Thursday, July 30, 2015

Question No. 3

Blake Borders has been to 29 states.

That's not a bad number. It's more than half obviously. There are plenty of people who never see that many.

How old is Blake, by the way? How long did it take him to get to that many states?

He's not quite a year old.

Little Blake's parents, Amy and Andrew, are somewhat adventurous in their vacations. They like to see the country. And they like to do it from a car.

TigerBlog called Andrew, his colleague in the Office of Athletic Communications, twice in the last two weeks to ask him a work-related question and then happened to ask him what state he was in at that moment. The first time it was New Mexico. The second time it was Minnesota.

Somewhere in between, Andrew stopped off in Las Vegas to do a pair of videos with Princeton alums T.J. Bray (basketball) and Matt Bowman (baseball). The family also flew to Alaska, which was the only state Andrew had not previously been in, and attended a Seattle Mariners game.

So Andrew has now been to all 50 states. He might be the only person TB knows who has done so. MotherBlog made it to 49 before she passed away, having never been to North Dakota.

As for Blake, he had very little say in his summer vacation, but he was a trooper nonetheless. And hey, that's quite an ambitious undertaking for two parents, to drive that far with an 11-month-old.

Andrew sent TB a picture of Blake from Mt. Rushmore, which is in South Dakota. TigerBlog has never been there, but he thinks it would be a cool place to go.

So there's Blake, silhouetted against George Washington. Now that's a great picture.

TigerBlog isn't sure where the whole "who belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of (insert whatever subject is being discussed today)" trend began, but it seems to be a big thing these days. Who belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of greatest Yankees? Or greatest actors. Or whatever.

The Baltimore Sun recently had a series on the Mt. Rushmores of all the local men's lacrosse programs, for instance.

And, of course, Tom Brady belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of greatest cheaters.

TigerBlog has already answered the first two of five questions he was asked in a comment a few weeks ago. If you forgot, the comment was this:
Now that the academic year is over, just a word to encourage more of your feature stories which include your personal memories or historical compilations. Here are some unsolicited ideas: Greatest games or events you've witnessed, with and without regard to historical context
Happiest moments you've experienced due to Princeton sports
Weirdest fluke plays
Most improbable comebacks
Most inspiring student-athletes

The answer to Question No. 1 is HERE. The answer to Question No. 2 is HERE.

Question No. 3?

TigerBlog has been thinking about the fluke plays he's seen here - plays he will describe as having an outcome that was completely unexpected when the play began, as opposed to predesigned trick plays.

There are a few that don't make the list but stand out anyway.

Like David Klatsky of Penn, who tried to throw an alley-oop from the other side of midcourt in the 2003 Princeton-Penn game at Jadwin. Instead, his pass overshot everyone - and swished through the net for a three-pointer.

Or the sprint football win over Navy in overtime in 1998. The game was tied at 14-14 at the end of regulation, and Princeton scored and kicked its extra point to go up 21-14 in the OT. Navy then scored  - on one play, TB thinks - and then kicked an extra point to try to tie it. Instead, the kick went straight up and came straight down, falling well short of the goal posts. Final, 21-20 Princeton.

Or the flukiest play in a game that itself was fluky, the 1997 Princeton-Harvard football game at Harvard. How fluky? It was 5-5 at the end of the third quarter. It was also 12-8 Princeton when Harvard tried a 21-yard field goal that would have been wide had it not been deflected by Princeton's David Ferrara, whose tip of the ball actually made it change direction and end up between the uprights. TigerBlog was at Harvard Stadium that day and still can't believe it. The Crimson added another late field goal and won 14-12.

And with that, he offers his Mt. Rushmore of fluky Princeton plays. TigerBlog will give the No. 1 play on the list last; it should be obvious.

* Esmeralda Negron converts a flubbed goal kick - Back in the 2004 season, Princeton's women's soccer team went 19-3 and reached the NCAA Final Four. The last game of the regular season was at old Lourie-Love Field against Penn, on a night when Esmeralda Negron set the program record for career goals - bettering the record for both women and men in the process. Negron scored three goals that night, all in the first half, of an easy 4-1 Tiger win. On one of those goals, the Penn goalkeeper tried to drive a goal kick down the field, except she miss-hit it, sending it to Negron at the top of the box with nobody else anywhere near here and leaving her one-on-one with the helpless keeper. Goal, Princeton.

