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Creating Mini Championship Banners Out Of Paper

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[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from site (although he’s still writing his weekly Substack column). Deputy editor Phil Hecken is in charge from now through the end of the month.]

Good morning Uni Watchers! Hope everyone had a good day yesterday.

Today I’m joined by reader and contributor Michael Malinowski, who you may know as “Memal,” and who for a couple years was our college football “5 & 1” guy on Sunday Morning Uni Watch (before a bout with COVID forced his retirement). But Memal is back today with a pretty neat DIY project — one he hopes may spur UW readers to replicate and improve upon, should they acquire the same DIY bug.

I’m going to turn it over to Memal now, as he takes you through his …

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Paper Banners
by Michael Malinowski

There’s no greater thrill for a sports fan than when their team finally ascends to the top of the mountain and claims a championship! The high of the ensuing celebrations carries over until the beginning of the following season when the reigning champions open their home schedules with a banner raising.

I’ve seen replica banners made of felt for sale in all the places that teams sell their rights to, and usually selling for more than I could part with when considering I would have no real good place to put what are usually three to four foot tall banners. But I always liked the idea of remembering championships by having my own, so when I set up a “man cave/home office” area in my basement, I decided now was the time to put my photoshop skills to use and see what I could make.

I began by compiling a list of championship seasons I’d like to include.

I limited it to championships I saw a team win, so, despite the fact I grew up hearing all about the Steelers and the Pirates of the ’70s, my banners wouldn’t begin until 1991 with the Penguins’ first Stanley Cup victory. I also decided to include a few teams that made it to the final round and fell a little short, but had seasons that were worth remembering. I adjusted their banner colors to white backgrounds and used the appropriate trophy to indicate the extent of their success that year.

For the sake of uniformity, I decided that each would consist of five elements; the banner foreground and border colors, the trophy, the year, and the team’s logo (and championship logo where it works aesthetically), everything spaced and sized equally to provide a uniform look as your eyes pass over them.

The logos were easy enough to collect thanks to the Internet, and the team colors were easy to replicate with the free photoshop software I use, Gimp, which can pull colors from the image. Cutting the trophies out of pictures took a lot of work though. Some trophies called for me to find a picture of them being held or displayed somewhere and editing them out of the picture. I could have gone with generic looking silhouettes or cartoonish representations, but the look of the real item made the extra work worth it.

I went with team number fonts where I could find a good looking font file I could input into the software, but I didn’t sweat about being exact with them.

And to give it that felt banner look I liked on those retail banners, I added a transparent layer that laid over top of everything to give the appearance of felt. It’s a subtle finish that I worried wouldn’t come across when printed, but it’s enough to make them look soft.

After printing them out, I went about the task of cutting and laminating them so they had some rigidity when I eventually hung them up. I did a few at first and strung them to see if I liked the size and, surprise surprise, I did not.

So I resized them and reprinted them and then got to work cutting them out.

I listened to a few podcasts as I cut and laminated the whole lot.

I had a few spots around my desk and entertainment stand to try hanging them.

I went through several tries before I got the aesthetic I liked (don’t mind all the basement stuff in the background!).

The greatest issue is that my basement is unfinished and there are a lot of things in between the rafters as it is, so it was a little bit of a puzzle to figure out where and how to hang them. I wanted to arrange them in chronological order, but didn’t have the space, so I went with arranging them according to team and sport.

I put all my Pittsburgh sports on a beam along with my fantasy sports banners and I’m pretty pleased by how everything looks!

One mistake I made was that when I hung them the first time, I taped them to the thick yarn I used, which was a pain to get off when I tried it in new spots. I then tried using paper clips, but that left an indentation on some of them that I had to flatten out with a heavy book. I then decided to try clothespins and that was the ticket! I was able to move them around easier than when they had been taped and they didn’t leave any marks! I might leave them as is in case I get the urge to reorganize them at a later point.

I thought this would be the kind of project other people in the Uni-verse would easily be able to replicate and improve upon, so I was glad Phil allowed me the chance to share it. I know there are some discrepancies between banners (I can’t decide if I like the rounded Nike numbers on some of the LSU banners), and they’re currently still one-sided, but I’m happy they came out as well as I’d hoped! I even made one for my cousin, a Nuggets fan, though I had to do it in my favorite era’s colors with my favorite Nuggets logo, but he loved it just the same!

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Thanks Memal, and glad to have you back as a contributor. That looks like a really fun project — one that may encourage our readers to replicate. Thanks for sharing!



Guess the Game from the Scoreboard

Guess The Game…

…From The Scoreboard

Today’s scoreboard comes from Chris Hickey.

The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).

Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):

Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.



Guess the Game from the Uniform

Based on the suggestion of long-time reader/contributor Jimmy Corcoran, we’ve introduced a new “game” on Uni Watch, which is similar to the popular “Guess the Game from the Scoreboard” (GTGFTS), only this one asked readers to identify the game based on the uniforms worn by teams.

