Thursday, May 26, 2011

Banquet Time

Somebody won "American Idol" last night. Apparently it was the high school boy, rather than the high school girl.

TigerBlog doesn't know and honestly doesn't care. He's never watched an episode of "American Idol," or listened to an entire song, for that matter.

His only observation of the show is that he's pretty sure there's no way Steven Tyler or Jennifer Lopez or Paula Abdul would actually win the competition if they were a contestant rather than a judge - and Tyler is the lead singer of one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Besides, TB had no time for "American Idol," not when he was going to watch the final version of his video and then burn it to a DVD in advance of tonight's banquet.

Actually, the day didn't start out so well video-wise. TB was forced to restart his computer, and when the video came back up when I-movie reopened, all of the names that TB had entered on the pictures had disappeared.

Well, not all of them. There were a few that didn't. For one, women's hockey player Laura Martindale. And then there were the senior award winners, whose pictures are at the end of the video. Their names were still there, but the color of the font had gone from black to white.

So off TB went to re-enter the names.

As TB said yesterday, you can't really appreciate just how many athletes there are here who play such varying sports until you type all of their names on a video.

And hey, now TB can appreciate it twice as much.

As an aside, when TB gets to the banquet tonight, he'll see all the senior athletes with their name tags, and he'll do what he always does, mentally check them off the video. Every now and then, he'll panic that he sees a name tag that isn't in the video, but he's pretty sure he got everyone this year.

While TB was going back over the names, it dawned on him that Princeton Athletics' photographer Beverly Schaefer, who took almost all of the pictures, is one of the very, very, very few people who sees all 38 Princeton varsity teams in every academic year.

Tonight is the senior-athlete banquet, an event that TB always contrasts with freshman athlete orientation, held in September for the new class. The difference is remarkable, with a group of freshman who are trying to figure out how to find McCosh 50 and a group of seniors near graduation who have had their entire Princeton experience play out for them, for better (hopefully) or worse.

The banquet itself begins with an informal reception and goes into dinner and awards.

John McPhee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and teacher of a sophomore writing seminar here at Princeton, will be receiving the Marvin Bressler Award, given to a member of the campus community who has done the most for the school's athletes. This figures to be an emotional moment, as Bressler - who was McPhee's good friend for years - passed away last summer.

Joe Baker, an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a former Princeton wide receiver, will be honored with the Citizen-Athlete Award, for his work with the organization PlaySmart, which is attempting to bring athletic competition and physical fitness to underprivileged kids.

There are also awards for senior athletes, including the Roper Trophy to the top senior male sportsmen and von Kiensbusch Award to the top senior sportswomen.

And it ends with the video, all 17 minutes of it, and then the singing of "Old Nassau."

This is the 14th banquet. The 13th fell victim to massive thunderstorms that cut the evening short, forcing completion on Friday morning in Jadwin Gym.

As TB looks out the window, the sun is shining brightly.

Hopefully it'll continue to shine, as it were, during the entire banquet.

The Class of 2011 deserves it.

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