Monday, July 25, 2016

A Sunday At The University Of Maryland

As a small follow-up to Friday's discussion of summer jobs, TigerBlog would like to mention Matthew, the official best friend of TigerBlog Jr.

Matthew is spending his first college summer unloading trucks at a local Dicks Sporting Goods store. His hours? He starts at 4 am and goes until noon. Those are tough hours.

TigerBlog was in that very same Dicks Sporting Goods store Saturday afternoon. He had to take Miss TigerBlog to get new turf shoes.

It was pretty hard for TB to stand there among rows and rows of shoes and boxes as MTB tried on basically every pair of turf shoes in the store, especially since he knew exactly which ones they were going to end up buying anyway. MTB took her sweet time - and tried on countless shoes - before she came around to the ones that TB knew they'd get from the start.

Of course, had TB said to her "these are the ones" when they got there, then she never would have agreed to buy them. Nope, TB had to amuse himself for 10 or 15 minutes while she went through all of them.

The ones she eventually chose were Nike turf shoes. TigerBlog wouldn't have been okay with any other brand other than Nike, unless they were Warrior. Those are the two brands that Princeton Athletics uses, and TB is a big believer in brand loyalty.

TB mentioned this earlier this summer, but this was another one of those "I knew I needed these for a long time but I'm only telling you about it today when I need it tomorrow" moments. The turf shoes were for field hockey camp at the University of Maryland, which began yesterday and which MTB's high school team decided to attend.

So that's how TB spent his Sunday. He drove to Maryland's campus. Dropped off MTB. Made one stop. Then drove back.

When TB and MTB arrived, the first person they saw was someone TB had never met but whose face he knew immediately. It was Dina Rizzo, the former associate head coach at Maryland who is now joining Carla Tagliente's staff at Princeton. This, of course, means, that Dina's last game at Maryland would be last fall's NCAA tournament first round game, when Princeton defeated the Terps 3-1.

TB, wearing a Princeton lacrosse shirt, walked up to Dina and introduced himself and welcomed her to Princeton. Rizzo will be coming to Princeton after the camp, and maybe TB should ask her to drive MTB home.

In all seriousness, Tagliente and Rizzo - and returning assistants Mike Pallister and David Williamson - will have only a few weeks until practice starts and a few more after that until the season begins. The Tigers start the season at home Sept. 2 against North Carolina to start a run of six home games in the first seven games of the year, including a Sept. 20 home game against those very Terps that Rizzo coached a year ago, that Princeton defeated in the NCAAs a year ago and where Tagliente and Rizzo both played.

As they drove down, MTB asked TB if he'd been to the campus before. TigerBlog told her that he'd been there a lot and in fact had seen Princeton win three NCAA men's lacrosse championships there - in 1994, 1996 and 1997. The women won there in 1994.

Perhaps the biggest win in the history of Princeton men's basketball happened on that campus, or at the very least, one of the two biggest wins Princeton ever had. Back in the 1965 East Regional final, Princeton defeated heavily favored Providence 109-69 to advance to the NCAA Final Four, the crowning achievement in the history of the program.

If you're wondering what the other biggest win was, it was the 43-41 win over UCLA in the opening round of the 1996 NCAA tournament in Indianapolis. That was the win that vaulted Pete Carril over the finish line and into the Hall of Fame.

The two biggest wins in program history. Princeton scored 109 in one and 43 in the other.

The win over Providence - powered by Bill Bradley - was in Cole Field House. As TB walked into the football stadium at Maryland, which used to be Byrd Stadium when Princeton was winning lacrosse championships there and which is now Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, he could see that just a shell remained of what was once Cole Field House. The Terps moved to the Comcast Center awhile ago, and apparently Cole Field House had outlived its usefullness.

Actually the only game TB ever saw in the building was between Maryland and Rider, not Maryland and Princeton.

TigerBlog has always liked the University of Maryland.
His cousin Roy went to dental school there. The Terps always played Duke and Carolina tough in basketball when they were in the ACC. He's always liked the campus, which is huge but doesn't quite feel that way.

He knows a few people who grew up in Maryland and had their whole families go to Maryland, only to go to much smaller schools themselves. Still, they remain as loyal to the Terps as any alums.

One of them is David Rosenfeld, a Franklin & Marshall grad, a Diplomat in a family of turtles. David spent much of his early career working in the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, and TB was able to connect with him for lunch on his way back.

David has always been one of TB's favorites ever at Princeton. The word TB would use to describe David is "thoughtful," as in "kind to people" and "with a gigantic heart" but also as in "depth of thought." He's one of those people who sees the world clearly and rationally and is able to cut through the nonsense of any situation to get to the heart of the issue.

TB would have loved for David to have stayed at Princeton all these years, but he wanted to get closer to home. TB understands.

After lunch, it was back up 95. On a summer Sunday afternoon, that's not always the best ride to take.

Still, it was good to spend some time on Maryland's campus. And even better to see David.

It's been more than 20 years since TB first hired him as an intern for the OAC. He's the same today as he was then.

Thoughtful. And funny. And loyal.

And just a really good guy.

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