Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

If you happened to have the good fortune to be outside in the greater Princeton metropolitan area yesterday morning, then you know that weather doesn't get much better than that.

It was in the 60s, no humidity, no wind. The sun warmed you without overwhelming you.

TigerBlog was outside for a morning workout, wearing his favorite combination of shorts and a light sweatshirt. In this case, it was the "NCAA Lacrosse" sweatshirt he got at the Final Four in Philadelphia a few years back. It is among the most comfortable items in TB's closet.

This was Oct. 18. That makes today Oct. 19, which means that TB will start out by wishing happy birthday to one of his favorite people at Princeton, assistant women's basketball coach Milena Flores.

TigerBlog can't remember the earliest he ever remembers seeing snow in this area. He does know that it snowed on Oct. 29, 2011.

It was on that day that Princeton hosted the Ivy League Heptagonal cross country championships and a football game against Cornell. There was supposed to be home men's and women's soccer and field hockey as well, but those got pushed back a day.

Why? Because four inches of snow fell in Princeton that day. Before Halloween.

If there's been an earlier snowfall, TB doesn't remember it. He does know that the snow that fell on that October Saturday was basically all of the snow that fell around here that fall and winter. The temperature rose quickly after that snowfall and it was all gone in a day or two.

Oh, but did it wreak havoc on the area that Saturday. It also made for some great snow pictures from the cross country race. And it destroyed attendance at the football game.

That was Oct. 29. Yesterday was Oct. 18, and about as far away from snow as you can get.

It was probably the same kind of weather that Rodgers and Hammerstein had when they came up with "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" for their show "Oklahoma."

The high temperature yesterday in Princeton was 82, which, by the way, was nine degrees off the record of 91, set in 1908. The low for the date was 26, in 1982. The average is 65.

It's been a pretty good week of weather around here. It was so nice Sunday that TigerBlog found himself at the beach. The one in New Jersey, not the one in, say, