Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Well, the long harsh winter is officially over. And now it's spring.

Of course, living here in the tropics, it's hard to differentiate between the two.

TigerBlog remembers when he used to live in an area of the country where there was a change of seasons, where each season flowed one to the other and the coming of spring was a time of rejuvenation and rebirth.

Of course, TB still lives in the same area.

This year, winter lasted from the overnight hours of Oct. 29 until the early evening of the same day. During that time, about five inches of snow fell on Princeton, and it destroyed what would have otherwise been some well-attended events, such as Princeton-Cornell football and Heps cross country.

Within three days of the snowstorm, temperatures reached the 50s, the snow disappeared, and spring was essentially here.

Oh, sure, there were a few flurries here and there, though nothing that required a snow shovel.

Spring lasted through December, January and February. And of course, now it's summer. High temperatures today, tomorrow and Friday will be in the 80s.

And there is the whole tropical nature to Central New Jersey as well, since it rains overnight and into the early morning, clears up and becomes sunny and hot - just like it does in the Virgin Islands.

If you're keeping score, TigerBlog wore his heavy winter coat once in the months that used to be considered winter. He cannot remember one day where he walked outside and said "holy shimolly, it's freezing out here."

In fact, there were probably more "no jacket" days than "jacket" days.

And there's your weather update.

The winter athletic season isn't quite over, and it could go out in a big way.

The NCAA fencing championships begin tomorrow at Ohio State, and Princeton has as good a chance as anyone to bring home the biggest trophy.

TigerBlog isn't exactly a fencing expert, but he did learn how the championships work.

Basically, there are three fencing weapons: sabre, epee and foil. Each weapon has 24 fencers who qualify for the NCAA event, and no school can have more than two fencers per weapon.

The men and women are counted together, and there is one NCAA team championship. That means the maximum number of fencers a school can qualify is 12 (two men and two women per weapon times three weapons), and Princeton is one of five schools to have qualified the maximum (St. John's, Harvard, Ohio State and Notre Dame are the other four).

Each fencer has a bout against the other 23 fencers in that weapon, and the first one to five touches wins a point for his/her team. Add up all the points, and there's your winner.

The top four in each weapon advance to the individual weapon championships.

The job that Princeton's fencing staff of Zoltan Dudas, Hristo Hristov and Szilvia Voros have done is remarkable. The Tigers have won five Ivy titles in the last three years between the men's and women's programs, and they head to Columbus with a legitimate chance of winning the NCAA title.

TB wonders how some of these athletes got into fencing in the first place. He knows little about the sport, and he wonders what the specific skills that it requires.

Fencing 23 bouts in two days seems like a lot. Is it? Is it an endurance contest, or are they so quick that 23 bouts is pretty much standard?

TB knows the answer to none of those questions. Seems like a pretty interesting sport, though, no?

In fact, basically all he knows about fencing is that he's rooting for the Tigers.

No comments: