Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Exclamation Point

The monthly "current events" email that comes from Kim Meszaros - the assistant to Ford Family Director of Athletics Gary Walters - showed up last night.

TigerBlog can't remember when Kim first started doing the current events each month. It's sort of a departmental newsletter, with some of the bigger news of the month, birthdays, personnel changes, things like that.

This month's was a particularly good one.

Among the links that Kim included were this one, which is an update on Chris Dittrich, whose mother Mary Beth works in campus recreation. Chris got into a horrible car accident six years ago this week; his road back has been a remarkable and uplifting one.

There was a list of staff members who will be honored at the University's service luncheon, led by Nancy Donigan, compliance assistant, who has been here for 25 years.

Will Green, who coached Princeton to the Ivy League men's golf championship last year, was featured in a podcast, one from which TB learned a great deal about Will. Kim included the link.

Kim chose to embed the video of Fred Samara's appearance on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," something TB touched on last week.

Oh, and each month, there's a trivia question.

Last month's asked how many staff members are Princeton grads. The answer is 20, most of whom are coaches.

This month's trivia question asks what the first two paying jobs Gary Walters had as a kid in Reading, Pa. TigerBlog has no idea what the answer is.

There was also a link to a video about the men's volleyball team's win over Penn State from Friday night.

TigerBlog doesn't pretend to know much about volleyball. Of all the sports that Princeton's OAC keeps stats at, TB would be the most lost behind the computer at a volleyball match.

He does know that men's coach Sam Shweisky is a very upbeat soul, one whose emails routinely are dotted with exclamation points, multiple ones. He's always smiling, always happy.

Even by his standards, Shweisky was the picture of joy at the end of the video, when he talks about what a great night it was for his team. And boy was it a great night.

For starters, Penn State is the dominant Eastern power in men's volleyball and a perennial contender (or winner) for the national championship. For another, Penn State was ranked 10th at the time, and Princeton had never beaten a Top 10 before.

Then there was the history of the rivalry. Princeton defeated Penn State in 1998 to earn its only trip to the NCAA Final Four, held in Hawaii. Since then Penn State had won 35 straight - until Friday night.

The video begins with a pregame meeting with the team and University president Chris Eisgruber. If you watch it and don't come away as a huge fan of the president, then TB will be shocked.

The rest of the video shows some key moments in the match, with points won by both teams. The Tigers won 3-2, taking the fifth set 15-11.

The video also showed just how into it the overflow crowd of 1,565 at Dillon Gym was. The place was jammed, and loud, and it was a festive, party atmosphere.

At the very end of the video, there are some still shots of Princeton players and fans, younger and older.

TigerBlog followed the match on Twitter. When the final point pushed the Tigers to the win, the entry from @putigers had seven exclamation points.

TigerBlog accidentally will use an exclamation point instead of a question mark when texting sometimes. Other than that, it's been decades since he's used one in actual writing.

He's not a fan.

In this case, though, it was very fitting.

It was a huge night for Princeton volleyball, and for its decidedly exclamatory head coach, Sam Shweisky.

No other punctuation mark could have properly captured the moment.


Lionmb said...

Thanks for the shout out about Chris! He continues to amaze me...

John Kessel said...

As a father of a Tiger player in that match, just have to say THANK YOU !8x for the support from the President level down to the youngest fans....it matters.