Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walking And Running

TigerBlog found himself back in New York City yesterday.

Unlike his last trip, which was on a glamorous Saturday night in the theater district, this time he was there during a work day.

As he walked through the streets of midtown, he was struck by two things.

First, a lot of people in New York City smoke. Actually, that may or may not be accurate. It seems like a lot of them smoke because they all stand out in front of buildings to do it, and so it creates a never-ending wave of smoke for those who are just walking by.

TigerBlog can't understand why anyone would choose to smoke. It's a vile habit, and beyond that, it has a pretty good chance to shorten your life dramatically. There are enough hazards in the world without entering into one like that so needlessly.

If you smoke, quit. TB is happy to refer to you MotherBlog, who smoked - and died at age 55.

The other thing that TB was shocked by was how many people walk up to the food carts on the street and order whatever happens to be cooking there, without any real regard for, oh, general health?

It reminded TB of the scene in the wildly underrated "The Pope of Greenwich Village," when Mickey Rourke pulls Eric Roberts away from such a cart and says "all they're selling there is warm germs."

A long time ago, TigerBlog had a summer job in the city at 68th and Park, and right on the corner was a hot dog cart, where every now and then TB would get two with kraut and a YooHoo. And by every now and then, he means every afternoon.

Of course, he was 19 at the time, so maybe his system was better equipped to handle it.

Still, even back then, he would never have dreamed of getting some of the stuff that is being sold on the corners, things with meat and no place to wash their hands and - yuck - TB is getting queasy just thinking about it.

One undeniable part about his walking in Manhattan yesterday was that it was nearly perfect weather to be doing so, with the temperature right at 70 and an overcast sky that threatened but never really opened up.

In fact, the weather this fall has been astonishingly perfect for the most part.

It makes TB think back 52 weeks ago, when it snowed on a crazy Saturday in Princeton in late October.

It didn't just snow; it blizzarded. The day before it was sunny and 70. The day after it was sunny and 60. In between was the biggest accumulated snowfall of last winter, even if it came in the fall.

It destroyed the home weekend against Cornell, where field hockey, football and both soccers had work around the flakes.

More than that, it completely ruined the Ivy League Heptagonal cross country championships, which were held here because of the construction at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

The result was a series of great pictures with snowflakes falling all around the competitors - and an all-around lousy experience for athletes, administrators and spectators.

Ah, but another chance has arisen. Van Cortlandt is still not available, and so the meet returns to Princeton for a second time, coming this Saturday to the West Windsor fields (beginning at 11 am).

The forecast is for nearly perfect weather again, 67 degrees, or about 40 more than last year. And the best part? No snow.

If you've never been to a Heps cross country meet, they are among the best events on the annual Ivy League sports calendar. There are big tents with great spreads for each of the eight teams. The full color of the rainbow - on the trees and uniforms - is well-represented.

The competition is fierce, and one of TB's favorite parts is how it's impossible to tell which team has won (usually, unless one team completely dominates) until shortly after everyone finishes and the results are totaled.

And there are such subtle differences in the scoring, as the runner from one school moves from 15th to 12th right at the end and changes the team score in any number of directions.

There are few competitions where the athletes are as spent as they are at the end of a major cross country event.

TB always loved going to the ones at Van Cortlandt.

This time, they're at Princeton. Again. With everything that makes the event great, without having to drive to the Bronx.

Or, mercifully, without the snow.


CAZ said...

"Charlie - They took my thumb!!!

What the hell happened here?"

Clearly one of the BEST movies ever... definitley in my personal top 10.

BTW, some of us idiots braved that storm by sitting in Rutgers Stadium watching RU squander a first half lead and ultimately getting embarassed by West Virginia... definitely NOT one of my best days.

Brett Hoover said...

I have had the same feeling about NYC smokers. Not only is it vile, harmful and inconveniencing, it is amazingly expensive. I think a pack of smokes in the City goes for $13. A pack a day habit costs about $5,000 a year! Anyway. Go to Heps! That is all.