Friday, January 18, 2013

One In 37

Princeton had four teams compete this past Aug. 31, which happened to be a Friday.

As of now, there are no events scheduled for the weekend of May 17-19, though that could change with postseason qualifications.

In between, Princeton will have more than one team who has competed or will be competing on every single weekend. Except for one. This weekend.

For those keeping score, that's 36 of 37 weekends with athletic events for Princeton teams. And one without.

The reason, of course, is first semester exams, which are at their midway point.

And because Christmas and New Year's Day fell on Tuesdays.

Meanwhile, back at this weekend, there is nothing going on at Princeton. Or with any Princeton team on the road.

By next weekend, exams will be over, and the men's and women's track and field teams, men's basketball team, men's hockey team and men's and women's swimming and diving teams will all be back at it between Friday and Sunday.

Ah, but this weekend? Nothing.

When you work in college athletics, you understand that being there on the weekends is just part of the deal. Nobody knows any differnet.

In fact, there could be another four weekends of events on the schedule, depending on how far teams and individuals advance, which would make 40 of 52 weekends with events.

So what about this weekend? TigerBlog figures his co-workers will be taking full advantage.

TigerBlog mentioned the other day his theory that the exam break helps Princeton's winter teams, because they get a built-in, essentially two-week physical rest period. It drew this comment:
It's fascinating that you believe the exam break is an advantage for Princeton winter athletes. I've always assumed that it's a disadvantage because sports success depends upon practice and repetition, which is interrupted. On the other hand, football teams always say that they look forward to bye week. I guess it hinges on the break being long enough to provide physical rest but short enough to stay sharp. I would be interested if you've ever asked any of the athletes their opinion.

As a result, TigerBlog did just that, asking a few Princeton athletes what they thought. Here are some of the responses:

Meg Bowen, women's basketball:
I find the break for finals to allow us to relax a little from the basketball side of things and really focus on our academics. It also allows time to take a physical break and further prepare for the Ivy season. Some people get run down physically by the new year, so this period really helps our bodies regroup and prepare to get through March.   

Denton Koon, men's basketball:
It's a challenge because we were just starting to get into a good flow as a team. Taking a few weeks away from the game can be tough, but it'll definitely make us mentally stronger going into the second half of the season and into league play.

T.J. Bray, men's basketball:
It's not much of a distraction. You've just got to focus on your work when you're working and when you're down in the gym, focus on basketball. You've just got to really separate the two and focus on both of them. It's kind of nice to get a little break here. You like to keep playing and keep some momentum, but I think it should help us.

Jack Berger, men's hockey:
Ideally, we would like to keep playing games to stay sharp after coming off Christmas break, but the time off will give our team the opportunity to let guys get healthy for the postseason push that is coming up ...  I think that guys do a great job of maintaining a high level of commitment to being both a student and an athlete.

James Kerr, men's hockey:
This two-week adjustment endows student-athletes with fresh purpose and allows them to return to their sport reinvigorated. A change is as good as rest.

Blake Dietrick, women's basketball:
I think the break definitely helps us to re-focus for the Ivy League season.

Yes, the unique Princeton academic calendar is all they know as athletes at the school. Still, it appears that there is some merit to what TB was saying the other day.

In the meantime, the only free weekend from August to May is almost here.

It starts to ease back into normal next weekend. Then the busiest time of year explodes on Princeton athletics.

This weekend? Nothing.

Well, the NFL playoffs, among other things.

Just nothing Princetonian. For the only time in 37 weekends.

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