Friday, July 31, 2015

Almost August

TigerBlog loves a good thunderstorm.

He's not ready to say that one that blew through yesterday afternoon was all that good. It had two big claps of thunder and about 30 seconds of rain.

You call that a thunderstorm?

It certainly looked like it was going to be bad. As TB looked out his window, he could see the sky above Princeton Stadium turn darker and darker. Then there was a flash. He figured it was about to start.

Then, just like that, it was over. There was a kid running sprints on Weaver track who never even paused his workout. About 10 minutes later, the heavens opened for real. For about 45 more seconds. Then it stopped again.

And the kid was still on the track, still doing his workout. Now that's dedication.

The skies started to brighten, but the rain came back anyway. There might have been one more clap of thunder. That's about it.

This was hardly one of those middle-of-the-night t-storms, the kind where the lightning lights up the night sky through the window shades and gets you to cringe as you wait for the accompanying thunder. Now that's a thunderstorm.

It's been a fairly dry few weeks around here, even in the heart of thunderstorm season. TigerBlog has lived his entire life in about a 50-mile radius of where his desk is, so he's used to the humid July's and August's around here, with the frequent summer thunderstorms.

TigerBlog started to wonder which U.S. cities had the most thunderstorms, or which region of the country. He would not have gotten the correct answer.

Any guesses? TB will give you a few paragraphs.

TigerBlog remembers one of the first summers he spent in Jadwin Gym, when it seemed like there was a thunderstorm every afternoon. They got to be so commonplace that each member of the staff of the Office of Athletic Communications started writing on the board a predicted time for that day's storm.

It was incredibly humid yesterday.  Like, "walk outside and start sweating and your clothes stick to you" humid.

This is how the weather is in Central Jersey this time of year. Always is.

Ah, but it is not the stormiest part of the country. TigerBlog would have guessed the Southeast, and he would have been right. The nine cities with the most thunderstorms per year are all in the Southeast.

Actually, the 10th - Kansas City - is in a state that is in the Southeast Conference. At least TB thinks Missouri is in the SEC.

And the top city for thunderstorms? It's Tampa, of all places, with 82 days of thunderstorms per year.

Today is the last day of July. Tomorrow begins the rather odd month of August.

If you thought it was humid this week, wait until August.

TigerBlog loves the summer and the warm weather, but it starts to get a little old in August. There will be way more hot, sticky, humid days than not. The NFL preseason will drag along. So will baseball.

And yet, before August ends, Princeton Athletics will have started up again. Granted, there are only two events in August, and both are in women's soccer - the opener at home against Howard Aug. 28 and then a game at Fordham two days later.

That first game is four weeks from today.

This is about the time each year when time really starts to fly. It'll seem like a blink of an eye and August will have zoomed along, and it'll be back to the business of actual athletic events.

This year, of course, is Year 1 for Sean Driscoll as Princeton's head women's soccer coach. His team figures to be led by junior Tyler Lussi, the 2014 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.

Lussi has 28 career goals, and if she matches last year's total of 18, that would leave her with 46, or one off the Princeton career record, held by Esmeralda Negron. No Princeton soccer player, male or female, has ever scored more than Esmeralda here.

Lussi is actually tied for fifth already, with Lauren Lazo, after just two seasons. Ahead of her at Negron, Linda DeBoer (41), Emily Behncke (39) and Jen Hoy (36).

Lussi's chase of the school record is one of the storylines for the fall of 2015. And 2016, for that matter.

There will be plenty of others.

And they'll be starting soon. Four weeks from today, actually.

So enjoy another summer Friday and another summer weekend.

There aren't that many left. 

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?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Let's All Agree Nobody Likes Tom Brady

TigerBlog starts out today with a pair of updates.

First, when he mentioned the Princetonians who won gold medals in the recently completed Pan Am Games yesterday, he didn't realize that Ashley Higginson had won the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Higginson graduated from Princeton in 2011.

Higginson won the steeplechase in Toronto in 9:48.12, which also happened to be a Pan Am Games record as well.

So that's one update.

The other is to Ryan Yurko, who was the ringleader of last Friday's beach trip, chronicled Monday by TB. Yurko pointed out to TB yesterday that he should have been called a "smart" volleyball player.

He said he made a lot of "smart" plays, that he had a "smart" approach to the game. So, if you're looking for a "smart" volleyball player, Yurko is your man. If you're looking for a good one from the Princeton group on the beach, then maybe try Carolyn Cooper.

And that's the two updates.

TB apologizes to Higginson. Yurko? All in good fun.

Anyway, TigerBlog was shocked to see that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension of New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady.

TB's first thought was of what Jason Garrett's reaction was, as his Dallas Cowboys play the Patriots in the last of those four games. Had the suspension been reduced, then Brady would have played against Dallas.

And he still might. There's a long way to go, as Brady has vowed to challenge the ruling in the courts. Who knows how it will play out.

Still, it's hard to read anything any of this and come away thinking that Brady is the least bit honorable. First, he's been the cornerstone of an organization with a reputation for cheating, so he really doesn't get much of the benefit of the doubt from anyone who isn't a Pats fan.

Second, he's easy to dislike. He's smug. He's married to the world's top supermodel. He makes more money than basically anyone on Earth could ever dream of and yet she makes more than he does. It doesn't make him likeable. He's certainly no Peyton Manning.

Then there's this story in particular.

TigerBlog can't even begin to imagine how many times Brady has cheated in a game. It certainly wasn't just with the AFC championship game.

And as TB read about the details yesterday, there was the revelation that Brady had destroyed his cell phone so that the NFL couldn't access it. And that if he is to be suspended, he is insisting that it's for not cooperating with the investigation, not with breaking the rules.

To TigerBlog, all of Brady's accomplishments are called into question. It's up there with being a steroid cheat, only maybe even worse, because he can't hide behind the "everyone was doing it" defense.

TB was rooting hard against the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, but they won. Oh well. At least the Giants beat them twice, including to spoil that perfect season. So there is that.

NFL teams are starting their training camps this week. Garrett and the Cowboys are in Oxnard, Calif., for theirs, something sure to shatter the relatively lighthearted serenity of Conte's two weeks ago, when Garrett was there for the "Night of Coaches."

The first exhibition game is a week from Sunday, when the Vikings and Steelers play in the Hall of Fame Game. The regular season opens Sept. 10, when the Patriots - with or without Brady - host the Steelers.

That game, by the way, is six weeks from tomorrow. Is that nuts or what?

The best game of Week 1, by the way, is the Sunday night game between Garrett's team and TB's favorite team, the Giants. It's going to be hard for TB to root against Garrett, but he'll find a way.

That game is Sunday, Sept. 13. Princeton's football season opens six days later, at Lafayette.

Princeton will play 10 games this season, six of which will be televised. The Tigers and Columbia will play on Friday, Oct. 2, on NBC Sports Network. Five other games - Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Penn and Dartmouth - will be on the American Sports Network.

Those games make up five of the 17 that are part of the Ivy League's television deals for this fall.

TigerBlog can remember when there were no Ivy games on TV. He can remember when the Ivy League had a deal with, of all outlets, PBS. There have been games on ESPN. On networks that don't exist anymore.

The subject of television is a fascinating one in Ivy League athletics.

Coaches, for instance, love having games on TV, the better to reach out to recruits, who can both watch them and envision themselves ultimately as part of them.

On the other hand, TigerBlog has had a million conversations about the impact televising games had on attendance. Why come to the game if it's on TV?

That's an issue for all of the sports world these days. The more events like NFL games cost and the better the TV quality gets, why go? Exhibit A in that discussion is TB's favorite annual event - the NCAA men's lacrosse championships.

Then there's the whole digital network piece. If the Ivy League is going to have a digital network, how does that matchup with putting games on TV? How does moving game times and even days affect attendance? And for that matter, how does having games on TV impact the in-game experience for fans?

Anyway, those are just the questions.

TigerBlog has his thoughts on all of them. He can get into those another day.

For today, let's just all agree that nobody likes Tom Brady.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

That's Golden

TigerBlog, as you might recall, was rooting hard for Jill Ellis as the head coach of the U.S. women's team at the recently completed Women's World Cup.

You might have heard that the Americans won.

He's also rooting for Kim Simons, the 1994 Princeton grad and former field hockey and lacrosse great who captained the Tigers to the 1994 NCAA title. She is currently coaching the American U19 women's team at the World Championships in Scotland.

