relation to the naming conventions of sports teams. But if we’re supposed to be striving for progress, doesn’t it just seem odd that we continue to place labels on things such as this?
Ryan Freeberg can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @freeberg_ryan.