How did we settle on the Fort Worth Panthers? Learn here.
As soon as we agreed to join the league, we knew that we wouldn't have time to do this ourselves. We needed some help, especially from people we trusted completely. The first place we turned was to my brother Jeff up in Minneapolis. Jeff has extensive experience in sales and marketing, like me, and in January he left his previous company to open his consulting company "The Next Step" (www.thenstep.com). I reached out to Jeff and asked for his help.
Jeff sat down with me and I gave him an overview of the league and my vision for both the team and its place in American floorball. I told him what was important to me and what I needed his help with. He advised me to get started with branding, along with all the office and business legal setup. He would handle the branding and he gave me advice on what to get done on the legal side. The first thing he needed was a name.
Leigh and I have been living in the DFW Metroplex for 7 years, all of it near DFW airport in between the two cities. For those who are not from the Metroplex, Dallas and Fort Worth have two very distinct styles. Dallas is an upscale, fast-paced, modern city that features all the sports teams and is definitely the "big brother" of the two cities. Fort Worth is more laid back, and much more Western. The city is referred to as "Cowtown" by a lot of the locals due to the Fort Worth Stockyards and the weekly rodeos at the arena there. Fort Worth proudly tells its visitors that the West begins here.
We ran through a bunch of Western-themed names. Many of them were already taken by colleges or other minor league teams. Finally, I found myself scanning the modern version of the World Book Encyclopedia that I grew up with: Wikipedia! In reading about Fort Worth, I found a minor blurb about how a Dallas newswriter had mocked it with an article about how sleepy a little frontier town it was (in the 1870's). He said "It was so quiet that a panther could walk down Main Street, lie down in the grass, and go to sleep."
Fort Worth embraced the panther as an icon for the city. There are sleeping panther statues downtown. Many of the facades in downtown Fort Worth don't carry gargoyles - they carry panther heads. The island in the Trinity River north of downtown is called Panther Island (I never before knew why). And even the FWPD had panthers on their badges after that.
I liked the spunk. I loved the city rivalry. I loved the fact that the panther, once awoken, was a vicious and merciless predator. When I researched the team names, the only other Panthers were the Pascal High School Panthers in FWISD, and the city baseball team back in the 1930's was called the Panthers, and then ultimately the cats.
We had our name - the Fort Worth Panthers were born!