Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thanks, Billie Jean

TigerBlog read a story earlier this week on about the 1999 Women's World Cup and the legacy of the United States team that won it.

The writer's point is that the U.S. championship that year was the single biggest moment in women's sports history in this country, an assertion with which TB disagrees.

In fact, just as TigerBlog is sure that no sports moment can ever possibly top the Miracle on Ice, he's also reasonably sure that no moment can ever be bigger for women's athletics than the night in 1973 when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in a tennis match in the Astrodome in Houston.

For starters, Riggs - already well past his prime as a tennis player at the age of 55 - had already beaten the No. 1 women's player in the world, Margaret Court, rather easily, 6-2, 6-1. As if that wasn't bad enough, Riggs did so in completely chauvinistic fashion, even presenting his opponent with a dozen roses prior the start of the match.

Had Riggs beaten King, it would have set women's athletics and the women's movement in general back considerably.

Instead, King wiped Riggs out, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, and in doing so almost single-handedly changed the sporting landscape for American girls. The result of that match, held shortly after Title IX became law, did more to advance the cause of women's equality, especially in athletics, than any other single event, sporting or political.

Because of that historical significance, it can never be topped.

The U.S. women's soccer win in 1999, in TB's opinion, is known more for the fact that one player ripped off her shirt to expose her sports bra on television and in front of nearly 100,000 people in the Rose Bowl than it is for the soccer itself. In other words, the moment is known for its sex appeal value more than its athletic value.

No, when TB watches Little Miss TigerBlog play organized sports in a world that encourages it and where it would be unheard of for her not to have the same opportunities as her brother, he thinks of Billie Jean King, not Brandy Chastain.

The 2011 Women's World Cup is currently in its earliest stages over in Germany, where the U.S. team is not the heavy favorite, though it certainly would surprise no one if the Americans were to win.

Competing for Canada is former Princeton great Diana Matheson, who could be the greatest Princeton athlete of all time who was less than five-feet tall. Matheson, who as TB remembers wore size 4.5 shoes, helped Princeton to the 2004 NCAA Final Four as a freshman, when she (and current assistant coach Esmeralda Negron) earned first-team All-America honors.

Matheson played all 90 minutes of the Canadians' first game, a 2-1 loss to the home team, and her game today against France will be the 124th of her career for the Canadian national team.

TigerBlog can't even remember all the places that Matheson has played for Canada, though there can't be many Princeton athletes who have ever played in more countries than she has.

While the women are having their World Cup in Germany, the U.S. men are still reeling from their loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final last weekend. The Americans scored the first two goals of the game before falling 4-2, also in the Rose Bowl.

As an aside, the crowd was almost all in support of Mexico, which isn't surprising, given that the game was in Southern California. Since Mexico and the U.S. were the prohibitive favorites to play in the final, why wouldn't the game be moved to the Northeast or Minnesota or someplace like that, where the Americans would have more of a "home" crowd advantage?

The U.S. is coached by Bob Bradley, a Princeton alum who also coached the Tiger men to the 1993 NCAA Final Four. His brother Scott is the Princeton baseball coach; his son Michael scored a goal against Mexico.

Obviously, with such strong Princeton connections, the U.S. team - which trained at Princeton before the World Cup last year - has attracted even more attention on TB's part than it otherwise might have.

Bradley has come under fire from all corners since the U.S. lost to Mexico, including a piece on Soccer America's website that basically suggests Bradley doesn't like Hispanic players.

Of course, the writer doesn't suggest which Hispanic players Bradley should bring onto the team, which would have added greater credibility than making such a dumb blanket statement. TB's hunch is that Bradley would play pretty much anyone he could to find a way to win the Gold Cup, and ultimately the World Cup.

And why not? It won't be his job for much longer if he can't. And it might even be too late for him now, which would be a shame.

It's not like there's a magical coach out there who can simply come in and turn the Americans into the best team in the world.

Not with the way soccer works in this country.

Basically, every little kid gets signed up to play soccer at about the age of 4 or so. From there, some stay with the sport, while others begin to branch out to other sports that don't start as early. By high school, about 80% or so of kids aren't playing an organized sport anymore.

Soccer is the single most structured youth sport there is. The travel concept originated with soccer. The for-profit club originated with soccer. The idea of playing on a specific team as a youth player in hopes of getting a college scholarship originated in soccer.

American soccer clubs aren't interested in player development. They're interested in winning their state championship or getting to the national tournaments, so they can get the next group of players to pay the huge amount of money to be part of the program.

Want to field a word-class national team? It requires players who can go out and score goals, and the way you learn that isn't by doing drills at practice on Tuesday and Thursday. It's by going to the park and playing every day, against the other kids who are the best players.

That's the basketball model in this country. That's why American basketball is superior.

And that's the other problem with American soccer. The best athletes don't play it.

Until there is a fundamental change in the way American soccer talent is developed, there are going to be more nights like this past weekend.

And it won't be Bob Bradley's fault.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


TigerBlog was walking back to his office the other day when he heard the single most unmistakable sound in the history of Jadwin Gym:


TigerBlog knew immediately where it came from and what it meant. In fact, the only confusing part about it was that there was only one "Yo," as opposed to a string of them.

TB has spent more than a quarter century trying to figure out how many times Pete Carril says "Yo" in his unique way, one that TB has come pretty close to perfecting.

During his time as Princeton men's basketball coach, Carril would stop practice by hollering "Yo," strung together in a staccato manner offered up so quickly that it seemed that one "Yo" blended right into another.

Eventually, TB was pretty sure the answer was four, as in "Yo, Yo, Yo, Yo," though it's possible that it was really five.

The other day, though, it was definitely one.

Maybe he's slowing down a bit now that he's closing in on his 81st birthday. Maybe he's not trying to stop practice.

Whatever the reason, TB can't remember too many times that the "Yo" was in the singular, as it was the other day.

It didn't matter, though, because even a solitary "Yo" meant that Pete Carril was in Jadwin Gym, and when Carril is in Jadwin, he is instantly the center of attention for everyone who sees him.

"Hey, Coach," TB said to him. In a building filled with people who make their livings coaching, Carril is still the only one that TB calls "Coach." In fact, TB can't remember if he's ever called him by his first name.

In this case, "Coach" was standing in the stairwell, talking to the men's basketball coaching staff. Off to the side, standing perfectly straight and silent, was the newest member of that staff and the newest to the coaching profession, Craig Moore, who played at Northwestern under Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson.

TB looked at Carril and then over at Moore, and it seemed like the young officer standing at attention as the five-star general walked by.

It's been 15 years since Carril left Princeton, after a 29-year run that saw him win 13 Ivy titles, make 11 NCAA tournament appearances and win the 1975 NIT. His final record at Princeton was 514-261, and with his 11-12 season at Lehigh in 1966-67 mixed in, his career record as a college coach was 525-273.

Before he became a college coach, Carril - the son of a steelworker from Bethlehem, Pa. - played at Lafayette College, was in the Army and coached and taught at Easton High and then Reading High, where his players (and U.S. Government students) included current Princeton AD Gary Walters.

TB didn't have to look any of that information up, and he could go on for much longer than that on the subject of Pete Carril.

And the biographical information doesn't even begin to take into account all of the funny things that TB has seen or heard from Carril. As TB often says, of the 50 funniest things that he's seen in his life, Carril is probably responsible for 25.

Like the time in New Orleans, when Carril was asked about his next opponent, and he replied that they would be tough to guard because they had such big guys. When the reporter said that Princeton had big guys too, Carril replied "Yeah, but I didn't go down to the docks to get them." Or the time he put a cigar under a stairwell railing in Fresno because he couldn't smoke in the building during a luncheon and then took the cigar back from under the railing two hours later when the luncheon was over.

Honestly, TB could write volumes just on funny Carril stores, many of which are rated R - or worse.

None of that is what went through TB's head when he heard the single "Yo" the other day, though. His first thought really was about how few people here now knew Carril when he coached here, or, for that matter, now him at all.

TB tells Carril stories all the time, always getting big laughs from the people here who hardly know the man.

It's something TB will do for as long as he is here, because it's important for everyone here to know who Carril is and what he did for Princeton basketball and Princeton Athletics.

As Carril walked slowly down the hallway, hobbling somewhat from years of wear-and-tear, TB was thinking about how Carril is in the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Think about it. Is there anyone in the Hall of Fame who did less as a player, no offense to Carril's solid career at Lafayette? Or, for that matter, as a coach, where he his resume includes no NCAA championships, no Final Fours, no international success.

In a building filled with people who were NBA champions, Olympic gold medalists, college All-Americas, Carril's place there is unique.

Put another way, the Hall of Fame features an army of people who are there because of what they were physically. Carril is enshrined because of his mind and the impact that his mind had on his sport.

There is nobody else like Pete Carril, at least nobody that TB has ever met.

It's always good to hear the "Yo."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

House Cleaning

There was something different about the floor in the hallway of Jadwin Gym outside the ticket office and business office, and yet TigerBlog couldn't figure out what it was, despite the fact that he's walked on that hallway almost every day for more than 20 years.

Apparently, the floor had just been super-cleaned, or at least that's what the smell of the cleaner that was used suggested. And, apparently, it was just the fact that the floor was now super clean that had TigerBlog confused.

It was a better explanation than the one TB first had, which was that someone picked up the rug that had been on the floor there all these years, even if no such rug ever existed.

The cleaning project continues today, at least that's what TB surmises from the sounds coming from the lobby. Those sounds are intertwined with the sounds of bouncing basketballs, those coming from inside the gym, from girls' basketball camp.

Out his window, TB can see the non-stop activity of track-and-field camp, and he saw a group yesterday walking along that had to be rowing camp. There are also camps going on this week for soccer and tennis and maybe squash and possibly others.

It's what summer is like here at Princeton, when there are no intercollegiate athletic events, or, for that matter, very few college students around.

And yet, there is always news.

TigerBlog was struck by a few items that have come up of late:

* Will Venable, the basketball and baseball star from Princeton, is hitting .333 since being recalled from the minors by the Padres. His power numbers aren't great, with only one home run, but he continues down the path of establishing himself as an every day Major League player.

In the next few weeks, Venable will have his 1,000th career at-bat. In the meantime, his career numbers read: 959 at-bats, 240 hits, .250 average, 28 home runs, 110 RBIs, 29 stolen bases. He's struck out 279 times.

Venable got off to a brutal start this year, hitting well below .200 with no power. His average is up to .244, and he hit his first home run of the year - and his first career lead-off home run - at Fenway Park, of all places.

Unlike last year, when the Padres made a run to the final day of the year against the eventual World Series-champion Giants, the 2011 Padres are in last place in the NL West, 10 games back of the Giants.

As for the other two Princeton Major Leaguers, pitcher Chris Young is gone for the year after a really strong start for the Mets, while Ross Ohlendorf, who hasn't pitched since April for the Pirates, is just now getting ready to start his rehab assignments and should return in the next few weeks.

* Princeton will be hiring Cara Morey as an assistant women's hockey coach.

If the last name sounds familiar, it's because Cara is Mrs. Sean Morey, the wife of longtime NFL player - and Super Bowl champ with the Steelers. Sean Morey played football at Brown and holds a unique place in Princeton football history, something that will be revealed below.

As for Morey, TB has met him several times, and he's one of TB's all-time favorite non-Princeton Ivy League athletes. Like Sean, Cara Morey was an athlete at Brown.

It'll be good to have the Morey family as part of Princeton Athletics.

* Princeton alum Darroll Powe is traded to the Minnesota Wild.

Powe, according to the story on, led the Flyers with 196 hits last year, which would actually be a great number if he'd gotten them for the Phillies. TB has no idea what 196 hits really means, though leading an NHL team in anything is pretty good, right?

A defensive forward and top penalty killer, Powe had seven goals and 10 assists last year as well.

The Wild front office has its share of Princeton connections, as assistant GM Brent Flahr played here before graduating in 1996 and director of player personnel Blair Mackasey is the father of two Princeton athletes, hockey player B.J. '07 and current sophomore rower (and student-worker extraordinaire) Dave.

* Roger Hughes is named head football coach at Stetson.

When TB first heard this news, he wondered if Roger would go from calling everyone "Tiger" to "Hatter," which doesn't have the same flow.

Roger Hughes went 47-52 at Princeton in 10 years as head football coach, including a 16-4 run in ’05 and ’06 that included his only Ivy title. TigerBlog has heard from proponents of both perspectives of Hughes' tenure, the one that says that he was a very good man who had some success as a football coach and the other that says that he was 31-48 in games where Jeff Terrell was no the starting quarterback.

From TB's point of view, there have been few people to walk into Jadwin Gym who have ever been easier to get along with and ever been simply nicer than Roger Hughes. In the 10 years that Hughes was the coach here, TigerBlog can never remember one time when he had anything even remotely resembling an argument with him.

Stetson doesn't begin playing for two seasons, and when it does, it will be Division I-AA non-scholarship. TB wishes Hughes all the best as he heads to Florida.

* Trivia answer -

Sean Morey scored the first touchdown in Princeton Stadium history.

Monday, June 27, 2011

That Time Of Year

There was a category on "Jeopardy" last week entitled "Papal Bulls," which TigerBlog knew he'd do poorly on.

He thought the same of "Chemistry" and figured he'd tear through "Broadway Musicals," though he ended up getting three of the five right on both.

One of "Papal Bull" questions had something to do with one issued in 1582, and TB had absolutely no idea that this had to do with establishing the Gregorian calendar.

As for Princeton Athletics, it has its own variation of the Gregorian calendar, which by the way, is still going strong more than 400 years later. Much like the Gregorian calendar, the Princeton Athletics calendar is something that doesn't have many surprises to it.

One of TigerBlog's favorite parts of working in college athletics is, as he has said before, the cyclical nature of it all.

Each different part of the year has its own unique feel to it, with vastly different requirements.

TB is often asked if the summer is a slow time here, and of course, the fact that there are no games by definition makes it slower. And, because media guides have gone the way of albums, phones mounted on walls and - for TB at least - hair brushes, the summers aren't a time for doing publications anymore.

New Year's Day for Princeton Athletics is around Aug. 20 or so, when the first fall athletes begin to return to campus. The campus is pretty much deserted before that, and pretty much every day is in the 90s with high humidity.

The arrival of the first trickle of athletes precedes the full crush of returning students by two weeks or so. Still, the first few athletes are a reminder that fall is on the way, even if the weather doesn't quite reflect it.

The first half of September is the next block. During this time, the rest of the football-playing universe (including high school and Pop Warner) is in regular-season mode, while the Ivy League (and NFL, if it can't get its act together) hasn't kicked off yet.

In the meantime, the other fall sports are all playing their first games, almost exclusively outside the league. The first games - field hockey or soccer - essentially mark the end of summer, and TB always finds himself wondering what kind of year of overall athletic success awaits Princeton's 38 teams as he watches the first of the 600 or so athletic events of any academic year.

Once football starts its season in mid-September, the other sports are starting their Ivy League competition. From mid-September until the end of October, the fall teams go through their league schedules, until the first Ivy championships begin to be crowned near Halloween, including the Heps cross country titles.

Up next is the fall/winter overlap, which brings up the second-busiest time of year. It's not unusual to have weekends like Princeton will have this coming November, where football, men's basketball, men's soccer and men's hockey are all home on the same Saturday (the 12th) and where there could be postseason in field hockey and soccer.

Once the fall wraps up, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day is relatively slow. There are some winter teams who are playing, and men's and women's basketball have the bulk of their non-league games in that time. Still, the quantity of teams playing is small by Princeton standards, and things are generally slow, especially if basketball spends most of its time on the road.

There is a flurry of games in early January - until the athletic program shuts down for more than two weeks for first-semester exams.

Then there is the all-out sprint of winter teams from late January through the end of February, when entire Ivy schedules are played out in no time. TB is always fascinated by how teams can play something like five games in 40 days and then play 14 games in the next 39 days, or something like that.

By the end of February, spring seasons are beginning, and the busiest time of year is the winter/spring overlap. During this time, any story posted on after a Saturday afternoon will have completely disappeared from the front page by the end of the day.

Once the winter is over, the spring goes strong through early May. Depending on how many teams reach the postseason, it slows down until Reunions and the Princeton Varsity Club senior banquet, which makes for a few days of having the campus be a total zoo.

And then, just like that, silence, as the campus basically empties.

This time of year, it's all summer camps all the time, with a flood of kids from various sports everywhere. The camp season runs through early August, which is followed by the wait for the arrival of the next group of fall athletes.

TigerBlog has been doing this for nearly a quarter-century, and it has yet to change around here.

TB could set his watch to it - if he still had one. Nope, watches are just something else that is being replaced, this time by cell phones.

Maybe that's why having such a reliable calendar each year is somewhat comforting.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Caught In The Draft

There were 60 players chosen last night in the NBA draft, and TigerBlog had heard of exactly 22 of them beforehand.

Of the 30 first-round selections, TB had heard of 13.

The NFL draft is filled with more players that TB hasn't heard of - and neither have the "experts" who do all their mock drafts, at least until these players emerge in somebody's draft guide.

The NBA and NFL drafts are fascinating examples of total overkill on everyone's part. The amount of pre-draft material written and discussed on radio and TV is staggering, and it goes to TigerBlog's etched-in-stone theory that people would much prefer to read about what's going to happen next than what just happened.

Mock drafts - like hypothetical NCAA tournament bracket selections - are wildly popular, and yet any individual could do his or her own and have as much validity as anyone else's, because, like the NCAA committee, the NBA teams aren't bound by anyone's mock draft.

In many ways, mock drafts and bracket selections are like way less reliable versions of the weather forecast.

As for the drafts themselves, they've grown into incredible made-for-TV events.

TB prefers the NBA one to the NFL one because it's over so quickly, though football at least realized that having 15 minutes between first round selections was way too much.

