Unicorns. Sasquatch. The Loch Ness Monster. All mythical creatures, rarely seen - but whose grand, mysterious reputations haunt and fascinate the masses to this day.
To their ranks, we introduce… the Buccamuffin.
Just what is a Buccamuffin? It is a question that has stumped many a foe at the 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships. Even as we headed into the second day of the tournament, very few knew the etymology behind the Buccamuffin, which is the official team name and mascot of USTA Missouri Valley.
Is it a lethal bakery treat?
Is it a spirit from another plane of existence, arriving just in time for Halloween?
Is it a monstrous beast? Normally when folks visit Arizona, they must keep their eyes peeled for venomous rattlesnakes and killer cacti - but the 18 & under kids who play in Surprise ought to be watching out for this newfound enigma, first sighted in Omaha, Nebraska, traveling west.
Exclusive to USTA.com, we surveyed several players, parents and coaches to ask about the Buccamuffin and what they thought it might be. Here are their answers, separated by category:
It’s a Muffin
"A bucket of muffins."
"A muffin that downloads music illegally."
"Muffins made from buffaloes or buckeyes."
It's a Buccaneer
"A buccaneer baked inside of a muffin."
"Its a swashbuckling pirate who is not afraid to show off his sensitive side."
"A gentle buccaneer."
"Muffins who control the seven seas with their ghostly black ship."
"If your breakfast has an eyepatch or peg leg, it’s a Buccamuffin."
"A one-dollar muffin."
"Only a buck for a delicious muffin."
"A clever promotion for a bakery that likes to sell discount muffins."
"A pastry that is affordable for each and every customer."
"A baby deer."
"An animal the team shot and ate for dinner."
"A magical creature indigenous to Missouri Valley - like a unicorn."
Left Field Theories
"A ninja eating a muffin."
"A basketball player."
"I love Buccamuffins."
"A combination of each team member's initials."
"Whoever they are, I eat Buccamuffins for breakfast."
After days of speculation, we went straight to the source: USTA Missouri Valley 18U Advanced coach Brian Sivinski, who set the record straight once and for all.
"The Buccamuffin," Sivinski said with a laugh, "is the stubborn child of our girls players and our boys players.
When we were asked to register a team name, we asked everyone on the team to agree upon a name. The girls were insistent on being 'Buccaneers,' because it sounded tough, while the boys wanted to be the 'Studmuffins.' Those were the initial candidates."
When a unanimous decision for either name could not be reached, a compromise was made and the "Buccamuffin" was born. Coming into the day as part of the Advanced Flight 1 bracket, Missouri Valley was in the thick of the hunt to advance to the semifinal round with 65 games won.
Neither fully pirate nor fully pastry, the Buccamuffins are out to prove that they're all business.