Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Quarter Century And Counting

TigerBlog was on his way to the bagel place to get lunch yesterday when his phone rang. The caller ID showed that it was his roommate from his senior year in college.

TB first met Charlie Frohman on the first day of junior year, when he heard a voice with a giveaway Long Island accent bellowing from outside the window, which happened to be on the 22nd floor of one of the three high-rise dorms at Penn. When TB opened the window, he heard the first words Frohman ever said to him:

"Who are you?"

Only Charlie also included an expletive in there as well.

It led to this conversation:

"What year are you?"
"A junior."
"Yeah? I'm a junior too. How come I don't know you?"

The following year, TB and Frohman were roommates two floors up, on the top floor of High Rise South.

One day, Charlie was in the McDonald's on the corner of 40th and Walnut when a kid ran in one door, grabbed a young woman's purse, and ran out the other door, up 40th Street. Without hesitating, Charlie sprinted out the door after the kid, finally tackling him into an Action News van that pulled out of the alley half a block down the street and holding him until the police arrived.

A few weeks later, TB and Charlie were in a courtroom in Center City, as Judge John J. Wright listened to the prosecutor's recap of Charlie's statement and then announcing to his courtroom "all right, Charlie." Eventually, the kid - who it turned out had a knife - was sentenced to probation on the condition that he move to Pittsburgh and live with a family member there who would make sure he went to school.

As an aside, TB hopes that that was the last time that that young man was in a courtroom.

Anyway, Charlie has gone on to great things in the business world. He and TB have stayed in touch through the years with emails several times a week, and TB is pretty sure that even though Charlie is 1,000 miles away, were TB to call him in the middle of the night and tell him that he needed a quart of milk and it had to come from Charlie, then Charlie would be on the next plane with a quart of milk, no questions asked.

When Charlie called yesterday, it was to ask TB the name of the kid he chased down. He was at lunch with someone, and he was telling him the story.

TB, of course, remembered his name, as well as the judge's name - and the ride back to campus after the court appearance. As TB's friend Brad used to say, driving with Charlie was "an E ticket at Disney World."

TB remember all that even though it was more than a quarter-century ago. Think about that. A quarter century. Seems like a long time.

When TB went to update the Ivy League's all-sports points standings - okay, the unofficial ones - he realized that Princeton had clinched the championship for this year. Even if the Tigers finish in last place in men's and women's track and field and all three crews, the Tigers will still win the title.

Right now, Princeton has 167 points, 31 ahead of second-place Harvard. Princeton is guaranteed seven points for baseball, while Harvard has already had its baseball points allocated, so Princeton is actually 38 ahead.

Because Harvard could gain at most seven points per sport (eight points for first, one point for last), the maximum amount the Crimson could gain would be 35. Well, actually, it's 34, because Brown doesn't have men's lightweight rowing.

In other words, Princeton wins, no matter what happens from here.

For Princeton, that means that the streak has reached 25 straight years, or almost since the time that Charlie was chasing the kid into the Action News van.

Actually, TB wasn't even 100 percent sure what happened back in 1985-86, the year before Princeton's streak began. Back when TB started working here, the streak was at a certain point, and TB just kept updating it each year.

In other words, he took for granted that the information he started with was correct.

To test that theory, TB went back to 1985-86 and entered all of the results. Yes, it was a pain.

And yes, Princeton did not win. In fact, it was fairly close, but Harvard won that year.

And Princeton has won every year since.

Including this one.

Next year?

TigerBlog will offer the same conclusion he does every time he brings this subject up, and it's the ending of the movie "Patton."

You remember the end. Patton is wondering through the little town after the Germans have surrendered. He walks out into a clearing and across a field, and as he does so, his voice can be heard saying his thoughts, which conclude when he mentions that "all glory is fleeting."

One year, Princeton won't win again. It just hasn't been one for the last quarter-century.


Anonymous said...

As you no doubt already know, many conferences formally award a trophy to the member school which wins its annual all-sports competition. I presume the Ivy League will not do so at least until the next time that Princeton does not win. At such time, I hope that the League will honor the Tigers' streak by naming the hardware the Charlie Frohman Trophy.

CAZ said...

Of course my favorite Charlie Frohman story involves his negotiating to purchase the Gem paper clip company. Decorum prevents me from saying the punchline here, let's just say tht I've told that story at least 1,000 times and it still makes me laugh!