Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nice Working With You, Mike

Back when TigerBlog used to read a newspaper every morning, he used to love to check out the "Transactions" section of the sports section.

He had his routine down. Comics. Jumbles. Sports. Letters to the editor. The usual.

Now he gets the comics and jumbles online. And sports news. Letters to the editor have been replaced by comments under stories, online as well.

Oh well. Those were the days.

Anyway, the "Transactions" section was always fun. There was almost always something that had a local connection.

Maybe it was another Ivy school that hired a coach. Maybe it was a former Princeton athlete or coach who was hired someplace else. Maybe it was someone who played against Princeton.

And of course there were the NFL cutdown days. Those really were the mother lode for "Transactions" days.

And then there were the days when Princeton had a transaction. Those were stressful, making sure that it was actually in the paper. TigerBlog could never remember if he was supposed to send it to the AP office in Newark or Trenton or if they received it or if anyone could confirm it.

Anyway, the transactions still exist, but it's not the same online.

Were Princeton's Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux not such a good sport, then it would be possible that today's "Transactions" would include this: Princeton - Announced field hockey assistant coach Mike Pallister has been fired.

Fortunately for Mike, he's still in good standing with Mollie, even after beating her in the championship match of the Dillon Gym ping-pong tournament yesterday.

The championship was the second straight for Pallister, who won last year's inaugural tournament. Pallister, at about 6-7, covers the table fairly effortlessly, and he is somewhat intimidating with his backward baseball hat and all.

Mollie was a two-sport athlete at Princeton, All-Ivy in soccer and hockey. She is competitive, that's for sure. She wants to win.

The Dillon tournament last year was limited to only those people who actually worked in Dillon. Mollie's office is in Jadwin, but she was given as exemption into the tournament, as was her assistant Kim Meszaros, who didn't make it out of Round 1.

Mollie had a huge win in the quarterfinals, defeating last year's runner-up, men's soccer assistant Steve Totten. Pallister reached the finals by defeating men's soccer coach Jim Barlow in the semifinals.

TigerBlog figures one of these years is Barlow's year.

So the final came down to Pallister and Marcoux. It's not easy playing against the boss, right? On the other hand, Mollie isn't the kind who would respect anyone who let her win just because she's the AD.

Pallister and Totten went the distance last year in a best-of-five. This time, Pallister swept the championship match.

TigerBlog is a decent ping-pong player, though Barlow wiped him out in a ping-pong Friendly last year. He's not sure who the best player in Jadwin is.

He does have an idea, though.

How about Dillon vs. Jadwin. You know, like how it's done in squash. Nine players, ranked 1-9, playing their counterpart in that position from the other building.

That would draw ratings, no? Or at least interest in the department.

Hmmm. Where would TB start on this? He supposes he has to see if there's a ping-pong table in Jadwin.

In the meantime, things like the recently completed Dillon tournament are a pretty nice piece of the Princeton Department of Athletics fabric. Princeton Athletics features 38 teams, all with their own challenges and struggles on a day-to-day basis.

Plus there are administrators, staff members, everyone else who makes up the entire department, all with their own needs and requirements in their jobs.

But still, when you work in college athletics, you do so largely because you like being part of something bigger than just your own personal area.

That's what the tournament is all about. It's all Princeton Athletics.

That spirit is one of the best parts of working here.

Congratulations to Mike Pallister.

And rest easy, Mollie won't take it personally.

Besides, she will get her revenge when Jadwin beats Dillon. Of course, Dillon would have a big edge with Pallister, Barlow and Totten at the top of the lineup.

Jadwin would either have to steal a match up there and hope to have better depth, or else have Mollie move the soccer or field hockey offices over here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with the large sheets of light blue paper taped to the wall behind each competitor? Please tell me that players took the tournament so seriously that they wanted to make sure there was a neutral background behind their opponent, the better to pick up a ball in flight, like a green wall in the outfield behind the pitcher's mound. That would be an awesome display of Type A overengineering.

On the same topic, I've often thought that world class table tennis players should wear specialized shirts which are a green or blue shade selected to perfectly match the color of the table, punctuated with about a dozen randomly placed white circles the exact same size of the ball. That seems like an obvious strategy for high level competition. Let's put it this way. You can be sure that, when Bill Belichick plays ping pong at home, he first changes into a shirt just as I've described.