TB is liking the U.S. team's chances, what with two shutouts in its first four games and relatively easy wins over Canada and Australia. The Americans play England today in their final round-robin game.

So that's two teams from the U.S. that TigerBlog wants to see do well.

What about the U.S. men's national soccer team? That's a more complicated story.

Yes, TB tends to root for America. This one, though, isn't so simple.

TigerBlog thinks that Bob Bradley got a raw deal when he was let go as U.S. head coach. And his replacement, Jurgen Klinsmann, didn't do as well as Bradley did in the World Cup a year ago and now has seen the U.S. finish fourth in the Gold Cup this month - with losses to Jamaica and Panama.

Now the U.S. will have a game against Mexico to see who advances to the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017. That game will be played in October.

Does TB want to see the Americans win? And then qualify for the World Cup?

Well, obviously he does. But still, the whole Bob Bradley piece bothers him, even if Bradley's son Michael - nephew of Princeton baseball coach Scott Bradley - remains the U.S. team's best player.

When push comes to shove, if it's down to the last few minutes of a game with qualification on the line for the next World Cup, yeah, TB will want the U.S. to get in. Probably. He is still bitter.

Meanwhile, in other international competition, TigerBlog definitely was rooting for Canadians against the U.S. recently. Where?

The Pan Am Games, which recently ended in Toronto.

TigerBlog remembers the Pan Am Games as being a bigger deal when he was a kid. When he checked it out, he saw that the first Pan Am Games were held in 1937 in Dallas and that nobody really cared.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

Princeton was well-represented in Toronto the last two weeks, and there was a lot of gold to be won there. Mostly by Americans.

The U.S. field hockey team won the gold medal, with Princeton's Julia and Katie Reinprecht on the team and Kathleen Sharkey sidelined by injury. The 2-1 win over Argentina in the championship game included a Reinprecht (Julia) to Reinprecht (Katie) goal for the Americans.

The victory gives the United States more than just the medals. It also means an automatic berth into the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio. The Reinprechts were both starters on the U.S. team in 2012 at the London Olympics as well.

Katharine Holmes and Anna Van Brummen each won gold in women's fencing. In fact, Holmes won two golds, with the individual epee championship and then the team championship, where she joined Van Brummen and Penn State alum Katarzyna Trzopek for gold as well.

And then there's Ashleigh Johnson, the women's water polo goalie.

Johnson also left Canada with a gold medal, after she led the U.S. team to a 13-4 win over Canada in the final. Johnson made 12 saves in the game.

Instead of heading home, though, she continued her busy summer with a short trip over to Russia, where she is now playing for the U.S. team at the World Championships, which began Sunday.

It's been a busy summer for Johnson, who also found herself featured in an ESPN.com article that you can read HERE.

And then there was another winning performance in Toronto.

Martin Barakso (rising captain of the Tiger heavyweights) joined Michael Evans ’13 (former captain) in the M8+ to win gold for Team Canada.

So take that America.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Day At The Beach

TigerBlog sat on the beach, Point Pleasant Beach, to be exact.

It was Friday, midday. His chair was under a fake palm tree, in a patch of shade on an otherwise sun-drenched beach, on a beach day that can only be described as "perfect."

TigerBlog had been on this beach many times before. His parents had moved him not far from this beach when he was just two, and he'd live there until he left for Penn, shortly after his 18th birthday.

His earliest memories of the beach include bad sunburns, as this was before anyone figured out that the idea was to block the sun, not to expose yourself as much as possible to it. His earliest memory of this particular beach was when he was there shortly after a hurricane, and the surf wasn't too far from the boardwalk.

He's spent more days and hours on the beaches of the Jersey Shore - from Belmar and Avon by the Sea and Manasquan and Point Pleasant south to Avalon, Stone Harbor, Ocean City and Cape May - than he can remember. Interestingly, he's never been to Wildwood and has been to Long Beach Island only once.

He's been to the boardwalks, first as a kid, then as a teenager (especially in Seaside, much of which was wiped out by Sandy), ultimately as a parent. He's walked for miles and miles along the water's edges.

And yet, for all of that time, he'd never seen anyone on the beach in a bathing suit and socks. Until Friday, when he saw Ryan Yurko in a bathing suit, a Superman tank top and black socks.

In fairness, were it not for Yurko, TigerBlog would not have been at the beach at all on Friday. Yurko, Princeton's Assistant Director of Athletics for Finance and Administration, is the one who organized the trip, which saw TB, Yurko and five other colleagues - softball coach Lisa Van Ackeren, Assistant Manager of Ticket and Business Operations Brendan Van Ackeren, assistant softball coach Christie Novatin, Director of Track Operations Mike Henderson and Assistant Director of the Princeton Varsity Club Carolyn Cooper - head to Point Pleasant for the day.

The premise was to play volleyball and hang out for the day. TigerBlog bailed on the volleyball and was all-in on the hanging out.

What it really was about was bonding with co-workers.

The teams for volleyball were Yurko, Lisa Van Ackeren and Novatin against Cooper, Henderson and Brendan. Cooper was a four-time letterwinner in volleyball at Notre Dame, and TB's sense is that had she played as hard as she could, her team would have shut out the other team. As it turned out, both sides claimed victory, and TB was hardly paying enough attention to say which team was right.

Oh, and Yurko and the socks?

The sand was really, really hot. And he brought socks to wear to protect his feet from how hot the sand was.

There was logic to it, even if the sight of a nearly 30-year-old man wearing a bathing suit, Superman tank and socks on a public beach was a little odd.

But hey, TigerBlog doesn't want to say anything bad about Yurko. After all, it was his idea, this whole beach day.

Yurko and Henderson joined TB for pizza at Joey Tomatoes on the boardwalk. There's no pizza like boardwalk pizza.

There was also a corporate outing going on near where the Princeton people had set up. TigerBlog watched them interact, and it didn't seem the same as how it is with the people from Princeton Athletics.

It was much more, well, corporate, right down to the water balloon toss.

When you work in college athletics, you are more than just an employee in a staff directory. You're a representative of the department, part of a team. You wear the same clothes that the coaches and athletes do. You say "we" when you talk about wins and losses.

About an hour before the volleyball game began, TigerBlog pointed out to Yurko that he's been around Princeton Athletics longer than the other six combined. Yurko then asked TB what keeps him going year after year.

TigerBlog then looked out beyond the outdoor area at Jenkinson's Inlet, out across the sand that covered a beach way longer than TB remembered it from that time after the hurricane and then at the ocean before he answered.

What keeps TB going, and everyone else, is the idea of being part of a team that can work so hard to help such remarkable student-athletes have the best possible experience, all while checking their egos at the door. And that that same team can do things like head to the beach on a July day to play some volleyball.

TigerBlog loves the beach. He especially loves the Jersey Shore.

He's had some great times there in his life. This past Friday?

It was a lot of what makes the Shore great. It's close. It's a relaxing. It has its own personality. It has great pizza.

This past Friday was also a lot of what makes working at Princeton Athletics great. It's being part of a team, a great, dedicated, hard-working team, one filled with great teammates.

A handful of those teammates took the day off Friday for a day at the beach.

It couldn't have been a much better day.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Summer Friday

So it's a Friday in the summer.

Either you're off today or you can't wait to get on with your summer weekend, so TigerBlog will get right to the point today.

Or points. He has a few subjects. This won't take long, and then you can go enjoy your weekend.

First, there's Chloe Jones.

You have no idea who she is. That's okay.

Chloe is a member of the U.S. women's U-19 national lacrosse team. She scored a goal yesterday as the Americans opened the world championships with a 15-9 win over Canada in Scotland.

By the way, TigerBlog didn't realize it until he started reading about the current tournament that the first women's lacrosse game was played in Scotland, back in the 1800s.

Chloe is the youngest player on the U.S. team, at least in terms of class year. She's a rising junior in high school.

Two years ago, Chloe was Miss TigerBlog's teammate with Lower Bucks Lacrosse. She and MTB also played on the same middle school field hockey team.

When TB watched Chloe play as a youth player, it was obvious she was a special player. She was fast and strong and saw the whole field and made everyone better, and TB figured that if anyone from LBL was going to be a big-time player, it would be Chloe.

