Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Drive Time

TigerBlog pulled the car into the park, drove over to the side and switched seats with Miss TigerBlog.

About two hours earlier they had arrived at the motor vehicle office. About an hour earlier they had left, complete with MTB's learner's permit.

And now it was time.

MTB got behind the wheel - and moved the seat all the way back. Then TigerBlog started at the beginning, you know, with how to put the key in the ignition, how to start the car, how to put the car into drive.

TigerBlog's first memory of learning to drive is that he was surprised that when he took his foot off the brake that the car moved without having to hit the gas. He passed those words of advice on to TigerBlog Jr. when he first learned to drive and now with MTB.

MTB turned the car on and then put it in to drive. Then she took her foot off the brake. The car moved about 10 feet forward, and then she put her foot back on the brake. Actually, she almost put her foot all the way to the floorboard, since the car, which never really went any faster than, say, a bicycle or even a walker, slammed to a major stop.

The park has a pretty wide roadway, and it was basically empty, which is why TB chose it for MTB's debut. Much like her brother three years ago, she drove around the park for about a half hour, practicing lefts and rights, and then went out on the road for the first time.

She did okay, though she was a bit afraid of going too fast. It led to this actual conversation:
MTB: how fast is the speed limit here?
TB: 35.
MTB: how fast am I going?
TB: Eight.

She's actually come a long way in a short time. It's been four days now, and she's gotten much better.

She is struggling with the same three things that her brother did when he first started:

1) she stays closer to the side of the road because she's afraid of being too close to the cars coming towards her
2) she makes 90-degree right turns
3) when she makes left turns when there is no stop sign or light, she basically stops midway through the turn before accelerating

Still, she'll get there. And she's finally figured out how to stay closer to the speed limit. In fact, she even made it all the way up to 50 in a 45 zone for awhile.

She has to drive a minimum of 65 hours before she can take her road test. She also has to wait at least six months, which means she can't get her actual license until February. By then she'll be just fine, unless it snows or something on the day she has to take the test.

Then comes the huge, and unsolvable, math problem: if two children both want a car and there's only one car to give them, what does TigerBlog do? That's for way down the road, though.

For now, it's late August. It's game week for Princeton Athletics 2016-17.

The women's soccer team hosts Fordham Friday and Villanova Sunday, both with 7 p.m. starts. The Villanova game will be on ESPNU.

It's the first two chances of the year to see Princeton teams play, and the first of 16 home soccer games this year between the men's and women's teams.

The Princeton women are the defending Ivy League champion after last year's 6-0-1 run through the league. The Tigers, who defeated Boston College in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, return their two dynamic scorers from a year ago, senior Tyler Lussi and sophomore Mimi Asom. Lussi figures to smash Esmeralda Negron's career records for goals and points - by a woman or man - and then Asom figures to take a run at whatever records Lussi's leaves. 

Because of the Olympics, TigerBlog never got around to mentioning one last thing from 2015-16.

Princeton played 621 games last year. This only counts events last year when Princeton played one other team, not things like cross country meets or track meets and the like.

Princeton finished last year with a total record of 371-242-8, or a winning percentage of .604, which, by the way, is really, really good. No wonder Princeton won 14 Ivy titles and 15 league titles.

It's also one more win than the previous year, when Princeton went 370-249-12. A little quick math shows that Princeton played 631 games in 2014-15, or 10 more than this past academic year.

If you want to add those two together, by the way, then Princeton teams are 741-491-20 in Mollie Marcoux Samaan's first two years as Ford Family Director of Athletics.

The overall record this past year is phenomenal. The record of Princeton's women's team was off the charts.

Princeton women went 204-101-3 a year ago. That's a winning percentage of .667. That's two-thirds. That two of every three times out.

No wonder Princeton women won 10 Ivy League titles a year ago, marking the first time one school had reached double figures in a single gender.

So that was last year. This year's record is 0-0.

At least for a few more days.

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