Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another Day

TigerBlog can't think of a single thing to write about today.

It happens.

Not to worry. Something will come to him. It always does.

He hasn't missed a day in nearly six years of doing this. A work day anyway.

What is it about streaks that are so fascinating? Does TB keep writing every single day simply because he doesn't want to miss a day, or is there another reason?

His belief is that if the audience knows it's there every day, so it keeps coming back. If he stopped every now and then, then the audience couldn't rely on having a new entry every day. It's just as easy to get out of the habit of checking as it is to get into the habit of checking.

The same logic sort of applies to the main website.

TB's belief is that people check the site and judge whether or not to stay based on the first picture. If it's the same as the last time, then they figure there's nothing new here.

The issue then becomes what to do with a major story, one that you might want to lock into place for a little while. With the number of stories that go up around here, that's not always easy to do.

If the main picture is, say, Julia Ratcliffe after she wins the NCAA hammer throw title and then the other six pictures keep changing, would anyone notice? Or would the audience just see Julia and figure that nothing new has been added?

Fortunately, the redesigned website - still targeted to launch on Sept. 1 - will address that problem.

Meanwhile, back at streaks, some continue for the sake of the streak, while others have more noble purposes, like maintaining an audience or even as an extension of a unbreakable work ethic.

TB missed the Penn-Princeton men's basketball game in 1990 at the Palestra - that was the famous Hassan Duncombe game, which if you're a Princeton or Penn fan, you know immediately what happened; if not, Penn won at the buzzer on a put-back by Duncombe off a missed foul shot - because he was covering a Division III game in Glassboro between the College of New Jersey (then Trenton State College) and Rowan (which might still have been called Glassboro State then).

TB still isn't completely sure what to call the school he used to cover. It was Trenton State all the years he covered it; the name changed to the College of New Jersey long ago.

Anyway, TB was in the sports information office at Glassboro. The SID at the time, by the way, was Sheila Stevenson, who is something of a legend in Division III sports information history. TB just checked the staff directory for Rowan - and Sheila is still there. Before she went to Rowan (or is Glassboro), Sheila worked at Penn for a little while.

Another digression. What's up with TB this morning?

Anyway, TB was in Sheila's office listening to the end of the Princeton-Penn game on the radio even while the game he was covering was going on.

That would be the last Princeton-Penn men's basketball game TB would miss for 20 years. Then the streak ended.

His best current streak is in men's lacrosse, where he hasn't missed a game since the opener in 2004. TB thinks that's 154 straight games. That's a lot of lacrosse.

TigerBlog Jr. just finished a seven-summer run with his club team, and he was the only player in the core group that stayed together the whole time who played in all 202 games that the team played. That's even more lacrosse.

Craig Sachson, TB's colleague here in the Office of Athletic Communications, has been the Princeton football contact since 2002 and hasn't missed a single game in all that time. That's 120 straight for him.

TB confirmed that a few seconds ago, when Sachson said that 1) he in fact has not missed a game in that time and 2) is eight games under .500.

If he's eight games under .500, then the only way for him to get over .500 this year would be for Princeton to go 10-0, which would be just fine with him, TB assumes. TB would be okay it as well.

If Princeton goes 9-1, then he picks up eight games and would be exactly .500. Would he take 9-1 right now?

That's an interesting question. The answer is, it depends on which is the one loss, right? If Princeton were to go 9-1 with a loss to an Ivy opponent who went 7-0, then that wouldn't be great. If Princeton went 9-1 with a non-league loss but a perfect league record, then yes, of course he'd take that.

Not that TigerBlog is getting ahead of himself or anything. Not that TB is taking anything for granted. He's talking strictly in hypotheticals here.

Oh, and here's another question. If Sachson, is eight games under .500 after 120 games, what would Princeton's record be? TigerBlog always liked word problems in math.

He liked essay questions better than multiple choice or true false or any of those other kinds of tests in other subjects. Why? An essay question is asking what you know. The other kinds are trying to find out what you don't know.

So back at this word problem ...

Let's see. If x is the number of games that Princeton has won and 120 is the total number of games Princeton has played, then x+8 is the number of games Princeton has lost. That means that x+x+8=120, or 2x+8=120, or 2x=112, or x=56. That means the record is 56-64.

And TB thought algebra didn't have a practical application.

And he also thought he had nothing to write about.

And yet he came up with something.

See you tomorrow.

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