The fact that she turned out to be the only 2017 high school grad on the U19 team reaffirms for TB that he's a good judge of talent. He's going to have that tested when the kids that TigerBlog played lacrosse with on either the youth, high school or club level in his class - all 28 of them - play in college starting this year. TB has a sense of who will do well and who won't, and he's eager to see if he's right.

The U.S. team has won four women's U19 world lacrosse titles. The team that is now 1-0 in the competition is coached by Kim Simons Tortolani, who is one of the best players in Princeton women's lacrosse history. And she wasn't too bad at field hockey either.

Between the two she earned seven All-Ivy League selections, and she was team captain for both. She was a three-time All-America in lacrosse, and she was the captain of the 1994 NCAA championship team.

She's also married to Justin Tortolani, who is now a doctor in Baltimore. Justin, like his wife, also captained Princeton to an NCAA championship, his in 1992. He graduated as Princeton's career leader in goals with 120, a record that has now been passed by four players (Jesse Hubbard, Chris Massey, Mike MacDonald, Sean Hartofilis).

TigerBlog wonders how many captains of NCAA championship teams are married to someone who also captained an NCAA championship team.

Anyway, because of Kim Simons and Chloe Jones, TigerBlog is all in on the U.S. team at the U19 championships.

The fact that the U.S. men's national soccer team ended its relationship with Bob Bradley has left TigerBlog lukewarm on the Americans since then, though he does root for former Princeton soccer ball boy Michael Bradley, who has grown up to be the best player the U.S. has. TB was shocked when the U.S. lost to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals the other night.

Should America lose to Jamaica in any team sport?

Speaking of international competition, TigerBlog was happy to see Katharine Holmes of the women's fencing team win the individual epee title at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Holmes and Princeton teammate Anna Van Brummen will compete today in the team epee competition.

TigerBlog saw the two in the Princeton Varsity Club weight room a few weeks ago as they prepared for the event. In fact, they were there the day that TB's colleague Andrew Borders put a story on goprincetontigers.com about how they had qualified for the Pan Am Games.

TB recognized them from the picture, the one that's up there now in fact. He introduced himself and wished them luck.

This is one of the things about Princeton Athletics that is really appealing. There are 38 teams with 1,000 athletes, and they all have incredibly different backgrounds and stories. They also have vastly different goals.

TB loves meeting athletes from as many different sports as he can. That's why the people who work here do so, to try to help each athlete have the best possible experience. Meeting the athletes is a reaffirmation of that.

So good luck to the fencers today. And to the U.S. women as they move along at the U19s.

And for you?

Thanks for sticking with TB this far.

Now go have a great summer weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Missed It

Back in 1998 season, the Princeton men's lacrosse team defeated Harvard 15-7 up in Cambridge.

TigerBlog was there. He remembers Harvard as being the second-best team in the Ivy League at the time, and the Tigers and Crimson were the only teams unbeaten in the league prior to the game. Actually, it was the third straight year that Princeton and Harvard met as Ivy unbeatens, and Princeton won all three games fairly easily.

TigerBlog went back yesterday afternoon to reread what he wrote about the game, and he most decidedly did not remember that John Harrington scored two goals until he saw it in his recap. Harrington was a defenseman, and having two goals in one game is pretty extraordinary for a defenseman.

TB does remember that David Morrow did it in the 1992 NCAA semifinal win over North Carolina. He doesn't even have to look that one up.

Why mention this game of all games from that 1998 season? After all, Princeton would go on to win the NCAA championship, its fifth of six and third straight. No school has matched that accomplishment since.

Well, TigerBlog forgot one small detail from his postgame story.

The win was Bill Tierney's 116th at Princeton, which set the program record for coaching victories. Ferris Thomsen had won 115 from 1951-70.

It never dawned on TB that Tierney was getting close to the record or that he should check on it. In fact, it wasn't until a few years later that TB actually noticed that he'd missed it.

Things like 1,000 points or 1,000 yards are hard to miss. Other records? They can slip through the cracks.

TigerBlog keeps a running total of men's lacrosse records, so he could see how Mike MacDonald made his move to the top of the single-season scoring list all season. Other records are far less obvious, like how Kip Orban broke the record for goals by a middie.

Then there's the weird stuff that is harder to research. MacDonald had a game of seven goals and another of six assists. How many others in the program's history had ever done that before? Turns it nobody else ever had.

The Phillies lost 1-0 the other night to the Rays in the Major League debut of Aaron Nola. The only run of the night came on a home run by Rays' pitcher Nathan Karns.

TigerBlog heard yesterday morning that the last time a Major League game ended 1-0 and the only run was scored on a home run by the pitcher was in 1962.

How in the world are things like that so easily researched? What is the database, a huge compilation of every possible scenario in the world? TigerBlog understands that it's a little more sophisticated than going down to E level storage in Jadwin and hoping to find the information there somewhere.

But still, how is all of this stuff so easily available?

Here's another thing TB almost missed - last Nov. 22 was the 150th anniversary of Princeton Athletics. The first event was Nov. 22, 1864, a baseball game against Williams.

TB isn't sure why he was even looking in the baseball record book in the first place, but that's where he noticed the first game. Then he added it up about 50 times to make sure he had it right.

TB sometimes wonders how many records get overlooked. Maybe not records, but achievements, statistical anomalies that have never happened before. Like the last time a game ended 1-0 with a home run from the pitcher.

He thought of all this because he missed something else. Tuesday - two days ago - was the exact midway point of what is essentially summer break around here.

The 2014-15 athletic year ended with the NCAA track and field championships on June 10. The first event of 2015-16 is on Aug. 28.

Doing the math, the midway part was Tuesday.

What does this tell us? Well, it's still July. It's still awhile before any athletes come back for fall practices.

It's still summer.

Yes, TB said the same thing yesterday about the coming of football season. But hey, the rest of it will be here in a blink.

That women's soccer game that starts the 2015-16 season is five weeks from tomorrow. Yikes.

Enjoy the rest of the summer while you can. But don't panic. There's still plenty of it left.

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.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Caldwell Field House

TigerBlog had just finished his workout routine and was back in Caldwell Field House, ready to take a shower.

If you've ever been in Caldwell, there's a door to the left, as you walk into the main part of the men's locker room, that leads into a coaches' area. That's where TB's locker is.

There's also a shower room in that area, and that's where TB has been showering for years now.

Yesterday he put his towel on the hook and went to turn on the water, only to learn that there were no shower heads on the showers anymore. There is the big shower room in Caldwell, so that's where TB had to go.

The walls of Caldwell used to be lined with old football pictures. Most of them were celebration shots within the field house itself, after big wins. All of the pictures were black and white.

Some had players with cigars in postgame victory. Most of the pictures featured players whose uniforms were covered in mud and grass stains, things that you don't seen much anyway, what with most everyone on synthetic grass.

TigerBlog thought of those pictures yesterday when he was in the locker room, which is odd, since he's in the locker room basically every day. Why all of this popped into his mind yesterday of all days he has no idea.

Still, it's all very fascinating.

Charles W. Caldwell Jr. was a 1925 Princeton grad and a member of the famous 1922 "Team of Destiny," the one whose motto was "A Team That Won't Be Beaten Can't Be Beaten." He then coached at Williams College before coming back to coach his alma mater, which he did from 1945 through 1957, when he passed away. As an undergraduate, he also was a baseball pitcher, and TigerBlog is pretty sure that he pitched at some point for the Yankees.

Caldwell is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. He coached Princeton to its longest winning streak ever, a 24-game run from 1949 through 1952, and among the players he coached was Dick Kazmaier, the 1951 Heisman Trophy winner.

The field house that bears his name opened in 1963. It was built a short walk from Palmer Stadium, the football stadium at the time.

TigerBlog has spent more than his share of time in Caldwell. He's seen football players live in the field house itself during preseason practice. He's gone to any number of postgame press conferences there, in football, basketball and lacrosse. He laughed out loud at the words of wisdom that came out of the mouth of longtime equipment manager Hank Towns.

And, of course, he's had his locker there for years.

For some reason, yesterday was the first time he ever really considered a few things about the building that his office window has faced for more than 20 years.

First, there's the history of the place. How many athletes have called its lockerrooms home, for both men and women? How many great celebrations have taken place there? How many silent nights have been spent there as teams quietly showered and left after tough losses?

The answer to all of those questions is "a lot."

