Thursday, March 28, 2013

Snow Job

TigerBlog spent a week in Costa Rica and saw all kinds of great displays of nature, basically everywhere he looked.

There were mountains and rivers and flowers and wild looking bugs and birds and even some lizard-type fellow who strolled across the pool deck where Nick Bates and TigerBlog Jr. were swimming.

You know what TB didn't see in Costa Rica? Snow.

Okay, it was June. Still, TB has a feeling that even if he went back in December, he wouldn't exactly see the ground covered by a blizzard.

TB could just picture Diego and Victor and the rest of the people who showed their home country to the Princeton men's lacrosse team last June, all being amazed that a World Cup Qualifier - a game of unreal importance - was being played in a snowstorm in Denver last week.

Oh, and Diego's father, Don Carlos? He probably took it the hardest.

TB isn't quite sure what to think about it, even after FIFA announced that the 1-0 victory by the U.S. would stand, despite protests by the Costa Ricans.

During the men's lacrosse trip, TB and about 15 other members of the group went to the WCQ between Los Ticos and El Salvador, in the first round. It was a ridiculous experience, a fervor that TB has never seen in an American sporting event.

And here was an even more important game, being played in driving snow, between a nation where snow is routine and another where it never falls. Oh, sure, most of the Costa Rican players play in cold weather in Europe.

But still, such an important game? Played in those conditions?

On the one hand, each WCQ game is so significant that TB figures they should be played in as optimal conditions as possible. On the other hand, how is playing in snow in Denver any different than having the U.S. go and play in 100 degree weather. 

Anyway, he's still rooting for Costa Rica to make the World Cup, and he likes their chances.

As for snow, there wasn't that much of it around here this winter. There were flurries, and sometimes there was enough snow to cover the grass, though it rarely stuck to the roads. TB can't remember a time he was all that inconvenienced by a storm this winter, and certainly there was no major event with a foot or more.

What there was around here this winter was cold weather. Lots and lots of it. It never got bitterly ridiculously cold, like around zero and all, but even as late March rolls around, it's been weeks and weeks of temperatures in the 30s.

Princeton has played seven men's lacrosse games, six of which have been played in extremely cold weather and one of which was played in 65 degree sunshine in Chapel Hill. And that doesn't even mention the practices for spring teams, all of which have caused everyone to put on layers and break out hand warmers.

Until this week. Actually, this week began with a threat of 5-8 inches of snow, which turned out to be nothing but a few wet flakes and a lot of rain.

And now? It appears that the week, and March itself, will be going out like a lamb.

And it's just in time for that.

This weekend marks the home openers for baseball and softball, with Ivy League doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday against Yale and Brown.

The forecast is for temps to be in the mid-50s both days.

Because of mid-terms and spring break, Princeton has had almost no home events the last three weeks. That changes dramatically this weekend, with 16 home events on the schedule between tonight and Sunday.

The softball team is the only Ivy League team over .500 to this point, with a record of 14-8. Princeton is batting .321 as a team and has hit 18 home runs to just six for its opponents.

The games this weekend will be the first at home for first-year head coach Lisa Sweeney and assistant coach Jen Lapicki.

In Ivy League baseball, three teams are better than .600 overall while the other five are below .400. Dartmouth is 12-1. Still, in baseball and softball, all it takes is a few timely hits one way or another to radically change the races.

In addition to baseball and softball, there's also men's lacrosse, rowing, men's volleyball and men's tennis on campus this weekend.

In fact, all four crews are home this weekend, which is a real rarity.

And no snow.

It appears that spring is finally showing up around here.

It's about time.

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