Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papum

Whether or not you are Catholic - and TigerBlog is not Catholic - you have to be fascinated by the process of choosing a new Pope.

TigerBlog certainly was.

The whole black smoke/white smoke part is wildly dramatic, especially when news broke yesterday that white smoke was coming out of the chimney at the Vatican, much to the delight of the 100,000 or so in St. Peter's Square.

The white smoke meant that there was in fact a new Pope, chosen by a two-thirds majority by the Cardinals who had gathered only a day earlier to choose the successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

This led to about an hour of heightened suspense, as the world waited to see who it was. Would it be the first American Pope? Would it be an Italian? Would it be an African?

Instead, it turned out to be Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis I. The new Pontiff is from Argentina, making him the first South American Pope.

TigerBlog wonders if the election itself was contentious in any way, or what the actual business of choosing the new Pope would be like. Bergoglio was chosen on the fifth ballot.

And then there's the unveiling of the new Pontiff.

First the lights behind the curtain go on. Then the curtain opens. Then one of the Cardinals comes onto the balcony and announcers "Habemus Papum," or "We have a Pope," and then he says who it is.

And then the new Pope steps out.

TB suspects that the moments before that are fairly overwhelming for the man who was just elected.

Because Benedict retired, there is the almost-never-before situation of having a new Pope and living ex-Pope, something that hasn't happened in 700 years.

Pope Francis I is 76 years old, which is older than TB thought the new Pope would be. As Cardinal, Bergoglio lived in a small Buenos Aires apartment, took the bus to work and spent a lot of time with the poor in the slums. He is by all accounts a humble man.

TigerBlog has no segue from the new Pope to Princeton Athletics, and he's not even going to try.

Instead, he'll simply transition to the new subject.

Princeton has reached an interesting point in its athletic calendar.

It's mid-terms week, which will be followed by spring break. As a result, the next 43 Princeton athletic events will all be on the road.

In fact, there is no home event until a week from Friday, when Princeton hosts Yale in men's lacrosse.

Going even further, until the following weekend, there are 67 away events and six home events. The six? The men's lacrosse game, two women's lacrosse game, two men's volleyball matches and one rowing event.

The baseball and softball teams have their home openers March 30/31, and then the spring seasons really get into high gear.

For now, it's mid-terms and spring break trips. Baseball and softball, for instance, will go south next week and hope for 1) no rain and 2) warmer weather, in that order.

Not all road trips are long ones, as the men's lacrosse team is at Penn Saturday in a huge Ivy League opener. Princeton is ranked sixth or seventh, depending on which poll you like, while Penn is 13th or 14th. The Ivy League is 23-8 overall in non-league men's lacrosse games to date.

So there it is. After a winter of juggling what seems like a million events on campus each weekend, with home hockey and basketball every Friday and Saturday and then any number of other sports mixed in, the next two weeks are pretty quiet around here, as everyone is taking to the road.

And there's a new Pope.

It's a segue-free Thursday.

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