As an aside, there was one moment during last night's draft, where Stuart Scott tried to make a joke about how Chicago might draft a part-owner of the Bobcats (obviously Michael Jordan) and had the other three ESPN announcers stare at him without any reaction. TB is pretty sure he's never seen an attempt at humor on live TV bomb so badly.

For as much as the media overdoes it with the drafts, the unmistakable reality of drafting is that teams get it wrong more than they get it right. Teams pour millions of dollars into scouting and talent evaluation, only to fall in love with the wrong players because they showed something in some workout somewhere.

If you go back and look at any draft, you'll see that more than half of the players from the first round never became anything special, and certainly nothing better than later round or undrafted players (especially in football).

Often the teams that hit it big do so completely by luck, either because an obviously great player somehow passed down to where they were picking or they traded for someone who turned out to be great or they just had their selection pan out where the ones above it didn't.

As for the draft last night, of the 60 players chosen, six played against Princeton last year. Of course, all six were either from Duke or Kentucky.

So now, with the NFL and NBA drafts completed, fans of the two sports can look forward to seeing which selections will turn into all-stars and which will turn into nothing special.

Oh wait. No, that might not happen, not with NFL players already locked out and NBA players about to be.

TigerBlog's cousin Toby got married in 1981 in New York City and was moving to San Diego. She and her new husband were going to make the cross-country drive and stop at every Major League stadium along the way to see a game.

Except there was a baseball strike that summer, which wiped out their entire itinerary. And they ended up getting divorced.

It's never easy for fans to understand why players and owners can't agree how to carve up all the money, especially in the current football situation, where both sides were making unprecedented profits (unlike the NBA, where some teams struggle to stay afloat).

All of this always bring TB back to the concept of paying college athletes and whether or not this is a good idea.

The answer to TB is simple - no way.

College athletes already get paid, at least scholarship ones do. Maybe not in cash, but in a free education with no loans waiting at the end. Hey, if the athletes don't take advantage of it, that's on them.

And would every athlete in every sport get paid? Only the ones who play football or basketball? Who would regulate it?

As for Ivy League athletes, obviously they have no athletic scholarships. Still, that doesn't stop TB from hearing all the time about this athlete who got a full ride to one Ivy school or another or how the Ivy League schools give out athletic scholarships but just don't call them that.

TB always answers the same way, saying that that isn't the case.

Anyway, TB is pretty sure that the NFL season will start on time this year, though he's not as sure about the NBA.

He's 100% positive that the Princeton season will begin on time, in every sport.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Talking Football

TigerBlog was on his way to Caldwell Field House with another OAC type, on their way to their daily squash match. These days, start time is delayed, due to the fact that the squash camp kids are hogging the courts until lunchtime.

Anyway, as TB and partner walked to the lockerroom, they were passed by two athletic-looking young men, who were walking out of Jadwin toward Lot 21.

After hearing the interaction between the two and the other OAC-er, football contact Craig Sachson, it was obvious that the two were quarterback Tommy Wornham and wide receiver Isaac Serwanga.

A year ago, Serwanga caught 15 passes and averaged 10.7 yards per reception behind senior receivers Trey Peacock (72 catches, 955 yards, six touchdowns) and Andrew Kerr (51 receptions, 467 yards, five touchdowns).

And Wornham?

Well, as any Princeton football fan knows, Wornham was off to a strong start before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Brown in the first quarter of Week 5. Playing in just four games and one quarter, Wornham threw for 1,104 yards and five touchdowns, completing 107 of 187 passes, or 57.2%.

If you were to double his yardage from last year to 2,208, he would have had the seventh-best single-season total in school history. If you doubled his yardage and added nine, he would have been in sixth.

Unfortunately, that is all speculation at that point, as is TigerBlog's contention that Princeton would not have been 1-9 overall, 0-7 in the Ivy League, with a healthy Wornham all year.

In all, Princeton had eight players throw a pass last year, including four quarterbacks, a running back (whose passer rating was 707.2), two wide receivers and a tight end (whose rating was 614.8).

Wornham said his shoulder was fine and that he couldn't wait to get started for the 2011 season.

For those keeping track of such things, opening day for the 2011 Princeton football season is Sept. 17 at home against Lehigh, or 85 days from today. Princeton opens the season with three straight home games, against Lehigh, Bucknell and Columbia, before heading to the road for five of the final seven games, including three straight at Hampton, Brown and Harvard.

In other words, Princeton has only two home games after October 1.

The chance meeting with Wornham and Serwanga touched off about a 15-minute talk about Princeton football between TB and Sachson, going into all different subjects.

TigerBlog Jr. played in a lacrosse tournament at Lehigh last weekend, and during some of the down time, TB would go into the football stadium to get something to eat or use the bathroom.

Each time he walked in the stadium, he could still see Peacock as he split two Lehigh defensive backs and went 80 yards with a perfectly thrown pass from Wornahm. In fact, TB sent Sachson a text message that basically said: "on line for ice cream; two Lehigh DBs still chasing Peacock."

Princeton lost that game 35-22 and then beat Lafayette the next week, and TB and Sachson talked about how after those two weeks, it seemed like Princeton was on its way to 6-4 if all went well and maybe 4-6 if it didn't.

For awhile, the pre-squash conversation focused on Wornham and his obvious value to the team, in 2011 and beyond as the Tigers bring in three freshmen quarterbacks.

Eventually, the talk went back to 2006 and the Tigers' last Ivy League championship. It focused on Jeff Terrell, and the question was knocked around as to how much of the credit for that championship season (and, extended out, the 16-4 record over two years) belonged to the quarterback himself.

TB tried to recall as many players as he could from the 2006 team, and when he got stuck, Sachson filled in the blanks. TB briefly forgot who the top running back on the team was and then remembered Rob Toresco, who went on to play a season with the men's lacrosse team and who, it was pointed out, was the only player on the 2006 football team with whom TB has a picture of himself in Ireland from the 2008 men's larosse trip.

TigerBlog recalled how, as the PA announcer at Princeton Stadium, he'd been on the phone with TB-Baltimore, who was that day covering men's soccer at Lourie-Love Field, when Toresco flipped the ball back to Terrell in the second overtime against Penn for the dramatic winning touchdown - one that wouldn't have been the winning TD had Pat McGrath not made a tackle on the two-yard line after a botched snap on an extra point attempt after Penn scored on its possession following Princeton's.

TB was trying to describe the fourth-down play to TB-Baltimore when Toresco made his flip back to Terrell, prompting TB to say something like "Princeton scored; call you back in a minute."

The 2006 flashback came during warm-ups, and it would be Sachson who would win the match, five games to three (the usual best-of-nine match), to end TB's recent winning streak.

TB and Sachson will play again today when the squash kids go to lunch.

If TB had to guess, the pre-match conversation will be heavy on the NBA draft - though who knows who might walk by and change all that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


There are three long poem-type stories that TigerBlog first heard when he was a kid that he came to be able to memorize completely as an adult.

One is "The Cat In The Hat," by Dr. Seuss. Yup, TB can recite all 61 pages of it from memory.

He can do the same with "A Visit From St. Nick," which begins: "Twas the night before Christmas ..."

Lastly, there is "Casey At The Bat," which begins with "The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day ..." and ends with less joy in Mudville than that.

As an aside, TigerBlog is a lot of fun at parties, people tell him.

For those who don't know, "Casey At The Bat" was originally a newspaper column, published back in 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner. Back then, that's what sportswriting was.

Eventually, the profession evolved to things like this:
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.

There is very little sportswriting like that today. Today, most of the stuff reads more like this:
Jose Reyes, in my mind, confirmed Tuesday what I always believed:
He's a goner.
Sooner or later, via trade before the July 31 deadline or in free agency at the end of the season, Reyes will become the Mets' ex-shortstop. Given his desire to test the free-agent market and given the Mets' economic constraints, that's what I believe.
Reyes has told the Mets that he wouldn't be negotiating with them on a new deal during the season, leaving the team to try to sign him during an exclusive window after the season or, failing that, to get in line with the other suitors for his services.
Jose can you see - dollar signs?

The second one is from today's New York Daily News. The first one, famously, is from Grantland Rice.

As legendary old-time sportswriting artists go, it's hard to beat Grantland Rice, whose grandfather, according to Wikipedia, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Rice, a Vanderbilt grad, also wrote this tidbit that perhaps you've heard at some point:
"For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,He marks - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."

That quote is repeated on the masthead of "Grantland," the new website that Bill Simmons released last week.

TB goes way back with Bill Simmons, back to his days as the Boston Sports Guy, a website TB first heard about from Jim McLaughlin, then an intern here and now the Director of Athletics at Union College.

Back then, Simmons wrote basically every day on his site, either with original columns, "ramblings" or simply links to other stories that included his own highly entertaining comments. It was as good a sports site as has ever been, and it was way ahead of its time.

Eventually, Simmons was usurped by ESPN, where he became A-listed, which took away some of his original perspective of writing as a fan. Still, in many ways, he symbolizes what sportswriting evolved into.

