Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year

Go back exactly 10 years, to the last days of 1999. Think about how much different the world was.

The biggest worry most Americans had was whether or not computer software that was written years earlier would make things like ATMs and air traffic control go haywire when the year rolled to 2000. Y2K. Remember that?

How about Al Qaeda? How many Americans had heard of the terrorist organization as 1999 ended? Had to catch a flight 10 years ago today? How long before your departure time did you get to the airport? One hour? 45 minutes? If you took your shoes off as you went through the metal detector, someone would have said "yuck."

How about Barack Obama? Had you heard of him 10 years ago, when he was an Illinois state legislator? Or Sarah Palin? She was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, at the time.

Did you want to write a letter to the President of the United States? His name was Bill Clinton.

Had you ever heard of a hanging chad? Global warming? Did you care about health care reform? Steroids in baseball? Had you ever watched PTI? Seen a video on youtube? Listened to a podcast?

Blackberry? That was a flavor for water ice 10 years ago. Wanted to watch a movie 10 years ago? Well, you got in your car and went to the video store to rent a movie for your VCR. A GPS? You had to read a map or call for directions if you had to get someplace new.

When you said "I do," was your next thought: "I have to update my Facebook page?" Had you ever used the word "text" as a verb?

Were you a Tiger Woods fan? Did you find Chris Berman creative on ESPN? Think Tom Cruise seemed like he would be fun to hang out with? Did you root for A-Rod and the small market, underdog Seattle Mariners? Did you wonder if Peyton Manning could ever win the big one? Did you know he had a younger brother who was also a quarterback?

TigerBlog could go on like this all day, but you get the point. Actually, while we're on the subject, if you saw the letters "blog" used together, would you have had any idea what they meant?

It might not seem like a long time ago, but the last 10 years have been remarkable in terms of change. Of course, eras don't begin and end on Jan. 1 of years that end in zero, but they are a good barometer. For a decade that never really had a name ("the 80s, the 90s, the 00s?"), these have been extraordinary times.

Trickling all the way down to Princeton athletics, has just finished its countdown of the Top 10 athletes, male and female, of the last decade.

The No. 1 choices were swimmer Alicia Aemisegger and squash player Yasser El Halaby, and TigerBlog believes that it's hard to argue with either selection.

What about the decade to come?

Going back those same 10 years, El Halaby was a secondary school student in Cairo, Egypt, and Aemisegger was a sixth-grader outside Philadelphia.

Of the 20 athletes (10 men, 10 women) on the two lists, only four (Tora Harris, Greg Parker, Lauren Simmons, Rachael Becker) had started their Princeton careers by Jan. 1, 2000.

In other words, the top Princeton athletes of the next decade can be anywhere now. They can be sixth-graders somewhere, or they can be athletes who have already started at Princeton (Niveen Rasheed? Katie Reinprecht? Tyler Fiorito and Chad Wiedmaier? Someone else?). Or anything in between.

And when it comes time to write that countdown, who will do it? TigerBlog? Someone else at HQ? What will they write it on? A computer? Something that's replaced the computer? How will you read it? The internet? Or will that no longer exist, replaced by something else faster and more efficient?

Trying to predict what's going to happen over the next 10 years is impossible. Just look back at the last 10 for proof of that.

As FatherBlog would say, that's the end of today's lecture.

With one closing remark:

Happy New Year to all.


Anonymous said...

I have a question for you to add to your list of questions. Who will be the Athletic Director in 10 years? For that matter, Gary Walters has to be nearing the end of his very successful tenure at Princeton. How much longer will he be there, and who will replace him? Will Princeton have its first woman AD in the next 2-4 years?

Anonymous said...

I have suspected for a few months that the Hughes firing was a precursor to Walters' retirement. While I don't disagree with the decision to fire Hughes, I think most indicators pointed towards giving him one more year. Hughes is only 3 years out of an Ivy title and a bonfire, and This season would have undoubtedly been better if it hadn't been for 4 crucial and unforseeable injuries (namely our All-Ivy rusher). After faltering through dealing with those vacancies, the team seemed to find itself in time to beat Yale, a team it otherwise probably would not have beaten. Considering all this, plus the fact that Hughes had one more year on his contract, I think most A.D.s would have waited one more year. It is my conclusion that Walters wanted to set up all of the programs to win before he retires, which I would now predict to be in 2 or 3 years.