Friday, November 22, 2013


TigerBlog was in Dallas just once, back in 2000, when Princeton played men's basketball at Texas Christian, which is in nearby Fort Worth.

With some down time, he took his rental car to Dallas, where the first stop, of course, was Dealey Plaza.

It was there - 50 years ago today - that the motorcade of President John F. Kennedy came rolling through as four shots rang out, leaving the young President mortally wounded and a country unsure of what to think.

To this day, there is no way of knowing exactly what happened, if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or if it was part of a larger conspiracy - or if there was another shooter or not. There certainly has been no shortage of books written suggesting one argument or the other.

Common sense, to TigerBlog at least, would suggest that this was not something thought up and executed by Oswald alone. The entire truth will never be known, TB suspects.

Driving through the area where the assassination happened is a bit surreal. In some ways, it's just another city intersection with some lights and a bunch of cars struggling to get where they need to be. Of course, at all times there is the knowledge that a United States President was murdered here.

The area seems very confined, especially the front of what was then the Texas Book Depository Building, from where Oswald fired his shots. It is an eerie place. That's the word for it. Eerie.

TigerBlog was alive the day Kennedy was shot, though he wasn't old enough yet to comprehend what was going on. Anyone who was, they say, will never forget where they were when they heard the news.

Since that day, there have been three assassination attempts on U.S. Presidents - two against Gerald Ford and one against Ronald Reagan, who was actually shot and nearly killed in 1981. TB has met two U.S. Presidents in his time at Princeton - Bill Clinton when he was at Princeton in 1996 and George W. Bush when the women's lacrosse team went to the White House in 2003 - and he marveled both times at the overwhelming security that is in place both on the road and at home.

Today the country reflects on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. There are many more people now for whom the event is history rather than something they first learned as it unfolded, but that doesn't diminish the significance of what happened - and that quite possibly others involved got away with it.

The NFL famously played its entire Sunday schedule that weekend, something that then-commissioner Pete Rozelle would later say was the biggest mistake he ever made.

TB is pretty sure that Princeton-Dartmouth football was put off for a week. He's positive that Dartmouth beat Princeton 22-21, forcing a tie for the league championship between the two.

A year later, in 1964, Princeton went 9-0 overall, 7-0 in the Ivy League. It remains the last perfect Ivy League record for the program.

The 2013 Tigers would match that achievement with a win over Dartmouth in Hanover. The Big Green are not alive for a share of the Ivy title as was the case in 1963, but that doesn't mean this game will be easy in any way.

Princeton lost its opener to Lehigh this year 29-28 after leading 22-3 at the half. Since then, the Tigers have ripped off eight straight wins, led by the best offense in Ivy League football history, at least statistically.

With one game to go, Princeton has already set the league record for points and yards (by more than 1,100 already) in a season. The offense is incredibly balanced, witness last week's 254 rushing yards and 253 passing yards.

Princeton has reached the 50-point mark five times in the last eight games. Prior to that, Princeton had reached 50 points five times in 469 games.

Dartmouth is 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the Ivy League. The Big Green ranks first in the Ivy League in defense and second in offense.

With one weekend to play, Princeton would win the outright championship with a win over Dartmouth or a Harvard loss to Yale. Only a Harvard win and Princeton loss would mean a co-championship between the Tigers and Crimson; everyone else has been eliminated.
Dartmouth clearly wants to ruin the moment for the Tigers.

The Tigers have already clinched at least a share of the Ivy League championship, which given where the program was recently (1-9 in 2010 and 2011) is a remarkable accomplishment.

Tomorrow Princeton will be playing to go from remarkable to history-making.

At the same time, it's not anything on the level of the history that the country remembers today. 

1 comment:

InwoodTiger said...

Well said!

Let's hope the cold weather doesn't chill the accuracy and fast movements of the Tiger offense. I was there for the famous tie in the snow vs Dartmouth in 1995 -- those games in Hanover are never easy. Good luck, Tigers!