Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympic Withdrawal

TigerBlog was rooting hard for Spain.

No, not in the gold medal men's basketball game. Had Spain won that game, TB would have been fine with it, since it's the underdog factor and all, plus there are a few players on the U.S. team that TB simply cannot stand.

And yes, the United States did win and has done a great job of reestablishing itself not only as the prominent basketball country in the world but also of becoming essentially unbeatable. Let's remember, though, that yesterday's final was essentially a game of 24 players in which the U.S. team had the first seven or so picks  and 12 of the first 14.

Hey, when it came time to empty the bench and take the starters out to celebrate and get a round of applause, whoever the U.S. coach was (TB can't remember who it was) put in James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguadala, Anthony Davis and Deron Williams.

No, the game in which TB really was rooting for Spain was in the women's team handball bronze medal game. He's not sure why, other than 1) he's been to Spain and not to South Korea and 2) it appeared that Spain was on every time team handball was on, so they were sort of the known team.

Spain ended up winning in overtime. Four overtimes, as it turned out, since a tie in a medal round is broken by two five-minute OTs, and if it's still tied, another two. Had it been tied after the fourth OT, then it would have been decided by a shootout of seven-meter shots.

TB doesn't understand all the team handball rules, though there is a great one. There is no shot clock, but it's an immediate turnover if the officials suspect that the offensive team is not making an attempt to score but is instead stalling. Imagine if lacrosse copied that?

Team handball is one of the parts of the Olympics that TB loves, the chance to see a bunch of sports that ordinarily aren't part of the sporting conscience.

Oh, and TB forgot to say this during the last two weeks, but you know what is really fascinating about Michael Phelps? Between the 2008 Olympics and 2012 Olympics, how many people saw him compete?

The Games ended yesterday with the Closing Ceremonies, which didn't exactly equal the Opening Ceremonies in terms of the over-the-topness but came close. The music was great and all, but was all the accompanying stuff really necessary?

Anyway, they're over now, which means the TV in TB's office isn't being turned on now in anticipation of whatever event is next. There'll be a certain withdrawal that goes along with it, as TB genuinely got into watching these Games, more so than he did in years past.

And he loved the London 2012 app, where he could figure out who won long before he could watch it on TV.

So what's going to fill the void?

Mostly, it's going to be Princeton Athletics.

As nuts as it seems, practice starts this week for most Princeton fall sports.

Even more nuts, the first games are two weeks from Friday. Today is Aug. 13, and the first games are Aug. 31. In fact, Princeton plays men's soccer, women's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball on that Friday.

Only women's soccer is at home, but there'll be plenty of women's soccer that weekend, four games in fact, as Princeton opens by hosting Colgate, Hofstra and Wake Forest in the Princeton Invitational, with two more home games the following weekend (against St. Joe's and Temple).

By a month from tomorrow, six Princeton teams will have played home games.

The opening day for football season is a month from Wednesday.

Before you blink, the fall season - like the Olympics - will have flown by.

There are no more sports camps here, so the army of little kids has disappeared for now. There are no athletes yet, so there is almost nothing going on.

It's very, very quiet.

And it's going to change very, very quickly.

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