Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red And Blue To Orange And Black

TigerBlog recommends the brisket and potato pancake dinner at Fred & Murry's Deli in Manalapan.

And of course the matzoh ball soup. Actually, everything on the menu is good.

From the time you walk in and are hit with the kosher pickles until you're paying the bill and grab a black & white cookie for the road, you cannot go wrong there.

The "Murry" part of Fred & Murry is Murry Chalnick, whose son Andrew was a year behind TigerBlog at Penn.

Andrew's best friend was a guy named Darren Litsky, who also went to Penn. Together, Andrew and Darren didn't exactly talk or act like geniuses - but that's exactly what they were (and are).

In fact, there was a class - Accounting 1A, TigerBlog thinks - that was a requirement for all Wharton students, and when the grades were posted after the first exam, the professors waited to see which two students were the ones who had gotten perfect scores. Back then, scores were sometimes posted on a wall outside the classroom, using either a student ID number or even as TB recalls, social security numbers, something that wouldn't remotely fly today.

Anyway, Andrew and Darren played intramural softball with TB and some of TB's other friends, including Charlie Frohman. Intramural softball was played on Franklin Field, and apparently Andrew had never actually played baseball/softball before, because after he smashed one off the far wall of the field, he stood at home plate and yelled "hey, Charlie, what do I do now?"

As TB stood on the field at Franklin Field Saturday for the Princeton-Penn football game, he thought back to his intramural days on that field, in softball and football. Back then, TB wouldn't have dreamed that when he came back to homecoming in 2011, he'd be dressed all in orange and black and have a much stronger affiliation with Princeton than Penn.

TigerBlog has great memories of his time as an undergrad. He met some great people there, and he's stayed friends with some of them for the 30 years or so since.

There are others he sees randomly here and there and still others who pop up after not seeing them since the 1980s, and such little reunions always take TB back to a special time.

When he thinks back to his days at Penn, he thinks of time spent in various classrooms, with various classes, in various activities and of course rooting for Penn teams. Penn was horrible at football just prior to the time TB got there; the Quakers were an Ivy powerhouse by the time he left.

In men's basketball, Penn won two Ivy titles in TB's four years - while Princeton won the other two.

TB saw some other sports there as well, including the first lacrosse game he'd ever see. Whatever the game, TB always was rooting for hard for Penn, like any student would.

TB has some great pictures from graduation day, and he was pretty proud of himself for getting through such a good school on time, in four years, with reasonably good grades. And with really no idea of what he was going to do professionally.

In fact, he had stumbled into the newspaper business his junior year, but that was something he thought he would do for fun and a little side money until he graduated and figured out what was next. Only nothing was next, because he loved the newspaper business, and so he stayed in it, vowing to himself that each year would be his last.

Even when he tried some other things (brief runs at sales or corporate public relations or job interviews in other areas), he knew they weren't for him - and he always ended up right back where he belonged, at the newspaper.

Gradually, he began to be introduced to the local Ivy team, Princeton, who just happened to be Penn's biggest rival.

The fact that TB was a Penn alum wasn't lost on the Princeton people he met, who all looked at him with a bit of skepticism and mistrust at the idea of a Quaker in their midst.

The one person who gave him the hardest time about this was Pete Carril, by the way, in an 80% teasing and 20% "I really don't like those guys" way.

TigerBlog isn't completely sure when his allegiance really shifted from his alma mater to the school where he was spending more and more time, though he knows it was before he actually started working here.

He does remember meeting with Gary Walters when Gary became the Director of Athletics and having Gary ask where TB went to college, only to be given a "I probably wouldn't have hired you" look when he found out the answer was Penn.

The whole experience has left TigerBlog in an odd place.

When he was at Penn the other day, he knew all the words to "Hurrah for the Red And The Blue" and was able to explain why toast was raining down onto the field during the singing of "Drink a Highball." At the same time, he also knew all the words to "Going Back to Nassau Hall" when the Princeton band played that song.

Prior to the game, TB was inundated with emails from the local alumni association, reminding him that his chance to purchase tickets to the game was almost passing him by. He gets both alumni magazines in the mail.

TB used the Penn online alumni directory to find out how many alums work at Princeton. The number is 76, including only one other athletic department employee - men's track and field coach Fred Samara.

Last night, TB got a voicemail from Charlie, asking him which school he roots for when they play each other. "I assume Penn," Charlie said.

He assumes wrong.

TB roots for Princeton over Penn, all the time, every time - despite how much fondness he has for his alma mater and his time there.

It's just that all that is history.

These days, it's all Orange & Black.

1 comment:

Charlie from NY said...

Well I guess TB has sold out to the corporate interests. Selling out your own Alma Mater for the school that employs you? I am only kidding but I am surprised. But I do understand the feeling. When the NY Giants(team of my youth) played the Jacksonville Jaguars(city where I now live) I was in the same situation. I found myself dreaming of a tie. So I feel your pain when the two teams you love play each other, but I was surprised to see how far to the dark side(orange and black) you had gone. So here I am, your old roommate from Red and Blue days feeling like I no longer have a kindred spirit in TB