Instead of being grizzled veteran reporters who went toe-to-toe with the athletes in the lockerroom every night, many sports media types today rarely go to games. Like Simmons, they bombard themselves with games on television and every other multi-media platform there is out there, and they churn out their thoughts from the comfort of their living rooms or home offices.

And, of course, sports media types have become stars themselves, as opposed to anonymous figures who covered the team and whose name appeared in the paper, without calling any other attention to themselves. Among the media mega-stars today, Simmons is up there with any of them.

In his time at ESPN, Simmons wrote less and less and did more and more podcasts, drifting further and further away from sports itself and helping blur the line between sports and entertainment.

When Grantland launched, TB thought it would be a bit self-serving and ultimately a big disappointment, something that would cause Simmons to ultimately fade away.

Instead, after two weeks at least, TB is a huge fan.

The site is no frills, which is great. So far, it's just really good writing on a variety of subjects, with new content every day.

And yes, some of it is a bit contrived, such as the "Rock VORP" column, but at least it's attempting to be creative.

If it continues at its current pace, it's going to be a big winner.

The number one key, of course, is the fresh content. If the reader doesn't have a reason to come back to the site every day, then there's no point.

That's the theory behind TigerBlog, which is updated every day - and which has drawn at least some of its influence from the Simmons style.

And it's especially true of

From Sept. 1, 2010, through today, a span of 295 days, has had just about 2,000 stories posted, an average of roughly seven per day.

Obviously, some days have had way more than that number, especially weekends in the overlap of seasons.

Still, even during days when there were no events, there were stories to post.

The result is that generated more than eight million page views during those 295 days.

Now that the summer is here, page views will go down again, since there are no events obviously.

The challenge is to come up with as much fresh content as possible, and it's the same challenge every summer.

Just like it is with TigerBlog, to come up with something every day.

Hey, that's one more day closer to the start of the fall.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thinking Of Larry O'Rourke

The first time TigerBlog was in a minivan, he's pretty sure, was back when the Department of Athletics' motor pool included one.

TB can't remember exactly which kind it was, though he does know it was maroon.

It was definitely a boxy vehicle, and yet TigerBlog sort of liked driving it. It was certainly comfortable enough.

When TigerBlog Jr. and Little Miss TigerBlog were little, TB got himself a Toyota Sienna, a minivan of his own. Eventually, TB put 155,000 miles on it before he traded it in.

As an aside, when he got his new car, TB asked what would happen to the minivan, and he was told that it would be sold to a taxi company in the Caribbean. So, who knows, maybe it's still going strong, shuttling people from cruise ships to beaches in St. Bart's or St. Thomas or Tortola.

As another aside, when he traded the Sienna in, he accidentally left the tape of WFAN's intro to the Mike and the Mad Dog show the day after Princeton beat UCLA in 1996, complete with Tom McCarthy's calls of Gabe Lewullis' winning basket and of Toby Bailey's last-chance airball mixed together with clips of Gene Hackman from "Hoosiers" and the music from the cartoon "Underdog." Last aside - TigerBlog went to college with a woman who looked just like Sweet Polly Purebread.

Anyway, TigerBlog liked the minivan because of its spaciousness, which over the course of 155,000 miles morphed into more of a junkyard, jammed with stuff everywhere.

As for the University's maroon one, TigerBlog drove it all over the Northeast going to games for football, men's basketball and men's lacrosse.

He'd be by himself sometimes, but usually he was giving a ride to any number of people, especially McCarthy when he was still the Princeton radio voice, Ed Benkin when he would do radio Mark Eckel when he'd cover games for the Trenton Times.

Every now and then, others would ask for a ride, and TB would usually say yes.

For some reason, the ride back from Dartmouth after basketball one year when the minivan included TB, Benkin, Eckel and guest stars Larry O'Rourke of the Trentonian and Joe Calabrese of the Star-Ledger has always stood out to TB. Maybe it's because of the fact that it was a bit out of the ordinary.

Whatever the reason, TigerBlog clearly remembers it, the long ride back, with Calabrese and O'Rourke in a never-ending conversation.

Calabrese would tell a story about something that happened years earlier and call out to TB, the driver, saying "you remember so-and-so or so-and-so" or "you know how those guys are," when TigerBlog had never heard of any of them.

And O'Rourke? He didn't run out of subjects either, all the way back to Princeton, in the wee hours of the morning.

The minivan probably rolled into the Jadwin parking lot after 3 a.m. or so. TB is pretty sure Calabrese and O'Rourke kept chatting the entire time.

Calabrese was a long-time newspaper guy who passed away several years ago. The Joe Calabrese Memorial Trophy goes to the MVP of the men's basketball game between Seton Hall and Rutgers each year.

Calabrese covered a handful of Princeton games every year, and it was always great to see him and hang out for awhile, even if his stories didn't always make sense to TB.

And O'Rourke? He was a few years younger than TB, something that was confirmed for TB when he read O'Rourke's obituary last week.

Larry died of ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease - a disease that O'Rourke fought hard, by all accounts.

TigerBlog hadn't seen Larry since he was diagnosed, or actually a few years before that. Still, TB got chills when he heard the news of O'Rourke's death, at the young age of 46.

The relationship between athletic communications staff members and the reporters who cover their teams is different now than it was when Calabrese and O'Rourke would come to Jadwin Gym or head out on the road. For starters, there are so many fewer reporters now. For another, athletic communications is its own media outlet now, which changed the dynamic.

TB remembers the 1990s largely for the relationships he had with the reporters who covered the team, and he has so many great stories from those days, stories that always bring back a smile and make him laugh.

When he thought back to Larry O'Rourke, he thought about a funny guy, a happy guy, a people person who loved to talk, talk, talk. Everyone TB spoke to about O'Rourke last week said the same thing about him.

TB can't remember a time he saw O'Rourke that he wasn't laughing and smiling, and he can't remember a negative thing Larry ever said about anyone. It's likely TB heard Larry vent and rip into someone at some point, but last week, thinking back to his time with Larry, none of that stood out.

TB was hesitant to write about the death of a sportswriter one day after writing about the death of Clarence Clemons, but he felt it was something he had an obligation to do.

Larry O'Rourke died way too young, from a hideous killer.

TigerBlog knew him when he was healthy, when he was happy, when he was doing what he loved to do.

And so when TB thinks back to Larry, he'll think back to those times, such as the long ride back from Dartmouth in the minivan, a night when TB had no idea that two of his friends who were traveling with him would be taken so soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Big Man

It would take TigerBlog nearly 12 hours to listen to the 173 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band songs he has on his I-tunes.

And it's not like he's listened to these songs one time each. Here are some numbers from the "plays" column:

Prove It All Night (live from New York) - 142 times
Out In The Street (also live from New York) - 163 times
Out in the Street (studio version) - 145 times
My City of Ruins - 171 times
Mary's Place - 175 times
Badlands (live) - 146 times
Born To Run (live) - 203 times
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - 112
Land Of Hope And dreams (live) - 177 times
Thunder Road (studio) - 152 times
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) - 171 times

The list goes on and on, and that's just plays on I-tunes. None of that includes times listening to the same songs in the car on CDs or on the radio or, going way back, on albums.

TB isn't sure when he first started listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. By the time he was in high school, though, it was taken for granted that everyone knew every song by the Boss.

And why not? TB's high school was about five miles from where Springsteen went to school, and TB took his SATs and achievement tests at Springsteen's school, Freehold Boro High School. One of TB's favorite teachers in high school, Mrs. Behson, taught Springsteen in math as well.

The news that Clarence Clemons, the saxophone player for the E Street Band since its inception, passed away this weekend at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke a few days earlier hit TB hard, as it probably did for 80 percent of the people in TB's age range from the general Monmouth/Ocean County area.

Clarence Clemons was a man TigerBlog never met, but he came across from a distance as a great man, a great musician and someone who would have been great fun to hang around with for a day.

Those 173 songs are filled with Clemon's unique style, and his long, overpowering solos - especially on "Jungleland" - are everywhere on the playlist.

More than his music, though, Clemons - known as the Big Man - brought his larger-than-life persona to the band, and it was obvious to any fans of the group that there was an incredible bond between the saxophone player and the lead singer, described by Clemons in an interview that TB saw over the weekend as simply "love."

In the case of almost any other group, TB prefers the studio version to the live version, unless he happens to be there live, because the sound is just better in the studio.

In the case of Bruce and the E Streeters, the opposite is the case, as the live version is almost always better. Why? Possibly because the sound of the live version brings back memories of the Springsteen concerts TB has been to, or possibly because of the energy and power that comes through the sound when it's played live.

On two of the 173 songs - "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" from "Live In New York" and "American Land" from "Live In Cleveland" - Springsteen introduces the members of the band, one of the highlights of any of his concerts.

In the New York one, he introduces each one by one, finally getting to his wife Patty Scialfa. Then he offers up:
"Last but not least. I'm talking about the minister of soul. Secretary of the brotherhood. Do I have to say his name? Do I have to say his name? Say who? Say who?" As he asks "Say who," the crowd yells back "Clarence."

In the Cleveland one, he says each by name with nothing else, until he gets to the end when he says:
"Saxophonist. Author. Man of letters. He's bigger than Shakespeare. The biggest man you've ever see. Clarence Big Man Clemons."

The Big Man stood 6-5 and weighed 270 pounds, and until reading his obituary, TB didn't know that Clemons was a college football player at Maryland-Eastern Shore who earned a tryout in the Cleveland Browns training camp before a car accident ended his career.

He got his start in music when he was nine and his father gave him a saxophone for a Christmas present. He recalled his first meeting with Springsteen, which happened in Asbury Park, this way:
"One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I'd heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I'm a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, 'I want to play with your band,' and he said, 'Sure, you do anything you want.' The first song we did was an early version of 'Spirit In The Night.' Bruce and I looked at each other and didn't say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other's lives. He was what I'd been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history."

That history took them in 1978 to Jadwin Gym, where the band played a concert.

Back when TigerBlog helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the building's opening, he came up with the 40 greatest moments in Jadwin history.

Of the 40 events that TB chose, 25 were Princeton intercollegiate events. The other 15 included concerts, political events, professional events, high school events.

Looking back at the story now, TB would probably enter one of the moments the women's basketball team had in winning its back-to-back championships the last two years and possibly something from men's basketball from this past year, though the great moments for the men all came on the road.

As for the top events, there was the 1971 men's win over North Carolina, a team that featured Bob McAdoo, Bobby Jones and George Karl, at No. 3.

No. 2 was the 1991 men's basketball win over Loyola Marymount on Selection Sunday, a win that gave Princeton a 24-2 regular season record. TigerBlog remembers how the building was packed more than an hour before tipoff and just how electric the atmosphere was.

As for No. 1, though, TB wrote this:
Nov. 1, 1978 – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play at Jadwin Gym. The Boss opens with “Badlands” and, more than three hours later, finishes with an encore of “Rosalita,” “Born To Run” and “Quarter to Three.” Among the other songs he plays are “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “Prove It All Night,” “Racing In The Street,” “Thunder Road,” “Jungleland” and “Backstreets.”

There were some who wondered how a non-Princeton event could be the No. 1 event in Jadwin's history. To have Springsteen and the E Street Band play in this building, though, is not something that's going to be equaled.

Clarence Clemons is the second member of the E Street Band to pass away, after Danny Federici died of cancer a few years ago.

TigerBlog walked out of every Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert he's ever been to with the same feeling, one of total awe that people could be that good at what they did.

Clemons pushed it all the way until the end, passing away 60 years after he got his first sax as a child.

His passing ends a four-decade run with Springsteen that produced the greatest music TigerBlog has ever heard.

So thanks, Big Man.

It won't be the same without you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Section 130, Row 23, Seat 4

Were TigerBlog a Major League baseball player, perhaps his favorite part of the experience would be to toss baseballs into the crowd after innings, foul balls and such.

TB would find some little kid - really little, like four or so - and toss the ball to someone next to him or her, hoping that they'd give the ball to the child. He'd do this with great casualness, and he'd get tremendous satisfaction out of seeing the happy kid after the ball was handed over - or give a dirty look if the older person tried to keep the ball.

Certainly that's how it looked yesterday to TB, as he sat at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and watched the matinee between the Phillies and the Florida Marlins.

TigerBlog had an up-close view of the proceedings. Specifically, he sat in section 130, row 23, seat 4, alongside TigerBlog Jr. and his friends Matthew and Jared, all three of whom are lacrosse players with almost no baseball background.

In fact, TBJ probably has the most interest in the game, and the most experience watching it, and he almost never watches baseball.

It's a big contrast to TB, who watched a ton of baseball when he was a kid, mostly the Mets on Channel 9. If you're in TB's age-range, then you know that the games started out with that catchy song "Meet The Mets" and then had the game brought to life by Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson.

As broadcast teams go, it doesn't get much better than that.

TigerBlog watched the Mets all the time in the late ‘60s and early ’70s, and simple baseball things like ERA and slugging percentage and why you don't make the first out at third base and why the outfielders play so deep in late inning situations became second nature.

TBJ, on the other hand, knows none of that stuff, doesn't have the slightest idea how baseball is played and the intricacies of the game.

Going back one more generation, FatherBlog's team was the New York Giants, even though he grew up in Brooklyn. Back in those days, baseball was woven into the fabric of growing up in New York City.

Anyway, TB got the tickets from Tom McCarthy, the former Princeton men's basketball and football play-by-play voice who now does the Phillies games on television.

Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, and the game yesterday was the third that TB has been to at the stadium. In 1983, when he was a vendor for the Phils, he went to more than 50 games at Veterans' Stadium.

In the first two games that TB went to at the stadium, the Phils were shut out. Yesterday, the Phils did the shutting out, as Cliff Lee pitched a complete-game three-hitter in a 3-0 win for the home team.

To make it a nearly perfect day for the home fans, Ryan Howard hit a line drive home run.

The three teenage boys sat to TB's right; to his left was a lawyer who graduated from Colgate in 2003 and who is getting married tomorrow, sitting with his soon-to-be-father-in-law.

Colgate ’03 guy went to the Princeton-Colgate football game on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium last October and said he liked the stadium very much, though he spent much of his time tailgating.

As TB sat there and watched the Phils game, he kept comparing and contrasting that experience with the Princeton Athletics experience, especially from a fan perspective.

As an aside, most of the exam questions TB had in college started out by saying "compare and contrast" and then went into two different areas, such as, oh, American attitudes prior to the country's involvement in World War I and World War II.

The biggest difference between Princeton and the Phils from a fan experience perspective is that the Phils - and all professional sports teams - bombard the fans from the moment they enter the stadium until they leave. The game never rarely allowed to breath, and there is no down time, as there is either in-game action or sponsored promotions.

It's a never-ending explosion of sounds, music, color, video, audio and everything else.

The giant video board at the park is overloaded with stats during each at-bat, and those stats are updated for the pitchers and hitters continuously. Look at one board, and you see the speed and type of the last pitch. Look another way, and there is the ball, strike and out.

Looking at the big board, it's difficult to process it all pitch-by-pitch, since the board itself is so jammed with information - and sponsor logos.

At the same time, it is a beautiful stadium, and the blue of the seats, the green of the grass and the red of 80 percent of the fans' shirts come together to make a rainbow of color that is nothing short of spectacular, especially on a beautiful mid-June day.

And, of course, everyone loves the Phanatic.

And everyone doesn't love the costs, but that's how it goes these days. The tickets would have been $60, which, considering the location - 23 rows back behind the Florida dugout - seemed pretty reasonable, especially when the same seats at Yankee Stadium would have been $2,500.

TB paid $4.50 for a 20-ounce bottle of soda, $4 for a box of popcorn, $8.75 for chicken fingers and fries - and $15 to park. He could have gotten Princeton football season tickets and still had money left over for that much.

In professional sports, this is how it is, and everyone just makes the best of it.

At Princeton, 33 of the 38 varsity sports don't have an admission charge, and the food costs are minimal. Parking is usually free.

And the experience is much tamer. As the PA announcer at football, TB knows when the corporate sponsorship is getting a little out-of-hand, and he also understands that there is nothing wrong with a little silence during breaks in the game.

Of course, there bottom line at Princeton isn't the bottom line, and there isn't a goal of generating as much revenue as possible. The result is that fans can get a much more peaceful experience.

Still, there is something to be said for both.

TigerBlog goes to a lot of games every year, almost none of which are in professional sports. When he does, the contrast leaps out at him - whereas it was business as usual for Colgate ’03 or the season ticket holders in row 22.

And as much as he prefers the simpler life of games in the Ivy League, he has to admit that it was fun to sit there yesterday and watch Lee dominate the Marlins. It didn't hurt that the game was played in about 2:20.

For awhile, it looked as if Lee had no-hit stuff, and he didn't give up his first one until there were two out in the fifth. He settled for a two-hitter, and to most of the 45,000 fans in the stadium, it was obvious that the Marlins were never, ever going to score on him this day.

For Lee, a two-hit shutout would have to do.

For the rest, including TB, it was more of a perfect game.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Out Of The Contest

The discussion in the OAC the other day turned to a hugely important matter as it relates to Princeton Athletics and the promotion of its 38 varsity teams and nearly 1,000 student athletes:

What was the single funniest moment in "Seinfeld" history?

One answer was the time when George pulled the golf ball out of the whale's blowhole, and Kramer asks if it was a Titleist.

Another answer was the whole black and white cookie thing, though TigerBlog wasn't a huge fan of anything that happened in the later years of the show.

Ironically, when TigerBlog thought about his own answer, his first thought went to Season 7, when Jack Klompas says to Jerry "what? I've never been in a Cadillac before?" and also when Jack tells Jerry that he cannot get the full Kelly Blue Book value of the car because "you are not me."

Or to Season 5, when Kramer has the reaction to the ugly baby in the Hamptons.

Or the two episodes TB can't remember, when Kramer is on the phone in his apartment and Jerry asks him if he wants to get Chinese food and Kramer flies into Jerry's apartment one second later or the episode where Jerry asks Kramer if he's ready to go and Kramer says "saddle up and ride."

Or the time where George is talking about how he doesn't like to use the urinals, saying he's always been a "stall man," and Kramer interrupts what he's saying to give George a bewildered look.

Eventually, though, as TB ran through a bunch of episodes in his mind, he realized that there is one moment in the show's history that outdoes them all, during the show "The Contest."

It's the moment where Kramer walks in, slams the money on the counter, and announces "I'm out of the contest."

And with that, another important matter in the OAC had been resolved.

Of course, matters regarding television aren't only limited to classic sitcoms.

Nope, while the 2010-11 academic year may have just ended, it's already time to think ahead to 2011-12 in terms of Princeton and TV.

Princeton has television deals with ESPN and Verizon Fios, and they aren't quite the same situations.

ESPN guarantees Princeton its will televise live seven of its home events on one of its networks (almost always ESPNU) in every year of the contract, which was renewed last year.

Verizon Fios will televise an assortment of events at Princeton with no minimum or maximum number. These will be on tape delay.

Princeton does not have the right to video stream the games that are on ESPN. Verizon Fios shares with Princeton the streams live, which gives Princeton an immediate upgrade in the production for its webpage.

Princeton can also enter into TV arrangements with other networks or with the league itself, as in the Versus football package that began last year, but ESPN has the first right to any of Princeton's home events.

ESPN has, in the last few years, shown a preference for sports like lacrosse, water polo, hockey and soccer. The network takes Princeton's schedules for the year, trims the list to 10-15 and then figures out which ones work best in terms of its production needs and abilities. ESPN will listen to Princeton to a certain extent, but ultimately the network has the final say.

Verizon Fios is looking for content for its network, and Princeton values a streaming presence that includes announcers, three cameras, graphics and such as opposed to a one-camera, no-audio setup that it often has for games.

For this coming year, TigerBlog has been working with ESPN to try to get a women's basketball as part of the deal, though nothing has yet been finalized. Princeton hosts three strong non-league opponents this coming season, as Villanova, DePaul and Marist come to Jadwin Gym.

To date, the schedule is still in its earliest stages of being put together, so who knows how it might turn out.

TigerBlog does understand how unique these two situations are for Princeton, though, and they have both developed into tremendous partnerships.

Princeton has been willing to move start times and even days - football from Saturday to Thursday or Friday and hockey from Friday/Saturday to Sunday, for instance - to accommodate ESPN.

To its credit, ESPN has respected Princeton's desires not to have games start too late.

Back when TB first started at Princeton, television was a rarity, and streaming was non-existent. Some games could be seen locally and via satellite, with weird coordinates that alumni groups always struggled to locate.

In the years that followed, the most important part of a television game was to get it on DirecTV, so it could be seen anywhere in the country.

In the future, streaming is probably going to far eclipse television, which will probably end up going away at some point. Eventually, TB would guess, television will become like what your DVR is now, something resembling what ESPN3 is.

For now, though, TigerBlog is pretty happy with Princeton's TV arrangements. He figures to have next year's schedule with ESPN worked out in the next week or so, and then he can move on to other important issues.

Like the greatest moment in the history of "The Sopranos."

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?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The King, And The King And Queen Of Ivy Hoops

If TigerBlog could turn the clock back a year, he'd find himself in a world where the two most beloved professional team sport athletes in this country were Peyton Manning and LeBron James.

How could you not like these two?

Manning and James came across as incredibly hard working, team-oriented players who gave everything they had every game and almost never disappointed, even when their team lost. Away from the game, they both seemed so likeable, and together they churned out one funny commercial after another that played to those images.

About the only difference was that Manning won a Super Bowl, while James had yet to win an NBA title. Still, who thought James wouldn't get one, two, three with the Cavaliers, and what a feel-good story would that have been, a local kid from Akron who injected life into a great sports city that hasn't celebrated a championship since Jim Brown and the 1964 Browns.

Yes, the Cavs didn't have much of a supporting case. Still, they'd get James his "Scottie Pippen" one day, and the result would be ring after ring.

After all, who would stop a team with LeBron James, a freak of nature who could physically dominate a game like no other non-center ever. This includes Michael Jordan, whose dominance was half mental and half physical and who, by the way, is the greatest athlete TigerBlog has ever seen.

James, though wasn't that far behind. And when he won his championships in Cleveland, TB would be rooting hard for him, because who could possibly root against someone like James?

Fast forward a year, and this is what was written by Mike Vaccaro - who used to cover some Princeton basketball for the Star-Ledger - in the New York Post after the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals:

"America hadn’t rejoiced with this united a voice since Mike Eruzione beat Vladimir Myshkin with a wrist shot 31 1/2 years ago."

Or, as Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Yahoo sports:

"The Mavericks bus was packed with players and coaches and family, and the door opened up wide for Nowitzki. The noise and laughter and love came tumbling out for him. He climbed on, the bus peeled out of the parking lot and toward the Venetian Causeway across the green waters of Biscayne Bay, toward a long night of partying, and a longer life as a champion. And here’s how the Year of LeBron James finally ended in a balmy night in June: Dirk Nowitzki was taking his team, his trophy, his talents to South Beach."

It's unlikely that LeBron James could have done more to destroy his image, reputation and legacy in less than a year if he had actually sat down and planned to do so, short of committing a massive felony or getting caught up in a Tiger Woods situation.

James did all of the following since the end of last NBA season:
* had a narcissistic free-agency celebration of himself
* announced his decision to take his talents to South Beach, as he said, on an even more narcissistic one-hour television special
* took part in a welcoming ceremony that raised the bar of narcissism, if that was possible
* reached the NBA Finals
* shockingly disappeared when it counted
* mocked Dirk Nowitski
* ripped the fans after his team lost

Today, there's not one casual fan who will ever root for LeBron again. TigerBlog has a friend in Ohio who sent a text message after the game Tuesday that had two letters for LBJ, the first being an F and the second being somewhat obvious.

About the only way James will be able to salvage his reputation is to have Dwyane Wade get hurt and miss the playoffs and have Miami win the NBA title as James averages 30+ points.

Hey, James had a triple-double in Game 5 and 21 points in Game 6 and still came out looking worse than any athlete ever has in a championship setting that TB can remember.

And with the meltdown of James and the Heat, basketball season ended for 2011. And with a lockout looming, who knows if there'll be a 2011-12 season.

The NBA Finals ended three months to the day when Douglas Davis hit his shot against Harvard at the buzzer of the Ivy League playoff game, moving Princeton into the NCAA tournament. Five days later, Princeton came within a basket of knocking off Kentucky in the first round.

As an aside, Harvard doesn't exactly appear to be over how the playoff game ended.

The NBA runs forever compared to college, which runs long enough, considering it starts earlier and earlier in November.

The 2011 basketball season was the first in Princeton history where the men and women both advanced to the NCAA tournament, as the women did so for the second time in program history (and second straight time, of course) and the men did so for the first time since 2004.

The women won their championship minus the great Niveen Rasheed, who missed most of the season with a torn ACL. Despite that loss, Princeton went 13-1 in the league, making the Tigers 27-1 in the last two years. Addie Micir, a senior, won the Ivy League's Player of the Year Award unanimously.

The men won their championship as the culmination of a great turnaround for the program, a turnaround led by seniors Dan Mavraides and Kareem Maddox.

Princeton went 7-23 Micir's freshman year; the men were 6-23 that same year.

And despite that, it was a happy, feel-good ending for Princeton basketball in 2011.

And not as much of one for LeBron James.

Please don't let Peyton Manning be next.

Monday, June 13, 2011

TB's Friend Jeb

TigerBlog has a friend whose 70th birthday is today.

Sadly, TB will not be talking to that friend today, not after he passed away a little more than three years ago after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Three years later, TB still can remember the sound Jeb Stuart would make as he'd shuffle down the balcony with his cane, approaching the OAC. He can still see Jeb's face and hear Jeb's voice, and it hardly seems like three years have gone by since he didn't have to close his eyes to do so.

TB first met Jeb when TB was in the newspaper business and Jeb owned the local weekly paper, Town Topics. While TB doesn't exactly remember the exact time and place he met Jeb, he'd guess that it was in the press box at Palmer Stadium.

There are few people who spent more time in that press box through the years than Jeb Stuart. His father was the public address announcer for decades, and Jeb himself covered the Tigers for the newspaper and for the alumni weekly.

He was a Princeton kid who attended Princeton, and it wasn't until years later that TB learned that Jeb had actually graduated from Columbia, not Princeton.

Eventually, after his long career at the paper, Jeb retired, sort of.

In an effort to stay involved in Princeton Athletics, Jeb came to the OAC and volunteered to work here. No job, he said, would be too small.

And so Jeb spent the last 10 or so years of his life working in the back room of the OAC, in what is now a separate office on the other side of a wall that has since been put up.

Jeb would come in, sit back there and do things like string credentials or clip newspapers (back when clipping newspapers was something that the OAC did, or, for that matter, when having newspapers delivered was something that the OAC did). He researched requests, wrote historical stories for game programs, made copies of game notes, helped out at games.

Mostly, though, he talked to the people who worked here, people who were in some cases nearly 40 years his junior. He'd talk to them about his life, their lives, his experiences, their experiences. They'd talk about Princeton games, Princeton coaches, Princeton athletes - all current or past.

He'd laugh with the people who worked here. He was their friend.

And he only asked for two forms of compensation for his work. First, he wanted a parking pass for the athletics lot. Second, he wanted a email address.

He got both.

Jeb at one point walked with a lively gait, standing up straight and moving quickly. After radiation treatments for his cancer touched a nerve, though, he moved slowly, eventually walking with a severe limp and ultimately a cane.

Still, even as his physical ability slowed, he never did. He still came to work every day and loved every minute of it.

It would take Jeb about, oh 10 times longer than TB to walk from the parking lot to the building, but TB would wait for Jeb and walk at his pace.

Jeb stayed that way for years, until the cancer returned and spread. He tried experimental treatments, chemo, everything there was until it was too late.

TB visited him twice in the hospital before he left with the men's lacrosse team on a trip to Europe in June 2008. The first time, Jeb was talking about getting out, talking about the next football season, talking about the things Jeb talked about.

The second time, a few days, later, Jeb didn't even recognize TB, and it was then that TB knew the end was near. TB got word that Jeb had passed away while he was on the trip.

Jeb's memorial service brought a huge crowd to the Princeton chapel. One of his friends, while eulogizing "Jebbie," heard his cell phone ring and answered it, shocking the audience, who couldn't believe that someone would interrupt a eulogy to do so.

In a matter of seconds, it became obvious what had happened, as the eulogizer - whom TB didn't know - began to talk to Jeb, telling Jeb about the service and how it was going and all. It was a nice combination of humor and genuine affection.

In the three years since, TB has thought of Jeb often. Mostly, it's been at Princeton athletic events, and TB knows pretty much what Jeb would be thinking - and saying - about any given occasion.

TigerBlog knows that the shuffling sound of Jeb's foot, coupled with the cane, is gone from the balcony forever.

Still, he's hardly been forgotten. Today, on his 70th birthday, all of the memories of Jeb have come flooding back.

And, of course, there's TigerBlog itself, which began nearly three months after Jeb died. Jeb would have been an avid reader, and in all probability, would have been a regular contributor.

Jeb would have loved TigerBlog, just like TigerBlog loved Jeb.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Last Lap

It's hard to imagine too many plans in sports history - military history is filled with them - that went as poorly as the one the Yankees had for Joba Chamberlain.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye, Chamberlain went from unhittable eighth-inning set-up man behind Mariano Rivera to an average starter to an okay set-up man to a candidate for Tommy John surgery. Those Joba Rules that were meant to protect his golden arm?

Yeah, they didn't work out so well.

The Yankees babied Chamberlain every step of the way, and what was the result? The power pitcher suffered a torn ligament in his elbow and now needs reconstructive surgery.

Who knows? Maybe if they'd just left him alone all these years, he'd be wiping out batters before Rivera closed things out, just like he did back when he was unhittable as a rookie, all the while grooming himself to take over for Rivera one day.

Surely the Yankees could have used him last night, when the Red Sox blasted C.C. Sabathia in the seventh inning en route to an 8-3 win and a second-straight sweep of a three-game series with New York.

TB read about Chamberlain in this morning's actual newspaper, though he'd first seen the story yesterday afternoon in a "breaking news" alert in the New York Post online edition. TB gets about 99 percent of his information online - and this from a longtime newspaper veteran.

The local paper is still good for high school sports, which TB started out covering nearly 30 years ago.

In today's paper, there was a story about a local runner at the New Jersey Meet of Champions who was ahead of state-record pace in the 3,200-meter run when lightning struck, cancelling the race with two laps to go.

It was a decision that caused some controversy, as the race was pushed back to Monday night.

TigerBlog's first thought was to ask Princeton's track and field coaches if they could remember races that were interrupted like that, especially long distance races that had already completed 80% of the laps.

Then TB realized they were all at the NCAA championships, so it would have to wait.

The men's 4x400 relay was pushed back from last night to this morning at the NCAA track and field championships for the same reason that the high school race was interrupted, lightning. Princeton's team of Mike Eddy, Russell Dinkins, Austin Hollimon and Tom Hopkins was to run last night in Des Moines, only to have it pushed back to 11 local time (noon Eastern).

Princeton still has the 4x400, as well as some distance runners left to compete at the championships, which will be the final athletic event for Princeton in the 2010-11 academic year.

Donn Cabral and Ashley Higginson, who finished second and third a year ago, will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final tomorrow. Cabral and Mark Amirault will run in the 5,000 meters for the men, and Alex Banfich will run in the same event for the women.

If it seems like a long time since, oh, the Heps cross country championships, it has been. That's how the college track season is for distance runners.

Princeton's contingent in Iowa was a large one, going 10 deep.

Winning an NCAA title would be a great way to end the academic year, but none of Princeton's people is a favorite.

Still, it's been a ridiculous year for track and field here.

The men and women both won the cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field championships, a "double-triple" that only 10 schools have ever achieved in NCAA history - none of which was from the Ivy League.

Princeton won 15 Ivy League titles this academic year, breaking the old record of 14 by one (obviously).

Without the track and field programs, that record wouldn't have come close to being broken.

For all of the great things that Princeton athletics accomplished in 2010-11 - including a dramatic win in the Ivy men's basketball playoff game, the first perfect league season in men's soccer, a surprising title in baseball, dominance from sports like field hockey, women's basketball and swimming - it's hard to top what the track and field programs did.

The remaining races are a victory lap for those who are running them - regardless of where they finish.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

98 Degrees

It's 98 degrees here today, which makes the balcony of Jadwin Gym rather hot.

TigerBlog likes to leave the door to his office open. With the temperature so high, he can't do that, because it defeats the purpose of air conditioning.

Speaking of air conditioning, there was a long time here that the air conditioning in Jadwin didn't work so well. In fact, for some summers, it didn't work at all.

The offices that have an exterior window have always had window air conditioners, so they've always been nicely cooled. The offices on the balcony, though, have windows that look out across the lobby and through the huge glass windows into the football stadium and track complex, which affords a lovely view but no place to put a window unit.

As a result, there have been many summers where it's been rather hot in this office.

One year, when the air was turned off completely due to asbestos removal in the lower levels of the building, the OAC was given a portable unit that looked like what TigerBlog assumes an old fashioned iron-lung looked like.

The machine made a weird humming/gurgling noise, but it did cool things off a bit. The only problem was that nobody told anyone here that the machine created condensation that was collecting in a huge pail, and so when everyone left the first night and didn't turn the machine off, the pail overflowed and the office flooded, resulting in new carpet at least.

At one point during a particularly horrid summer, Vinnie DiCarlo called the local OSHA office, who referred him to his department supervisor, Gary Walters, and suggested he voice his concerns over the heat in the office to him. DiCarlo's response was: "I would, but I can't chisel the ice off his door."

Through the years, TigerBlog has had a small fan with the words "air duracraft" written cross the bottom on a table near his desk. TB always puts the fan on low, even in the winter, as much for the hum it gives off as for its cooling effect, though it does a surprisingly good job of that.

TigerBlog isn't 100 percent sure where got the fan. If his memory is correct, he had two of the same fans, except one was black and white and one was blue, and he can't remember what happened to the blue one. It's possible that the fans date back to when he lived in Trenton with Jim Chesko, back in the house on Chestnut Street that didn't have AC.

Eventually, the air conditioning here at Jadwin was replaced. Today, it works pretty well, to the point where the balcony offices are well-cooled throughout the summer, which technically is more than 10 days away.

As an aside, TB wishes he had a dollar for every person who made the requisite "how was the one day of spring we had" joke.

The down side of having the air conditioner work well is that it forces TB to keep the door closed. He's a big fan of having the door open, so he can interact with the people who walk by. With the door closed, he feels a bit isolated.

He can hear the people in the mail room, but he can't really make out what they're saying or who they are, unless they speak loudly. He can hear laughter, which happens a few times a day.

What's the point of any of this?

Well, except for eight track and field athletes who are competing through Saturday, the Princeton athletic year for 2010-11 is over.

Preparations for the 2011-12 school year began a long time ago, in every area that Princeton athletics deals with.

But in reality, when the events stop, everything else slows to a crawl. At least for a little while.

TigerBlog doesn't really have a good understanding of how much of the working world functions on a daily basis. If you're in sales, or you're in finance, or you're in something like that, how do you know when the day starts and when it ends? Do most professions have down time at this time of year? Probably not.

For TigerBlog, it's only ever been the newspaper business and this. The work schedule is dictated completely by the time of year.

And this time of year is easily the slowest around here. The second-slowest is the last two weeks of December or so, by the way.

There is a routine flow of people in and out of Jadwin through the school year. The number of people on campus skyrockets during Reunions and graduation, and the amount of work that builds to that point is significant.

