Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Who Are The Surging Tigers

TigerBlog and Kim Meszaros, who is the executive assistant to Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux, go way back.

In fact, of everyone who works in the Department of Athletics, only two - Kim and TB's colleague Craig Sachson, were at his 40th birthday party. So yeah, they've known each for a long time.

And yet TigerBlog was pretty comfortable that his comment to Kim the other day was accurate, back when he said "this is the strangest moment" of their relationship.

The two were standing in the Princeton Stadium elevator. Kim was wearing the Tiger costume. Well, not the real Tiger costume. The back-up one.

The occasion was the filming of the "Who's the Tiger" video prior to Halloween. Kim was the other Tiger, and she had to walk out of the elevator into the scene. Except she couldn't press the button to open the elevator with the Tiger paw on.

So TB stood next to her. Only he would be in the shot once the door opened, so he had to push the button and then quickly move to the back of the elevator, crossing behind Kim.

He can't remember now, but he thinks they did this about five times before the shot was right. At some point during the filming, TigerBlog mentioned to Kimmie that this was in fact the strangest moment of their relationship. He stands by that.

The "Who's the Tiger" video series has been a lot of fun. The Tiger (whoever the Tiger is) is a comedic genius who seems to be able to roll its eyes, even though the eyes on the costume don't move. And the Tiger has impeccable timing.

TigerBlog gets the same basic feedback from everyone about the videos: 1) they're very clever and 2) what's their purpose. To that, TigerBlog says "thanks, and their purpose is to be creative and have some fun."

There have been eight videos released so far. There are two others that have already been filmed. There will be a few others.

Haven't seen them? You can find all eight HERE.

TigerBlog's favorite is "The Audition." That's the one where Sam Gravitte of the men's lacrosse team sings and Riley Wilkinson of the softball team plays the piano.

It's a little different. First of all, Sam is a great singer. His mother, Debbie Gravitte, won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for "Jerome Robbins' Broadway." Sam has played, among other roles, Jean Valjean in "Les Mis" and in a production called "Spring Awakenings" last spring at McCarter Theater. In fact, he did a doubleheader of men's lacrosse during the day at Maryland and "Spring Awakenings" at McCarter that night.

As for Riley, TB emailed the head coaches saying he was looking for a piano player, and he got about eight or so responses. Riley, a freshman, had to play the piano and say a few lines, and she did both flawlessly. Her timing was also great.

The Halloween one was also very good.

In this one, the Tiger and his three friends - women's volleyball players Kendall Peterkin, Cara Mattaliano and Anne Ferlmann - are waiting by the elevator for another friend, presumably in advance of a Halloween party. Ferlmann asks if Mattaliano's friend is going to be wearing the same costume as a year erlier, and when she's told yes, she responds that she didn't like it.

Then the second Tiger - Kim, another comedic genius - steps off the elevator, wearing the same costume as the Tiger, who is insulted by the fact Ferlmann didn't like the costume. Peterkin, in perfect deadpan voice, says "well that's awkward."

Very good stuff.

You know what Peterkin and her teammates haven't done since the video was filmed two weeks ago? Lose.

Princeton women's volleyball is on a role as the season heads into its final two weekends. Improbably, the Tigers are right in the thick of things.

Coming off its back-to-back 3-0 sweeps of Dartmouth and Harvard last weekend, Princeton is 8-4 in the Ivy League, tied with Dartmouth and Yale, one game back of Harvard.

It may surprise you to know that Princeton began the league season 0-3, with losses to Penn, Harvard and Dartmouth. Those would be the three teams that Princeton played since the "Who's the Tiger" video was filmed, and all three losses were avenged.

Princeton is home this weekend against Yale Friday night and Brown Saturday night. Princeton lost 3-0 to Yale the first time around.

The regular season ends the following weekend at Cornell and Columbia. Harvard plays the same four teams as Princeton, just on opposite weekends.

Princeton can't win even a share of the league championship without a little help against Harvard. Still, there's a long way to go, and this isn't one of those years where the best team is simply too good for the rest of the league.

In fact, since the Ivy League went to double round-robin for women's volleyball in 2001, only twice has the league champ had at least three Ivy losses. There was a four-way tie at 10-4 in 2004 and a two-way tie at 11-3 in 2001. That's been it.

Now, with two weekends left, everyone has at least three losses. And Princeton is in the Ivy title conversation, something that seemed unlikely when the team was 0-3.

Ah, but that was a long time ago. Now there's momentum heading into the final Dillon Gym weekend. And some big volleyball to go.

Who's the Tiger? Nobody knows.

Who are the surging Tigers? The women's volleyball ones, that's who.

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