Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't You Know A Good Tree From A Poor Tree?

TigerBlog figures he's in triple figures of the number of times he's watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas," most recently Wednesday night, when it was on just before the tree lighting from Rockefeller Center.

TB's favorite part, like everyone else's, is when Linus stands up, gets the right lighting and tells all the over-commercialized, Christmas-play-destroying cast members what the real meaning of Christmas is - and Charlie Brown's subsequent realization that he has in fact gotten the perfect tree.

Honestly, the entire 30-minute cartoon is nearly perfect, even if the animation is hardly cutting edge. It dates to its first showing, back on December 9, 1965, and no Christmas is the same without at least one viewing.

It's such an uplifting half-hour, maybe the only time in Peanuts history that Charlie Brown actually wins, that he doesn't get the football yanked away by Lucy, that he doesn't get hit so hard that all his clothes end up on the mound, that his dog doesn't get the best of him.

It has its funny moments, especially when Schroeder plays "Jingle Bells" for Lucy, who gets it all wrong. Or when Sally asks Charlie Brown to write her letter to Santa, asking for "tens and twenties."

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is one of TB's favorite parts of this time of year.

So are Christmas carols, of which he has about 50 on his iTunes. He has a rule that he won't play any of those songs until it's the right time of year, though that isn't definitively set by any specific date.

For the record, he's pretty close, but not quite there.

Two Christmases have come and gone since TigerBlog sat at the Rutgers Athletic Center and watched Princeton drop a heartbreaker in women's basketball, falling 54-53 to the Scarlet Knights on a basket with four seconds left in a game that would have been a great win for Princeton, only to have it yanked away at the very end.

One night after watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas," TigerBlog watched the Princeton-Rutgers women's basketball game on his computer. Or at least the second half, because he was tied up from 6-7:30 trying to get middle school girls to learn to run elements of the Princeton offense, as well as defend.

Anyway, TB first checked the score via Twitter and found that Princeton was up big early. Then he watched the second half, during which Rutgers never really challenged the Tigers, who would end up with a 71-55 win.

The victory was Princeton's fourth in 19 tries against the Scarlet Knights, who have long been the dominant women's basketball program in the state of New Jersey.

The win was the first for Princeton over Rutgers since 1977.

Princeton won without having a monster night from Niveen Rasheed, who had a very steady, solid 15 points and seven rebounds.

In fact, Rasheed didn't even lead Princeton in scoring. That was, in fact, freshman Alex Wheatley, who had 17 on 8 for 12 shooting.

And if Lauren Polansky ever had a night typical for her, it was this one. Her line? One point, nine rebounds, seven assists.

It was a huge night for Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart as well, who got her first win over Rutgers' Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer.

As the game ended on his laptop, TB thought back to two years earlier in the RAC and how close to a signature win Banghart had come, only to have it get away in the final four seconds.

As TB remembers it, Banghart wasn't sad or crushed. She was determined. Focused. Zoned in on the next meeting between the schools.

And then the Knights weren't on the schedule last year, when Princeton had the best team it's had in school history. For that matter, the banners on the Ivy League title and NCAA tournament appearance were unveiled the three seniors from last year were honored at halftime.

So that left this year, the final game of November for the Tigers.

And it was no contest. Princeton dominated throughout, leaving nothing to a final four seconds of chance, like two years ago.

It was a great win for the Tigers, who have had plenty of those in the last three-plus seasons. Just not one over Rutgers, at least not since 1977.

When TB saw that was the last time Princeton had beaten the Knights, he started to do a little math. Forget that no current Princeton player was anywhere near born in 1977. TB is pretty sure Banghart wasn't either.

Last night was a great night for Princeton women's basketball.

Three alums honored at the half. Two more banners unveiled.

And one big, big victory.

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