Like GTGFTS, readers will be asked to guess the date, location and final score of the game from the clues provided in the photo. Sometimes the game should be somewhat easy to ascertain, while in other instances, it might be quite difficult. There will usually be a visual clue (something odd or unique to one or both of the uniforms) that will make a positive identification of one and only one game possible. Other times, there may be something significant about the game in question, like the last time a particular uniform was ever worn (one of Jimmy’s original suggestions). It’s up to YOU to figure out the game and date.

Today’s GTGFTU comes from Morris Belleville.

Good luck and please post your guess/answer in the comments below.



Uni Tweet of the Day

#1. Keep the monowhite for the white tiger hat. Wear black pants w/orange or white socks with the orange helmet. Done.


And finally...

…that’s it for the morning article. Big double-plus thanks to Memal for a really neat DIY project!

Thankfully, yesterday was a pretty quiet day, uni-news-wise, and hopefully today will be as well. I’ll be off the grid for most of the afternoon, so unless there’s early breaking uni news, this may be the only post — other than the ticker — today. But if we get some early news, I’ll definitely get that up before I head out.

Everyone have a good Thursday!



Comments (46)

    I remember the broadcast. The English commentators noted it was a bit warm (because the Silverdome wasn’t air conditioned), but that the air had a “delightful” scent of popcorn.

    I knew it was the Silverdome right away but had no clue of which game it was. Ironic that I’m sitting at my work desk and viewing the Amazon warehouse that replaced the dome.

    At the Pontiac Silverdome, specifically, as it was a test run for using grass in a closed dome for the upcoming World Cup.

    Way to go, Clevo!
    Outside of the Michigan Panthers (who BTW need to return home!), that was some of the best ‘football’ played in Pontiac – can’t say it’s missed all that much.
    The attendance that day was at the time the highest of any soccer match held in the US…I think. ?

    The Michigan Panthers did play in Detroit this past Spring.
    Or do you want them back in Pontiac?

    When I’m wrong, I’m wrong…and in this case I’m very wrong.
    Thanks for setting me straight…did not watch a snap of the USFL last season.
    PS: GM should bring back Pontiac!

    Michael, questions:
    -Are the banners for teams you’re a fan of? You’ve said they’re for “championships I saw a team win.”
    -You said you started at 1991, but in multiple pictures there’s a 1967 Celtic banner visible (for anyone who doesn’t get the significance, it’s for the men’s European Cup win that year). I understand if you wanted to include that one separately because of the significance.
    -Also, there’s only three Celtic banners? I feel like you could have made at least 20 if you wanted to.

    It’s a fun project, so thanks for sharing.

    GTGFTS would be from an England-Germany men’s friendly, June 19, 1993. The U.S. Cup was a little friendly tournament with the USMNT and three opponents, much like the modern SheBelieves Cup.

    It was also a test event of sorts for the 94 World Cup, including the first test of the grass trays that were laid in the Silverdome.

    Great questions! I didn’t want to get too deep into my thinking, but since you asked I’ll explain some of my choices.
    *I’ve been of Celtic for almost 20 years, and what helped me get started in following them is the story of the 1967 Lisbon Lions team(link) who all but 2 members of the 15 man squad grew up within ten miles of their home ground. It got me into following them and is such a cool story that I wanted to recognize them.
    I chose to only recognize their recent trebles and the year they had an outstanding record because I liked the idea of using white stripes to recognize the number of championships won that season (3). (The Lions won 5 competitions, hence the 5 stripes).
    Since I see this as an on going project, I might go back and add some more if I come up with a banner design that fits with the ones I’ve made.
    * The colors on the Pitt basketball banner numbers represent whether or not they won the regular season or post season Big East championship.
    * I’m not a Nuggets fan, but I just love that miner logo so much I hung it up anyways!
    * So there’s a banner with some house symbols and the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. There’s a board game that every few months I get together with some friends and play. It’s an intense game, there’s a good deal of drinking, and you’re not only trying to strategize to win, but you’re trying to fight your drunkenness to stay focused and succeed, and I won three games in a row at some point! If you’d played(and drank) with us, you’d know that’s quite a feat and worth celebrating.

    Fellow Celtic supporter here. I love that Lisbon Lions banner, it’s beautiful

    Oh, and yes, these are teams I’m a fan of.
    I lived a few years in Iowa and got to watch a ton of Bulls games during their second three peat, so that’s why I only recognized those years.

    I did something similar in my basement a few years ago. I bought a few Bruins banners/retired numbers at the Garden pro shop, and I made matching Celtics banners out of printouts mounted on felt.

    I originally wanted to do it on felt, but I didn’t have the patience to cut things out.

