Friday, June 3, 2011


Today is Field Day at Little Miss TigerBlog's school.

Perhaps you remember Field Day? A few relay races, some fun games - like the one where you carry the egg on the spoon - a few blue ribbons, maybe some tie-died shirts and a snack when it's over. Just a fun day to celebrate the coming end of the school year.

Does it get more wholesome than that?

Of course, then TigerBlog had to overhear this statement: "the first event is the tuggapees."

"Tuggapees?" TB asked.

"Tuggapees. The game where the two teams pull the rope and try to pull the other team across the line."

At that moment, TigerBlog was astonished. "Tuggapees" was actually "tug o' peace." You know, as opposed to "tug o' war."

TigerBlog could only imagine the meetings that took place over that little distinction.

"Can't have a game with the word 'war' in it. It sends the wrong message to the children."


Where will it stop? Some educator actually came up with "tug o' peace" as a way of what? Pretending that there is no conflict in the world? Pretending that competition is a bad thing? Shielding kids from the horror of - egads - having someone win and someone lose?

It's enough already.

There should be a law that requires that score be kept in every game played and that one team be called the "winner" and the other team called the "loser." Yeah, TB said it.

Loser. Loser. Loser.

Hey, if you don't want to be the loser, then work harder, get better and be the winner. Then maybe we'll get somewhere.

It's the message that TigerBlog has tried to get across to youth players that he's coached, not all of whom have gotten that message during the season. Still, when TB asks the kids on the team to raise their hand if they want to play in high school, every hand goes up. And when he asks to see the hands of those who want to play in college, again, all hands go up.

TB hopes that the light bulb will go on for some of these kids in the near future and that they'll realize their full potential.

TigerBlog is around college athletes all the time, and for them, the light bulb clearly went on at some point, probably early on, that hard work and dedication were going to get them where they wanted to be.

Princeton already has two national champions in this academic year, Todd Harrity in individual men's squash and the women's open rowing first varsity 8.

The Princeton men's lightweight rowers are going for their third straight Intercollegiate Rowing Association national championship. Unlike the NCAA women's event, the national champion here is crowned not by team points but the first varsity 8 winner.

The Princeton women's lightweights and men's lightweights row for the national championship tomorrow, while the heavyweights row today to try to get into the final.

Greg Hughes turned the lightweight program around and won the 2009 title before taking over the heavyweights, with whom he has continued his Midas touch, turning a team that finished 13th at the Eastern Sprints two years ago into one that has a legitimate shot at reaching the grand final at IRA's this year.

Marty Crotty, who took over for Hughes with the lightweights, won the national title last year and has a legitimate shot at winning again this year.

As for the women's lightweights, they already have had a stunning season. It began in California with a win over Wisconsin, the defending Eastern champion, and Stanford, the defending national champion, by huge margins, and it has continued all year as the undefeated record includes an Eastern Sprints win over Wisconsin.

The women's lightweight final figures to be between Princeton, Wisconsin and Stanford.

Starting in the middle of next week, Princeton will have 10 track and field athletes competing in the NCAA championships at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The best hope for a national championship there is probably Donn Cabral in the steeplechase, but Princeton should come away with a few All-Americas at least.

Ah, competition. Someone is going to win; someone is going to lose.

Isn't it great?

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