Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feeling Grand

Remember when the UConn women's basketball player tore her ACL one point shy of the school record for points in a career?

The next game was at Villanova, and the coaches agreed that the UConn player would come onto the court in her brace and be allowed to make an uncontested layup, which would be followed by an uncontested Villanova layup at the other end of the court. The score would officially be 2-2, and the teams would go from there.

It became a pretty hot topic at the time, about the value of a record that a player surely would have gotten had she not been injured versus the integrity of the games themselves.

Back then, Princeton had a basketball media luncheon each week, with the women's head coach (at the time Liz Feeley), the men's head coach (Bill Carmody) and one player from each team.

Rich Fisher, who probably holds the record for most publications in Mercer County written for in a career, was covering one of the luncheons for one such publication, and he essentially said something along the lines of "this has nothing to do with Princeton, but what did you think of the UConn-Villanova thing?"

The two players both said something along the lines of "it was nice that she got the record," though it took them about a minute each to do so. Feeley then said basically the same thing, and though it was in a more cohesive form, it still took her about a minute as well.

Then it was Carmody's turn, and his answer was 10 words that TigerBlog will never forget:
"Al Kaline had 399 home runs; what's the big deal?"

Carmody was saying that records and milestones aren't what are important. Making shots is what's important.

Sports, though, are milestone-driven. Kaline did get a huge one - he had 3,007 hits in his career, a number that landed him in the Hall of Fame - but there's a bigger difference between hitting 399 home runs and 400 home runs than just the one more.

Baseball is by far the sport that emphasizes numbers the most, but it's not alone.

1,000 points. 1,000 yards.

1,000 blogs.

Okay, it's not quite like reaching the first two, but today is Blog No. 1,000 for TigerBlog, at least TigerBlog the blog, not TigerBlog the person. If he had to guess, TB would say he's at about 900 or so.

TigerBlog began on Aug. 28, 2008, and TB cannot remember why the Princeton OAC decided to create a blog in the first place. In fact, TB's memory on the subject is that it had something to do with wanting to do in-game blogging and to have a place for small news items that didn't need to go on the main webpage.

The first entry was this:
The new Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium hosted its first event on Thursday as members of the media were introduced to the new home of Princeton soccer. Head coaches Jim Barlow and Julie Shackford and members of both teams met reporters from area newspaper and television outlets. Look for articles in the upcoming issues of the Princeton Packet and Town Topics and on WZBN News.  

The second entry was about Will Venable's Major League debut.

When football season started, the blog was used as an in-game tool, but TB remembers thinking that 1) to do it right, the in-game blog had to be a bit more creative, 2) it wasn't right to blog for football and basketball but not other sports and 3) he didn't want to create more work for everyone in the office.

The in-game blogging lasted through the first few months, into basketball season. In fact, TB has saved the last email he ever got from Lorin Maurer (the Friends' group coordinator who was tragically killed in a plane crash), and the email is a forward of one from a member of the swimming and diving Friends' group who asks if their meets can also get live-blogging.

Eventually, TigerBlog started using TigerBlog as the subject of sentences, but not to refer to the author.

It's possible that TB realized that the number of people who read the blog were minimal, and that, coupled with the issues related to in-game blogging for one team and not others, led to a change in the approach to the blog.

It also was apparent that 1) it needed to be updated every day to maintain readers and 2) it would be adding to the work load of the office to do so.

In an effort to avoid that, TB took the lead in updating the blog. And he started to figure out that if he wrote about Princeton people and his experiences in covering them through the years, it had more appeal.

Ultimately, he started to get a little carried away, at least from the perspective of an official college athletic department site. Regular readers now know about TB's favorite movies, TV shows, songs, authors, teams and such.

Still, it's all tied into Princeton Athletics and promoting Princeton Athletics. And it often takes a stand on big issues in athletics, education, the Ivy League, the future of media, sportsmanship and such, which is what the real appeal is.

TB does wish he had a more thorough background in sports other than the ones he writes about the most, and he knows that there are those who are turned off by the number of times certain sports get written about versus others.

TigerBlog has become a huge part of TB's day, and it has been a very successful enterprise for the OAC as it has gone away from traditional publications to the blog, podcasts and video. Who knows what's next?

Anyway, TigerBlog turns 1,000 today.

Thanks for reading and indulging.

Hopefully, TigerBlog is in it for the long haul. The blog and the person.


CAZ said...

Mazel Tov!

George Clark said...

Faithful readers must be prepared to separate the wheat from the chaff, but the rewards for doing so make the exercise useful. I think you do an excellent job...but that may be a reflection of the fact that your opinions on the big issues usually match mine. Looking forward to the next 1000....

Anonymous said...

When you first started, my immediate thought was, "He's going to run out of topics, especially once the summer begins."

But I was wrong. Here you are almost four years later. Your columns are almost interesting to read and that is your most impressive achievement, not merely your longevity.

There's no reason to be apologetic at all regarding your discussion of favorite movies and other general topics. That doesn't detract from the blog, it adds to it, simply because you have such a good voice for casual non-fiction writing.

Anonymous said...

A 1,000 post record might not normally mean much per Coach Carmody, but when they're as interesting and varied as you make them, it does. And that's not even counting all the posts in other venues. Well done.

But I still won't be using twitter. sparman

Anonymous said...

1K! What's the post-to-Train reference ratio?