And then, just like that, it's over. Almost everyone leaves campus for the summer, leaving behind only those who actually work here year-round.

It's a time to catch your breath and all, but it's also a bit weird.

Walk or drive across campus, and hardly anyone is here. Even the summer camp crowd hasn't arrived yet.

Eventually, the camps end, late August rolls around, the athletes start to return, practices start, games start, school starts, and all the noise comes back, starting the process all over again.

For now, though, the normal sounds of the school year are gone. In their place is just a strange silence.

And a lot of heat.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Welcome Home

TigerBlog has seen something in the neighborhood of a million Princeton athletic events in the last 30 years.

Actually that'd be an average of 91 per day, so it's clearly a hyperbole. In fact, TB wonders how many times he's seen Princeton play, and he could probably figure out a reasonably good estimate if he wanted to, which he doesn't. So he'll go the hyperbole root and say a million.

Of all of those games, most are just a blur, grouped together with all the other times TB saw that sport play that opponent. In many cases, TB can remember some particular details of a specific game from a specific year, and even the scores of a bunch of them.

And then there are a group that, for whatever reason, are just, as TB likes to say, seared into his memory.

One of those is Princeton-Harvard women's soccer back in 2004.

Today, TigerBlog is the sport contact for only one sport here at Princeton. In his time here, though, he's been the contact for 14 of Princeton's 38 sports: football, men's basketball, men's lacrosse, men's and women's squash, wrestling, men's and women's water polo, sprint football, all four crews and women's soccer.

Back when Princeton made its run to the 2004 NCAA Final Four in women's soccer, TB was the contact. And Esmeralda Negron was the team's star.

The biggest game of that season, the one that made the NCAA run possible, was the game against Harvard at Lourie-Love Field, which of course no longer exists.

Prior to that game, Princeton had gone a decade without scoring a goal at home against the Crimson, let alone winning one of the games. TigerBlog wrote about this in the pregame notes, and he was accosted by the father of one of the players before the game (in the Class of 1952 Stadium men's room, no less) about how he had psyched the players out.

For more than 89 minutes, TB thought it might be the case, as Princeton outplayed and outshot Harvard nearly three to one but trailed 1-0. Then Emily Behncke tied it in the final minute to force overtime, and Negron scored the game-winner in overtime.

TB can still see both plays as they developed, Behncke with her tying goal from up top and Negron with the finish in OT on a play set up by Diana Matheson.

It was one of 47 goals that Negron would score at Princeton, a total that is a record for both men and women.

The 47th of those goals was the one that snapped a tie game early in the second half of the NCAA quarterfinal game against Washington, a game that became a 3-1 Princeton win and vaulted the Tigers into the NCAA semifinals, the only time in league history that a women's soccer team has done so.

Negron is the greatest women's soccer player Princeton has known, not to mention one of the greatest women athletes the school has produced. She was a first-team All-America, which is a startling accomplishment, considering that there are 325 or so Division I women's soccer programs.

Her knack was scoring goals and doing so in big spots, and her Princeton resume includes more than one overtime goal. And, given their significance, her goal in OT against Harvard and her goal in the quarterfinals against Washington are probably the two biggest goals in program history.

At various times, TB has heard Negron talk about any number of career paths, but she has never been able to walk away from soccer.

Yesterday, Negron was named the new assistant women's coach here at Princeton, after a four-year run as an assistant at Seton Hall. Negron replaces Scott Champ, who left Princeton to become an assistant coach at Arizona State.

An athletic program can never have enough reminders of its great past accomplishments, unless they're a distraction or excuse for not giving full effort in the present. This is especially true at a place with the uniqueness of Princeton.

In Negron's case, having someone with her playing career return to the school as a coach is great for the women's soccer team. Her presence will show the current players what they are capable of accomplishing here, and her time as a player and student here give the current athletes a great sounding board for their own experiences.

Negron is the 17th member of the Princeton coaching staff to have graduated from Princeton, nine of whom are head coaches and eight of whom are assistants.

The rowing program is dominated with Princeton alums, as only three of the 10 coaches in the four crew programs are not Princetonians.

Of the 17 alums who coach here, 15 were All-Ivy League selections as undergrads. Of the 17, four were the Ivy League Player of the Year (TB will give a paragraph or two for those who want to guess).

Having alums who have had that kind of success come back to coach the programs in which they excelled is one of the things that makes Princeton special.

Esmeralda Negron's return to the women's soccer program looks like a perfect fit.

Oh, and the four Ivy Players of the Year: Negron, Jim Barlow (men's soccer), Sabrina King (women's volleyball), Brian Earl (men's basketball).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chris, Martina, Terry - And Jordan

Jeff Taylor has been creating video around here since the earliest days of Princeton Athletics' involvement in the medium, which means about three years.

TigerBlog can tell when a video is Taylor's, since it reeks of his signature style: the low-to-high angle shot, with a focus on the feet. It's a technique that never fails, especially when the feet belong to a swimmer or water polo player.

Taylor has outgrown Princeton, and he's embarking on a career as an actual filmmaker, specializing in documentaries. He's working with a company called Lonelyleap Film, and they have some interesting projects brewing.

TB told Taylor that he thinks that a great documentary would be one that focuses on an obscure college football player (say, an offensive lineman or someone like that) who figures to be a first-round draft choice in the next NFL draft. The filmmaker could follow him around for the year before the draft, when he's about to have the dream payday but hasn't yet.

A riveting documentary is more about the story than the film itself. The best ones seem to be the ones that take a story that is vaguely familiar and explore it in depths that the viewer never considered.

The "30 For 30" series that continues to play on ESPN follows that basic gameplan, and it does so to near perfection. Some of the documentaries that TB has seen are jaw-dropping, and even the subjects that don't quite appeal to TB as much are still tremendous.

This past weekend, TB saw two that he hadn't seen before, the one with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and the one where Terry Fox attempts to run across Canada after having his leg amputated due to cancer.

Like every other American boy, TigerBlog rooted hard for Chris Evert and against Martina, who described it this way: "Nobody ever rooted for me. You were the All-American girl next door, and I was a lesbian from Czechoslovakia."

Years later, when TB was new to the newspaper business, he covered the 1985 U.S. Open, where Hana Mandlikova defeated Evert in the semifinals and then Navratilova in the final. TB has been around a ton of big-time athletes and coaches in his career, and he has seen very, very few who were nicer people than Martina Navratilova.

The documentary was basically just a camera that followed them around for a weekend while they kicked around old times. Evert came across as very funny, while Navratilova came across the same way she impressed TB all those years ago - as a nice, friendly person. It's clear that their bond is a strong one, even though they were intense rivals for much of their careers.

As for Fox, TB sort of remembered his story from when it happened, as Fox tried to cross Canada to raise money for cancer research. He also remembered that Fox passed away shortly afterwards.

By the end of the one-hour piece, TB was getting a tad misty-eyed.

Fox began his run by dipping his leg in the Atlantic Ocean on April 12, 1980, in Newfoundland. He ran 3,339 miles in the next 143 days, reaching Thunder Bay, Ontario, before having to stop when the cancer returned and spread to his lungs.

That's more than 23 miles per day for 143 days, or essentially running a marathon a day - on one leg.

Fox began his run with no fanfare and ended it as arguably Canada's greatest hero of all-time. He died on June 28, 1981, and his run and legacy have helped generate more than $500 million in donations to cancer research.

The range of emotions of the run, the people whom Fox knew and how they were affected by him and the way one unknown person who was, for lack of a better word, pissed about how much more could be done to attack the disease could capture an entire country's attention came out dramatically in the documentary.

Earlier this spring, Andrew Pearson, who has worked with Taylor here at Princeton, released his documentary about Jordan Culbreath entitled "Running Through."

The official website of the documentary asks the question "what would you do if your world changed overnight" and includes the trailer for the movie.

The movie debuted here on campus, and TB couldn't make it to the showing that night. Since then, he's looked for other places to see it, and to date he's been unsuccessful. He's been asked a bunch of times by others when it's going to shown again, and the answer is "TB doesn't know."

TB saw Culbreath a bunch of times around graduation, with the PVC banquet and Reunions and all.

He's someone who's clearly humble about what he's been through, and in many ways, he has some Terry Fox in him.

They were both athletic young men in their early 20s who went from being seemingly indestructible physically to having to fight every day for their very survival. And both attacked it as strongly as they could.

TB wouldn't pretend to know exactly what went through each of their minds as they put all of their energies into getting better and being able to return to their sports, but TB's hunch is that it was basically something along the lines of "what do people expect us to do, give up?"

Maybe that's why TB always figured Culbreath was wondering what all the fuss was about when he returned to the football field, and it's likely that Fox felt the same way.

Unfortunately, Fox's determination alone wasn't enough to win his fight. He passed away having lived 22 years and 11 months.

Culbreath has already lived longer than Fox did, as he turned 23 a few months ago.

Between the two of them, that's a lot of inspiration in a short time.

It's why their lives have made such great documentary subjects.