Once you have completed your sports season, it is time to hold a banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of your team. A successful team banquet includes good food, camaraderie, entertainment, and recognition. Here are five tips to help you to plan an amazing end-of-season sports banquet.
By definition, a banquet will have some type of food offering. How you choose to plan your food largely depends on your budget. There is something special about bonding over a meal together as a team one last time. Even if you do not have money for a full meal, you should consider offering a celebratory cake for the team members.
Another good idea is to reach out to local businesses who may want to donate to the banquet. You may find that a local pizza place is willing to provide free food or cut you a deal that will put a full meal within reach of your budget. A local bakery is a great place to ask for a complimentary cake. Perhaps you can agree to give them thanks in the banquet program for their generous donation? This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The highlight of any sports banquet will be the chance for every team member to be recognized individually for their contributions. You can recognize players for their serious contributions to the team or you can go a more casual route and choose humorous awards.
As you recognize each player verbally, it is also a nice touch to give them some type of physical award. Do not settle for a flimsy certificate that will eventually get thrown out with the trash. Instead, consider allocating money to provide each player with a trophy that they can enjoy and display for years to come. For something truly unique, choose a crystal trophy. This type of trophy can be customized to order online where you can simply upload special artwork or logo. This also adds a decorative touch to any bookshelf or display case.
In addition to recognizing the players, you also need to set aside time to give your coaches your thanks. You can ask a booster club member or a player to be the one to express this gratitude. While you do not need to feel obligated to present a fancy gift, something simple is nice if the coaches are volunteers.
While you are giving thanks to the coaches, be sure to also acknowledge any support staff or volunteers who helped out throughout the season. An end of season banquet is the perfect occasion to recognize these people for their contributions.
The heart of your team is the players. This is why you should include them as much as possible in your banquet festivities. Ask your most outspoken players to consider sharing a favorite memory or two of the season.
This is particularly important if this is a high school or college banquet and you have graduating seniors. These players will appreciate the opportunity to share their thoughts and experience a sense of closure for their playing career.
A good sports banquet also includes quality entertainment. A video slideshow of pictures is an ideal way to greet guests when they arrive. Recruit a parent to help put together the tribute. You can also consider making a video of game highlights so that everyone can relive the fun. Be sure to be intentional about including every player in the videos.
Another good entertainment idea for the banquet is to hire a motivational speaker. This is an especially good idea if the team will be staying together for another season as it will provide a springboard and motivation heading into the next year. It is also a good idea to leave time to take pictures at the end of the event. Kick it up a notch by including a dedicated photo area with a backdrop and props to make it even more fun for your players.
Your team will love coming together one last time to reflect on the season. Make it count by following these five tips for a great event.