Friday, May 29, 2009

Give A Little Bit

Back in the day, when Princeton put up four von Kienbusch Award winners and three Roper Trophy winners, one of the local papers ran a headline that said "Seven Tiger Seniors Named Athlete of the Year."

Clever, right?

Well, Princeton topped that total this year, with five winners of each award, not to mention four winners of the Art Lane Award for community service.

At first, TigerBlog was opposed to having so many winners. Looking at it more closely, TB figures that if you have a sure-fire winner, then go in that direction. If not, what's wrong with having five and five?

First of all, how can you differentiate between the accomplishments of a four-time All-America in squash versus a four-time All-America in lacrosse versus a long-distance runner versus a swimmer versus a hockey player? TigerBlog surveyed five people who work in the athletic department and asked them to rank the five men and five women; there was almost no agreement between the five.

Besides, Princeton is a place committed to broadbased athletic participation, something TigerBlog has reinfoced every year when it comes time to put the senior athlete video together. Each senior gets an action shot with their name over it, and the sheer volume of sports and athletes is outrageous. It stretches annually over four songs (this year, TigerBlog went with "Give a Little Bit," by the Goo-Goo Dolls, though he likes the original Supertramp version better; "Never Gonna Be Alone," by Nickelback; "I'll Stand By You," by the Pretenders; and finally "I Love This Town," by Bon Jovi). As an aside, TigerBlog has never done a video that didn't have at least one song by either Train, Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi in it.

In the face of all of those athletes, having 10 winners isn't that outrageous.

Maybe next year, the field will be a little more top-heavy and it there will be fewer winners. Maybe one year there'll be an equal number or more.

In the meantime, the record stands at 10.


Anonymous said...

First of all, congratulations to all of the winners of the postseason senior awards. I understand Tiger Blog's point in that it's hard to select just one, but 10 "athletes" of the year ... Seriously?!?

Why not just honor the top senior athlete from each sport as opposed to doing it this way.

I'm all about giving credit where it's due and honoring people who have accomplished so much, but when you're awarding so many people, it almost becomes a slap in the face NOT to be honored.

Does a committee select these winners or is it one person looking at each athletes' body of work and naming the winners?

Has Princeton given any thought to perhaps a field of nominees and letting fans vote for the most deserving person through the Web site? That would be a fantastic way of getting fans involved and perhaps returning the awards to Top Male Senior Athlete and Top Female Senior Athlete ... singular.

Former OAC said...

I'm convinced you can always pick one winner for each of these awards.

For example, the Roper winner, in my view, would be Doug Lennox. Going by the recap, it looks like he's been All-America five different times, has won four Ivy individual titles, and has delivered team success on both the league and national levels. None of the other winners has that deep a resume. The squash player is close, but with due respect to the squash, the sheer numbers say that earning first team All-America in swimming is harder than earning similar honors in squash.

The von Kienbush, were I voting, would go to Holly McGarvie, All-America, seven times All-Ivy and a top player on teams that played in six NCAA tournaments. That sets her apart from the field.