Friday, March 20, 2009

You Call This Spring?

TigerBlog woke up, looked out the window and saw that snow had dared to fall on the first day of spring in Central Jersey. Snow? It's spring. That's one season away from summer. Nobody wants snow.

In keeping with the uncertainty of seasons, TigerBlog offers some thoughts as winter ends and spring begins:

* as Princeton fans, are we supposed to be rooting for or against Cornell in the men's basketball tournament? We'll leave the whole Dartmouth in the women's basketball tournament part alone, because Dartmouth women's basketball has some strong Princeton ties. But how about it? Are you rooting for Cornell. Or is it a provincial "if we can't be there, we don't want anyone else doing well" or an even more Tiger-centric "our history is the only one we want to see every year on the countdown lists of great NCAA tournament moments?" TigerBlog is unsure of what the proper etiquette is. On the one hand, Cornell coach Steve Donahue is certainly a quality person, and the Big Red come across as nice young men. On the other hand, there is something extraordinarily unique about seeing Gabe Lewullis make his layup every March and knowing that no other school in the league (even Penn) has a moment quite like that one. So, for whom will you be rooting?

* while we're talking NCAA tournament, it was good to see Princeton alum Mike Brennan and the American Eagles push Villanova the way they did. TigerBlog was left to wonder what Villanova had done during the season to warrant playing basically at home (it's not as if 'Nova was a No. 1 seed), and there can be no denying that during the crucial point of the game, the Wildcats got a huge lift from the big crowd. Had the game been at the Verizon Center (or someplace neutral), maybe the crowd would have gotten behind the Eagles instead. Clearly, that was the case in Princeton's win over UCLA in Indianapolis in 1996, when the 32,000 in the RCA Dome united behind the Tigers.

* Princeton fans are used to seeing that the Tigers have won the Ivy League all-sports points standings for X number of years in a row. The streak currently stands at 22. TigerBlog will go a little more in depth about this next week, but through the winter season, Princeton is in first place with 130 points, followed by Harvard with 108.5 and Cornell with 94. Points are awarded based on league placing, with eight for first, seven for second, etc. Disclaimer for the Ivy office - this is an unofficial honor. As for number of Ivy titles won this academic year, Princeton has won or shared seven: field hockey, women's soccer, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's swimming and diving, men's squash and women's squash. Harvard is next with five: football, women's soccer, women's hockey, women's fencing and women's swimming and diving.

* Alicia Aemisegger, the three-time Ivy League championships Swimmer of the Meet, has her two strongest events still to come this weekend at the NCAA championships in College Station, Texas. She will compete for the 400 IM title Friday; Aemisegger reached the 400 IM Olympic Trial final last summer and is a former silver medalist at NCAAs in this event. On Saturday, Aemisegger will swim the mile, where she has already qualified for the final swim with the sixth-best time heading into NCAAs.

* Princeton's ESPN contract calls for a minimum number of events each year, and the Department of Athletics always tries to get ESPN to include something unique as part of that. Next Saturday (March 28), Princeton and Bucknell will meet at DeNunzio Pool in the first women's college water polo match ESPNU has ever televised. For Princeton, it's a good showcase for a quality program, and an opportunity to showcase the pool that will host the NCAA men's water polo Final Four this December.

* The current issue of "The New Yorker Magazine" features a story about lacrosse by Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McPhee, an Academic Athletic Fellow for the men's lacrosse team. McPhee accompanied Princeton on its trip to Spain and Ireland last June (and was TigerBlog's roommate in Spain), and the article touches on his experiences in Europe, as well as some general lacrosse thoughts and his experiences as a player back in his prep school days. The story is unavailable online unless you buy a subscription, which to read this issue alone costs $4.99. It's worth every penny. McPhee will also be part of a Q&A on with IL's Jon Brand. Link to follow.

* With the end of spring break, teams will be returning to campus, so home events will begin again. The baseball team plays its home opener Tuesday against Rutgers at Clarke Field and then the baseball and softball teams play home Ivy doubleheaders against Yale Saturday and Brown Sunday. The women's lacrosse team is home Wednesday against Temple, and there is a full morning of rowing next Saturday as well as the women's water polo match. Hey, spring is here. And the snow appears to be mostly melted.


Anonymous said...

Princeton has an ESPN contract? That sounds odd. In fact, I'm surprised that any college athletic program has a contract with ESPN. It seems that ESPN has all the leverage in its relationships with colleges, offering the mouth-watering prospect of national exposure. Why would ESPN contractually obligate itself in any way? I would guess that ESPN would unilaterally decide which events to broadcast and the colleges would happily comply, often changing kick-off or tip-off times to suit television schedules.

Where do the colleges get any negotiating leverage at all? Do most colleges and most Ivies have contracts with ESPN?

Anonymous said...

you really are concerned about the weather, aren't you?