Then there was the other thought that TB had yesterday.

If Caldwell Field House was built in 1963 and Palmer Stadium was built in 1914, where did the football team dress for all those years?

Palmer Stadium did not have showers. That, TB assumes, is why the need for Caldwell existed in the first place.

When Caldwell was built, Jadwin Gym didn't exist. It wouldn't for another six years. What was there in the meantime? A big open space?

Anyway, TigerBlog assumed that the Armory building, which used to sit where the chemistry building is now, had showers and locker rooms.

To be sure, he asked John McPhee, whose father was the Princeton team physician and who literally grew up around Princeton football. As it turned out, TigerBlog was wrong.

According to Mr. McPhee, the football team had locker rooms in the University Field House. This created more questions than answers, as TB isn't sure where that was. If it was the University Gymnasium, then it was destroyed by fire in 1944.

Anyway, TB replied to Mr. McPhee with his questions. He'll let you know the answers.

In the meantime, the Caldwell Field House is more than just the building between Jadwin and the football stadium and track. It's more than just a place to get showered and dressed after working out.

It's a huge part of the history of Princeton Athletics.

So, too, is its namesake.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Working Vacations

TigerBlog saw something that he's not sure he's ever seen on a Sunday before.

It was a mail truck, delivering mail.

TB isn't sure what was going on. It was Sunday in the late morning, and there was a mail truck in front of him.

The truck kept stopping at each mailbox at the end of each driveway. At first, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Everyone has been in this situation before. The truck is just far enough out into the middle of road that you're not really sure if you should pass it or not.

So yeah, that's what TB's first thought was. Then he remembered it was Sunday.

Did they start delivering mail on Sundays?

The mailroom in Jadwin Gym has spent the last 45 years in the same spot, TB presumes. He can vouch for the last 26 years at least.

It's been on the balcony, in the room all the way on the end closest to the Director of Athletics' office, as opposed to the football office side. In other words, it's been next to TigerBlog's office.

TigerBlog can't count the number of times through the years that someone has wandered down the hall, head down, reading something on a piece of paper or eventually on a phone and walked into TB's office instead of the mail room. Then they look up, mutter something and then walk into the door next door.

The best of those ever was when Louise Gengler, the longtime women's tennis coach, walked into TB's office and said "what did I want to talk to you about? Oh wait. I'm going to the mail room. That's right."

If you know Louise, then you get it.

The mail room has been relocated to B level, across from the sprint football office. The copy machine is down there as well.

The room that used to be the mail room is now an office, where Mike Henderson, the track and field operations director, and Chessie Jackson of the women's basketball staff sit.

Henderson used to sit in the Office of Athletic Communications. The OAC consists of three offices that are connected on the inside, unlike the rest of the offices on the Jadwin balcony.

Now that Henderson was moved to the old mail room, Andrew Borders has moved back upstairs from the OAC satellite location, hidden off of C level.

Borders shares his office with Kristy McNeil. In the next office, Craig Sachson shares the space with Ben Badua. TigerBlog is in the next office, alone.

That actually was the operative word last week. Alone. The other four were all on vacation, and TB had the OAC all to himself.

Ah, but just because they were on vacation doesn't mean that their workload stopped. And it doesn't mean that they put things on hold.

Nope.

All four of them were posting stories during vacation. TigerBlog lost count of how many stories they put, partly because Andrew was updating the Hans Brase/Spencer Weisz story of international basketball pretty much a few times a day.

Andrew actually went above on beyond. His travels took him to Las Vegas, where he did a video with T.J. Bray, who was playing in the NBA summer league there.

Oh and while he was there? He also did a video with Matt Bowman of the baseball team, who is now playing for the Mets' Triple-A team in Las Vegas.

All four of them updated the website. And sent out a bunch of tweets. All while on vacation.

Why? Two reasons.

First, it's the nature of the business. The news goes on all year round, even when people happen to be on vacation. And these days, college athletics is its own 24-hour news cycle.

More than that, though, it's the nature of the people who work here.

They understand that they are on call, as it were. And they don't let a little thing like vacation get in the way of that.

Hey, TigerBlog always blogs on his vacations.

And his OAC colleagues are just as reliable.

Nobody told Andrew he had to do those videos. It's just how he is.

It's just how they all are.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Goodbye Yariv

On his second to last day as a Princeton employee, Yariv Amir stood in the Class of 1956 Lounge in Princeton Stadium and began the story of how he came to be a Princeton employee in the first place.

"I was living in my parents' basement in Plainsboro," he said.

The occasion was Yariv's going away luncheon, and he was talking about his time at Princeton.

TigerBlog can take it from there.

Yariv was in Plainsboro. He wanted to work in athletic communications in Division I hockey in the area.

As it happens, TigerBlog and the Office of Athletic Communications needed a contact for the Division I hockey team in the area.

It was the start of a perfect relationship, one that lasted 13 years and ends today.

Has it really been 13 years?

Yariv came to Princeton as an intern, covering men's and women's hockey, baseball, field hockey and water polo. It didn't take long until TigerBlog - and the rest of the department - realized that he was something special.

He leaves Princeton as an assistant athletic director. He's headed to Colgate, his alma mater, to become Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations.

TigerBlog was out on a boat once, off the shoreline in Ocean City, N.J., when the boat suddenly stopped working. TigerBlog's first thought was "well, it's not that far to the beach."

The guy whose boat it was? He had a different first thought. Figure out what's wrong and fix it.

Why tell that story? Because that's how Yariv is.

Some people see a problem and call someone. Others try to fix it.

Yariv is a fixer. That's how his job ended up being what it was at Princeton.

If you want to read something funny, read Yariv's job description. It touches on maybe 35% of what he actually has done here.

After 10 years in athletic communications, Yariv moved over to the position of marketing director. And, like any good marketing director, he headed the department's efforts in advertising, promotions and the like.

And videostreaming. And technology. And facilities upgrades. And graphic design. And any other kind of design. And licensing. And webmaster. And, you know, basically anything else that came up.

As a result, he's worked closely with basically everyone in the department. It was obvious yesterday at his farewell luncheon that TigerBlog is hardly the only one who came to rely on him.

He's certainly come a long way in his 13 years.

Yariv is a 2001 Colgate grad. TigerBlog knew he was on the rowing team there. He didn't realize that he was the team captain until he read the release about Yariv on Colgate's website.

Yariv was single and barely out of college when he came to Princeton, a kid. He leaves with two kids of his own. It's not stretching things too much to say that he's grown up at Princeton.

When TigerBlog remembers his 13 years of working with Yariv, he'll remember how efficient he was. How fast he could produce things. How many projects he could juggle at once.

He'll remember how much he came to rely on him, and in fact how much everyone here came to rely on him. He'll remember his calm demeanor and the rational, thoughtful way that he expressed himself.

Those are all qualities that will serve him well in his new role.

More than any of that, though, TB will remember someone who has always been a really good friend. Someone who laughed, a lot. Every day. No matter how busy he was.

Sitting here now, TigerBlog can think of so many great times that Yariv was a part of during the last 13 years. There were so many funny stories. So many laughs.

About everything and nothing.

TigerBlog and Yariv have usually been on the same wavelength. They understood each other for 13 years, and they way more often than not agreed on whatever the issue of the moment was.

TigerBlog is happy for Yariv. It's the next move in his career, and he knew this day was coming at some point.

Now it's here.

Today is Yariv's last day. Princeton Athletics will go on without him, but TigerBlog will miss him, and not just because of everything he did here.

No, it'll be because Yariv always made coming to work here a little more fun, a little more enjoyable, a little better, for each day of the last 13 years.

Looking back to when he started here, TigerBlog figured he just found another hockey contact, one who would be gone to his next job in a year or two or three.

He had no idea who he was really getting back in 2002.

In 2015, he knows who is leaving.

A great worker. A great person.

One of the best who's every worked in Jadwin Gym in both respect.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quite A Night With Coaches

TigerBlog looked up at the clock over John Thompson's shoulder, saw it was past 10 and wondered what he should do.

TB was the moderator for the "Night With Coaches" event at Conte's last night. The coaches on the panel were Thompson, Pete Carril and Jason Garrett. That's quite a panel.

The three were telling stories, talking about their philosophies and basically wowing the packed house.

Time, though, was moving along, and it was getting late. Should TigerBlog bring the evening to an end? Should he let them keep going?

