TigerBlog has always been a huge fan of Bugs Bunny. Even now, as TB closes in on being 50, the right Bugs Bunny cartoon can make him crack up, even if he's seen it a thousand times before.
While TB's two favorites are probably "Racketeer Rabbit" and "Bugs and Thugs," he's always been a big fan of "Rabbit Fire," which is the "Duck Season, Rabbit Season" one where Bugs and Daffy try to convince Elmer that he's hunting the wrong one. Not surprisingly, it's Daffy who gets the worst of it. In the end, Bugs and Daffy start pulling fliers off a tree that alternate "duck season" and "rabbit season" until the dramatic plot twist that TigerBlog will not spoil for you.
Anyway, around HQ these days, it seems to be both duck season and rabbit season and just about every other season. Beginning today and continuing through this weekend, Princeton will have 14 teams in action as fall and winter overlap, and some of these events are huge.
Working at Princeton, it's easy to forget how unusual it is to have 38 varsity sports. Here, it's just something that is taken for granted, something that just is. Director of Athletics Gary Walters often uses the term "broad-based" to talk about the athletic program, and it's a great term for an entity that features 1,000 athletes and nearly 700 athletic contests per year.
The men's basketball team, one of the 14 Princeton teams who play this weekend, opens its season at Central Michigan, a school with 14 teams total.
TigerBlog is always fascinated when he talks to SIDs from other schools, especially those outside the Northeast, who have athletic programs half the size of an Ivy League one and staffs that dwarf those of Princeton or other league schools.
Still, TigerBlog wouldn't have it any other way. Where else can you get weekends like this, including:
* the men's hockey team hosts Dartmouth and Harvard.
* the football team hosts Yale in the 132nd meeting between the schools; only Lehigh and Lafayette have played more. The 1964 team, which was a perfect 9-0, will be honored at halftime.
* the men's soccer team also plays Yale, in a game with two added features: 1) it's the Fox Soccer Channel Game of the Week and 2) Princeton still has a good shot at an NCAA tournament spot and some shot at the Ivy title (Tigers' RPI is 14; Princeton needs to beat Yale, have Brown and Dartmouth tie and Penn beat Harvard to create a four-way tie for the league championship.
* the NCAA field hockey tournament will have the first and second rounds played at Class of 1952 Stadium. Princeton faces Stanford and Boston College faces Syracuse in the first round, with the winners to play for a spot in the Final Four.
* the Big Al Invitational in swimming is being held at DeNunzio Pool; the event is in memory of Alan Ebersole, a member of the men's swimming team at Princeton who tragically was killed five years ago.
* the men's and women's cross country teams compete in the NCAA regionals, being held at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.
* men's and women's basketball season opens with road games for both (men at Central Michigan; women at Stony Brook); the home opener for the women is Monday against American, and the first men's home game is Wednesday against Manhattan.
Of course, the last weekend in February will top the 14 teams that play this weekend as winter/spring overlap rolls around.
Still, this weekend is challenging enough. It stretches athletic department staff in all areas, not only communications but also grounds crew, equipment, event management, marketing and others.
With men's basketball at noon and football at 1 p.m., a decision had to made about radio, since they both share WPRB FM 103.3 (basketball will be on until it's either over or obvious who will win, and then the switch to football will occur; there will be updates on football given by John Sadak during the basketball game).
There are also people who routinely cover two overlapping sports, such as field hockey and men's hockey or football and volleyball. Those had to be worked out.
But hey, it seems the people here at HQ always do so, and events get covered. It's one of the special parts of Princeton athletics, the fact that you can come to one campus and see so many different kinds of sports, played by athletes with such different backgrounds.
And, as an extra plus, most of them are for free. Even the ones with admission charges aren't prohibitive.
So, that's our weekend. What about you?
See you here?