Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Liverpool At Princeton

TigerBlog saw a picture the other day of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

This was when they were kids, at the same grammar school, something that TB didn't realize they had done together.

It was a class picture, and TB presumes that the other 20 or so boys in the picture grew up to tell the story of how they had gone to grammar school with two members of the Rolling Stones.

Apparently Jagger was a decent athlete when he was a boy. At least that's what the article mentioned, though it didn't say what sports. TigerBlog will assume soccer and/or track and field.

TigerBlog has always been a fan of the Rolling Stones, going back as far as he can remember. He cannot believe they still are at it, all these years later.

As an aside, there used to be an ultra-, ultra-dry comedian named Steven Wright, who used to say weirdly literal things and was hysterical. TB saw him at a comedy club in Philadelphia in the early 1980s and laughed like he rarely has before. One of Wright's lines was this: "I love the Stones. I can't believe they're still doing it after all these years. I watch them every chance I get. Fred and Barney."

If you don't get it, that's because you never saw "The Flintstones." Fred, of course, once played football for Princestone and had a huge game against Shale.

Ah, but TB digresses.

Meanwhile, back at those other Stones, TB can name 25 songs of theirs that he thinks are epic classics. His favorites? Hmmm. "As Tears Go By." "Lets Spend The Night Together." "You Can't Always Get What You Want." "Sympathy For The Devil." "Wild Horses." "Waiting On A Friend."

He's not a huge fan of, of all songs, "Satisfaction."

The problem with the Stones is that they also have a ton of songs that TB doesn't really like, but that's because they have played for so long.

Still, TB has great admiration for just how great the Rolling Stones are. He puts them slightly above The Who and slightly below the Beatles.

TB's first musical love was the Beatles, and he understands perfectly anyone who considers the Fab Four the greatest band of all time. For his money, obviously, he will go with a different group, one whose hometown was much closer to TB's own than that of the Beatles.

The Beatles, of course, came together in Liverpool, before arriving with a rather large bang in the United States.

Earlier this week, Liverpool again came to this area, this time to Princeton University. And it wasn't quite the greatest rock band of all-time, though the participants might as well have been rock stars for the followers who, well, followed them here.

Liverpool, as in the English Premier League soccer team, practiced for three days on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium, in advance of tonight's game at Yankee Stadium against Manchester City - and the coming EPL season, which kicks off in three weeks.

Liverpool is one of the biggest names in professional soccer, in England or anywhere. It's not quite the biggest name, but it is still a huge one. It would be like having the Chicago Bulls or St. Louis Cardinals practice for a few days at a college in England.

This is hardly the first time that Roberts Stadium has hosted big names in advance of big events.

The U.S. men's and women's national teams have both practiced at Roberts Stadium, the men in advance of the 2010 World Cup and the women in advance of the 2012 Olympics. Paris Saint-Germaine has been here also, and a few other teams as well.

If the World Cup wasn't proof enough, then all it takes is an EPL team to show up on campus to prove that soccer fans are the most, well, fanatical. It's not even close.

The fact that the team was here wasn't really advertised, but there was an open session for the public to watch. Word apparently got out somehow, as there were red Liverpool shirts everywhere. And they weren't just casually wearing red shirts. They were really, really into their team.

It's always great for Princeton soccer to have big-time teams at Roberts Stadium. If nothing else, it shows a wider audience what a great facility it is. Even the Liverpool players noticed, as one was quoted as saying it was "way better than Harvard."

The idea of watching practice isn't that thrilling for TigerBlog, whether it is an EPL team or even an NFL team. Lacrosse, of course, is a little different.

Still, having Liverpool here was a very big deal.

Roberts Stadium is a great venue, one of the best for college soccer anywhere in this country.

Roberts will get quite a workout once the Princeton seasons start. The men's and women's teams will combine for 17 home games, beginning Sept. 5, when Rutgers is at Princeton in women's soccer.

All 17 of those home games will be free. As in no admission charge.

That too is one of the best things about Princeton Athletics.

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