In truth, TigerBlog could still be there listening to them. That's how good they were.

They were funny. They were engaging. They were humble. They were thoughtful. They were serious.

Mostly, what they were was genuine. That's how they are. Genuine.

For all of their success. For however much money they've made. They have remained genuine, and that is what makes them so, well, likeable.

And it's why they were there in the first place.

The "Night With Coaches" was to benefit the A-T Children's Fund, and by extension the Derek's Dreams foundation.

The event was the latest in the heroic fight of the DiGregorio/Levy families - or is that family, as it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Steve DiGregorio is a former assistant football coach at Princeton. Howard Levy is a former Princeton basketball player and coach.

Derek DiGregorio, the middle son of Steve and Nadia, suffers from Ataxia Telangiectasia, a disease that relentlessly attacks the very small few who suffer from it. There is no cure. There is little in the way of hope.

Today, there is a little more hope, though. Why? Because of the DiGregorio/Levy group, yet again.

They have run a series of fund-raising events through the years. This year's was a little different, with the venue of Conte's and the three coaches who came to speak.

It was easy for TigerBlog. His job was simple. Give a short introduction and then let the three coaches do the rest.

TB started out by telling the predominantly Princeton-centric crowd that he's a Penn grad, which of course drew boos. Then he talked about the great loyalty that permeates throughout everything Princeton, how it's just different than it is at other places.

Then he introduced the panelists. He mentioned that Thompson has taken his teams to either the NCAA tournament or NIT 14 times in 15 seasons as a head coach, including one trip with Georgetown to the Final Four, but that TB believes that his best coaching job was his first, when he took Princeton to the 2000-01 Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament. Princeton, as you might recall, lost basically its entire projected lineup that year, especially Chris Young (to baseball) and Spencer Gloger (transfer).

In fact, TB asked Thompson if he could remember the starting lineup for his first game, and he could only come up with Nate Walton and Ed Persia. The other three? Mike Bechtold, C.J. Chapman and Eugene Baah.

He introduced Jason Garrett and reminded the audience that he is still the Ivy League leader in career completion percentage. This was the second time in less than two months that TB has heard Jason speak, and he has been off-the-charts impressive both times.

He, like the other two, is speaking from the heart, and the audience knows it. That's why he - all three - can connect so easily with those who are listening.

Yes, he's the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, which means that he automatically has that factor of fame when he walks in the room. But that would vanish quickly if he simply mailed it in. But no. That's not what he does. He speaks of his own experiences and how they have shaped him and his beliefs and made him the coach that he is, and he does so with great modesty. And with great respect for those who have helped him get where he is now, with many of those people in the room last night.

When TB introduced Coach Carril, he told two funny stories and one serious one about the Hall-of-Famer. TB actually has about 1,000 funny ones and 1,000 serious ones, so he had a lot to choose from.

His first funny story? The time Coach went up to Joe Susan, as he was lying on the Jadwin Gym side court after blowing out his knee in lunchtime basketball, and said "yo, I think this might be a bad time to tell you that you traveled." His second one? It was funny too, though a little more off-color.

And then he mostly tried to stay out of the way and let the three coaches go. And they did.

About life. About coaching. About each other. About how it's changed through the years. About their philosophies. About their belief in service. About anything and everything.

What stands out to TigerBlog? As he said, it's how genuine they are. How success hasn't changed Thompson or Garrett.

But more than anything, it was that nobody - nobody - can talk to a room like Coach Carril. Sure, he's 85 now. And sure, he moves a little slower and maybe doesn't have the energy he once did.

But he can tell a story. And he can have a moral to that story. And when he speaks? Everyone listens.

He talked about sports and society and what coaching is all about and what he values and how all of that always played into how he coached. He talked about how winning was the most important thing, and when someone said "winning at all costs?" he said no, that's not what he said. He said winning is the most important thing.

Oh, and Carril was also funny. He always is. He got people to laugh and he got people to think, and that's a perfect combination.

TigerBlog has heard Carril talk like that informally in that room for hours and hours, but that was a few decades ago now, after whatever game Princeton happened to play that night. This time it was more formal, but it was like the decades had faded away.

In more ways than one.

Everywhere TigerBlog looked, he saw a familiar face, one that took back to his early days around Princeton Athletics.

Keith Elias, the all-time leading rusher in Princeton football history, was there. Elias, one of TB's all-time favorites, has as much charisma as any athlete TigerBlog has met at Princeton.

Kit Mueller, another all-time favorite, was there. Mueller spent more than 20 years as the second-leading scorer before being passed by Douglas Davis, who was also there (Ian Hummer then passed both of them).

Hank Towns, the legendary equipment man? He was there. He's 75 now, Hank is, and he hardly looks any different than he did when he was working at Princeton. Kenny Samuels, retiring from public safety after 49 years, was also in the house.

Mike McDonnell, the manager of the men's basketball teams during the glorious days of the late ’90s came too. So did Kevin Guthrie, one of the best football players Princeton has ever seen.

Mollie Marcoux. Gary Walters. Bob Surace. Mitch Henderson. So many others, many of whom TigerBlog had never met before.

They were there to hear the three coaches - presumably not to hear TigerBlog per se.

But they were there for so much more than that.

They were there because of their loyalty, to the DiGregorio/Levy clan and to Princeton itself.

They were there to support the cause. And the cause is named Derek.

The program ended with a birthday cake for Coach Carril and the singing of Happy Birthday.

And then TigerBlog was left to sum it all up. And so he did, by saying that what the DiGregorios deal with every day - and do so with such courage - is more than most of the people there could deal with for even one day. And they do it every day.

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

They won't stop either. A-T may be relentless, but so is DiGregorio/Levy.

At the end, the three coaches had their picture taken with Derek. The three coaches, who were so good that TB didn't want them to stop talking.

And Derek, who has been dealt such a horrific hand and yet also has been given such a precious gift, the gift of a family that will never stop, never give up, never stop trying to make a difference, never stop doing what they can for him.

They are, by far, the most inspirational people TigerBlog knows.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Question No. 2

Remember last month, when TigerBlog got the comment asking for his feedback on several topics?

In case you don't, here's what it said:

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


He answered the first question back on June 18, when he ran down the greatest games he'd been to without regard to historical context.

Today he goes after the second question on the list.

What are the happiest moments he's experienced due to Princeton sports?

This is the most interesting question on the list, TB supposes, in that it's completely undefined. Happiest moments as in the thrill of a win? Happiest for a different reason? Happiest because of the people?

As TB considers this, he will say that he's pretty sure that tonight will fall someplace on this list.

TigerBlog will be the moderator at the "Night With Coaches" event tonight at Conte's. The evening features a panel of Jason Garrett, John Thompson III and Pete Carril, and let's face it, any Princeton fan knows who they are.

The idea is to raise money for the fight against A-T, a vicious, incurable disease that has affected the middle son of Steve and Nadia DiGregorio. Steve is a former Princeton assistant football coach and close friend of former Princeton basketball player and coach Howard Levy, and the two of them have mobilized much of the Princeton football and basketball communities in support of Derek's Dreams, named for Derek DiGregorio.

Seeing how people like Jason Garrett (less than two weeks from the start of training camp) and John Thompson (in the middle of summer recruiting) can drop everything to throw their support behind this cause is, for TigerBlog, much of what is great about Princeton Athletics.

As for the rest of the list?

Let's see. TigerBlog is going to throw some out there in no order, but he's saving his No. 1 happiest moment for last. Of what it is, he is 100% sure.

The only rule is that it has to have been something that he saw for himself first hand.

* Princeton's overtime win over Penn in the 1996 Ivy League men's basketball playoff. The win over UCLA in the first round of the tournament, was great, but the win over Penn in the playoff was a night of total happiness. It ended an eight-game losing streak to Penn, it was ridiculously dramatic and it was capped by Carril's announcement of his pending retirement.

* Gary Walters' retirement party. No, not because it meant Gary was stepping down. It was because of how many different people came from all over the country to be there and how much genuine emotion there was in Jadwin Gym that night, so much so that even Gary was visibly touched by it.

