Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Fan Poll

TigerBlog saw the backup at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel about a second too late to get over to the far right, which was zipping through without so much as one brake light.

TigerBlog? He sat there for 20 minutes without moving. Eventually, traffic began to creep forward, revealing a minor three-vehicle (two cars, one van) accident that brought the left lane to a stop.

As he sat there, TB tried to remember if his Uncle Milton had been part of the engineering team that had designed the tunnel. He was pretty sure that Milton was an engineer and that he had worked on the construction of one of the big tunnels along the Northeast Corridor.

TB would text BrotherBlog for confirmation. The response he got was "Dunno. You stuck in it?" And he's a lawyer.

While TB had his brother on the line, as it were, he asked him another question that he'd been wondering of late. Where in Russia did their family call home?

Odessa, possibly. "Or," BB said, "that may have just been the departure point. Generally the area was referred to as 'Beyond the Pale,' an area where Jews were relegated to."

Then he suggested a book that TB had not heard of before - "The Family," by David Laskin.

That was an enlightening few text messages.

The stop at the Harbor Tunnel was the only real non-DNC convention traffic TigerBlog ran into on his trip back and forth to Maryland on his trip to retrieve Miss TigerBlog from the Terps' field hockey camp. Maybe that's because he left before 6 am, but even the traffic two hours later through that same tunnel wasn't too bad at all.

TigerBlog saw Dina Rizzo, the incoming assistant field hockey coach again. TB has now spoken to her twice, and he can tell she is going to be a great addition to Princeton Athletics.

Oh, and the funniest part of the day? It was about a thousand degrees on the turf field where MTB's team played its final game. One of the players went to hug her mother, who put a towel that she had been sitting on between her and her daughter, presumably to avoid becoming soaked herself. TB then told MTB that she didn't have to hug him, and she rolled her eyes and said "I wasn't going to."

Ah, TB missed her. 

Anyway, in addition to Rizzo, TB would also like to figure out a way to bring the Xfinity Center from Maryland to Princeton as well. That is a great building. Beyond its aesthetic quality, it's also the place where the Princeton women's basketball team won its NCAA tournament game against Green Bay two years ago.

Maybe it can be towed away from its current spot and dropped down nicely on Princeton's campus?

Meanwhile, back at the Harbor Tunnel, this was one of those traffic delays where people got out of the cars, tried to figure out what was going on. TigerBlog decided to check out Twitter.

And what did he find? Bob Surace, Princeton's head football coach, is almost as good an athlete at Mike Trout, one of the best players in Major League Baseball.

It must be true. It says so HERE.

Apparently, there's a voting underway to choose the Mt. Rushmore of great athletes at any number of New Jersey high schools. Surace came in second in the voting for Millville High School to Trout, and it was really close. Trout had 10,078, to the 10,013 Surace got.

As an aside, Millville has a population of 28,400. If Surace could get 10,013 residents to vote for him, that would probably be more than enough to make him the mayor.

Jim Barlow, the men's soccer coach, got 29,165 votes in the Hightstown High voting, but it was only good for sixth place. As three of the top four from Hightstown share the name "Greczyn," TB senses the fix was in.

Besides, the greatest athlete in Hightstown High history is without question Vicky Picott, who finished in 17th place with 1,152 votes. Barlow, though, should definitely be in the top four.

It all reminds TB of when used to have a fan poll. This was a long time ago.

TigerBlog loved the fan poll. It was fun to come up with creative and engaging questions.

The problem was that somewhere along the line, someone - or multiple someones - figured out how to rig the voting. And those someones were in the pool, since swimming and water polo would always win.

And would it be close? No. Everyone else would have 100 combined votes. The swimming or water polo choice would have somewhere around a million or so.

So yeah, that was the end of the fan poll.

All because of some computer genius in the pool.

Thanks a lot, Luis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Coach Surace for being named to Millville's Mount Rushmore. His achievement is notable because it's difficult for any offensive lineman to attract accolades compared with athletes from other sports, where individual statistics are easier to compile.

I'd like to ask Coach Surace and AD Marcoux to add some transparency to the currently pending decision whether to play Rutgers in 2019 as part of the sesquicentennial celebration of college football. This opportunity is unique not merely because only we and Rutgers are in a position to participate as competitors from the first game. No, what makes this opportunity particularly compelling is that Rutgers wants to play us very, very badly. A Princeton-Rutgers game would almost certainly be the last time that any Power Five program will ever consent play an Ivy team in football. Looking forward, this is literally a once in forever opportunity for Princeton.

The reason not to play is obvious: potential injuries to us. After we played Hampton in 2007, our team never seemed quite right the rest of the season, although the 2011 game against the Pirates didn't seem to leave us banged up the same way. Rutgers' players are going to even bigger and stronger than Hampton's, so there is increased physical risk. But we play against a small number of great athletes on our schedule already. The difference is that Rutgers would have more of them -- a lot more. So sure, the risk of injury would be higher, but not an order of magnitude higher.

The way to deal with the increased risk of injury is consistent with the smart way to schedule this game. Rutgers wants to play the game on November 9, 2019, which would be within three days of the 150th anniversary of the first football game. That's not the right time for the game. The best time for the game would be at high noon on Saturday, August 31. Or maybe the night before in prime time. Either way, that would make Princeton-Rutgers the first game of the entire 2019 season. Make the game part of a huge celebratory weekend to commemorate a century and a half of college football. Invite historic players and dignitaries including President Clinton or President Trump to attend. You know that Rutgers would love to take this idea and run with it. That's why Rutgers wants us involved so much. For one night, Rutgers would be at the center at the college football world.

Playing on August 31, 2019 would give us three weeks to heal nicks and dings before we play another game. Obviously, if players break bones, that won't heal in three weeks and the cost of playing Rutgers will be clear. But, in my experience, broken bones or torn ligaments result from awkward falls or twisted joints, not from being hit by a bigger, faster opponent.

A Princeton-Rutgers game to kick off the 2019 season could be a real recruiting draw for us. While a limited number of players might think, "I don't want to take the field against that kind of athlete," many more might think, "A game on a major network with the president in attendance -- count me in." At a minimum, we should ask the current players whether the idea would have appealed to them as recruits.

As I said earlier, the risk of this idea is real and self-evident. But the benefits are also real -- they're just intangible and not so obvious. We would have three years to plan this event and help Rutgers make it into the greatest party in the history of college football. We're not going to be invited to a party like this ever again. Have you ever been invited to a party and demurred, "I'm too tired" or "I won't know anybody there"? Yet in almost every case, afterwards you're glad you went. That's how life is. The greatest regrets are those of omission, not those of commission.

Dear Coach Surace and Ms. Marcoux, we've been invited to the party of half-century. Let's go.