Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let It Melt, Let It Melt, Let It Melt

When TigerBlog first started working here, he was able to look out his office door and through the giant windows in Jadwin to see directly into Palmer Stadium.

These days, the view doesn't go directly into Princeton Stadium, since Weaver Track is in the way. Still, he can see the upper deck of the football stadium, as well as the press box, while also seeing the grass on the field at the track.

Since the day after Christmas, the view has also included snow, which has been sitting on the grass each of the last 53 days, ever since the first storm of the winter. At one point, the snow was packed five or six feet deep in some spots, and that was before the layer of ice fell on it.

A year ago, the people who go to the Princeton Athletics events meetings had an informal pool - no money involved - to guess the last day there'd be snow on the ground visible from the Jadwin balcony. TB guessed sometime in April, and he came closer than he would have liked, though late March was the winner.

This year, the snow fell much earlier and more frequently, though not in the absurd quantities of last February. There were, in fact, seven snowstorms between Dec. 26 and early February, and the result was snow piled everywhere around the area, with drifts 15-20 feet high in some places.

Of course, there's still plenty of time for more snow this winter, and TB isn't ready to say that the groundhog was correct when he predicted an early spring two weeks ago.

Still, looking out the window today, TigerBog can see almost all grass at the track, except for a diagonal path of snow that appears to be about 10 feet wide and stretches from Caldwell Field House to the tunnel near the Princeton football lockerroom. TB has no idea why that path hasn't melted, especially since it closely mirrors the path most people take to cut across.

Today's high temperature in Princeton is supposed to be 60, followed by tomorrow's high of 63. That should take care of much, but probably not all, of the snow left on the ground.

The 10-day forecast has no day in which the high temperature is below 40, though none that are above 45. More importantly, there is no snow listed either, but again, TB's hunch is that there's at least one more major blast out there, just waiting its turn.

The spring sports season has sort of started (quite alliterative, TB realizes), as the tennis teams have both played matches in Jadwin so far. Still, the first outdoor events are a little more than a week away, with the men's lacrosse team at Hofstra and the women's lacrosse team home with Johns Hopkins next Saturday, Feb. 26.

As an aside, there are 17 Division I men's lacrosse games scheduled for this Saturday and six more - including Denver at Syracuse - scheduled for Sunday.

As for Princeton, the coming spring season means that Tiger athletics are heading into their busiest time of year, the winter/spring crossover. This weekend, before the spring teams start to play, is astonishingly busy on its own, with seven teams at home for a total of 15 events, including the national championships in women's squash.

Jadwin Gym will be an extraordinarily busy place on its own.

The Howe Cup begins tomorrow, with 38 women's squash teams competing in five different flights. The top eight play for the national championship, and Princeton's quarterfinal match against Penn will be tomorrow at 2.

At the same time, Smith will be playing Boston College in a Flight D match, just to give you a sense of the variety of teams that will be in attendance. Where else could a Big East power school like BC play a tiny all-woman Division III school?

The national final is Sunday at 1:30. Admission is free.

Below the squash, there will be women's tennis on E-level Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the ECAC championships (the men will be in the same event, only at Harvard). On the women's side, the field features seven of the eight Ivy schools (minus Penn) and NJIT and basically runs all day each of the three days.

Princeton's first match will be against NJIT tomorrow at 6 p.m.; the Tigers are the top seed.

While all that is going on below ground, the main floor of Jadwin will feature the men's and women's Princeton Invitational track and field meets all day Saturday.

And, of course, when the track meets are over, there will be just enough time to set up for women's basketball's game against Brown, which happens to be the Pink Zone game. The Tigers also play Yale Friday night in a game that matches the first-place team (Princeton) and second-place team (Yale) in the Ivy standings.

There are other events on campus as well, though you will have to go across Washington Road.

The wrestling team is home with Hofstra and Boston University Saturday afternoon in Dillon Gym, while the men's volleyball team is home with George Mason tomorrow night at 7, also in Dillon.

And then there's Baker Rink, which will see Princeton play host to Brown tomorrow night and Yale Sunday afternoon (on ESPNU, no less).

None of that includes the other teams on the road, like men's basketball and women's hockey. It also doesn't include a home men's lacrosse scrimmage against Albany.

It's only another week until lacrosse and then two more until almost every other spring sport starts. That's when things will really get busy around here.

Until then, weekends like this one will have to do.


Brian McD said...

53 days of snow is a long time for grass in these parts and there is a risk that the grass went anaerobic, which would be bad - very bad for comrade Graydon and the crew if the grass on the fields is dead and not just brown. Here's to hoping that some continued warmth and sunshine saves the fields.

marc Lucero said...

TB- as a proud Eagle I have to tell you that we are in the ACC!! not Big East, its been years! Hope all is well, all the best to you guys.