Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banners and Honoring Achievements

On both Twitter and Allbuffs, I got on a kick about what the CEC rafters should look like.  Here are my more fleshed out thoughts.

Throughout my adolescence, three Whits Sox teams, more than any other, defined my understanding of the franchise.  The '83 (although they were slightly before my time), '93, and '00 teams, all division champions, proved, at least in my mind, that the Sox were more than just some hardball afterthoughts.  My SouthSide heroes are never going to be the Yankees or the Red Sox, putting up pennants and making the post season every year, so a 90+ win season, with a brief appearance in October, was more than enough for my child self.

The flags flying over the outfield facade to commemorate those teams meant a lot to me; certainly a lot more than the '59 AL Champions banner or the 1906 and 1917 World Series Champions banners. Those were teams I could relate to, with stars who I grew up wanting to be.  I thought nothing could diminish their places in my heart.

And then, the franchise went and won the Damn World Series.
Me and the World Series Trophy.
While nothing puts a first round exit in perspective like a ring, the story of who the White Sox are is as incomplete without the '93 squad as it would be without the '05 team.  I cannot stress enough, what little history you have needs to be honored.  Worry about banner crowding in the future.

This is where the Buffs come in.  The CU Mens basketball program may one day win a string of league titles that puts recent accomplishments in diminishing perspective.  Until then, however, we need to naively honor what we have. Teams like '02-'03 and '10-'11 may not make the Kansas roster of below average squads, but for Buff Nation, they're program defining seasons.
Coach Patton and that '02-'03 squad deserve their banner back up in the rafters at the CEC.
Don't forget the players, they deserve honors for their individual accomplishments, as well.  Has CU basketball ever been especially good since the Sox Walseth era?  No, not to this point.  However, that doesn't mean that the players who brought the Black and Gold what little accomplishments Buff Nation can boast of should be forgotten.

I'm not talking statues here, or massive Chauncey-like murals in various corners of the arena.  A simple ceremony, with a small, felt honorarium would more than suffice.  By honoring forgotten All-Americans like Bob Doll and Leason McCloud, and more recent stars like Richard Roby and Cory Higgins, we would honor the totality of Buffs basketball.
Cory's #11 should find it's way into the rafters.
I don't think it's a stretch to claim that a player like Cory Higgins, the program's co-leading scorer who also set marks for appearances and starts, should have his number emblazoned on a banner.  He's an essential cog in the current renaissance of Buffs hoops, and a vital part of the basketball story along the Front Range.

What about players like Jack Harvey, who earned back-to-back All-America honors in 1939 & 40?  If you can't find room for his name and number, then you're just not trying.  Bob Doll, Jim Willcoxon, and Leason McCloud?  Also forgotten All-America selection from the lost era of Buffs hoops dominance.  Their teams won multiple Big Seven titles, and competed for national titles.
McCloud (far left) Doll (tallest on left) and Harvey (to his left) are bygone stars in need of honoring. From:
These guys are Buffs basketball, and should be honored.

The root of this issue for me comes from last year, when the ribbon boards were introduced on the East and West sides of the CEC.  Because the boards ate up valuable banner space, the achievements of multiple sports, not just mens and womens basketball, were cut to make space.  A circumcision of history occurred.

Banners should only ever be taken down at the point of a NCAA sanction bayonet.  Wherever they've gone, those banners need to come back.  Ski and Cross Country banners too.

Not only do I propose that the athletic department find a way to make room for those accomplishments previously honored, but I feel that it's high time for the basketball side to see an expansion.  We in Buff Nation shouldn't be ashamed of the general paucity of accomplishments, we should celebrate what we have.

Go Buffs!

No comments: