Wednesday, June 2, 2010

March 1 In D

With apologies to everyone else who has ever recorded music and to everyone else's musical taste, it will be impossible to prove to TigerBlog that anyone has ever done it better than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Sorry, Sinatra. And Elvis. And the Beatles and the Stones. And Train.

TB's favorite songs by the Boss are "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road," though there are about 25 others that can be found near the top of the all-time leaderboard. One of those is "The Land Of Hope Of Dreams."

So imagine TB's surprise to learn that a song called "The Land Of Hope And Glory" is a section of the March No. 1 in D, by an Englishman named Edward Elgar. March No. 1 in D, at least according to Wikipedia, is the actual name of "Pomp And Circumstance," the graduation march that is currently near the top of the charts at high schools and colleges all over the country.

Also according to that Wikipedia story, it was first used to honor Elger during Yale's 1905 graduation. Who knew?

Yesterday was graduation day here at Princeton. As always, the ceremony was held outside on the green in front of Nassau Hall.

TigerBlog isn't a huge fan of "goodbyes," since those are never what stand out. Anytime TB thinks about a person, he never thinks about the "goodbye;" it's always the stuff that preceded the goodbye that stands out.

It's the same with graduation. The ceremony itself is nice, but it's probably not going to be the first thing any 2010 grad is going to think of when he/she looks back on the road that took them there.

Princeton graduated 1,166 undergrads and 804 graduate students during yesterday's ceremony. Of the 1,166 undergrads, 204 (if TB has counted correctly) were varsity athletes at the end of their senior years.

A year ago, when TB wrote about graduation, he went back to the releases on announcing the incoming recruits who had just received diplomas to see what was said about them.

He thought about doing that again this year, and he saw that Alicia Aemisegger was supposed to be good and that Cam MacIntyre was going to be a physical presence. Some of the other words were more basic, such as calling Liz Costello a strong addition to the program.

Instead of going through all of those releases, though, TB found himself instead looking through the year-by-year archives of a bunch of different sports.

It was an interesting exercise for TB, and it must be a wild experience to any of the athletes who lived it. Think about it. Every single competition that every Princeton athlete of the Class of 2010 (and classes dating back to the 2002 or so) went through is up there on the site, ready to be relived at any moment.

Imagine being able to trace your experience like that. The great wins. The tough losses. The day you got hurt. The one game that will stay with you forever. The best performance you ever had.

It's all up there for the whole world to see. It's the nature of athletics, to study (practice) in private and take exams (competitions) in public.

Ultimately, of course, all of those experiences add together and become a part of the learning process, the maturation of those who went through it.

And that's what Princeton athletics is really all about. Education.

Graduation day serves as a crystal clear reminder of that. So does a stroll through the archives on the website.

All of the 204 graduation athletes, as well as the ones who left their teams before the end of their senior years, came here somewhat uncertain and wide-eyed to begin their college life. The graduates who leave here now head off in different directions, to be reunited at Reunions and at weddings and whatever other events are calling them down the road.

Each has been shaped by their time here, athletically and otherwise.

Good luck to them all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By your numbers, 17.5% of the graduating class participated in varsity athletics through their senior year. That seems like an extraordinarily high retention rate, given academic commitments, other opportunities on campus and the simple fact that many athletes see very little playing time.

Has anybody ever tried to look at the retention rate for varsity athletes at Princeton compared to other Ivies, other non-scholarship schools or even other selective scholarship programs?