Thursday, October 23, 2014

Princeton Hosts Harvard - Times Four

TigerBlog has written about Oscar Pistorius before.

If you don't want to click on the link, TB will give you the gist in one paragraph:

TB couldn't believe it when he saw the news. And he was mad at himself, mad for once again believing in an athlete, holding that athlete up to be more than he was, to be a great international citizen, when all he really is is a murderer who can run fast on fake legs.

That was from Feb. 15, 2013, right after it came out that Pistorius - the South African double-amputee turned Olympic runner - had killed his girlfriend, the beautiful model Reeva Steenkamp.

Now Pistorius sits in the medical wing of a South African prison. His sentence is five years, but it appears that he'll be out in 10 months. And he'll serve his time in the medical wing, with other disabled prisoners.

Less than a year. For murder.

What strikes TB about it most now is that Pistorius is in the medical wing, and not the most worse main area of the prison, because of his disability, the very thing he fought against being labeled with when he wanted to run in the Olympics, or, in other words, he's disabled when it suits him.

And yes, TigerBlog read how Pistorius suffers from depression. Unfortunately, that's not as serious as Steenkamp, who suffers from being dead.

This entire story from the beginning has really affected TigerBlog, probably because of how much he allowed himself to admire Pistorius during the last Olympics. Never again. TigerBlog will never again look at a professional athlete with that kind of admiration.

TigerBlog has not yet watched a pitch of the World Series. He has watched very little NFL football this year. He watched almost none of the NBA and NHL regular seasons or playoffs last year.

He did watch a lot of the World Cup, and clearly those guys aren't saints either. So why that event? Maybe it's the fact that the players aren't being paid additionally for competing, that they're doing it for love of the game and because of the great respect the event has earned?

It wasn't until today that TigerBlog wondered if part of the reason he watches so little of the major sports leagues now is because of Pistorius? Maybe TB just reached his breaking point?

Anyway, no segue today. Let's just get to the four Princeton-Harvard matchups Saturday, going in chronological order:

* Field Hockey at noon

Unlike most years, this current Ivy League field hockey race is actually just that, a race. Princeton, winner of 19 of the last 20 Ivy titles in the sport, is in a dogfight with five teams.

The Tigers, who lost earlier this year to Columbia, are one of four teams at 3-1, along with the Lions, Cornell (whom Princeton plays next week) and Dartmouth (whom Princeton has already beaten). Harvard is 2-2 and still hoping to get back into the hunt, though a loss to Princeton would pretty much end that hope. Harvard did deal Cornell its first league loss of the year a week ago.

Princeton, after playing Harvard Saturday, will host Connecticut Sunday at 1 in a matchup of the last two NCAA champions.

* Football at 1

There are three 2-0 teams in the Ivy League, and two of them play here Saturday at 1. The last two times these teams played, the results were wild - a 29-point fourth-quarter rally for a 39-34 Princeton win two years ago and a 51-48 three OT win for Princeton last year. The winning points in both came from Quinn Epperly to Roman Wilson.

Couple all that with the nearly perfect weather forecast, and TigerBlog is hoping to see a huge crowd in the stands Saturday.

Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth are all 2-0. Yale is 1-1, with a loss to Dartmouth. Penn is also 1-1, and the Quakers play the Bulldogs Saturday in what amounts to an elimination game. If one assumes that Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale are the main contenders, then the schedule is a great one, since only one head-to-head game among that group has been played to date.

As a little added bonus, Harvard is 26-1 against all other opponents and 0-2 against Princeton in its last 29 games.

* Women's soccer at 4

The Ivy League women's soccer picture will be much clearer come Saturday night.

Harvard is currently 3-0-1 in the league for 10 points. Princeton and Columbia are 2-1-1, with seven points. Dartmouth is hanging around at 1-0-3, which adds up to six points. In addition to Princeton-Harvard, Columbia hosts Dartmouth Saturday.

There could be a three-way tie for first with wins by Princeton and Columbia should both win. On the other hand, a Harvard win and Dartmouth-Columbia tie would mean that the Crimson would be five points ahead of the Lions and six points ahead of the Tigers and Big Green. Dartmouth is rooting for a Princeton win to go along with its own win, which would mean Harvard and Princeton with 10 points and Dartmouth with nine.

Dartmouth takes on Harvard next weekend.

* Men's soccer at 7

As is the case on the women's side, Harvard is the lone Ivy unbeaten on the women's side, at 2-0-1. Also like the women, the Princeton men would tie Harvard with a win, though unlike the women, that wouldn't guarantee first place.

Dartmouth and Penn are both 2-1. Columbia and Brown join Princeton at 1-1-1. In other words, one week behind the women's race, the men's side is a bit more crowded.

The bottom line for Princeton is that a win would be huge, not that anyone needs TigerBlog to tell them that.

Harvard opened the year at 0-3 and then won eight straight before tying Brown last week.

And there you have it. Princeton vs. Harvard, four times, on Princeton's campus, on a perfect fall Saturday.

Of course, just how perfect remains to be seen, depending on the results.


#1TigerFan said...

Have been sorely disappointed with the coaching. My sense is that your offense is off kilter because of all the "CUTESIE" plays you try to run. If I were your main QB and you did that to me I would not only be disconcerted but I would take it as a lack of confidence in me as your QB. Also don't understand whichever coach on the team has been assigned the passing defense. It has been the weakest part of the team so far this year.

Further, why the heck isn't the offensive coach directing more passes down the middle instead of off to the sides?

Bottom line, you have a ton of intelligent, smart and tough players. The weak link (in my opinion) IS NOT THEM. It has been the coaching.


#1TigerFan said...

I luv you Tigers. The loss today was devastating. I have no doubt it was as painful for you as it was for me and the 1000's of other Tiger fans who came to the stadium today to support you.

That was then and this is NOW. I look forward to all of you stepping up to the plate for the rest of the season.


Aunt Deb