Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Getting Ready

TigerBlog doesn't quite remember exactly what he did in his last few days before he left for college.

He's pretty sure he didn't do what he and TigerBlog Jr. were doing yesterday afternoon, when they were reviewing how to use StatCrew, something that TBJ hopes to be doing when he arrives at Sacred Heart University in a a few days.

StatCrew is the program that basically every college uses to do in-game stats. Being able to do StatCrew, something TBJ has done for years, is a fairly valuable skill for a college student, who can make himself a pretty valuable part of the school's athletic communiations office.

Back in 2010, TigerBlog wrote this:
Back when TigerBlog first covering Princeton in his newspaper days, the shift to computerizing stats was just happening, though not yet for in-game. Instead, then - and through TB's first year or two here in the OAC - stats at all games were still done by hand, with a group of four or five or so people armed with papers, charts, pencils, a typewriter (to type the play-by-play) and blank box scores to fill in. It would take at least 30 minutes after a game to have a finished box.

And this:
All of the programs work in the same manner. Games are set up with the opponents and their rosters, and then all statistical entering is done by uniform numbers, not by names. The programs are designed to anticipate everything that can happen off of a given situation, so if you enter, say, a shot in soccer, the program knows that the next thing for that shot has to be that it was a goal, was a save, went wide, hit the post, was blocked, etc. 

Anyway, as anyone in athletic communications knows, having a student who can do StatCrew is an awesome luxury. Princeton has been lucky in the last few years, with rowers Dave Mackasey and Pat Eble on the keyboard - both of whom could churn out game after game across basically any sport, all without ever changing their expression and in most instances, not even looking up from their sandwich.

And now the Princeton OAC has Anna Broome, who will be a sophomore this year. Anna went from watching a game to inputting a game in StatCrew in less than one period of a hockey game, which is pretty impressive.

TigerBlog's hope is that TBJ makes that kind of impact at Sacred Heart. And not just for the money.

TBJ has a few days left until he packs up and ship off to Connecticut. TigerBlog is laughing at the difference between what he took to Penn way back when and what TBJ is currently packing up in the living room.

TBJ, for instance, has a brand-new laptop. TigerBlog? He had a brand-new electric typewriter. In fact, back then, TB thought he was completely cutting edge, with his built-in correct-tape.

TigerBlog actually had this conversation, word-for-word, with his son about it:

TB: Do you know what a correct-tape was?
TBJ: You mean like Scotch tape?
TB: No.
TBJ: I'll Google it.
TB: Correct-tape was the tape you needed for a typewriter. If you had a typo, you would hit the back button and then hold down the key for the correct-tape. Then you'd type the incorrect letter again, and it would erase that letter. Then you'd have to type the correct key. Then you'd have to do this for every mistake you made.
TBJ: What are you, 100 years old?

What else will TBJ be taking? Oh yeah. To listen to music, he'll be bringing his phone. To listen to music, TigerBlog brought a large turntable with even larger speakers.

TBJ's dorm room is equipped with a microwave oven and a refrigerator. TigerBlog had a toaster oven and had to carry a tiny refrigerator with him.

TBJ is one of the last of his friends to go, even though it's still August. His friend Matthew left last week and started classes this week, and his first class was Introduction to Computers, which is what he intends to major in. Or intended to major in. After his first class, he texted his dad and said "I want to change my major."

This is not without precedent. TigerBlog's first class was a political science class, held in the University Museum across Spruce Street from Franklin Field. That was his intended major when he first started out. Then he changed to history.

TigerBlog didn't go to college until early September. Princeton doesn't start until mid-September, though it does have the Outdoor Action for incoming freshmen.

TigerBlog was the only person in his high school class who went to Penn. He didn't meet the people who would be his best friends until his junior year - though he met all of them within the same five-minute span on move-in day that year.

TBJ will benefit from being on the lacrosse team, which will give him an immediate sense of belonging and comaraderie.

There is a lot of time spent at Princeton talking about the value of college athletics, and all of it is true. College athletics teach all kinds of great lessons, things that TB has written about over and over - things like the educational value of athletics, like the ability to develop good time management skills, like the need to put the team ahead of the individual.

The one thing that often gets overlooked is the value of being part of a team in the first place. From the time they walk on campus, Princeton's athletes - and Sacred Heart's and everyone else's - are immediately part of something. They have an instant group of friends. They have an instant base.

For now, the incoming freshmen at Princeton - other than the fall athletes - still have some time to go before they come to New Jersey. They can spend it packing, buying what they need, figuring out what to leave home.

And, hopefully, at least one of them is brushing up on StatCrew.

You can never have enough of them.

1 comment:

D '82 said...

Your recounting of the elegant sophistication of a correcting typewriter and TBJ's accusation that you must be 100 brought to mind the following memory. Near the end of my time as New York bachelor, I met a captivating, beautiful Princeton alumna from the Class of 1999. She was five years post-graduation and I was about the same number of years into middle age. I asked her out to dinner. It seemed that she was ambivalent about dating a dirty old man so, for our first night out, I made reservations at the most romantic restaurant that I knew of in Manhattan. Things were going swimmingly over dinner as it turns out that going to Princeton gives you plenty in common with anybody else, even if there are 17 integers between your class years. I felt that a new relationship might be budding until conversation turned to another Princeton standard, the thesis. I mentioned that I wrote mine out in long hand on a legal notepad. She blinked incredulously as if I had just said that I chiseled my thesis into stone tablets. I continued on, "Sure, I wrote the whole thing out in long hand, giving the pages one by one to my girlfriend at the time to type into the university mainframe at the computer center." She continued to stare blankly at me as though I had just dropped into the restaurant via Marty McFly's DeLorean. As I was walking her home, I asked if I could see her again. She stammered with a well-intentioned mix of honesty and good manners, "I would have liked to see you again soon except you're just too, just too. . . too old." TB, if I had written my thesis with your correcting typewriter, I might be married to her by now. (TW '99 -- thanks, that was a great night.)