Monday, August 30, 2010

A One Hour MRI

TigerBlog has had a few MRIs in his life, including two on his neck. If you've never had an MRI on your upper body, it's a real treat.

Basically, you lie on your back and then get sent into the tube, which is no more than an inch from your face. If they're checking for certain things, you could be strapped in, which makes it even more fun.

TB isn't sure if he was claustrophobic before his first MRI; he's positive he was claustrophobic after it was over. From a realistic standpoint, there was plenty of air in the tube, and TB remembers thinking that he was only a few feet from being outside. From a "this is freaking TB out" perspective, the MRI felt like being buried alive.

When TigerBlog read the story of the 33 miners who are trapped 2,300 feet below the ground in Chile, his first thought was that he couldn't possibly imagine how he would last for five minutes, let alone for what they are going through.

For those who haven't followed the story, the miners became trapped on Aug. 5, but they were able to find refuge in an area big enough to accommodate them. They had enough food to last two days, but they were able to make it last until last week, when the mining company was able to reach them through three small holes. These holes have been used to establish communications with the men, as well as provide them with food, water and other supplies.

The three holes have enabled the men to film and send to the surface two videos, which show them to be in a unbelievably good spirits, especially considering their situation. One miner even sent a marriage proposal through the video.

There is a difference between being found and being rescued, though. The men will now have to wait until holes large enough to bring them to the surface can be drilled, and they will have to help out by moving tons of rocks out of the way.

In the end, they'll be raised through the holes, which will require them to have waistlines of 35 inches or smaller. As one person put it on the radio this morning, it'll be like being in a "one hour MRI." The trip from the mine to the surface will take each miner one full hour.

Oh, and it's going to take three to four months to dig the hole, which means that rescue will be sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

TigerBlog can't fathom it. He's 100% sure he'd flip out long before then.

To put that it a bit of perspective, these miners will have been trapped for nearly a month before Princeton plays its first athletic events of the year, and they'll still be trapped when the fall season is over.

Princeton has 38 varsity teams, of which nine play in the fall, 13 play in the winter (including men's volleyball, which starts in late January and goes into the spring) and 16 play in the spring.

The fall season begins Friday, when the women's soccer team and women's volleyball team compete. By the end of the weekend, men's soccer and field hockey will also have played, with men's water polo to follow shortly after that. Cross country, football and sprint football will then get under way.

Despite having fewer teams compete, the fall held its own a year ago, with two NCAA Final Four teams (field hockey, men's water polo), two Ivy League champions (field hockey, women's cross country) and two other NCAA participants (women's cross country, which finished fifth out of 340 in Division I, and men's soccer). Men's cross country fell one point short of an Ivy League championship, and women's soccer started seven freshmen one year after its seventh NCAA appearance in 11 years.

The fall is a great time, with the oppressive late-summer heat lifting and plenty of outdoor events played in perfect weather. After having no Princeton athletic events since early June, there are 60 in the month of September alone.

The fall of 2010 at Princeton has all kinds of storylines:
* how will the Tiger football team look under new head coach Bob Surace and his staff, and how will Jordan Culbreath do in his return?
* will the field hockey team return to the Final Four and possibly go even further?
* after back-to-back fifth place finishes in Division I, how will the women's cross country team handle some key graduation losses? Will the men be able to make up that missing point?
* the men's and women's soccer teams both have a ton of returning young talent. Will they both be playing in the postseason?
* how will volleyball do in Jolie Ward's second year?
* can the men's water polo team match last year's postseason run?

The fall is filled with "circle the date" events, including big games across all of the sports. One gamethat TB is looking forward to with great anticipation is Oct. 8 on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, when the sprint football team takes on first-year program Post from Connecticut.

The start of the fall sports season is only four days away. The rescue of the miners in Chile is three to four months away.

TB will be keeping them in his thoughts.

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