Friday, March 11, 2011

Cycling Through

TigerBlog had a speaking role at yesterday's monthly department staff meeting, something that happens once every four or five meetings or so.

TB's topic was a general update of the department's webpage, which, in the one-month period leading up to yesterday, had 1.2 million page views.

TigerBlog also mentioned that in the period beginning one week ago today and lasting through the weekend, there were 53 stories posted to He also told the story of how he posted his men's lacrosse story after the Johns Hopkins game and then, by the time he drove back to New Jersey, it had cycled all the way through off the front page.

There were no Princeton athletic events yesterday, and still 12 stories were posted.

As an aside, one of those 12 stories was a feature on Randy Evans of the Class of 1969 and his efforts to bring the sport of lacrosse to inner-city kids in Jacksonville. The results have been tremendous, with success not only athletically but also educationally.

Back at, because there are seven stories in the main section (the one with the big pictures) and then four more under the "news" tab, which is where the stories 8-11 go before being cycled off the front page, that means that on a day with no game stories, the first story posted in the morning was gone by the evening.

Yes, this is a busy time of year around here, with the winter season about to wind down and the spring season just getting into high gear.

The department policy is to treat all sports equally, which means that there are no value judgments made about whether a story from one sport is bigger than another. For TB, it's one of the best parts about working here.

Every now and then, certain stories will be kept on the front page in an ad space someplace, such as the ones that are currently there about Princeton's 25th place finish in the Directors' Cup after the fall or the seven winter Ivy League championship teams.

But almost exclusively, each sport is given its place in line, only to be pushed off by the next story.

This weekend, there are 11 teams competing, down from 17 last weekend.

By far, the most significant event involving a Princeton team this weekend will be the men's basketball playoff game against Harvard. TigerBlog can't help but think back to the 1996 playoff game against Penn as a night of the kind of sheer drama and emotion that only a winner-take-all game can generate.

That 1996 game is one of the most significant moments in Princeton athletic history, largely because of what happened next. First, Pete Carril announced his retirement immediately after the game. Then Princeton beat UCLA in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a win that gave Carril's career extra validation and helped him get into the basketball Hall of Fame two years later.

Tomorrow night's game won't have that kind of historical context to it, but it does offer the winner the chance to do something big in the NCAA tournament.

But still, it's not the only game for Princeton this weekend.

TigerBlog is sure that it's that attitude, the one that says everyone is treated the same, that has helped the program win 24 straight Ivy League unofficial all-sports points championships.

Will this be Year 25? It's nearly mathematically impossible for it not to be at this point.

Princeton, through the winter, has 132.5 points, ahead of second place Harvard's 103. No other school has more than 90.

For Harvard to catch Princeton, it would have to pick up more than two points per spring sport, which would mean finishing two places ahead of Princeton in eight of the spring's 13 Ivy sports and three places in five of them (or some other similar mathematical combination).

Should Princeton hold on, as is likely, then that would be a quarter-century in which Princeton fielded the top athletic program (unofficially) in the league, at least in terms of assigning points to Ivy League finishes.

TigerBlog, for one, is impressed. And, as always, he offers a cautionary tone, that just because it's been a quarter-century doesn't mean that next year is a guarantee.

Also for the meeting yesterday, TB put together a short video recapping the winter success.

For the music, TB chose the theme from "Patton" (though he did get an email from a coworker who said that he loved the music, loved "Animal House" and thinks of the scene with Blutarsky as he slides down the banner at the end every time he hears it).

Part of the reason for the music choice was the scene at the end, when Patton, fresh from conquering the Germans, walks alone and reminds himself and the audience, with the last words of the movie, that "all glory is fleeting."

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