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They say it's good for us

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As a child, the phrase I dreaded most was "This is for your own good." It always preceded something dreadful: medicine, being sent to my room, having a particularly huge tangle yanked out of my hair. I learned that the minute one of my parents uttered the words "This is for your own good" it was actually in my best interest to run.In retrospect, and particularly as a parent myself now, I realize that most of what my parents insisted was in my best interest really was. The Dimetapp helped me get over colds, their discipline helped me to become a person who's generally tolerable to be around, and I don't suppose I would have really been happy as a seven-year-old with dreadlocks.

Having been entrusted with the responsibility of making my own decisions since I headed off to college, it irks me to continue hearing "This is for your own good" when I should be long past that point. And yet here we are in Charlotte, a city full of functioning adults, with a city council that thinks it's our mom -- so much so that we're told a new arena and an NBA franchise are "for our own good." "Do you or do you not want to be a world-class city?" our leaders ask in that imperious, passive-aggressive tone of voice that only parents know how to use with precision.

Not to harp on the past, but not too long ago we were asked for our opinion and we said, "Hell, no! Take your arena and shove it. Or at least pay for it your own selves." Now, city council has treated the results of the referendum as if they never happened. So we're getting our arena, and we're eating green peas for dinner, too, dammit.

Since I swore that I wouldn't rant about the arena debacle any longer than absolutely necessary, I'm not going to beat that dead horse any further. Instead, let's focus on the future and the new NBA team that will soon be born in Charlotte. We have the opportunity to name yet another franchise. Since we've already used up our first choice for a team name with the Hornets, we're going to have to be creative in thinking up something new and different. A hornet was a good mascot for the old team -- hornets are mean and thus a fitting image for a competitive team, but also because hornets have a special local meaning, Charlotte having been referred to as a hornet's nest during the Revolutionary War.

But I think this time we can do even better. After all, a hornet was a good mascot but the local meaning was lost on the rest of the world. This time we should choose something that reflects Charlotte's unique character, something that people will instantly relate to Charlotte, like the New Orleans Jazz, which are now, uh, the Utah Jazz (and what says Utah more than jazz?).

So let's get the ball rolling with names for the new Charlotte franchise. The Charlotte Bankers has a nice ring to it, not to mention a great degree of accuracy. On the downside, it's hard to imagine hordes of people hanging out in the brand-new arena, thrilled with excitement and screaming, "Go, Bankers!" at the top of their lungs. The Charlotte Financial Indices would probably inspire a similar lack of enthusiasm ("Go Indices?" On the other hand, this could encourage Wall Street to rebound). And I can easily imagine an adorable team mascot being fashioned out of a chart with an arrow pointing up, in the tradition of the 1996 Summer Olympics' infamous Izzy.

So the financial industry may not provide just the right feel for our new team; but Charlotte has many other idiosyncrasies that may provide inspiration. How about the Charlotte Road Works? (Team motto: Right Lane Closed Ahead!) Or the Charlotte Eyesores (Team color: reflective pink as in that horrible South End building).

Or perhaps we could just pick an abstract concept for a name, like the Charlotte Flash, or just something dumb, like the Queen City Polar Bears. Then, to make it unique, whatever mascot is chosen could have a different name every week in honor of Charlotte street names that change every couple of blocks.

I suppose the members of Charlotte's city council are hoping we'll all get caught up in team-related excitement -- like naming the new team. They figure that by election time, Charlotteans will have bought into the glamour of the new team and that, eventually, the new team might actually start winning games, and then they'll be set. They're hoping for this and it's probably exactly what they'll get.

Maybe the perfect name for the new team is the Charlotte Suckers.

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