Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Random Memories

TigerBlog's driver's license is expiring soon.

He would have forgotten all about it had it not been for the reminder he got from the motor vehicle people.

Like the Olympics and Presidential elections, driver's license renewals come every four years. For TigerBlog, it's time.

He has his current license of course, and for some reason he also has the one that expired just about four years ago. He feels like he'll be continuing the trend of looking better in each successive photo.

His current license has him in an "NCAA Lacrosse" shirt. A maroon one. It wasn't even one from the Final Four. It was one he got for working at a quarterfinal one year.

His previous license featured TigerBlog in a "Princeton Athletics" shirt. So will his next one, he's pretty sure.

His first driver's license, by the way, didn't have a photo on it.

He remembers the day he took his driving test. He messed up the parallel parking fairly badly and still passed. He treats that as, well, license to be a poor parallel parker to this day.

Fortunately, most of the time he parks, it's in large parking lots or at strip malls.

TigerBlog thought back to his first car for some reason yesterday. His first car was a 1977 Dodge Diplomat. It was red with white vinyl seats, and the lock on the glove compartment didn't work, so it had to be jimmied to open and close it. Only TigerBlog figured out how to do it. 

Oh, and it had an eight-track player. And a big "University of Pennsylvania" sticker on the back window. 

That old car popped into his mind while he was on the Merritt Parkway, a road he spent a great deal of time on the last two days. It's a great road, except when there's construction and traffic gets backed up and then it starts to pour and all.

Anyway, TigerBlog can't remember where he's going with all this.

Oh yeah. Random thoughts.

Shortly after the whole driver's license/first car thing came and went from his head, he had another random thought. When was the first time he was on Princeton's campus?

He's pretty sure that the first time he was ever in Jadwin Gym was in early 1984, when he covered the state high school wrestling championships back when he was at the newspaper. The building was packed, he remembers.

What he doesn't remember is what he thought of Jadwin at first glance. And he definitely never dreamed that the building would be his home base for so many years.

His first football game at Princeton was the 1984 game against Penn. TigerBlog worked on the student radio station at Penn, and he called the 1984 Princeton-Penn game at Palmer Stadium.

Again, he doubts that he was thinking "some day all this will be mine" as he watched the game. 

The 1983 game, by the way, was one of the best football games he's ever seen. Penn 28, Princeton 27, as the Quakers held the Tigers on a late two-point conversion attempt. The 1984 game wasn't as good, as Penn won 27-17.

As an aside, among those who worked with TigerBlog on the Penn student station back then were Scott Graham - who has done the Phillies, NFL, college basketball and basically everything else - Jon Hock - a filmmaker who has done some of the best "30 For 30s" - and Paul Jolovitz - who is all over Philadelphia talk radio.

Oh, and a guy named Sandy who became a lawyer in St. Louis. He was actually the one in charge.

Actually, TigerBlog was probably around a bunch of people he'd come to work very closely with through the years at that 1984 football game in Palmer Stadium. Media people for sure. Chuck Yrigoyen, who was the head of athletic communications at the time.

TigerBlog was a neophyte back then, completely unaware of his surroundings. And the people.

It wasn't until 1989 that he would become a regular in these parts. By then Chuck was at the Ivy League office, but he was still close by. And, like TigerBlog, a member of the Jadwin lunchtime basketball Hall of Fame. Today he's the commissioner of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

TigerBlog has no idea why he started thinking about those things yesterday, his first car and especially his first trips to Princeton.

His wishes he could go back to those two days - the wrestling championships and the football game in Palmer Stadium - and remember exactly what he was thinking.

He can't, obviously.

All he can do is keep those memories in his head and pluck them out every now and then. And so what if started out as a Quaker. Or a kid covering high school wrestling.

They remind him of the starting point for what has become more than a quarter of a century at this great place.

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