Filed under: idiots, lacrosse, stupid sports traditions, that was random | Tags: Does the WNBA attendance record count family members?, i can't believe the state of carolina has more stanley, jackin shots like grinnell, so does the expos banner relocate to Washington?, UNC - long on talent - short on self esteem
So we’re getting a new banner for HSBC Arena.
If you missed the other 20 plugs I gave the game, earlier this month our Buffalo Bandits dispatched the Portland Lumberjacks to claim the title of the National Lacrosse League. If you weren’t one of the 18,690 in the sellout crowd, you missed out on a raucous atmosphere and a thrilling finish. I strongly believe there aren’t many things better then watching your team win a title in front of the home crowd.
Sadly though, most titles aren’t won at home. That leaves the sole home celebration for the banner raising ceremony the following season. And even if you were lucky enough to witness a title won it at home, everyone still loves a good banner raising. I know I cant wait till our 2008 banner joins its three brothers:
I love banners and what they represent, and dorkishly take them very seriously. I think as a sports society we are getting far too carried away raising banners. I suppose that teams know that raising a banner (no matter how silly it is) will make us feel like winners; plus raising a banner always seems to draw a good crowd.
But we need to reign in this epidemic of frivolous banners, and so I’m proposing some rules on banner raising. And in this time of controversial wars, economic downturn, and disagreements on the definition of marriage, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican I think that this platform can be a uniting factor for America. As an added incentive, the first presidential candidate to adopt these rules as a part of their platform will get me to endorse their campaign and all the political clout that comes with it. Let the political pandering begin!
So I’ll present to you my rules for hanging a banner. And as an added bonus: the most pointless banners in all of sports.
Anyhow, first the rules:
- To raise a banner you have to win a championship, be it a division, conference, or league title. No banners can be raised to celebrate simply a “good” season where you advanced far but won nothing. Exceptions can be made for College Basketball (see Rule 7).
- A team can only raise 2 banners for a season. Pick them any way you like. There will be no hanging of 10 different banners for every championship you win.
- “Minor” major sports (Arena Football, Box Lacrosse, etc.) can only raise League Championship banner if they share their arena with a NBA or NHL team. If you are in an arena or city where there are no “Big-4″ sports you can raise banners for division, conference, or league titles.
- Banners cannot be raised commemorating arena events. It’s nice that your arena hosted the 1996 John Deere Bull Riding Championship or the first round of the Big Sky Conference women’s ice hockey tournament, but lets find some other way to memorialize those special moments.
- For teams that have been relocated, no banners from the previous cities should be hung.
- Banners can be put up for reborn franchises celebrating players and championships from the prior team (though the leagues frequently outlaw it).
- Mid-major college basketball teams can raise a banner for NCAA/NIT tourney invites. Major conference teams cannot – regardless if you aren’t traditionally a basketball school. Your banners can only come out for the making the Sweet 16.
- No cross banner raising. Pick one place for the banner to be. Your college basketball team may play 2 games a year downtown in the big professional arena, but they don’t get a banner there if you win the conference. Exceptions can be made for teams like UConn, who split a full season evenly over the Gampel Pavilion and the Hartford Civic Center.
- No re-raising banners. Once their up, they are up until you move (or space considerations force a rearrange).
- No retroactively awarding banners for past seasons. Wish you raised a division banner too that year you also won the conference? Oh well, should have done it then, not 12 years later.
- No changing banners. The Sabres were guilty of this earlier this year when they reconfigured their ’97 Division and ’99 Conference banners to match the look of their other banners. Banner uniformity is nice, but changing banners deprives fans of looking at the rafters and having their “I was there when that banner was raised” nostalgia.
With these rules in mind, I set out to find the 3 worst banners hung currently in arenas and stadiums around America. The only banners considered were banners currently hanging. I ignored stupid banners no longer hanging, like that banner that Duke hung at the end of the regular season in 1999, proclaiming them the #1 team in the AP Poll. Stupid banners that will no doubt be hung in the future, like Tulsa’s inevitable CBI Champions banner, will have to be saved for a part 2. And if I missed any bad banners (which I’m sure I did), just let me know.
