Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Greece Is The Word

Peter Farrell's hat was something of the Panama Jack variety.

TigerBlog didn't get a very good look at it, not as Farrell zoomed through the door yesterday afternoon. Farrell also wore a sport coat, as TB recalls.

Actually, it makes TB wonder what kind of witness he'd make if he ever had to testify.

"Did you see the guy?"


"What did he look like?"

"Well, he had a hat and maybe a sport coat and, uh, who can remember?"

TigerBlog read a story about that once, about how witnesses are positive they've seen something and actually saw something way different.

And he remembers a John Stossel/20-20 type show where the people on the show kept substituting two people who looked similar into business or social settings, and in almost no cases did the person realize that he or she was now talking to someone different.

So what was TigerBlog talking about?

Oh yeah. Peter Farrell's outfit.

Farrell wore it while running to catch one of the two buses that sat in the DeNunzio Pool apron, or whatever that little area is called where everyone parks when they come to drop their kids off or pick them up for swim practices.

The two buses were filled with the rest of the travel party for the men's and women's track and field teams, and they were headed out of the Jadwin parking lot to Newark Airport with a final destination of Greece.

This trip comes just a few days after the last of Princeton's track and field athletes competed at the NCAA Championships, a contingent 10-deep that represented the final Princeton athletes to compete in the 2010-11 academic year.

The trip to Greece is a nice culmination of a year that saw Princeton win six Ivy League championships in running, sweeping the men's and women's cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field titles.

The Tigers will be gone for nine days, a stretch that will include two competitions, including one in the Athens Olympic stadium. Greece, of course, sort of took the lead in track and field back in the day.

The opportunity to travel on foreign trips is afforded NCAA teams once every four years. The women's basketball team will be traveling later this summer to a tour of France and Senegal.

Other teams that have made foreign trips and had them pay off in huge dividends include the men's basketball team, who went to Spain in 1997 and then went 27-2 the following year, and the women's soccer team, who went to Germany in 2004 and then reached the NCAA Final Four.

TigerBlog has been on one foreign trip, with the men's lacrosse team in 2008. It was an incredible experience, one of the best TB has ever had professionally.

The men's lacrosse team, by the way, missed the 2008 NCAA tournament, but the trip to Europe gave Princeton the chance to wipe away the sting from the end of that season. Princeton would reach the No. 1 ranking in 2009 before falling in the NCAA quarterfinals.

The track and field teams, like all of the other teams who have gone on these trips, will remember this time forever. It's something unique to college athletics, a chance to travel and compete with a huge group of people, all of whom are close.

The competition from the lacrosse trip was much more intense than TB thought it would be, and the chance to run or throw or jump at the Olympic Stadium will probably bring the best out in those who get the chance to do so as well.

TigerBlog played squash earlier yesterday, at a time when several men's track athletes were finishing up a workout.

It was obvious that the adrenaline was flowing for them as they came back into Caldwell Field House to shower and get ready for the bus.

Donn Cabral, the NCAA steeplechase runner-up the last two years, was among the group, and TB's squash partner joked that Cabral could probably run all the way to Greece and not get there too much after the plane.

As it turned out, Cabral waited for the bus like everyone else.

TB watched the two buses as they pulled out, and he sensed that the excitement level inside of them was pretty high.

Hey, how often do you and 50 or so of your best friends go to Greece together?

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