Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Jaywalker

TigerBlog was driving on Nassau Street, just past Washington Road, on his way to Jadwin Gym one day last week.

He likes to go to work this way. Up 206 and then Nassau Street. Maybe it takes a little longer, but it's not too many extra minutes.

And he likes to see what's going on on Nassau Street in the morning.

Hey, Route 1 is a nightmare. Even if it saves some time, it's a royal pain the butt. Getting off of 95 onto Route 1? Always a disaster. The line backs up to Princeton Pike, and then someone always try to cut off the line and get in.

Princeton Pike? It's a straight line to Princeton from 95, but it's dull. Nothing to see along the way.

Route 206? It's scenic. It takes you past Lawrenceville School, which has a nice campus that most colleges. It goes through the little downtown part of Lawrenceville. It goes past Jasna Polana and the Governor's mansion.

And then it's into Princeton, where it sort of turns into Nassau Street. Well not really. Route 206 goes to the left, up toward Montgomery and Hillsborough. Nassau Street becomes Route 27, up towards Rutgers.

But it's a straight line from 206 onto Nassau Street. And so that's TB's regular road in in the morning.

Sometimes 206 gets crowded, all the way back towards 95, but it's always looks worse than it is. The real worst case scenario is to stuck behind a slow moving dump truck or even a car, because there's no place to pass anywhere. In those cases, yeah, it could take awhile to get from 95 to Nassau Street.

Being on Nassau Street in the morning reminds TigerBlog of a few things. First, he's lucky to work at a place like Princeton, something that resonates even more when he drives past Nassau Hall.

Second, it reminds him of what a great, quaint little town Princeton is, something that can be taken for granted when you're there every day.

Lastly, it reminds him of how happy he is not to be working in, say, New York City.

Anyway, as he was saying, one day last week he drove up Nassau, past Washington, when a woman came out of the CVS and crossed the street to her car, forcing TigerBlog to stop. This was not at the crosswalk, where traffic is required to stop for pedestrians.

No, the crosswalk is about 50 feet up from there, by Thomas Sweet. Nope, this woman clearly crossed the street where she wasn't supposed to be.

TigerBlog didn't get too mad though. The woman turned out to be Laura Granville, Princeton's women's tennis coach.

And that's about the only bad thing TB can say about Granville. She jaywalked.

Granville, now in her fourth season as the Tiger head coach, led Princeton to the 2014 and 2015 Ivy League women's tennis championships. The 2014 team won its first-round match in the NCAA tournament.

She's another Princeton coach who is easy to root for, at least according to TigerBlog. She is soft-spoken, appreciative of whatever anyone does to help her and her program and polite to a fault, something that she displayed even while crossing Nassau Street in the wrong place, when she gave an "I'm sorry" wave, even though she had no idea it was TigerBlog in the car.

Granville might have another distinction. She might be the most athletically accomplished coach at Princeton. 

After winning two NCAA individual championships as a player at Stanford, Granville was a top professional for a decade, including reaching the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. She also reached at least the third round of every other major tournament, and she had a career-best ranking of 28th in the world.

Granville played Serena Williams once, in the second round at Wimbledon in 2003, losing 6-3, 6-1. She lost twice to Venus Williams in two matches as well, going to a tiebreaker in the first set of an event in Memphis in 2007.

In her career Granville was 2-2 against Flavia Pennetta. Who is Flavia Pennetta? She just won the U.S. Open singles championship. She was 1-0 against Roberta Vinci, who knocked off Serena in the semifinals to end her Grand Slam hopes before losing to Pennetta.

She also had two career wins over Marion Bartoli, who was the 2013 Wimbledon champ.

Granville was at the U.S. Open this year. She was doing color for the USTA's online radio broadcasts of the matches. As an aside, TigerBlog can't stand all of the grunting and shrieking in women's tennis.

Anyway, Princeton has other head coaches who were great athletes.

Sprint football coach Sean Morey is a Super Bowl champion. Fred Samara is a former Olympic decathlete. Scott Bradley played in the Major Leagues for a decade.

Laura Granville is up there with any of them, maybe ever, for that matter.

And she's off to a great start as the Tiger head coach.

So she jaywalked once. All is forgiven.

Just don't do it again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Roberta Vinci not Robert Vinci