Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Unwanted Day Off

Miss TigerBlog had a lacrosse tournament this past weekend down in Hammonton, near Atlantic City.

If you're not familiar with Hammonton, it's famous for its blueberries, and in fact refers to itself as the "Blueberry capital of the world."

Anyway, the tournament lasted two days, and on Day 2, TigerBlog was killing time between games when he noticed a low-flying airplane that came in over the sod farm where the event was being held.

Beyond the fields were a sandy area that was being used for parking - and being that the sod was over the same sand base, the fields were remarkably dry considering how rainy it had been. After the rows of cars were, not shockingly, blueberry fields.

The plane dove towards the field and, maybe a hundred yards from the parking area and then the playing fields, began to crop dust.

TigerBlog, being the fan of chemicals released into the air a few football fields away from where he was sitting that he is, wanted of course to get a space suit and a new car, though surprisingly he chose neither of those things.

TB was surprised at just how close to the ground the plane got before it released whatever it was it was releasing and then climbing back up to a few hundred feet, circling and repeating the process. It seemed like a fairly dangerous thing to do, and certainly one that would be unforgiving for a small error.

For TigerBlog, a spelling mistake or misidentified photo is a minor problem. For the crop-dusting pilot, it seems like the ramifications would be way more serious.

MTB's first game was Saturday morning, and TB thought he woman coaching the other team looked somewhat familiar. As it turned out, she was.

As it turned out, it was Tyler Cordell, the women's basketball Director of Operations here at Princeton.

As an aside, Director of Basketball Operations is often shortened to "DOBO," in the vernacular of the day as it were. Princeton also has a Director of Track Operations, which becomes "DOTO," and his name is Michael Henderson. Princeton also has an event manager named Mike Doto, so there is Mike Doto and Mike the Doto.

Anyway, Tyler was coaching a middle school girls lacrosse team for the summer season, which TigerBlog thinks is awesome.

Somewhere between when TB wrote the first part of that sentence and was able to finish it, his phone rang. It was the Princeton emergency line, saying that the campus has been evacuated due to multiple bomb threats in unspecified locations.

The reaction to the message at first was to question whether everyone really needed to leave or not, though the person who recorded the message was very, very serious about how this was not a drill or a test.

After that, there were a few minutes of milling around, wondering what to do next. Should everyone really leave? Stay? Was this for real?

Sadly, this is the reality of the world.

TB has often thought he can hide from so much in his office, that he was free there from so many of the problems of the world. Never once, in all the time he's been in Jadwin Gym, has he ever felt unsafe.

In fact, he didn't feel all that unsafe this morning. The reality is that he doubts that there really are bombs on Princeton's campus, and he'll be surprised if he's wrong.

Surprised, but safe.

Because like everyone else at Princeton, he left.

Because in 2013, nobody can mess around with stuff like this. Not the people whose job it is to protect everyone else, and certainly not the people who are to be protected.

And what about those people, whose job it is to do the protecting? They live with this every single day, so that the rest of us don't have to worry about it - until it smacks at home.

Right now, TB is still sitting in the parking lot, which is emptying, causing a massive traffic delay. He couldn't leave if he wanted to.

Instead, he's left to sit here and wait, and face the way life is now.

And what does that mean?

It means he's finishing his blog, because he can't simply not do it, not when that's what he does every other day. And he's finishing it in the parking lot, because he, like everyone else, has to be aware that there is a chance that somebody who could care less about humanity has done something to cause as much hurt and pain as possible.

If you don't believe TB, who would have ever thought it would happen at the Boston Marathon?

And so TB doesn't get to talk today about how nice it is that Tyler Cordell is giving her time to a bunch of young girls who are just learning to play lacrosse.

Nope. Reality has gotten involved.

And TB has himself a day off. An unwanted day off at that.

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