Friday, July 8, 2011

An Ashton In The Crowd

When TigerBlog does the senior-athlete video each May, he puts the award winners at the end.

Usually, he'll end with the Roper Trophy and von Kienbusch Award recipients, alternating between the men and the women in alphabetical order. Prior to them, he'll put the Art Lane Award winners, the senior speakers and any others who won major departmental awards.

The one tricky part is that TB never knows the identity of the Class of 1916 Cup until the day before the senior athlete banquet, because that award - given to the senior athlete in the highest academic standing - isn't known until that day.

As a result, he has to find that athlete's picture and move it to the back.

By that point, TB has gone through the pictures a bunch of times, importing them, cropping them, labeling them and such. After awhile, he can begin to remember where the pictures are in their random order and start to ID them as "crew guy in funny hat" or "the two Michael A's," referring to the two open rowers named "Michaela."

Then, as TB walks around the Princeton Varsity Club banquet and sees the athletes - most of whom he'd never heard of prior to starting the video - as they walk around with their name tags on, and it's almost like seeing celebrities at the Oscars.

Every now and then as he does the video, TB stops and reminds himself that each picture in the video - on screen for 3.5 seconds - is actually an individual, unique in his or her experience, background and such.

TigerBlog had that same feeling when he saw on the home page that Ashton Brown of the women's open rowing team had won an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

TB remembered her name from the video as one of the army of rowers who comprise the sport at Princeton with the most athletes. And, aside from her name, that was about all TB knew about her.

After going to the roster, TB learned that Brown was a Canadian, from Calgary. She attended the United World College prior to coming to Princeton four years ago.

While at Princeton, she majored in economics.

She also won an NCAA title as a member of the first varsity eight boat this past spring, after she helped Princeton win the Eastern Sprints in a race that gave the athletic program its record 15th Ivy League title.

The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.

The one-time grants of $7,500 each are awarded for fall sports, winter sports and spring sports. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants.

TigerBlog, like the rest of the athletic department, is working on any number of issues for next year, issues that affect the big picture of the department.

At the same time, the feeling that TB gets when he goes through the banquet video should stay with everyone who works in college athletics.

People like Ashton Brown are more than just a face a crowd of Princeton Athletics.

They are Princeton Athletics.

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