Friday, April 27, 2012

Think Of The Absurdity

TigerBlog knew he wanted to write about the Penn Relays and the Princeton-Cornell men's lacrosse game, and he wasn't really sure where to begin.

He was going to go with something along the lines of "there's this great three-day sporting event that began yesterday and runs through tomorrow - and it's not the NFL draft," and yet that didn't really grab him. Plus, he's pretty sure the Penn Relays actually started Wednesday.

He thought about a history lesson, about how the Penn Relays began in 1895 as an offshoot of a relay race between teams from Princeton and Penn.

Then, before he could go down that path, Princeton women's track and field coach Peter Farrell walked by - presumably on his way out the door to Philadelphia - and said these words: "Think of the absurdity."

TB has no idea of which particular absurdity Farrell was speaking this time. With Farrell, it could be any number of them, from movies to music to satellite radio to people and even to intercollegiate athletics.

Anway, when in doubt, TB can always start with Farrell.

He never slowed down after his four word admonishment, and so TB couldn't ask him a simple question. Are the three days of the Penn Relays your favorite three days of the year?

There are no Ivy League titles at stake, though there are Championships of America to be won.

Beyond that, there is the spectacle itself that is the Penn Relays, where thousands of athletes converge on Franklin Field, which finds itself nearly full, as if the Eagles were playing there in the 1960s again.

It's a continuous schedule of race after race, with high school students at one moment and Olympians the next.

Farrell's team got off to a good start yesterday when the 4x400 relay team of Carrie Vuong, Eileen Moran, Cecelia Barowski and Joie Hand broke a 30-year-old school record.

There will be more Princeton athletes who compete at the Relays today and tomorrow. In all, about 50 Princeton athletes will run at this year's Penn Relays.

As for TigerBlog, his preferred event for the weekend is the men's lacrosse game against Cornell, on Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium tomorrow night at 7. Those nowhere near Princeton can watch it on ESPNU.

Those close to Princeton can come and bring lacrosse equipment or clothes to donate to the Fields of Growth organization, who will send the donations to Uganda.

The game itself is huge.

Princeton has already clinched at least a share of the Ivy title, and a win over Cornell would give Princeton the outright championship. Cornell, on the other hand, is looking for a share of the title with a win of its own.

Also, the winner hosts next week's Ivy League tournament. The real prize is up for grabs there, with the winner to get the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

And hey, Coach Farrell just came back.

He was a Penn Relays champion as a high school runner. He has coached Princeton to man, many Heps titles.

Which does he like better?

Well, by his own words, they're very, very, very different. And of course, there's a pressure that goes along with the Heps.

Ultimately, he summed up his feelings about this weekend's event in another simple four words:

"It's the Penn Relays."

Nothing absurd about that.

No comments: