Friday, December 6, 2013

Draw It Up

Guess what today is?

The World Cup draw for 2014.

TigerBlog didn't realize that when he woke up this morning. Now he can't wait.

As he has said before, TigerBlog went from not watching one minute of the 2002 World Cup to watching a lot of the 2006 World Cup to watching all of the 2010 World Cup.

Now, as 2014 looms, he can't wait for the next one.

The big lure in 2010 was the U.S. team, coached by Princeton alum Bob Bradley. For 2014, TB has been rooting for Egypt, coached by Bradley through the qualifying tournament. The Egyptians came pretty close to making it into the 32-team field before getting wiped out by Ghana in the play-in for one of Africa's five spots.

TB has also been rooting for Costa Rica, from the time he went there in June 2012 and saw Los Ticos play El Salvador in an opening-round qualifier at the national stadium in San Jose. TigerBlog has never seen anything else quite like that.

So now the 32 teams are set, and it's time for the draw. It's not quite random, and it's likely that it won't be long afterwards before someone refers to the U.S. as being in the Group of Death.

At least that's TB's pre-selection prediction.

TB assumes he'll end up rooting for the U.S. when the event in Brazil begins. Still, he'd like it better if Bradley had not lost his job, especially since he actually led the U.S. to first place in the group stage in 2010.

By the way, the NCAA basketball tournament would be so much better if the selections were done the same way as they're done for the World Cup. Seed the teams, then assign them randomly.

The World Cup is about six months away. The Winter Olympics are about two months away, right?
Actually, they start two months from tomorrow.

TB will take the World Cup over the Winter Olympics, though he'll watch the Olympics when they're on.

As he thinks about it, TB really hasn't watched that much sports on TV lately. He watched almost none of the baseball playoffs. He's watched hardly any of the NFL season. The NBA? He watches his new favorite team, the Sixers, because 1) the Knicks are completely unwatchable and 2) the Sixers have Hollis Thompson, a Georgetown guy.

Hockey? Nah.

College basketball? There's certainly enough of it on, as TB has said all week.

TB will watch the Princeton-FDU game tomorrow night at Jadwin Gym (tip is at 7). It's a pretty good day around here, actually, even before the basketball game.

It starts with the New Year's Invitational track and field meet and the Big Al Invitational swim meet.

There's also home women's hockey against Union at 4, with a Skate with the Tigers event when it's over.

Everything except the basketball game, of course, comes without an admissions fee.

And that's about it for today.

Oh wait, not it isn't.

Today is John Mack's birthday. TigerBlog is a big birthday guy, and he likes to wish people well on their big days.

John Mack is a little different, of course. A 10-time Heptagonal champion as a track athlete and Roper Trophy winner as a Princeton undergrad, Mack is now one of the "old alums" who comes back every now and then and remarks about how different everything is.

And by old, TB is saying mid-30s or so.

John Mack worked in the athletic department at Princeton after he graduated and then went on to Northwestern's athletic department and now law school, from where he will graduate this coming spring.

TigerBlog's big regret from Mack's most recent visit, which was the weekend of Heps and the Cornell football game, was that he didn't get a current track athlete to go up to Mack and call him "sir." That would have been great.

Anyway, happy birthday to John Mack. TB apologizes for not sending a card, so this will have to do.

And now that really is all for today.

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