* The bus ride home from Dartmouth in 1991 after the men's basketball team clinched the Ivy title. TigerBlog has been on a bus for a road trip maybe five times or fewer since he actually started working at Princeton and hasn't been on a bus in years, but he took the bus all the time when he was with the newspaper. He's not sure why. Anyway, those trips were always great, but the ride home from Hanover in the middle of the night after the championship had been clinched was a non-stop party, complete with a singing Pete Carril.

* All six of Princeton's NCAA men's lacrosse championships, but especially 1998 and 2001. The 1998 one, because TB didn't want the Chris Massey-Jon Hess-Jesse Hubbard teams to lose their last game and knew at the time the historical significance of winning a third-straight title (it stamped them as immortals in the sport, and it hasn't been matched since). The 2001 one because Bill Tierney won with his two sons, beating a presumed unbeatable Syracuse team in the process.

* The women's soccer team's win over Washington in the 2004 NCAA quarterfinals at Lourie-Love Field, making Princeton the first - and to this day only - women's soccer team to reach the Final Four. There was a crowd of 2,500 fans at old Lourie-Love that night, and for the final 10 minutes or so, when it became obvious Princeton's 3-1 lead was impenetrable, it was a complete party atmosphere there.

* The win by the football team over Harvard in 2012, when Princeton came from 34-10 down in the last 12 minutes to win 39-34.

* Any of the trips TigerBlog made to basketball tournaments with Tom McCarthy. Especially the one to Hawaii. Now that was a great one. Princeton beat Florida State, Texas and UNC Charlotte on consecutive nights to win the Rainbow Classic. In Hawaii.

* Somewhat connected to the last one would be the long drives home in the middle of the night after men's basketball weekends, driving hundreds of miles long after midnight with people like McCarthy, Mark Eckel, David Rosenfeld and an army of others through the years.

* Any of the times TigerBlog Jr. went to a game between the ages of, oh, 3 and 11. And any of the times that TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog went to a sports camp at Princeton.

* The night that TigerBlog, John Mack, John Cornell and Ben Solomon (he's pretty sure it was Ben) took a reluctant Tom Milajecki to a Phillies' game and then Atlantic City for Tom's bachelor party. Mack, Cornell, Solomon and Milajecki combined to win 10 Heptagonal track and field titles at Princeton, with 10 for John Mack and none for the others, who all worked in the Office of Athletic Communications. Cornell had the unique distinction of having worked at three colleges, all of whom have sprint football teams - Princeton, Navy and Post. Counting his last name, that's four schools with sprint.

* The trips TigerBlog took with the men's lacrosse team to Spain and Ireland in 2008 and Costa Rica in 2012 and especially the time he spent on those trips with John McPhee.

* As weird as this sounds, the old Ivy League SID meetings. Back in the 1990s, the Ivy League SIDs met each summer for some of the, well, most inane, ridiculous discussions ever held, with hotly debated topics like how many postgame faxes a visiting team could ask a home team to send and of course standardized rosters. To this day, TB is amazed that he sat through a four-hour brawl that included whether or not it should be "position/class" or "class/position" and the granddaddy of them all, AP or postal abbreviations for states. But you know what? There was something nice, something charming, about being with all his league-wide colleagues at once. There was a camaraderie back then that long ago vanished in the league.

* The 12 games TigerBlog spent as the women's basketball contact during the 2011-12 season.

* The last game of the 2000-01 men's basketball regular season, when Princeton routed Penn at Jadwin to win the Ivy title in John Thompson's first season as Tiger head coach.

* And of course, the 1999 comeback win over Penn at the Palestra, which was the answer to Question No. 1.

TigerBlog is sure he's leaving some out. Off the top of his head, there were the men's lacrosse team's Ivy League tournament wins over Cornell in 2013 and this season, for instance.

His No. 1 happiest moment is also related to men's lacrosse, but not to an NCAA title. No, it came after Princeton defeated Cornell in the last game of the 2012 regular season.

The win completed a 6-0 run through the Ivy League for the Tigers. It also came in the season following the death of Ann Bates, the wife of head coach Chris Bates.

This was more than five months later, and now Princeton was the outright Ivy champion. Chris Bates and Nick, his son, 11 at the time, TB thinks, were sitting together on a bench in the team room at Class of 1952 Stadium, just the two of them, with the Ivy League trophy.

This is what TB wrote two days later:
TB can't remember the last time he was as happy for someone as he was for Chris Bates in that moment - and it'll be a long time before he forgets the sight of the coach and his son, alone on the bench, together in victory as they had, sadly, been together in tragedy a few short months ago. 

It still holds.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Road Back

TigerBlog stood on the balcony yesterday afternoon, just in time to see an army of young lacrosse players walk in front of Jadwin Gym.

It was Day 2 of boys' lacrosse camp, Session 2, and the afternoon session was about to start. The large gathering of kids, ages 10-18, were marching to Finney and Campbell Fields, presumably from lunch.

And speaking of lunch and the lacrosse camp, TigerBlog Jr. is working at the camp. He spent many summers, maybe five of them, as a camper at Princeton lacrosse camp. Now he's on the other side.

Ah, but some habits do die hard. TBJ, as he did more than once when he was a camper, lost his meal card.

Well, he didn't quite lose it. He left it in the car.

TBJ these days is a bit slowed by the small matter of a tear in his labrum and a small bone fracture in his shoulder. The injury, which he first suffered in one of his last high school lacrosse games and then repeated when he was swimming and had his entire shoulder pop out one one stroke, required surgery, which he had this past Wednesday.

He's healing remarkably well, or at least pain-free. And so he was able to work at the lacrosse camp, just as he did at Session 1 a few weeks ago. Well, maybe not quite like Session 1. This time, he can't really stay in the dorms, and he can't shoot a lacrosse ball or move his shoulder in any way, especially since it's tethered in place by a sling.

So he's commuting. Being driven, since he can't drive for the next three months or so. It's taken TigerBlog back to when TBJ was eight or nine and too young to stay in the dorms at camp, and so he had to commute.

TigerBlog reminded his son of that Sunday night when he picked him up. It was an experience that was both odd - since TBJ long ago outgrew not being able to stay in the dorms - and nice, because, you know, he's leaving for college soon, so moments like this are dwindling.

He even came up with a new term for his status - he's a "day counselor."

Of course, he's a day counselor who left his meal card in the car, so TB had to return it to him. That was somewhat funny.

As TB saw the lacrosse kids walk to the field, he could hear from behind him the unmistakable sound of basketballs bouncing from the main court in Jadwin Gym. There was another camp going on there, a day camp for young basketball players.

This was not a recruiting showcase or anything like that. This was little kids having fun playing basketball.

Camp season is in full swing around here. Some of it brings serious high school athletes here hoping to catch a coach's eye. Some of it brings the young laxers and hoopsters, just loving the chance to be around their sport at a place like Princeton.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world (South Korea to be exact), Hans Brase was playing for Germany at the World University Games. Brase, a 6-8 senior-to-be at Princeton, helped the Germans to the championship game, which was on ESPNU yesterday morning against the U.S.

TigerBlog learned from his colleague Andrew Borders' story on goprincetontigers.com that the U.S. team was comprised almost entirely of players from the University of Kansas. TB is intrigued as to why this is, but he decided to just accept it for what it is, without looking up why this is the case.

Anyway, Brase had six points, six rebounds and three assists for Germany, who lost in two overtimes to Kansas, er, the U.S. 84-77. For the tournament, Brase averaged 11 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

Spencer Weisz, a rising junior and Brase's Princeton teammate, is playing for Israel at the European U-20 championships in Italy. That event hasn't reached the elimination round yet, but Israel did go 3-1 in the first round.

Weisz has started every game for the Israelis. As the tournament progresses, Andrew will keep updating how Weisz and his team are doing.

Oh, and back at TBJ and his injury?

It was a little more than two months ago that TB wrote about his son's final high school game, and he mentioned in that story that TBJ was lucky, that he'd played every game for four years and never gotten hurt.

Only he did get hurt. He just didn't realize it early on, since it went away in two days, only to come back six weeks later.



Now he has the sling for six weeks or so. He's heading to college - Sacred Heart University - in seven weeks. Fall practice for lacrosse starts shortly after that.

His goal for the summer was to do his summer strength and conditioning to be in the best shape he could and to see a ton of shots. He wanted to be 100% ready to go on Day 1 of fall practice.

It didn't quite work out that way.

Instead, his recovery time is probably six months, which should have him healthy in time for the start of spring practice.

