Friday, May 6, 2011

Let's Play A Game

As hard as this may be to believe, there are times here in the OAC when it's not all hard work.

Every now and then, the staff here likes to play a game.

It could be the Jumble, or the word game that Milena Flores, the assistant women's basketball coach, introduced to the OAC.

There are those here who have a weekly competition using the puzzles from the USA Today.

Back in the day, there was a promotional nerf hoop and ball in the back room, something that led to OAC games of H-O-R-S-E. And there was OAC golf a long time ago, which involved teeing off in TB's office and putting in the back room.

Sometimes, the game of the moment is a trivia game.

Take yesterday, for example. At one point, the game was "who am I," and it included questions about the Major League Baseball standings, such as "who am I? I'm the Major League Baseball team that is the most games out of first place in its division."

The answer? The Chicago White Sox.

Later, another impromptu trivia game sprung up. This one was "here's the year; guess the Roper and von Kienbusch winners."

For those who don't know, the Roper and von Kienbusch are the awards Princeton Athletics gives to the top senior male and female athletes in each particular class.

TB was asked to name the Roper winners from 1996, from which he got two of four. David Patterson, the linebacker on the Ivy champion football team, was an easy one, and for some reason he remembered that Ugwunna Ikpeowo from track and field won the same year. TB couldn't get tennis player Reed Cordish and soccer player Jesse Marsch.

As an aside, one day, Vinnie DiCarlo, then the track contact, asked Fred Samara how Ikpeowo pronounced his name (ih-GOO-nuh ik-PEE-oh-woh is correct) and was told "just how it's spelled." Vinnie then paused and said "ug-wuh-nuh ik-ee-pow-wow-wow."

Back at the name-the-winner game, TB did better on some years than others.

The easiest to remember was Roper in 2000. That was simple. John Mack, Josh Sims, Peter Yik.

As the game went on, questions drifted to "name every men's lacrosse player who won the Roper Trophy from 1992 to the present" and "name any Roper winners from the 1970s."

Eventually, TB realized that while the game was fun, it also served as a realization that each year, after awhile, sort of blends into the one before it or the next.

Back in each particular year, the details were very vivid. Over time, it's not always easy to remember what year was which.

Take the current year. In another 10 or 15 years, it'll be hard to remember everything that's gone on these last few months, as the 2010-11 academic year has played out.

Still, depending on what happens over the next few weeks, 2010-11 could still be a record-setting one for Princeton, and TB is pretty sure he'd remember that simple fact for awhile.

Princeton currently sits with 11 Ivy League championships, and the record for an academic year is 14, set by Princeton twice (in 1999-2000 and 2000-01) and matched by Harvard in 2004-05.

There are seven Ivy titles still remaining to be awarded, including one - softball - that Princeton has no chance to win, as the winner of the series between Harvard and Cornell will take that championship.

For the other six, Princeton has as good a chance as anyone.

This weekend, three of those titles will be decided, leaving only the three rowing championships in two weeks on the table.

The baseball team hosts Dartmouth this weekend in the Ivy League championship series, which begins tomorrow with a pair of games and then will have a third game if necessary Sunday. Dartmouth has won the last two Ivy titles, and Princeton's last was in 2006; the Big Green swept Princeton in Hanover during the regular season.

The men's and women's track and field teams compete at Yale in the Ivy League Heptagonal championships, also beginning tomorrow and in this case definitely continuing Sunday. Princeton has won the men's and women's cross country and indoor track and field titles so far this year.

Also this weekend, the Ivy League will be holding its two lacrosse tournaments, both of which will determine not the champion but instead which team will get the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Princeton women are at Penn tonight in one semifinal, with Harvard and Dartmouth in the other. The Tigers ended Penn's 34-game league winning streak earlier this year and that win, along with last week's win over Penn State and an earlier win over Georgetown, leaves Princeton right on the NCAA tournament bubble without the automatic bid.

The current athletic year at Princeton is winding down, and most of the story of 2010-11 has already been written.

But not all of it.

There's a lot still to be determined, beginning this weekend.

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