Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kickoff Is Coming

FatherBlog is throwing himself an 80th birthday party come November.

As he is planning it himself and as he wrote the guest list out on a yellow legal notepad, it's not a surprise party. Plus, you don't need to be throwing surprise parties for 80 year olds.

On the other hand, such a party in November would really have been a surprise, in that his birthday is actually in September.

TigerBlog is also reticent to point out to people who are the subject of parties that he will see them Saturday or that he's looking forward to the big night or anything like that, for fear that he didn't realize it was actually a surprise party. He wouldn't want to ruin it or anything. You know, like Uncle Junior did with Carmela's dad on "The Sopranos."

As for FatherBlog, he sent out "save-the-date" announcements awhile back for his party. When TigerBlog first saw it, his immediate thought was "but isn't FB's birthday two months earlier?"

The question then becomes, what do you do on his actual birthday if there's a big party two months later? Does TB have to get his father two gifts?

Plus, what do you get an 80-year-old? What could he possibly want?

TigerBlog thinks of 80 as being sort of old, though he doesn't really think of his father as being old, per se. Why is that?

Maybe it's because FatherBlog has never retired. Or maybe he retired and his hobby is working.

FB has three interests - working, traveling and eating. He does all three regularly. He heads into New York City every morning from his home across the Hudson River. He is heading for Brazil Friday. He eats whatever he wants, whenever, wherever.

Actually, it's not a bad way to be at 80.

If he did retire, he'd probably be so bored that he'd find another job. It's not like he's going to play golf or go fishing or hang out on the porch of his beach house, which he doesn't have, because he's
not quite a beach guy. Nobody wears a suit and tie on the beach.

As for FB's actual birthday, TB is pretty sure he'll have something planned for the actual day. Hey, it's a Saturday and everything.

As it turns out, it's also the home opener for Princeton football.

Princeton announced its football schedule the other day. The Tigers will play a rather familiar group of 10 opponents, with seven Ivy games and Patriot League foes Lehigh, Lafayette and Colgate.

The season starts with a game at Lafayette on Sept. 19, followed by the home game against Lehigh, which is also the first of three straight home games.

Then it's a Friday night game against Columbia in the Ivy opener for both. And of course, more eyes will be on Columbia this fall, because Al Bagnoli has taken over as the Lions' coach after his long and successful tenure at Penn.

Then its home against Colgate. Perhaps Princeton will have Yariv Amir bobbleheads that night, for TB's former colleague, who left here to work as Associate AD for External Relations at Colgate.

After the three Patriot games in four weeks to open the season, then it's six Ivy games in six weeks - at Brown, at Harvard, home with Cornell, at Penn, home with Yale, at Dartmouth.

Princeton's schedule every year from 2000-04 featured Lehigh, Lafayette and Colgate as its three non-league games. Only twice since then, in 2006 and 2010, has Princeton played the three in the same season.

Since 2005, Princeton has played non-league games against Bucknell, San Diego, Hampton, The Citadel, Davidson and Georgetown.

It's not easy to schedule non-league football opponents. It's different in football than in any other sport - the risk of physical injury from total mismatches is greater in football. It's not just the possibility of losing by a big score; it's also about not wanting to lose half your starters too.

When TigerBlog used to cover high school football with a guy named Bruce Johnson, he used to call it "the Bang Factor." As in, you get all your guys banged up.

This Friday - as in two days from now - will mark five weeks until the first fall event, a women's soccer game against Howard.

Football in the Ivy League starts later than the other fall sports. Opening kickoff is actually eight weeks from Saturday.

It'll be a different look this year for the Tigers, with Connor Michelsen, Quinn Epperly and Mike Zeuli, among many others, having graduated. TB supposes that the quarterback situation will be the most interesting part of the new season.

He hasn't given it that much thought yet. There's still plenty of time.

Pro teams haven't yet reported for training camp. And it's been 100 degrees every day this week.

But kickoff is coming.

It'll be here before you know it.

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