I am more than ecstatic with how my banner turned out.
The reaction from family, friends and strangers to my banner was something on a level above anything I've experienced before. I could tell that people were blown away by it. A number of people told me either that I should be a finalist (before the finalists were announced) or that I was robbed (after the finalists were announced). And people took time to take it all in. And therein lies the rub. My feeling is that I had too much for the judges to see in such a short time (15 to 30 seconds). I couldn't be properly judged. Remembering past finalists and winners, you could see it all in a short amount of time, and you were blown away. Here, I don't think that was the case. But I also don't think I would have changed anything in my presentation because, really, this was on a whole different level, once fully absorbed, from almost anything else out there. (I did see one other banner that was on my level - "Captain America Saves the Mets", which looked like a hand-drawn comic strip of David Wright as Captain America. I didn't get to read it all, but maybe that person faced the same problem that I did)
And I thank all of you for your support and kind words through all of this. I knew I had done something special, but hearing it from all of you really made me appreciate it.
And I know I've said this before...I've got a killer idea for the next contest that if I can pull it off, I'm a shoo–in to the finals.
As a full fledged supporter of Banner Day, and one who wants to make sure it doesn't go anywhere (I don't trust the Mets), I fully appreciate everyone of the 100 or so people/groups who came out on Sunday with banners to show off their expression and creativity.
But with that, I think the Mets need to make some changes to Banner Day for next year to encourage more and maybe even better participation. The basic idea is to have more prizes and more contests and more judging than the singular parade that we've had for the past 3 years. So here are some ideas.
- Give something special to all of the kids in the parade. It doesn’t matter if the kids are there because dad has a banner, or if the kids are actually in the banner, or if they made the banner, or anything in between. Get more kids involved, even if they make simple banners that say “Let’s Go Mets” or “David Wright is my favorite player”, by giving them a special giveaway that nobody else gets.
- Have different categories. Maybe “Mets history”, “Today’s Mets”, “Best use of colors” (I don’t know about that), “Best use of a Mets logo”, and “Best in Show”. With so many creative banners, there should be more prizes because frankly, I really thought I had one of the best 2 or 3 and went home feeling empty. Maybe award prizes for “Most creative” and “Best executed” too. Let people come up with better categories than mine, but have more prizes for more banners. Maybe even best banners measuring over and under a certain size.
- With that, maybe if we knew at the beginning of the season what the judges would be looking for in each category, it would be helpful for those going for the ultimate prize. I spent 3 1/2 weeks on my banner, and it would be nice to know if I’m anywhere close to what the judges are looking at before I start.
- Having a theme is good (Mets 50th anniversary in 2012 for instance), but have one judging for banners meeting that theme and another for being outside that theme. Not everybody is going to meet that theme, nor should they, and it should be noted in the “rules” that the theme is a suggestion but not a requirement. That’s what I tell people when encouraging them to come out for the parade.
- Give the judges more time to judge. What does it really cost you? Not every banner needs 30 seconds to be judged, but some might need more, and those banners should be judged fairly. I felt a bit rushed when I was out there.
Basically, my takeaway is to get more people involved by increasing the chances of rewarding people. And others have said that the holiday weekend isn’t good. I like it on a Saturday before a 4:10 game so that we’re not there absurdly early like we were yesterday. Either late May or early June for that is good. Not too early in the season because it means less time to prepare and my creations take time.
And promote Banner Day on Mets broadcasts and in the park better. Have Channel 11 televise the parade live with commentary. It's a whole lot better than parading in front of 200 people inside the ballpark, some of whom are kept at a distance by the ushers (so I've heard). Channel 11 has their own pregame show for some games, so have their morning crew or that pregame show crew show the parade before handing it off to the SNY-produced game telecast.
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