Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Sharp Round Thing

Miss TigerBlog decided that she was going to make one of those homemade pizzas last night, and she needed to open a can of sauce or tomatoes or something.

The only problem is that she'd never actually soloed on the can opener before. It's not an electric one. It's an old school manual one.

TigerBlog wasn't around to open it for her, so she called to ask how. And this put TB in the really weird position of trying to explain over the phone how to do such a simple task, one that he has done about a billion times in his life.

At first, TB tried to think back to when he opened his own first can. He has no idea.

Anyway, think about it. How would you begin to describe to someone how to use a can opener? TB certainly struggled.

It's a can opener. Use it to open the can. How hard can it be?

TigerBlog used terms like "long arms" and "sharp round thing" to try to explain it. He felt a great deal of satisfaction when he heard MTB say "got it." She was pretty fired up about it too.

And to think how close TB came to simply ordering a pizza to be delivered.

TigerBlog is fascinated for some reason by that story. It was such a simple question. How does the can opener work? And yet it was so hard to explain it over the phone.

Okay, now that you're in the whole can opener thing, TB can get to the point today.

Before he does, he also wants to mention that as he's writing this, he has "The Pope of Greenwich Village" on in the background. If you've never seen it, the movie from 1984 and is one of those movies that 1) is great and 2) can be seen a million times. Darryl Hannah just slapped Mickey Rourke in the face in one of the best scenes in the movie.

Anyway, the NFL draft is coming up. TigerBlog doesn't understand in the least why the NFL draft has become the big show that it has. It's everywhere. People have built lucrative careers around it. ESPN would probably go out of business without it.

What's the attraction? Most of the time, nobody had ever heard of the players who get picked until some draft guide or guru mentioned them.

And then there's whole hit-or-miss side to the draft. Teams spent millions of dollars on evaluating talent, on workouts, on combines, on all of it - and still miss more than they hit when it comes to who eventually pans out and who doesn't.

Princeton football coach Bob Surace spent nearly a decade as a coach with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was in the office the other day talking about some of his experiences with how the draft works, the unpredictability of it all, the way coaches will root for teams in front of them to take a certain player so they don't get stuck with him when their turn comes.

The No. 1 pick in this draft could be Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina, whose entire lure appears to be from one massive hit in a bowl game two seasons ago. Can there be more red flags from a player than Clowney has shown?

He didn't have a dominant season. He doesn't seem to really be all that interested in playing, from reports at least. He's the kind of ridiculous physical player who impresses in every workout and looks like he has limitless potential.

These players fail at a high rate. And yet Clowney will be snapped up very, very early. TB won't be shocked if he never pans out.

TigerBlog is much more interested in a different player in this draft.

Caraun Reid figures to give Princeton a defensive lineman who is drafted for the second straight year, after Mike Catapano went in the seventh round to Kansas City a year ago. Reid figures to go way earlier than that.

Reid was featured recently in the New York Times, which wrote about his unique background, beyond just being a Princeton athlete.

Reid isn't what you think of when you think of an NFL draft pick. Oh, physically he is. He's a 300-pounder who moves with quickness and fierceness. He helped himself considerably at the Senior Bowl and in pre-draft workouts, and now he's ready to see where he lands.

What makes him different is that he's more than just a football player.

He's deeply spiritual, the son of a minister. He's a singer, and the NY Times story mentions how he couldn't sing after the press conference announcing Mollie Marcoux as the new AD, along with his teammates Roman Wilson and Seth DeValve.

He's a quiet, soft-spoken man. He is very engaging, and his experience at Princeton has been everything that is great about college athletics.

He came to Princeton as a native of the Bronx, which is hardly a football area. He leaves Princeton with a degree, a well-rounded undergraduate experience and a chance to fulfill his NFL dreams.

Oh, and his team went from 1-9 to 8-2 and Ivy League champion.

How much better could it have gone?

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