Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekend Forecast

Pete Carril used to have this big blue behemoth of a car that, as TigerBlog remembers, was an Oldsmobile. It was part of his contract when he was the men's basketball coach here.

After he left Princeton, the car became property of the motor pool, and TB first drove it to the 1997 men's lacrosse game at Penn State. It was an awful weather day, with rain and snow and sleet and ice and all, and it actually drove the game inside into a football practice facility.

TB noticed that Carril had left an umbrella in the car, and TB used it in an effort to stay dry that day. When he got back to Princeton, he called Carril and said that he had left his umbrella in the car and did he want it back, to which Carril probably said something funny that added up to "you keep it."

And so TB did. For years, TigerBlog used Carril's old umbrella, a red, white and blue one that was a little smaller than a golf umbrella but bigger than one of those little ones that snap open. It was sturdy, held up to the wind and was perfect, at least as umbrellas go.

And then one day? It was gone. TB took it to an event at Prospect House on the other side of campus and never saw it again. Whoever took it, TB hopes they gave it a good home, treated it with respect and all that.

Since then, TB never really found a good replacement umbrella. They were either too big or too small and too brittle. Eventually, TB gave up on the whole umbrella thing, choosing instead to just go with the hood on the waterproof windbreaker and hope for the best.

Besides, umbrellas are tough. The wind easily makes them turn inside-out, and it's a constant struggle to keep them from turning the holder into Mary Poppins.

And then there's the whole umbrella etiquette. If one person is walking with an umbrella and another person doesn't have one, is the first person supposed to hold the umbrella over both of their heads? If so, what if the distance between the two people is such that the umbrella is only covering three-quarters of each of them?

Or, what if one of them is tall and the other is short? Then there's the problem of making sure that the person holding the umbrella isn't poking the taller one in the eye or anything.

For all that, TB is going to try it again. He's got himself a brand-new umbrella - and just in time, apparently, as the immediate forecast around here is a wet one.

In fact, northwest New Jersey could get as much as six inches of snow tomorrow, with a headline on one story that read: "April Fools' Day Snow Is No Joke."

Around here, it should be rain and wet snow with no accumulations until late Friday before clearing up to be a pretty decent weekend, with no real chance of precipitation and temperatures in the low 50s.

Compared to the last 10 days around here - or ever since spring started - it'll seem like summer.

Of course, a nice weekend around here would come just in time, as there are no fewer than 21 home athletic events between tomorrow and Sunday. There are also four on the road - two in men's tennis, one each in women's open rowing and women's lacrosse - for a total of 25 athletic events in about 46 hours or so.

It's a classic example of what broad-based athletic participation looks like on a spring weekend.

Actually, the biggest events could be the two men's tennis matches on the road at Brown and Yale. Cornell is the highest ranked team in the league nationally at No. 49, followed by Princeton at No. 58, Penn at No. 61 and Harvard at No. 70.

In other words, it's a fairly balanced league, so each match is huge. Brown might not be ranked, but the Bears are 13-2, and really no match in the league is a gimme. Princeton is 1-0, with a win over Penn in the only league match played so far.

Then there's baseball and softball.

Both of those teams play their first four Ivy games this weekend, starting a 20-game, 30-day sprint from 0-0 to the end of the season. If sports like hockey and basketball take months and months to get to the end, baseball and softball are lightning quick.

Princeton is home against Brown Saturday and Yale Sunday in both. Next week will be trips to Harvard and Dartmouth, followed by doubleheaders against Penn, Columbia and then Cornell. Opening day on April 2; closing day on May 1.

Besides those games this weekend, there will be rowing, lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, water polo and women's tennis on campus this weekend.

Looking for something to see and have less than 10 minutes to do so? Then be at Weaver Track and Field Stadium tomorrow night at 6 to see Donn Cabral run in the steeplechase, an event in which he was the NCAA runner-up last year.

And hey, bring your umbrella with you. The rain will just be letting up around then, clearing the way for a sunny weekend, one that's loaded with Princeton athletic events.

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