It is, TB supposes, part of growing up. As a parent, the instinct is to shield your children from adversity, or, if shielding is impossible, then it's to intercede on their behalf. As a child, the instinct is to run to the shelter that a parent provides.

As an adult, TBJ has to face this one head on. A little adversity? It's a good thing.

There are people who have it way worse than he does, who deal with way worse every day. But that doesn't mean that he's not entitled to have lacrosse be really important to him, and that doesn't mean that he now has to deal with something that he's never had to deal with before.

TigerBlog thought about every Princeton athletes he's ever seen who is out with an injury and how teams work, with a "next-man-up" philosophy. Or woman up. That's how teams have to function.

But the athlete who is out injured? It's on him or her to make the way back.

TigerBlog was with his son when the doctor told him the results of the MRI and gave him the prognosis. As he was hearing the words, TBJ dropped his head into his hands, a bit overcome by the enormity of the news.

It was probably the most down TigerBlog has ever seen his son. His dream of college lacrosse was so close, just a few weeks away.

Now, a few days after the surgery, his attitude has done a 180. Now he's determined. Now he's ready for the road back.

He'll get there. Stronger than he was before.

His dream hasn't changed.

Only the start date.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Hot And Cold

Miss TigerBlog had a lacrosse tournament this weekend.

This is not a rare phenomenon, of course. Between MTB and her brother, this marks the eighth straight year where TigerBlog has spent many of his summer weekends on steamy lacrosse fields.

TigerBlog can't count the number of times he's done this.

It's a simple process really. There's a schedule, with games usually spread across both days of a weekend, with an hour, two hours, three hours in between games.

It's a weekend where the heat takes its toll on everyone. It's a struggle to find shade, stay hydrated and fed and reapply sun screen all while waiting for the next game to start.

TigerBlog has been to these tournaments from Massachusetts to Virginia and basically everywhere in between. The all have common denominators, and near the top of the list is how hot it's usually been.

TB has always wondered what those who've never seen one of these events would think. They'd be shocked, he supposes, to see what it's all about, with a bunch of parents and young athletes baking in the summer sun, all in the name of playing lacrosse.

Oh, and you do this for games that often start at 8 am or even earlier? Are all of you people insane?

For the record, MTB's team won the tournament this weekend.

TigerBlog wonders how many hours he's spent on fields in the summer. The answer is somewhere around a ton.

He's learned a lot in all these years. First, never wear a black t-shirt. It absorbs the sun. And never wear a gray t-shirt - you can sweat all the way through those.

Second, when possible, wear a Princeton Lacrosse t-shirt. When he does, everyone thinks he's a coach there scouting. If nothing else he can use that to get access to the coaches' only parking areas.

One thing TB would say is that if parents are getting their kids involved just to get college scholarship money, then they're doing it for the wrong reason.

TigerBlog Jr. played on the same club team for seven summers, and the kids - well, they're now 18 and headed to college, so they're not kids anymore - are almost all playing in college. But that's not what they'll take away from their time together.

No, they'll remember their time together and the friendships they made, and they'll all have 100% positive memories of their summers together.

To cool off this weekend, TigerBlog read the stories on goprincetontigers.com about the release of the women's hockey and men's hockey schedules for 2015-16.

As an aside, it's already 2015-16? How nuts is that? TigerBlog remembers a lot of years when everyone used to talk about what age they'd be in the year 2000 and how far in the future that seemed to be, and now it's 2015-16?

Anyway, as hot as it was on the fields at West Chester University this weekend, that's how cold it can get in Baker Rink.

All of Princeton's venues have their charms, but there really is something special about Baker Rink.

It's old. It's wooden. There isn't a bad seat in the building. The action on the ice moves really quickly, and being that close to it - even in the last row - makes it an amazing place to see a game.

The only drawback, though, is that it gets really, really cold in there.

Anyway, looking at this year's schedules, there were three things that really jumped out at TB.

First, opening day for the women's hockey season is just three months and 10 days away. By then, of course, the fall season will be in full swing, and yet the overlap with the winter will be beginning.

And here it is July.

Princeton opens the women's hockey season on Oct. 23 and 24 at Mercyhurst. The home opener will be the first weekend of November, when Cornell and Colgate come to Baker Rink.

Then there are two parts of the men's schedule that are pretty interesting.

First, the Liberty Hockey Invitational at the Prudential Center in Newark has been replaced by the Capital City Classic, which will be held at the Sun Bank Center in Trenton on Oct. 30 and 31. Princeton will be joined by Yale, UMass and Maine.

Then there is the game on Dec. 11.

On that night, Princeton will play at the beautiful Pegula Ice Arena, home of Penn State hockey. And when TB says beautiful, he means beautiful.

Penn State, of course, is coached by former Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky. TigerBlog can't think of too many examples of a Princeton team who has played against a former coach.

One of the only examples he can think of is when Princeton played against Don Cahoon, its former men's hockey coach, after Cahoon went on to coach UMass.

There were other times in rowing, at least with Dan Roock. The field hockey team played against former coach Beth Bozman.

Are there any others? Off the top of his head he can't think of any. He has to be missing some, no?

Anyway, it'll be Princeton versus Guy Gadowsky on Dec. 11.

Competitive guy, that Gadowsky.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Happy 85th

TigerBlog wrote a short piece yesterday for goprincetontigers.com about next week's "A Night With Coaches" event at Conte's.

The event will bring Pete Carril, Jason Garrett and John Thompson to Conte's - the venerable pizza place on Witherspoon Street - this coming Wednesday to benefit the A-T Children's Project and Derek's Dreams.

The "Derek" of Derek's Dreams is Derek DiGregorio, the 17-year-old son of Nadia and Steve DiGregorio. Steve is a former assistant football coach at Princeton.

The A-T Children's Project is desperately trying to find a cure for Ataxia Telangiectasia, a rare neurodegenarative disease from which Derek suffers.

To say that what the DiGregorio's deal with on a daily basis is frightening and intimidating is an understatement. And yet did they get frightened or intimidated? No way.

They, along with some others, especially Howard Levy, the former Princeton basketball player and assistant coach and now the head coach at Mercer County Community College, have attacked head on, holding fund-raisers and creating Derek's Dreams to call attention to a disease that few people know exists.

And, knowing the group the way TB does, it doesn't surprise him at all that they're approaching this fund-raiser in typical fashion, by uniting the Princeton community, bringing together the three wildly successful and popular coaches and doing so in the name of fun.

Of course, the event needs a moderator, and that honor was offered to TigerBlog, who immediately accepted.

He even thought of changing the name of the event from "A Night With Coaches" to "Four Princeton Legends," but he thought better of it.

The instructions he was given were 1) dress very, very casually, like shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, and 2) try to keep the program equally as casual, with funny stories and all.

TigerBlog can handle both of those. The toughest choice will be which t-shirt to wear. Right now, TigerBlog is leaning towards black "Princeton Lacrosse."

As for funny stories? TigerBlog has said this before, but of the 50 funniest things he's ever seen or heard, Pete Carril is directly responsible for probably 25 of them.

So TigerBlog is looking forward to Wednesday night. Plus, it's for an extraordinarily great cause.

You can find out more about HERE.

Of course, when it came time to write about Carril's accomplishments, TB knew them by heart.
His record of 514-261 at Princeton and 525-273 overall. His 13 Ivy titles. His 11 NCAA appearances. His 1975 NIT championship.

Pete Carril is like no one else who ever was a part of Princeton Athletics. He grew up with little in Bethlehem, the son of a Spanish immigrant who worked for 40 years in the steel mills. His father's legendary work ethic inspired him, and he came to spend the majority of his career at a University where there were very few who came from his background.

It was that mismatched dynamic that worked so well for him and resonated so well with those who played for him. Maybe not while they were undergrads.

But ask them today, and pretty much to a man they will talk about how much they learned from him.

Today is Pete Carril's 85th birthday. He moves a little slower than he used to, but he's still moving, still sharp, still someone whose very presence on campus commands the respect of everyone who happens to be in whatever room he is in at that moment.

TigerBlog remembers writing about Carril on his 80th birthday. Have five years really come and gone since then?

Anywhere, here's what he said back then. It still resonates today, his 85th birthday:

In Carril's own words: "If you lower standards, they turn around and attack you."

