Monday, November 24, 2014

First Lady ’85

TigerBlog had two uncles, both of whom have passed away.

One ran a drug store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn after fighting in World War II and then driving a cab in New York City. The other fought in Korea and then went on to a long career in education, including serving as superintendent of schools in a few districts.

Leslie Robinson? Her uncle is President of the United States.

And so it was that Robinson's aunt, First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, was at the Princeton-American women's basketball game last night.

TigerBlog has met two U.S. Presidents, one Republican (George W. Bush) and one Democrat (Bill Clinton). Meeting a President is non-partisan, a complete thrill regardless of political affiliation.

TigerBlog has never met a First Lady. The current First Lady is Leslie's father's sister, and aunt and niece bear a striking resemblance. Leslie's father, Craig Robinson, is one of the greatest basketball players in Princeton history, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year before graduating in 1983.

The Princeton women's basketball team had a tour of the White House Saturday with Leslie's cousins, Malia and Sasha Obama. The family, minus the President, was at the game last night.

If TigerBlog had to rank the top stories in Princeton Athletics from this past weekend, he'd have to put having the First Family at women's basketball as No. 1.

Hey, it even got him thinking. Leslie will be a junior when her uncle's current job ends. Maybe he'd like to get involved in broadcasting Princeton women's basketball when he has the free time. TigerBlog will leave that offer out there and wait to hear from him directly.

First Lady ’85 went into Princeton's locker room at halftime and spoke to the team, while also posing for pictures. It's not something that the players and coaches will soon forget.

The second biggest story for the weekend?

How about Princeton Athletics had a Rhodes Scholar. Rachel Skokowski, a member of the cross country and track and field teams, was one of 32 students honored nationwide and one of three of the 32 who are Princetonians.

That's a huge achievement. Rhodes Scholar? That's something that stays with you forever.

Megan Curham, a sophomore, was an All-America in cross country again, as she finished 18th in the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Ind. And, as TB saw on Twitter, she then pumped gas for the first time ever?

In the picture on Twitter, Princeton women's track and field and cross country coach Peter Farrell is standing behind Curham. What? He couldn't pump the gas for her? Where's the chivalry?

What else was there from this weekend that stood out to TB?

Well, UConn won the NCAA field hockey championship for the second straight year, defeating Syracuse in the final.

If you've forgotten, here were the scores between Princeton and the two finalists: UConn 4, Princeton 3. Syracuse 4, Princeton 3. That latter game was in two overtimes.

Draw your own conclusions.

Speaking of field hockey, the College of New Jersey won the Division III championship, defeating 2013 champ Bowdoin 2-0 in the final. TCNJ head coach Sharon Pfluger has now won 20 - that's 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20 - NCAA championships, with 11 in lacrosse and nine in field hockey. That's a lot.

Princeton has had better weekends in football, men's basketball and men's hockey.

The 2014 football season came to an end with a loss to Dartmouth. Yes, Princeton didn't successfully defend its Ivy League football championship. And yes, a 5-5 overall record, 4-3 in the Ivy League, wasn't what the Tigers were hoping for a few weeks ago.

On the other hand, any class that leaves here with an Ivy League championship and two bonfires has accomplished a great deal. And some of the players have left indelible marks on the program.

From TB's angle in the PA booth, he can say the player he'll miss the most is Mike Zeuli, the linebacker who led the Ivy League in tackles for loss and was second in tackles overall.

More than his numbers, Zeuli just looked like a player who simply loved to play the game and who played hard every single play. It was fun to watch him.

As for the Ivy League season itself, by now you have probably seen that every team in the league beat every team below it and lost to every team above it.

What can we conclude? Well, for starters, it would suggest that playing at home or on the road in the Ivy League matters little.

Harvard won the title with what must have been a thrilling win over Yale. The College Game Day crew was in Cambridge, and from what TB saw, by far the best sign was the one that read "Yale Cites Wikipedia."

Anyway, this weekend meant the end of the fall season here. Every fall team is now finished with its season, and the winter teams can start to move into the heart of their, well, heart of their early-season schedules.

Hopefully the First Family liked what it saw and comes back to watch more.

TigerBlog will leave tickets.

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