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The return of Seniors on a Stick.

If you attended Princeton's final home game of the season in the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s, you would have seen them.

Large posters of each of the Tigers who were playing their final contest at Jadwin Gym, stapled to pieces of wood, held in the air by fans like they were delegates at a political convention.

These signs (dubbed "Seniors on a Stick") were made by a group of fans called The 14 Club, who were a big influence on me as a young basketball fan growing up in Princeton. I remember fondly spending many hours before the Loyola Marymount game behind the bleachers helping them assemble that year's Seniors on a Stick.

While in New England for the Brown / Yale weekend, the idea to bring back Seniors on a Stick hit me.

If wasn't going to do this, who would?

The five seniors on the 2007-08 Princeton basketball team had been through a rough four years, which didn't go at all like they expected when they arrived on campus. They each deserved some recognition from the fans for the work they put in wearing orange and black before college basketball was no longer a part of their lives.

A plan was formed.

First, I wanted to get the go-ahead from The 14 Club and Coach Johnson. Both swiftly responded that this sounded like a great idea.

Then, it was time to lay out the designs.

With a Chris Marquart SoaS my parents found tucked away in their home as the prototype, I laid out five designs in Photoshop, using some of the great photos Stephen Goldsmith had taken for this season.

Found the right wood at Home Depot and orange 11"x17" paper at Pick Quick. Kinko's ran off proofs and did the printing from files on my key drive.

With all the parts in place, it was on to assembling!

We brought all the sticks into my parents' basement on Sunday afternoon.

...where my dad and I split time sawing them in half, three at a time.

The end result was ~200 pieces of wood, each about two feet long.

In the basement there were several sources of inspiration from past posters, like Matt Lapin - who may have been the first senior featured as a Senior on a Stick.

Kit Mueller.

The 1991 graduating class.

We moved the wood onto the porch, where they were stapled to the posters by various Solomons, Schellers and Solomon-Schellers.

Piled our work in the kitchen, putting tape over the ends to avoid splinters.

The finished products went in six shopping bags for easy transport to Jadwin.

Then on gameday, we rushed them into the building about an hour before tipoff, giving a Senior on a Stick to every kid we could find. Having young fans run up to me and breathlessly say "do you have any more Noahs?!," watching the Princeton mascot wave his Kyle Koncz poster on the sidelines, being told by older Tiger fans that they were glad to see these placards again or observing people trading with one another in the stands to try and get a complete set of all five seniors brought me back two decades to when I had just discovered Princeton basketball. I hear players were even asked to autograph their respective signs by young fans after the game.

While the night did not end as I had imagined, with Seniors on a Stick held high as the victorious Tigers headed off the floor one final time, the experience did made me feel better about the season, regardless of the wins and losses. Hopefully this is a tradition that can now happen again every year at Jadwin, sending Princeton's seniors out of Jadwin with something extra to feel good about at the end of the year.

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