TigerBlog maintains that in the long history of Princeton athletics, there are four icons who rise above everyone else. Three were Princeton athletes - Hobey Baker, Dick Kazmaier and Bill Bradley; the fourth is Carril.

TB once wrote that Carril has long been the conscience of Princeton basketball (and to a larger extreme, Princeton athletics), and by that he means that Carril was never one to let anyone get away with anything less than full effort, full commitment. He couldn't be conned as head coach, and he cared little about what a person's background was. Nobody had a free pass on his teams.

He himself grew up poor, and TB has heard stories both heartfelt and hysterical about Carril's experiences as a child and the effect they had on him.

Today, at the age of 80, he's a more mellow person. He's still the conscience of Princeton basketball, but he does so from the perspective of your wise old uncle that you see a few times a year.

And yet, he hasn't slowed a step. He still has the quick wit, the dominating persona, the ability to sniff out the BS immediately.

There has never been anyone to walk into Jadwin Gym quite like Pete Carril. Now that he's 80, there still isn't, and TB suspects it will forever be this way. 


Happy birthday Coach.

Looking forward to hearing you Wednesday.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Year In Review

The annual report - or as it used to be known, the President's Report - is pretty much what you think it would be.

It's a recap of the previous academic year, a record of everything that happened that particular year with Princeton Athletics.

It includes pretty much everything, stuff like workout permits sold and number of varsity athletes certified. And the competitive record.

That last part is where TigerBlog and his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues come in. It's their job to piece together things like Princeton's record against all Ivy opponents, Princeton's overall record, the team-by-team records, those sorts of things.

It's due sometime next week.

TB has this information going back for years and years. It's a valuable tool to refer back to when necessary.

In fact, TB's friend Big Green Alert blog man would love it. Actual facts put down on actual paper.

Most of what TB contributes to the annual report is data driven. There is one big text piece, and that's the Princeton Athletics year in review.

As of now, TB hasn't written it yet. He will get to it before the end of next week. Don't worry.

Most years, there is a fairly obvious starting point for the year in review. One team. One athlete. Somebody always rises to be worthy of the top spot.

At least in TB's eyes. Perhaps if someone else wrote the year in review that year, he or she would come up with a different lead.

It's one of the great things about Princeton Athletics. There are 38 varsity teams, and they can all be treated evenly in something like a year in review.

The recently completed 2014-15 athletic year, though, really offers no gray area.

TB is pretty sure that if he gathered up 100 Princeton fans and asked them to name the top story here for the 2014-15 academic year, they'd all come up with the same answer.

The women's basketball team.

Princeton went 31-1 this past year. The regular season was 30-0, making Princeton the only women's basketball team in the country to go unbeaten in the regular season.

It still annoys TigerBlog that Princeton was given an eight seed in the NCAA tournament, instead of, well, basically anything else. The result was a first-round win over ninth-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay and then, sadly, top-seeded Maryland in the second round, where the 31-game winning streak ended.

None of this is new to a Princeton fan.

Yes, there were some other great accomplishments by Princeton teams and athletes this year. Hey, 12 of them won league championships (11 Ivy titles and the women's water polo league title). There was also a lot of postseason success by a bunch of teams.

And again, TigerBlog learned a long time ago how to judge different sports on their merits, without factoring in things like how much national attention one sport gets against another. 

But really. This year the big story was women's basketball.

As TB looked back at the accomplishments of the women's basketball team, he began to think of it not in terms of this year but in the larger context of all of Princeton Athletics history. Where does it rank there?

For that matter what's the greatest single accomplishment in Princeton history?

As someone who majored in history, these are the kind of questions that really appeals to TB.

Princeton Athletic history is long, dating back 151 years. And it's filled with great accomplishments and great athletes, decade after decade since.

It's really impossible to pick the one that tops them all, right?

Even if TigerBlog narrows it down to the last 25 years, he still off the top of his head can think of at least 10 events that would be in contention.

Now that TigerBlog is thinking about it, maybe he should actually put together a list and all. Not today, mind you. But one of these summer days.

And oh yeah, he still has four more of those questions to answer, the ones from that comment last month. He'll get to those too.

For now, he'll say that what the women's basketball team accomplished this past year is way way up on the list of great Princeton moments.

And it's definitely the lead of the athletic year in review. 

You know, the one TigerBlog hasn't written yet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Take Two

TigerBlog is doing something today that he's never done before in the history of this blog.

He's starting over after having finished.

He had 821 words in the bank, plenty for one day. And he re-read it, and in doing so came to this conclusion: what he wrote was dull.

So he trashed it. And now he's starting over.

He's never done that before. At least he doesn't think he has. If he did, he can't remember.

He could have stayed with what he had. It wasn't that bad. It's just that there wasn't much substance to it.

Hey, he can be forgiven. It's early July, the hardest time of the year to find stuff to write about, especially considering that Princeton Athletics is seven weeks away from its first games. That's a lot of days to fill without the benefit of having events to use as subject matter.

When TB first started doing this, he thought he might take the summers off. Or only write two or three days a week. Or do a "best of" format, by repeating earlier blogs as the summer went on.

Actually, that last one isn't a bad idea. But no, he's always found something new to say. And if he had a really dull one every now and then, so what, right?

But he couldn't let his first version for today stand. And so here we are.

It's a shame too, because he was done. And now he's starting over.

So where to start on the restart?

How about in Cuba?

One of the stories on the main page of goprincetontigers.com is a video from the trip to Cuba that the men's and women's track and field teams recently made. You can see it by clicking HERE.

So there was Cuba. It seemed like the teams had a good time there, and it certainly seemed like they had a full exposure to the local culture, which is one of the main reasons to have these trips. 

Then there was the women's water polo story from Monday, the one where Princeton players Ashleigh Johnson and Ashley Hatcher are competing at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Johnson is with the U.S. team, while Hatcher is with Argentina.

So that's two items down.

The lead story on goprincetontigers.com yesteday was about how men's basketball alum T.J. Bray will play with the Knicks team in the Las Vegas Summer League. It's a step in the direction of the NBA for Bray, who played in the league last year and then played in Italy.

TigerBlog has no idea how many players make the leap from the Las Vegas league all the way to the NBA. His sense is it isn't many, but it's an opportunity at least.

Bray isn't the only Princeton player in the league. Ian Hummer, the second leading scorer in Princeton men's basketball history, is also playing, with Sacramento's team.

Track. Water polo. Basketball.

There were also stories on the main page from tennis, golf and hockey. That's a pretty normal summer situation, with a fairly random variety of sports represented. Last week it was all rowing all the time with the Henley event.

So what else can TB say?

His old friend "Big Green Alert Guy" wrote this on his blog yesterday: Regular readers of this site know that I lament the end of the printed media guides. I have a bookshelf lined with them and go back to them all the time. I'm just not sure as technologies and servers and sports information directors change that we'll always be able to find older material on the web. In fact, I'm sure we won't.

TigerBlog is filled with respect for BGA and the job he's always done, but he has a 180 degree disagreement with his friend on this subject. Media guides. The idea of doing them again sends shivers down TB's back.

Does BGA have a good point? Maybe. Depends who you ask. To TB, they're just out-of-date forms of information that were a drain on the budget.

If BGA has a point that TB agrees with, it's that there is a responsibility on the part of those in athletic communications to make sure that the older material about which he speaks is preserved and readily available. In fact, TB wishes that Princeton had more complete archives going back for every sport from Day 1, though it doesn't. No school does.

What there does exist needs to be well documented and aggressively updated. Hopefully BGA won't be right about his concerns.

What else?

Oh yeah, with "Parenthood" done, he's looking for another show. He was on Netflix, scrolling around, when he stumbled on a movie of the children's series "Kipper."

The title character is a dog, a British one at that. His best friend is another dog, this one named, of all things, "Tiger."

TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog both watched "Kipper" and had "Kipper" books when they were really little. Neither remembered anything about the show.

TigerBlog did, especially the part where the two dogs greet each other, with thick, thick British accents - "Hello Kipper. Hello Tiger."

Hilarious.

Anyway, he's trying out "Turn," the story of the spies during the American Revolution. He's a few episodes into it, but it's really good.

And that's about all he has for you today.

Okay, this isn't the best day of TigerBlogging ever. But that's okay.

It's way better than what it would have been if he hadn't started over.

What did he originally write?

He deleted it and can't remember. And it's much better this way.