Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Getting Oriented

Liz Colagiuri is Princeton's Deputy Dean of the College Faculty Athletics Rep.

TigerBlog, who has never met her, did know that. What he didn't know was that she had done ROTC in college (undergrad at Cornell) and that she spent five years on active duty in the U.S. Navy.

That impresses TigerBlog. He has incredible respect for anyone in the military.

He's always been amazed by the young men and women he sees at the service academies. They're giving up a lot of what most people would never dream of giving up for a college experience, and they're doing so because they wouldn't have it any other way.

TB would have benefited greatly from a time in the military when he was a kid. He knew it at the time, even though he never considered attending an academy or doing ROTC or enlisting on his own.

FatherBlog was in the army in the 1950s, between Korea and Vietnam. His uncles - Larry in Korea and Herbie in World War II - were war veterans.

TB saw first hand from MotherBlog the toll that the military can take from her time with the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Many of the people that MB introduced to TB were in wheelchairs, and they were there from their time in Vietnam. Or from other incidents in the military, where life-changing injury - or worse - is a part of every day life.

TigerBlog heard Colagiuri speak yesterday for the first time and learned about her time in the Navy when her bio was read. So first and foremost, a thank you to her for her service.

Colagiuri was speaking at Freshman Athlete Orientation, an annual event that welcomes the incoming class to Princeton Athletics. If you've been reading TigerBlog for awhile, you know what TigerBlog thinks of that event.

Apparently, Colagiuri is basically on the same page as TB.

During her talk, she mentioned her hope that perhaps there was a future Rhodes Scholar in the audience. Certainly it's a possibility: Princeton Athletics most recently produced a Rhodes Scholar last year.

What does TB think at that meeting each year?

Who will win the von Kienbusch Award and the Roper Trophy? Come a little less than four years from now, there will be winners of those awards - and they were sitting in the room with TB yesterday.

Classes start tomorrow at Princeton, which means that orientation is ending. TigerBlog was not an athlete at Penn, and he can state definitely that he remembers nothing about orientation. For that matter, he cannot even remember attending orientation.

Again, TigerBlog can tell you that Princeton does a much better job than his alma mater in establishing from Day 1 the loyalty to the institution that will last forever. Trust TB. There is nothing close to it at Penn.

And, also in the interest of fairness, TB had a really good experience in his years at Penn. It's just not the same as Princeton.

Yesterday was a big day of meetings from TB. By his count, there were five of them.

One of them was new staff orientation. Again, it was a big day for getting oriented.

This meeting was for new athletic staff, in this case the new assistant coaches primarily. It's mostly a time to go over policies and procedures from the various offices in the department - including the business office, the event management staff, the PVC, compliance and of course athletic communications.

TB has spoken at a lot of new staff orientations. He always says the same things - be careful about public statements, use great caution on social media, get to know your OAC contact, wear the Nike gear, stuff like that.

He also ad-libbed a little piece in the beginning.

Princeton, he told the room, is a place that has had incredible athletic success. In the history of the Ivy League, Princeton has won nearly 25 percent of all championships won. In the last 20 years, that number is 30 percent.

Princeton won 14 Ivy titles last year, marking the third time that Princeton has done so. Princeton also won 15, the all-time record, and has reached double figures 23 times, compared to nine for Harvard and none for any other school. For that matter, Princeton won 10 Ivy titles last year by women's teams alone, marking the first time a school had reached double figures in one gender.

TB went on, talking about Princeton's Directors' Cup finishes and other measures of athletic success. TB knows it all by heart. The people who have been at Princeton already know it. The new people should know it.

They should know what kind of history their new employer has. And, TB said, it's the work of everyone together throughout the department that makes it happen.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success. TB cautioned the new coaches that the other schools in the league are not content to watch Princeton win year after year after year, and they are doing everything they can to change things.

Then he used the phrase he heard former Syracuse men's lacrosse coach Roy Simmons Jr. use basically every time he heard him speak: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

TB is pretty sure it was Shakespeare, not Simmons, originally.

He should have used the line that he likes better - All glory is fleeting. TB isn't sure who said it first, but it's from the end of "Patton."

It's hard to say which is better, the end of "Patton" or the beginning of "Saturday Night Fever." You be the judge HERE and HERE. They're both great. It's a really, really tough choice.

Anyway, welcome to Princeton to the freshman athletes and the new coaches.

All glory may be fleeting, but it doesn't have to be fleeting any time soon.

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