We seldom got full attendance at the banquet – especially in recent years, with a number of owners living out of town – but whether we have three owners present or ten, a good time is had by all.
In the CFCL’s early years, the big attraction at the banquet was the revealing of the final standings. Until 1997, when the CFCL finally modernized and hired a stat service, I compiled the standings by hand and until the final rankings were announced at the banquet, no one knew for certain who the league champion was.
To get a real feel for what goes on at the CFCL Awards Banquet, check out this clip from Trading the Gator, with highlights from the 2002 banquet. Some things to watch for:
- Pizza – the official banquet food of the CFCL. In the early years, we usually held the banquet at an owner’s house and ordered pizza in. After a few years, though, we decided to actually go out for the banquet. Although there were a couple years in the 90s when we met at a Chinese restaurant, most of the time we stuck to pizza. The pizzeria in the video is Giordano’s in Oak Park.
- Awards – In addition to awarding certificates for the final standings, we also recognize a number of other award winners at the banquet. Some of the awards, such as the Dallas Green Award (which was described in an earlier post), are based on the point totals accumulated by CFCL teams, while others are voted on by the owners. We’ll be looking at some of those awards in future posts.
- Championship Trophy – Of course the big prize of the night is the CFCL Championship Trophy. This has evolved over the years, from a photocopied certificate to a customized trophy. Rich described this evolution in an earlier post.
- Baseball Cards – For a number of years beginning in the late 1990s, I started handing out unopened packs of baseball cards from the mid-80s to add some more fun and nostalgia to the proceedings. Each owner would get 3-4 packs to open, and we’d rip through them with the enthusiasm of 12-year-olds. The fact that the cards were from 8-10 years prior allowed some of the old-timers to reminisce about owning some of the players in the past, and it also meant many of the packs included the cardboardy plank of pink gum. Usually the gum was discarded untouched, though in 2002 – the banquet captured in the video below - the owner of Da Paul Meisters accepted the challenge to chew a couple sticks – you’ll see him putting his hand over his mouth in the video in an effort to keep from gagging it up.
Of course, the real attraction of the awards banquet is to spend an evening visiting with the rest of the owners in the league, outside of the usual Draft Day pressure cooker.
Here’s what the CFCL awards banquet looked like back in 2002: