Announcing: The Midgrade Football League!

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for winning a football game during last night’s Destiny’s Child reunion concert. I have always admired the Ravens for being the only literary-themed franchise in professional sports, and they get bonus points for picking a dark, 19th-Century poem filled with themes of heartbreak and death.

literary football

Also considered: the Longfellow Waysides and the Miltonian Lost Paradise.

This championship team and its three authorial mascots (ravens named Edgar, Allan, and Poe) have inspired me to imagine a league of our own with names based on works of middle-grade literature. These might include:

Atlantic Division

  • The Connecticut Tesseracts: Named after the four-dimensional constructs in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
  • The Washington Bridges: Named for the titular construction project in Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson.
  • The Mixed-Up Files of New York: Named after this blog (and also From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg).
  • The Mississippi Thunder: Named for a farmhand in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.
  • The West Virginia Beagles: Named for the dog in Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Pacific Division

  • The Seattle Yonders: Named for A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, and based in a city that’s a long way from Chicago.
  • The California Whipping Boys: Named for the character in The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman.
  • The Green Lake Holes: Named for the products of hard labor found in Holes by Louis Sachar.
  • The Alaska Wolves: Named for the pack encountered in Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.
  • The Seoul Shards: Named after the pottery pieces in Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard.

Have ideas for additional teams? Leave them in the comments!

Greg R. Fishbone is the author of the “Galaxy Games” series of midgrade sports and sci-fi from Tu Books at Lee & Low Books. Visit him at

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Greg R. Fishbone
Greg R. Fishbone is the founder of Mythoversal, a project dedicated to restoring inclusion, diversity, and equity to classical texts, and Cryptoversal Books, a launchpad for experiments in sustainable Web3 publishing. His latest work is the Wordler Village series of innovative story tokens. Greg lives in New England with his wife, two young readers, and a pair of stubbornly illiterate cats.
  1. Thanks for your post, Greg. I will never view the Baltimore Ravens the same again.

    If we wanted to expand the naming to include picture books, I’m thinking the Washington Wild Things would be appropriate (based on Where the Wild Things Are and the fact that Washington, DC is . . . Well, you get the idea.)

    -T. P. Jagger

    • I know it’s baseball but what about the Cleveland Wild Things after Charlie Sheen’s character in Major League? And there’s already a team in Japan called the Nippon Ham Fighters…so why not the Nippon Green Eggs and Ham Fighters? 😀

  2. Very ingenious post! And thanks for adding a bunch more books to my “to be read” list!!

  3. Thank you for posting a chuckler. Enjoyed it very much.

  4. My ideas are on pause for the moment, but I enjoyed your post. Very Clever!

  5. Thanks for posting this. Now I don’t have to look up who won the Super Bowl! I love The Tesseracts, especially. I’d love to see their play book!

    • @Ms. Yingling, glad to be of service! I think the Tesseracts would tend to overshoot the endzone and wind up in the wrong stadium, but they’d be fun to watch.