Monday, June 29, 2015

Nous Sommes Quarante Et Un

So Miss TigerBlog has become a tad obsessed with speaking French.

Of the last 12 text messages she has sent her father, nine of them have been in French. This would be fine, except TigerBlog speaks only a single word of French.


It means "cheese."

Before he gets into the whole French thing, TB wants to point out that his daughter - who recently completed her freshman year of high school - is tethered at all times to her cell phone but is only 50-50 to respond to a text of his. And if he calls? Forget it. She's 90-10 not to answer.

Why is that?

Okay, back at the French thing.

TigerBlog took Spanish in high school and German in college and had basically no natural affinity for learning foreign languages. BrotherBlog did - he could pick up pretty much anything, including Mandarin Chinese.

Pete Carril once said of one his players a long time ago that he "can speak seven languages, but when I try to tell him what to do, I sometimes think English isn't one of them."

TigerBlog Jr. took four years of French in high school. He was pretty good at it, if his grades through the years are to be believed. But he never really has spoken much of it in casual conversation around the house.

Then there's MTB. She's all French, all the time. She took a brief middle school rotation of French, Spanish and German and chose French for high school.

It was a about halfway through the year that she started with the whole French deal. Now? It's an every day thing.

It certainly has its charm.

TigerBlog will text "what are you doing?" and the answer will come back to him in French. Or he'll ask what she wants for dinner, and the answer comes back in French, to which he will respond "would you like 'fromage' with that?"

Usually, TigerBlog has to then forward it to BrotherBlog for translation. It's an arduous process, yet in some ways it's been good for family bonding.

TigerBlog asked MTB yesterday how to say "we are 41" in French, and she replied "Nous Sommes Quarante Et Un." TB will take it at her word - or words - that she is correct.

Why did TB want to know how to say "we are 41" in French? Because Princeton finished the year 41st in the Directors' Cup.

Princeton was actually 40th until TCU vaulted past the Tigers with its points in the last sport of the year, baseball. For those who don't know, the Directors' Cup measures the top athletic programs in Division I, Division II and Division III through a system that awards points based on NCAA championship participation.

Princeton had a huge spring, getting 80 points in the fall, 172 in the winter and then 300.5 in the spring. The teams contributing to the spring haul were women's lacrosse, women's open rowing, women's tennis, men's tennis, women's track and field and men's track and field.

And women's water polo. Princeton got more points in the spring from women's water polo than any other sport. The most points by any sport all year were the 80 in fencing, though that is a combined total for the men and women.

Princeton went from 77th at the end of the fall to 56th at the end of the winter to 41st in the final standings.

Princeton led all Ivy League schools and was in fact the highest ranking school from a non-power conference. Adding it up, the top 40 featured eight Pac 12 schools - including the top three, who were Stanford, UCLA and USC - eight ACC schools, six Big 12 schools, nine SEC schools and nine Big Ten schools.

Think about that. That's 40 power conference schools and then Princeton.

For everything that Princeton accomplishes athletically, there are few things that reflect the combination of what the athletic program is striving to be than having such a strong showing in the Directors' Cup. Princeton is showing how well it can compete against schools that spend tens of millions of dollars more per year on athletics and can compete without having to compromise its core values in any way.

This is the 22nd year of the Directors' Cup. Princeton has finished in the top 50 19 times.

The 2014-15 year was also the 19th time in those 22 years that Princeton has finished first in the Ivy League.

That's great stuff. It's a great way to end the year.

Being Quarante Et Un?

That's something to applaud.

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