Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zephyrs (June 21st, 2009)

Two images seemingly unrelated? The American National Basketball Assaociation (NBA) player Caron Butler in what is in my opinion a damn snappy retro style uniform (commemorating the original 1963 - 64 team) and a beautiful peice of 20th century locomotion. There is a link which luckiliy enough bisects my sphere of absurd interests. Let me explain.

First off, the NBA player is from a team called the Washington Wizards (one of the worst names ever). The franchise has a long history, beging in the 1961 - 62 season as the Chicago Packers. The following year they changed their name to the Chicago Zephyrs (one of the best names ever). Sadly an undeniably cool look and original name was nipped in the bud when the team moved to Baltimore, Maryland becoming the Bullets. The team moved to Landover, becoming the Capital Bullets. The next season they moved to Washington. The Washingtom Bullets won an improbable championship for the first time in 36 years in the 1977 - 78 season. In 1995 the bullets became the Wizards, and teams have continued to not run in fear from that team ever since.

Replacing a pair of steam engines in the early 1930's, the Pioneer Zephyr is most well known for the 'dawn-to-dusk dash' it undertook in 1934. It left the city of Denver packed full of celebrities of the day and arrrived safely in the city of Chicago 13 hours 5 minutes later, at an average speed of 77 mph (124 km/h). This was, at the time, a ground breaking feat for or Locamotive vehicle of it's kind.
Two fairly intersting but little known facets of modern American history, but linked by what? The Pioneer Zephyr made it's last run march 20th,1960. The Packers changed their name to the Zephyrs in the 1963 - 64 season. It is not an improbable link that the team renamed themselves after the the then recently decomishioned diesel Train. Probably because it was on everyones lips at the time, it had definite links to the city of Chicago and because of all the great and powerful metaphors a machine like that creates when veiwed in the context of embodying a sporting team. 

Or it may just be I wasted my time and the two things are not related at all. But what matters is that I bothered to make the specious link.

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