Wednesday, September 14, 2016

School Is In Session

Today is the first day of classes at Princeton University.

Of TigerBlog's eight semesters at Penn, he can remember the very first class of only one of them, the very first one, not surprisingly. It was a political science class, in the University Museum building, which is across South Street from Franklin Field.

For that matter, TB can remember his entire first semester schedule - political science, economics, calculus and German.

As an aside, TigerBlog Jr. now has a politics class this semester. His class consists of him, one other male student, 20 female students and a female teacher.

TigerBlog's favorite classes at Penn were Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy, History of the American South, astronomy and a labor history class. His least favorite were a philosophy class, the second semester of econ and an introductory sociology class.

A few notes about the last paragraph:

* Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy was taught not on campus but at the American Philosophical Society, which was located on 5th Street, near Independence Mall. TigerBlog, his roommate Charlie (a Wharton student who was fulfilling a requirement) and the rest of the class used to have to make their way from campus to where the class was, and the group often walked the 30 or so blocks together when the weather cooperated

* History of the American South was a two-semester class taught by Drew Gilpin Faust, who is now the president of Harvard

* the astronomy class was just fun. It was TigerBlog's best-ever experience with learning for learning's sake

* the labor history class was taught by Walter Licht. TigerBlog would pay him back for the good grade he gave by giving him Princeton-Penn basketball tickets several decades later

* The reason he didn't like the other classes was as much a reflection on the professors as the subjects themselves

So that was TigerBlog's academic career in a nutshell.

TB went to Penn figuring he'd become a lawyer. BrotherBlog went there figuring he'd become an engineer.

So what happened? BrotherBlog is a lawyer. TigerBlog found a job in the newspaper business at the start of his junior year and never really looked back.

Every now and then, TB wonders what life as a lawyer would have been like for him. You know, after he graduated from Yale Law and clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and worked his way up to the Supreme Court himself.

But would he be happy?

Anyway, as TB said, today is Day 1 of classes at Princeton. Prior to that first day, Princeton's fall teams combined to have 35 different competitions.

Now that school has started, there are some really big ones in the very near future.

Let's see.

This Friday alone, Princeton will be at No. 2 West Virginia in women's soccer, No. 14 Virginia in field hockey and home against unranked Boston University in men's soccer. That game might not match ranked teams, but 1) Princeton will come in having just beaten a ranked team and 2) it will be televised on ESPNU.

Princeton is 6-0-0 in women's soccer, but that has not impressed the coaches who vote in the national poll. The Tigers are receiving votes, but not even that many of them.

West Virginia? The Mountaineers are 6-0-1, with three wins (Ohio State, Clemson, Duke) against Top 20 teams and the tie against another Top 20 team (Penn State, who also happens to be the defending NCAA champion).

West Virginia has allowed four goals in those seven games. Princeton's Tyler Lussi, the top scorer in program history, has seven by herself in six games, tying her for third in Division I in goals per game.

On the field hockey side, Princeton was ranked 16th last week and then beat the No. 12 (Albany) and No. 10 (Delaware) teams in the country to vault to No. 10.

Princeton is 3-1 on the season, with its only loss to No. 3 North Carolina. After the trip to Charlottesville, Princeton will be back on Bedford Field for a game against No. 7 Maryland.

You can't accuse Princeton of ducking anyone.

As for the men's soccer team, the Tigers defeated previously unbeaten Rider 3-1 last night in a game that was scoreless at the half. The Broncs came into the game ranked 22nd nationally and having allowed just one goal in four games.

The game against BU will be the second this year to be broadcast live on ESPNU, after the women's win over Villanova.

And of course, after those Friday events comes the opening kickoff for Princeton football season. The Tigers will host Lafayette at 5 Saturday, after Community and Staff Day and before the evening ends with fireworks.

Classes starting. Huge games. Perfect weather.

It's a pretty good week around here.

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