Honorable Mention: Montreal’s “Expos Banner”
OK Montreal, you can’t show a team absolutely zero fan support for an entire decade and run them out of town, and then pretend you care enough to hang a banner up in the Bell “Centre” next to all the Stanley Cup ones. If the Expos meant that much to you, you’d still have the team.
Honorable Mention: Grinnell College’s “Points Banner”
Note: Sadly these are the only banners I couldn’t find a picture of, though I vividly recall them from their moment in the sun game on ESPN a few years back. If you miraculously have a picture, please send it in.
If you’ve never heard of D-III Grinnell, it’s time to get acquainted. The Pioneers rely on a unique system, which utilizes a constant full-court press, a focus on shooting at least 100 shots a game (with the majority of them three-pointers), and substitutions of five players at a time every 35 to 40 seconds hockey style. I’ll admit, their system is fun to watch, and it nets Grinnell averages of over 120 ppgs (although they do also give up nearly that many points as well). What’s stupidis that Grinnell memorializes the seasons that they lead the NCAA in scoring with a banner. This type of banner is generally pretty silly, but even more so when it’s not the result of skill, but rather circumstance. It’s inevitable that you’ll always lead the NCAA in scoring because of the system, so until your ready to hang the “Most Points Given Up in the NCAA” banners next to the other banners, it’s time to take them down. Besides, your other accomplishments are actually more impressive.
Honorable Mention: North Carolina’s “Imagery Champions Banner”
I think that no school or team has a bigger love of hanging banners then the Tarheels. Banners to document every tournament appearance?
Check. Banners to document ACC Titles (even regular season ones)?
Check. Banners to honor every player ever?
Check. Banners that are redundant and say basically the same thing as other banners?
Check. A banner to honor to honor a National Championship that doesn’t exist?
Checkmate. It’s that 1924 National Champions banner that angers me the most. There are no 1924 National Champions – it doesn’t exist. What does exist is a couple of guys getting together in the 1930s, naming themselves the “Helms Foundation” and declaring UNC the 1924 National Champions. Their title isn’t recognized by the NCAA (or anyone else for that matter), just UNC. It especially isn’t recognized by Butler, who also considers themselves to be national champs (and at least they won a tourney at year’s end).
All kidding aside, I do worry about the safety of the Tarheel faithful. I’m concerned that there is so much canvas hanging from that roof that if there ever was a fire in the rafters the entire arena would burn down in under 4 minutes.
Honorable Mention: Mets “Winners” Banners
Note: click the photo to enlarge and then check out 1999
If there’s one word a banner can’t say, its “winners.” Winning a single playoff series does not merit a banner, especially in New York – a city where supposedly all that matters are league titles.
3rd Place: Indianapolis Colts’ “Finalist Banner”
Ok, if there’s a second word that a banner shouldn’t say, its “Finalists”. The NFL playoffs are a beauty contest or a season of “American Idol” – there are no finalists, just champions and losers. And guess which one the Colts were in 1995.
2nd Place: Duke Football’s “Graduation Banner”
I know Duke doesn’t have a lot to be proud of when it comes to football, but really guys? I mean, the reason why your graduation rate is so high is because your teams are so awful that no one declares for the draft early. Plus this begs the question – whats your excuse for sucking during the non-banner years? Clearly not academics.
First Place: Washington Mystic’s “Attendance Banner”
Most WNBA banners are generally pretty useless, but these take the cake. At one time, Washington hung 6 of these “Attendance Champions” banners at the Verizon Center. It has since been pared down 3, as they had to make room for a Georgetown Final Four banner (slightly more prestigious). Thats not to say I don’t see the Mystics rationale for celebrating their Attendance Title, I do: it is a major accomplishment getting anyone to come to a WNBA game, even when most of your tickets were given away for free. Still though, if any banners cheapen an arena, these would be them.
Those are the best I came across. Again, if you think I missed one, let me know. If my future sports travels showcase any other bad ones, I’ll have my trusty Polaroid camera ready to document the moment and you’ll see it here first.
Update: Thanks to everyone who informed me about additionally awful banners I overlooked in this article. I’m going to be hunting for some images of them and posting about them next week, so come back and check them out then.
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