Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pack It Up

TigerBlog hates to overpack.

It doesn't mean he can always stop himself from doing so.

Packing is always a pain. What should you take? How many times are you going to change your shirt? What if you go out for a nice dinner?

Most of the times that TB has had to pack, it's been Princeton related.

Back in 1996, when Princeton went to Indianapolis for the NCAA basketball tournament, TB assumed the Tigers were going to lose to UCLA, so he only packed enough for a first-round exit. Instead, Princeton won - perhaps you remember that - and TB had to go to the mall next to his hotel and buy a new shirt and new underwear for the rest of that trip.

Packing for an Ivy League road trip is relatively easy, since that's a fixed amount of time, especially when it's just overnight. On the other hand, you don't want to be caught short, so there is the tendency to take more that you actually need, which leads to that moment when someone says "what are you, going for a week?"

When TB sees college basketball games on television, he often wonders how the coaches keep their suits from getting wrinkled. They make it seem so easy. TB has khaki pants in his bag that look like he rolled them up in a ball when he takes them out.

TB often vows to underpack. Of course, when he does, there's the stress of wondering how long it will all last, only to be shocked when it seems to last as many days as necessary. As TB thinks about it, that's sort of how Hanukkah got started.

When Princeton's men's lacrosse team went to Costa Rica last year, TB took his Princeton lacrosse bag, which is a fairly oversized cloth bag into which TB can fit basically everything he owns. When traveling from Point A (the capital city of San Jose) to Point B (coastal town of Samara) to Point C (coastal town of Tamarindo), there was the issue of what to do with the dirty stuff, which is left to mingle with the clean stuff, which is a bigger issue for TB than it is for most, he assumes.

Anyway, as TB was packing, he did the classic overthinking, as in "what if there's a formal dinner" or "what if it gets cold." The result? Overpacking, and a large subsection of clothes that never left the bag.

For the most part, TB uses his old Trenton Thunder duffel bag when he travels, which is the perfect size for a night or two. TB got it when he helped Tom McCarthy out at the 1996 Eastern League all-star game at Waterfront Park. It's probably time for a newer, more Princeton-centric bag.

The Princeton track and field contingent left in various stages on various flights for the NCAA championships at Eugene, Oregon, which begins today and runs through the weekend.

TB was impressed to see just how light Princeton women's track and field coach Peter Farrell was able to pack. TB brings more to work each day, or so it looked anyway.

As an aside, it's quite the contrast to what TB saw from Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes when Texas and Princeton arrived at baggage claim at the Honolulu airport in 1998. Barnes had about 10 bags - and he snapped at the team managers for getting their own before they got his.

Anyway, back in Eugene, where the weather should be sunny and warm, Princeton has sent nine athletes, which is the most Princeton has ever had in the event.

The first to compete might be the one who has the best chance of winning it all, and that's freshman hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe, who throws today and who has the second-best throw in the country this year. Russell Dinkins and Austin Hollimon, half of the NCAA indoor-champion distance medley relay team this past winter, both run today in their semifinals (Dinkins in the 800, Hollimon in the 400 hurdles).

Of Princeton's nine athletes in Oregon, seven will be competing tomorrow.

For some of them, their season began way back with the beginning of cross country. It's certainly a long grind.

The NCAA track and field championships will be the last Princeton events of the academic year.

After that, it'll be time to pack it up - until the 2013-14 season begins. 


Anonymous said...

Mr. Blackwell says, "As soon as you arrive in your hotel room, close the drain in your bathtub, put your clothes on hangers from the shower curtain, close the bathroom door and run a hot shower for ten minutes. Then just leave the steam and clothes to work their wrinkle-free sartorial magic overnight. . . . More importantly, have you convinced Coach Surace to revert back to the black helmets? Last year's orange helmets were an abomination, an affront to aesthetics and masculinity. Football players want to look cool and intimidating, not like discount Halloween decorations. Black is, and always will be, the new black."

Anonymous said...

There are a number of FBS football teams which have adopted a black primary or secondary home uniform including a black helmet, despite the fact that their school colors do not include black. Examples include Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Rice and Vanderbilt.

These are all excellent academic institutions. More to the point, these are specifically the five best national universities which play FBS football, according to the 2013 US News & World Report rankings. See? All the smart kids want to wear black helmets -- even when their school colors are red and white, or blue and white, or purple and white, etc.

Stanford, the best university of the bunch, goes further and wears helmets which are matte black, which is like the black of blacks.

If we switched to matte black helmets, that would be worth one more win per season, potentially the difference between a sad Thanksgiving and flashy big rings for everybody.

It was Jim Harbaugh who introduced matte black helmets at Stanford. Now he's a multimillionaire NFL head coach who went to the Super Bowl in only his second year. Coincidence?