Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Over

TigerBlog is a longtime Knicks' fan, dating back to when FatherBlog yelled and then fell off the coach when Jerry West made his game-tying (would have been game-winning had the three-point rule been in effect), buzzer-beating shot from beyond halfcourt in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals.

As an aside, the Knicks somehow regrouped and won that game.

The Knicks would win the 1970 NBA Finals and then win again in 1973. Since then, the closest the team has come to another title is 1994, when the Rockets beat the Knicks in Game 7 of an epic series. New York lost the last game 86-84 on a night when John Starks shot 2 for 18, including 0 for 10 in the fourth quarter.

To show you how much Knicks' fans liked Starks, he remains beloved to this day, rather than vilified for his epically bad night.

TigerBlog's least favorite college player of all time, at least until J.J. Redick came along, was Patrick Ewing. TB couldn't stand Georgetown of the mid-1980s, and Ewing was the face of the program.

Somehow, Ewing went from that to being one of TB's two favorite NBA players ever, along with Julius Erving. And Georgetown is now his favorite college team that doesn't play its home games within 30 feet or so of where he's currently writing.

The Knicks of today? Unwatchable. Unrootable. There was the briefest stretch last year when it seemed like the team was on the right path, but all that was erased when the team got Carmelo Anthony (nothing against him per se, other than the idea of building a team around as many stars as possible, rather than as a team).

Plus, the whole James Dolan part makes it even worse.

For all that, TB has found himself pulling for a team in the opposite direction from Princeton, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Why not? The team is doing well. The tickets are reasonably priced (honestly, they are). They have players and a coach who seem likeable.

TB was watching the end of the Sixers last night, instead of the Knicks. At the same time, he was texting with Craig Sachson, who works with TB in the OAC and who is, along with men's lacrosse coach Chris Bates, one of the two actual, legitimate fans of the Philadelphia 76ers that TB knows.

Anyway, the game got away from the Sixers, who lost to the Denver Nuggets.

Sachson is always good for some quality sarcasm, and his texts reflected his disappointment.

About an hour after the game, TB had another new message, and he expected more Sixers.

This one was from Sachson, only it wasn't about the NBA.

It said simply: "Yale 5, Trinity 4."

It was startling, causing TB to jolt. Yale 5, Trinity 4?

The streak was over.

After 252 consecutive wins, the Trinity men's squash team finally lost. For the first time since 1998, the Bantams were beaten.

If there was ever an "evil empire" of an opponent, it's been Trinity men's squash.

TigerBlog's contention is that had it been more of a mainstream sport, then the 2009 national final between Princeton and Trinity - won by the Bantams 5-4 in a six-hour gut-wrenching marathon - would be considered among the greatest collegiate sporting events of all time. As it was, anyone who was here that day, even for a small part of it, will never forget it.

This year figured to be the year that someone picked off Trinity.

Princeton's next match is at Trinity, though it is still two weeks away. Oh, did the Tigers want to be the ones to snap the streak.

Now, with the streak a thing of the past, the bigger question is this: Who will emerge as the national champion?

For the last billion years, it's basically been Trinity as the prohibitive favorite. This year? It could be any of four teams - Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Trinity.

The Tigers own a 5-4 win over the Crimson in the regular season. Yale just beat Trinity. Harvard beat Yale 5-4 in the Ivy League's preseason tournament, which doesn't count in the regular-season standings. Harvard is at Trinity Saturday and then plays Yale Feb. 12.

It all builds to the national championships, Feb. 17-19, in Jadwin Gym.

The last time they finals were here, they were amazing drama.

This year, it's a different kind of drama, more of a wide-open, nobody-knows-who's-going-to-win thing.

It's not to be missed.

No comments: