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Vermilion County Bobcats 3

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Posted 2022 February 3

When teams come up with the geographic portion of their name, they usually go with the city name or the informal name of the metropolitan area, or occasionally a state. They rarely go with the name of the county. It's not hard to see why: there's something artificial about counties. Cities are distinct: look at a satellite picture of a portion of the earth and it's easy to find the cities because they're so obviously different from the surrounding countryside. The same is basically true of metropolitan areas, since they're basically groups of cities and the intervening space. States don't stand out in that way, but the federal system of government combined with the age of them (nearly half of them are over two hundred years old) gives each one its own flavor.

None of this is true of counties. They don't stand out on a picture of the earth the way cities do. Being a subdivision of states, they don't really have a flavor of their own in most cases. Consider this: if I ask you what's distinct about the state you live in, you can almost certainly answer the question. Answering it about a city may be a little trickier, but you can probably come up with something. Can you tell me something unique about the county you live in without pointing out what city(s) it has? Probably not. Hell, even the question sounds weird. "What's distinct about Tennessee?" is a reasonable question. "What's distinct about Memphis?" is a reasonable question. "What's distinct about Shelby County?" is a weird question.

Because of this lack of identity, and because it's so rarely done, any time a chooses a county to be the geographic portion of their name, my first thought is typically "you must be located in a really drab town, huh?"

It's a mean thing to say, but reading about Danville, Illinois (where the Bobcats play) really just reinforced that thought. It used to be a significant coal mining town, but the mines are all closed now. The population has been declining for the last fifty years, and has dropped by almost a third in that time. I'd tell you what Danville's claim to fame is, but quite frankly I couldn't find one except maybe the previously-mentioned "used to be a significant coal mining town". When the only claim to fame you can think of for a city is something that's no longer the case, it usually isn't a good sign for the city's current situation.

And it hasn't exactly gone well for the Bobcats so far, either. The first coach they hired couldn't do the job because he was Canadian and couldn't get across the border thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. The second coach was relieved of his duties after the team started the season 0-4. The team hasn't done much better since; as I write this they're 3-26-3. Also, the first two home games had to be cancelled because the ice surface was deemed unsuitable. An auspicious start, this is not.

Please understand that I'm not saying any of this because I enjoy trashing teams or cities (names and logos, sure; teams and cities, not so much). It's just that sadly, there isn't much else to say here. This is a team that's struggling in a city that's struggling. I wish them both the best. But I'm not optimistic about either one of them.

Final Score: 3 points.
Penalties: Region, 3 pts.
Bonuses: None.

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