Friday, April 4, 2014

Hoping Your News Is Good News

Back when he was a kid, the primary access to daily current events was either through the newspaper or the news on TV.

The preferred newscast in TB's house was the Channel 7 news from New York City, with anchors Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel. Grimsby was a grizzled, somewhat sarcastic announcer, one who ended every newscast with his signature sign-off: "Hoping your news is good news."

It's a rather simple saying, and yet it has a ton of optimism to it. Hoping your news is good news.

It applies to the world of college athletics, certainly. As the late, great, certainly quotable Al McGuire  - he was the basketball coach who won an NCAA title at Marquette in 1977 and then went on to a long career in broadcasting - said when asked about the challenges of coaching in college: "just when you think you have everything under control, one of the cheerleaders ends up pregnant."

TigerBlog talks all the time about the perils involved in college athletics. Hey, you put that many strong-willed, competitive, adventurous young people together, and you just hope for the best when it comes time to make decisions.

Anytime TB reads a story about decisions gone bad among college teams, he never (okay, almost never) experiences schadenfreude, which, by the way, is a great word. Nope. He always (okay, usually, depending on the school) thinks "thankfully that wasn't here at Princeton."

Anyone in college athletic administration who thinks it can't happen on his/her campus is fooling him- or herself.

Princeton's athletic administration spends a ton of time stressing to coaches and directly to athletes the importance of making good decisions. It's like parenting. You can do it all you want. When it gets to be key decision time, all you can do is hope it sunk in.

Like Grimsby said, you can hope your news is good news. You also have to be proactive about doing everything you can to make it happen, and then you have to just hope for the best.

And you can be happy when you're on the right side of the news.

Princeton certainly was this week, in the form of hockey player Jack Berger.

It seems that Berger connected with a local six-year-old through one of Princeton's "Skate With the Tiger" events and made such an impression that the boy - Colin Doan - wanted to try playing hockey.

Eventually, his mother sent a video of the boy as he was telling people he wanted to be just like Jack Berger to Princeton men's hockey coach Bob Prier, who forwarded it to Berger. Eventually, Berger showed up at Colin's school as a guest reader, and it just so happened that Berger read to the class of kindergarteners one of TB's favorite authors: Dr. Seuss.

The episode was recounted in the Trentonian earlier this week, and it made for the kind of story that any school craves.

TB was first made aware of it by Daniel Day from the communications office. Dan tweeted it on the main university account and wanted to make sure TB saw it, while also commenting that he loved stories like that. And who wouldn't?

TigerBlog has never met Jack Berger. He's certainly heard a lot about him though.

He strikes TB as one of those too-good-to-be-true-where-do-these-people-come-from types that make working at Princeton pretty special. It's also something that TB never takes for granted.

Way back when when he was in the newspaper business, TB wrote that about Chris Mooney, then a Princeton basketball player and now the head coach at Richmond. It applied then, and it's applied to so many of the athletes TB has seen through the years here.

Berger is no exception.

The captain of the hockey team, Berger is on his way to medical school at some point, after he exhausts his opportunities to play professionally. As the story about Colin shows, he certainly has a big heart. He's a tremendous public speaker, and he has a natural leadership and presence to him.

He's exactly the kind of person you want out there in the public, like at a "Skate With the Tigers" night.

In Jadwin Gym there's often a great deal of talk about how Princeton's athletes are the best ambassadors for the program. Let them out in the community, and everyone responds. TB has seen it any number of times.

The Jack Berger/Colin Doan relationship is a perfect example, but it's hardly the only one.

They don't do it for the publicity. They do it because it's a great thing for college athletes to do, especially at a school like Princeton. They do it because they're role models and they understand that.

They do it because that's just how they are.

Certainly Jack Berger is. When he's involved, the good news appears to follow.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

You should have mentioned Tex Antion's infamous rape comment. Would have worked well within the context of the first part of the story.

Hoping your news is good news = classic!