Thursday, November 1, 2012

Goodbye Sandy

At the height of her trip through Central Jersey, Hurricane Sandy (or Tropical Storm Sandy or Frankenstorm Sandy) was one nasty lady.

It seemed like New York City and the Jersey Shore took the worst of it, with surges of water in tunnels and subways and whole beaches seemingly gone, along with any number of homes near them.

TigerBlog can't imagine what the people who had everything destroyed are going through, and he wishes them all the best as the cleanup begins.

Because he lost power, TigerBlog couldn't see the devastation on television. No TV. No internet. No power. Nothing.

The Princeton area wasn't hit particularly hard in terms of rain, which is good, but the wind was brutal Monday. By the time Tuesday rolled around, it was a bit surreal, with almost no outside activity, few cars on the road, whole towns shut down, almost no businesses operating.

In all the time that TB has worked at Princeton, he cannot remember a time when the University closed due to weather issues for more than two days. This time, the University was shut down Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was a lucky break that the storm - the latest hurricane ever to hit this area - occurred during fall break, which meant that most of the students weren't on campus. Had this been during a regular week of school, it would have been a nightmare for University officials.

As for TB, he kept his phone and laptop charged until the power went out, right after "Octopussy" had started as part of a James Bond marathon Monday, after TB had watched "Goldfinger" and "You Only Live Twice."

As an aside, almost a year ago, TB ranked his favorite James Bond movies this way:
1. Live and Let Die
2. The Spy Who Loved Me
3. Diamonds Are Forever
4. Goldfinger
5. Octopussy

As he watched "Goldfinger" again, he thinks he might have been selling that one a little short. He never came close to seeing the scene where 007 stops the nuclear bomb in "Octopussy," since the power went out right when James arrived in New Dehli.

Once the power went out, TB used the flashlight app to see where he was going and all. Eventually, his phone would die, so he recharged it on his laptop, causing that to die.

After that, he had to charge his phone in his car.

As Tuesday progressed, he had absolutely nothing to do and nowhere he could go. His only source of entertainment and information came from his phone, which made keeping it charged imperative.

It was amazing, TB thought, how life can grind to a halt the way it did earlier this week.

Had the storm never materialized, then it would have been business as usual here, with busy days filled with work, kids, life, etc. And then something nobody had any control of emerged, and just like that everything shut down, leaving no choice but to go along with it.

Now that Sandy is gone and things are starting to get back to normal, attention can turn to this coming Saturday, when Princeton and Penn get together four times here at Princeton.

The field hockey team would wrap up an outright Ivy League title with a win, but regardless, the Tigers have already clinched the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The men's soccer team is playing to keep its shot at an at-large NCAA tournament bid alive, which would require wins over Penn (currently 0-5 in the league) and Yale next weekend at the very least.

As for the women, the game against the Quakers has a ton riding on it.

Princeton is 6-0-0 in the league and 12-3-1 overall, with an RPI of 43 and at least a share of the Ivy League championship regardless of what happens Saturday. A win or tie against Penn and Princeton has the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament as well, which would be a fitting end to a great season.

Should Penn beat Princeton and Dartmouth lose or tie Brown, then Penn would tie Princeton and earn the automatic bid. Should Penn beat Princeton and Dartmouth beat Brown, then there'd be a three-way tie for the title - and the automatic bid would be decided in a random draw.

As for the football game, this one is a big one too, the biggest November game for Princeton since the 2006 championship season.

Princeton and Penn are tied for first at 3-1, along with Harvard, whom Princeton has already beaten and whom Harvard plays next. Princeton finishes its season at Yale and home with Dartmouth.

Should Princeton earn a football championship this year, it would be up there with anything the program has done in the last 50 years or so and would be one of the great achievements in the entire history of the sport here.

Remembering where Princeton was the last few years, just having meaningful November games to play in the first place is a remarkable achievement.

The weather Saturday is supposed to be perfect for the fall - sunny, 50, no chance of rain.

As TB watches the games here, he'll be struck by another surreal feeling, that in a seven-day span he went from watching cross country in perfect conditions to watching football in perfect conditions, with a storm in between that nobody is going to forget for awhile.

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