    I must get extra points – a bunch a friends and I were at that England – Germany game, it was at the Pontiac Silverdome, much better than a Lions game!

    Fun project and I can see the obvious connection between Liverpool and Celtic in your banner collection. I must be one of the few Celtic supporters who prefers Everton over the Reds in that Rangers shade of blue…

    You got it!
    Man, I miss those Bandits unis…so much that I’m DIYing a T-shirt jersey which is almost done.

    Really wish Arizona would have kept the Wranglers name after merging with the Oklahoma Outlaws.

    “I miss those Bandits unis…”

    THE wears them on Saturdays, sans the helmet/sleeve logos. ; )

    At first I thought that Michael Malinowski was from the future and madr a banner for the year 3404.

    I thought about making DIY paper banners all through my adolescent years. As an adult, I cringe thinking about the ink cost. But this has once again given me the bug to do it. Cheers.

    I had someone who was able to print them for me so I didn’t have to use my personal printer!

    The round LSU logo on my corkboard was my attempt at printing a personalized record player mat insert and discovered that for ease and printing costs it was just easier to go to Kinkos and let them mess up a print or two to get a color copy printed right.

    Memal, awesome project! I randomly won an NCAA Basketball bracket about 7 years ago, so I made a banner for my desk (I’ve literally entered about 4 brackets ever LOL).

    But now I have questions. Penn Hills HS (Thats where my wife went to school), and Celtic! Where do you live?!

    Grew up in Verona, moved to Iowa a few years, went to high school at Penn Hills High. You’re Ryan from Swissvale right?

    Swisshelm Park, but yes. lol

    You back in the area then? We have a local Celtic Supporters Club that meets up in Lawrenceville on match days.

    Back in the mid-2000s, I made my own Red Wings retired jersey banners, based on the five at the time that had been hanging at the Joe, with a sixth one readied for Steve Yzerman’s inevitable jersey retirement. So, naturally, I had to redo them when the Wings redid them all, including replicating the vertically-arched names. “But why not just buy the replica banners?” Because it was much cheaper for me to print them on cardstock, and I could get the details and proportions correct, as the replicas tend to be off in some aspects.

    I have moved several times since then, though, and didn’t keep them (they were not laminated, so while more durable than plain paper, they weren’t overly durable).

    Wonderful DIY work, Memal!
    Given your fandom for Pittsburgh teams, it’s a shame you couldn’t raise a black-and-yellow Maulers banner to the rafters…and it’s a double-shame that the USFL redesigned their championship trophy from the original design:

    Great project, Memal! I may do something like that for the Penguins Cup wins.

    This is a delightful bit of visualization. I’ve already started putting together my own table to make my own digital collection of banners.

    If you’re on Twitter you can @ me, @Michael519 with any questions or we can connect and I can share more of what I know if you’re interested.

    This project wouldn’t take me long, I’ve only seen one title in my lifetime between all my teams, the ’06 stanley cup. Would probably throw in the ’15 NFC title too to celebrate a 15-1 season.

    Oh yeah, that would definitely merit a banner! That was a special team and I recently watched highlights of that game and it was much closer a game than I remembered. I would throw one up for the team that faced off against the Patriots in Houston as well.

    It was after I got everything cut out and laminated I thought to include the Super Bowl logos behind the the Lombardi trophies, so that didn’t happen initially but I’m sure at some point I’ll explore how that looks.

    Your basement looks a bit like mine, Memal!
    Love this idea.
    I thought about doing something similar in my rafters with miniature paper jerseys.

    Actually, you have more room to spread out than I do. I’m confined to the far back corner of the basement. I tried hanging an actual shirt in my rafters and it was too overwhelming.
    I also scanned and printed some old pennants to tackle my space issue.

    I wanted to make little numbered squares to hang below for extra special player performances, but I’m hitting my head on them enough that I realized after my first attempt to hang them that the extra mini banner below would just get in the way.
    Now, a rafter devoted to special players with paper jerseys is actually a fantastic idea….

    The banners look amazing, Memal! Such a cool project. Just one thing though.. Pittsburgh won that Super Bowl in the 2008 season, not 2009. A wonderful read all the same!

    I debated which year to use and went with 2009 because it felt like their win rolled over with the Pens winning the cup and made for an extra special year as I’d just gotten married as well.

    I knew one of the parts that would annoy the uni-verse is that I did what I want and didn’t follow protocols, but it’s all for me anyways! lol

    Great project! Years ago, I found a pic of (I think) HP Arena in San Jose, which at the time had fairly empty rafters. I started drawing my own banners from fantasy sports across the rafters and made it my computer background. But I never actually MADE the banners. Good job, man.

    That’s a great idea for a computer background!!!

    I’ve gotten a few great ideas that will enhance this project, thanks everyone!

Comments are closed.