* Jon Hess starts to break the game open against Maryland in the 1998 NCAA men's lacrosse final - Princeton had won the 1996 and 1997 NCAA championships and reached the 1998 final for a rematch of the previous year, which had been a 19-7 Princeton win to complete a perfect 1997. This time, though, Maryland hung tight with Princeton, and it was 3-3 at halftime. TigerBlog remembers a certain uneasy feeling at halftime, as he did not want to see the Jon Hess-Jessie Hubbard-Chris Massey era of Tiger lacrosse end with a loss. Seamus Grooms scored to make it 4-3 Princeton early in the third quarter, and Maryland then got a stop on the next possession. In attempting to clear, though, Maryland threw the ball away, and it rolled right in front of the goal, with no goalie anywhere near it. The only person around was Hess, who picked it up and scored. He probably could have counted to 10 or so before he shot it. That goal made it 5-3. The lead was 8-4 at the end of the third, and the final was 15-5 Princeton.

* Ed Persia's buzzer-beater at Monmouth - Princeton played at Monmouth in the fourth game of the 2002-03 season. The game was tied at 57-57 when a held ball gave Princeton possession under its own basket with 0.7 seconds to go. As in 94 feet away, less than a second to get there. With overtime a complete certainty, Ed Persia - a former all-state high school quarterback - took the inbounds pass a few feet inside the court in front of the Monmouth bench, turned and flung the ball in the direction of the other basket. TigerBlog was on the radio that night in West Long Branch, and he can still see the ball as it left Persia's hand. It was in a perfectly straight line, more of a line drive than anything with arc to it, and it banked in at the other end, giving Princeton a 60-57 win. TigerBlog estimated the shot at about 80 feet, and he gave Persia 10 chances in practice the next day to try to do it again - and Persia never came close.

And the No. 1 flukiest play TB has seen at Princeton? 

* Rob Toresco's pitch to Jeff Terrell - Princeton and Penn were in overtime in the 2006 game on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. The second overtime, to be exact, tied at 24-24. Facing 4th-and-goal from the 1, Princeton went for it, and gave the ball to Rob Toresco, who lunged at the goal line, lunged again, and again - and wasn't going to get there. So what did he do? He pitched it back to his quarterback, Jeff Terrell, who happened to be trailing the play. Terrell sprinted around the right side into the end zone for the touchdown. Every Penn player and coach thought that Toresco was stopped, but no whistle had sounded. "The refs are going to be more leniant on the goal line," Toresco said afterwards. "I was still driving my legs when I heard Jeff. When you play football long enough, you learn that you just have to make the play." "Playing in the backyard pays off," Terrell added. Of course, that game was far from over. Princeton kicked the extra point, but Penn scored on the first play of its possession. The Quakers, who had a nightmarish kicking game all season, had a bad snap on the conversion, leaving the holder to try to run it in. Had he made it to the end zone, it would have been two points and a Penn win, and he came really, really close, before Pat McGrath tackled him inside the 2. Final, Princeton 31, Penn 30.

So that's TB's list.

Is he missing anything?


Anonymous said...

Looks a bit small to be a "trooper"...more likely, his behavior classifies him as a "trouper" - a member of the troupe whose performance conforms to the notion that "the show must go on."

Anonymous said...

Football Falls to Princeton

Courtesy: Dartmouth Release: 11/19/2004

Nov. 20, 2004

PRINCETON, N.J. - No good deed goes unpunished.

That's what the Dartmouth football team is thinking after a fluke play pushed Princeton to a 17-10 victory in the season-finale for both teams. With the game tied, 10-10, Princeton lined up a field goal with less than six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Dartmouth free safety Clayton Smith blocked the attempt, his fourth block on the season, but Princeton's Colin McDonough scooped up the loose ball and lateraled to James Williams.

Williams went 24 yards for the winning touchdown as the Tigers improved to 5-5 on the year, 3-4 in the Ivy League, and Dartmouth slipped to 1-9 and 1-6 in the Ancient Eight.

"It was just one of those crazy plays," said Smith. "We had a good push up front, and it hit me in the right hand."

Said Dartmouth coach John Lyons, "We played good defense all year and played well enough to win. We just didn't put it together in enough other areas to win games."

Three failed field goal attempts proved painful, and Dartmouth had a chance with time running out with two strikes to the end zone on third and fourth down. Both were dropped.