Hoosac Valley Looks to Consolidate Its Championship Banners
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- When the Hoosac Valley football team Saturday extended its perfect season by winning a Western Massachusetts Championship, the Hurricanes added to a growing problem.
A good problem, but a problem: Where do you put the latest in a long line of championship banners?
It’s a question the successful Hoosac athletic program faces every year, seemingly every season, and one that gave Jon Frederick an idea.
“One day, I was going into the gym because I was trying to figure out where we’d put the next banner,” Frederick recalled recently. “We go in, and underneath the volleyball stanchion is a folded up banner. They were using it to protect the floor from the stanchion.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, where did these come from?’ … We went in the closet, and lo and behold, there was a stack of them.”
Frederick thought it was not right that some of the school’s past teams’ accomplishments were not being properly recognized, and he knew there was limited space to get everyone’s banner up on the wall.
He spoke to then-Athletic Director Michael Henault, who agreed that there had to be a better solution, and they began work on a project to properly recognize all teams’ achievements by consolidating the banners by sport.
When Molly Meczywor took over as athletic director this summer, she was happy to take the baton on the project, which is similar to a consolidation effort she worked on at Drury.
“A long time ago, the banners at Drury hung from the ceiling,” Meczywor said. “What happened was a lot of gym classes were using them for target practices.”
At Hoosac Valley, a lot of the banners were not even visible to be used as targets.
John Krol is serving as Meczywor’s intern in the athletic department and is working on documenting the teams that will be recognized on the new banners. He said he has found “about 65” banners in the school’s possession that were not up on the gym’s walls.
“They’ve been spread throughout the school,” Krol said “I’m copying down the banners that are on the wall currently and putting them in an Excel spreadsheet.
“I’d have to say the weirdest place I’ve found a banner was at the bottom of one of the basketball cages [where balls are stored].”
Krol said there were more banners on the walls of the gym prior to the school’s renovation a few years ago but not all were replaced.
The new banners will allow recognition of all the teams who have won league, sectional or state titles and provide room for all the championships to come.
It comes at a cost, and to help pay for it, the donations are being solicited on the school alumni’s Facebook page and the Hoosac Valley is looking to hold a “pie auction,” where successful bidders will pay for the right to hit the coach of their choice -- past and present -- with a pie, Meczywor said.
While there may be some traditionalists who will hold that individual team banners are the way to go, Meczywor hopes they come around, and the consolidated banners will have the same level of acceptance they have at Drury and other schools.
“The impact [at Drury] was when you walked in and saw the banners, they just look so classy,” she said. “Even now, you’ll hear that from people.
“A few people have expressed displeasure [about the Hoosac Valley initiative]. My response is, ‘How is one championship more important than another?’ And what do we do moving forward? Hopefully, we win a lot more championships.”