Friday, June 17, 2016

Ashleigh To The Olympics

Somewhere in the basement, TigerBlog believes, is the rocking horse that Miss TigerBlog used to call Cinnamon.

TB is pretty sure it's down there. He hasn't checked on it in years. Maybe somewhere along the line, when TB wasn't looking, Cinnamon made his way to a better place. Or the curb.

MTB's relationship with Cinnamon didn't last long, but there was a time when he was a big part of her daily routine. It was so long ago, of course, that MTB probably doesn't even remember.

Still, as far as pure unfiltered joy goes, it's hard to beat the joy that Miss TigerBlog got from riding on Cinnamon. He was your basic no-frills, no-high tech, old-fashioned rocking horse.

In fact, TB cannot remember where he came from in the first place. He was a gift from someone, TB supposes. Or someone's old rocking horse. Maybe he wasn't even named Cinnamon in the first place.

These days, MTB is a lot closer to driving a car than she is riding a rocking horse. Like, a lot, lot closer.

It dawned on TigerBlog that his daughter is less than two months away from being eligible to get her driver's permit. After that, she'll be able to take her driver's test six months later.

Rocking horse one day. Car the next. Well, maybe not the next. But relatively quickly. Is that scary or what?

TigerBlog taught TigerBlog Jr. to drive in a big parking lot, one that cut between fields where he first played lacrosse. As scary moments go, the first time that TBJ put the car in drive, went the length of the parking lot and then made his first right turn is way up there.

And now TB has to do it again?

The first thing the nearly six-foot tall MTB will probably have to do when she gets behind the wheel for the first time will be to move the seat back.

What kind of driver will she be? Well, she has driven a golf cart before and shown pretty good competence at that, but it was awhile ago.

She has already made it clear that she has no interest in driving TBJ's car. It has way too many miles on it for her. For that matter, she doesn't really want to drive TigerBlog's car either.

About two weeks after MTB can get her permit, the fall season kicks off at Princeton. If TigerBlog is counting correctly, then there are now 10 weeks without any athletic events.

Is 10 weeks a long time? TB isn't sure.

Back when TigerBlog was first starting out in the newspaper business, he always figured that when he got to this time of year, he'd think about what he wanted to do and go get a "real" job. Then the summer would go by, and it would be time to start up again, and TB would say "okay, one more year."

Nearly 30 have gone by since then.

The 2015-16 academic year for Princeton ended with the NCAA track and field championships last weekend. That makes this the first weekend in awhile without any athletic events.

In fact, going back to last August, there have only been a handful of weekends without any events. There was Christmas weekend. And there were first-semester exams.

And that was it.

Just because the academic year is over, it doesn't mean the news stops though. There's always something going on with Princeton Athletics. Every summer, TB always thinks there won't be anything new on the website. Every summer, there's always something.

Princeton Athletics gets about 90% of its web traffic during the academic year, but that still means around a million page views for the summer. There has to be something for all those people to see.

One piece of news that came up yesterday was surprising only in the fact that TB assumed it had been decided long ago.

Princeton's Ashleigh Johnson was officially named to the U.S. Olympic water polo team. Hadn't that already happened?

Johnson, who is one of the top players in the world, took this year off from school to train for the Olympics. She has dominated the sport collegiately and internationally, and the U.S. team is a strong contender for a gold medal.

TigerBlog has said this many times before, but Ashleigh Johnson may very well be the greatest female athlete in Princeton history. If you've never seen her play, you're missing out on something special.

There are some tuneups for the U.S. team between now and the start of the Olympics, which will actually begin for the U.S. water polo team on Aug. 9 against Spain.

That's a few weeks before Princeton plays its first athletic events of 2016-17. And before MTB will first drive a car.

The Olympics. MTB behind the wheel. A new academic year.

They'll all be here quickly.

Only one of them really frightens TigerBlog.

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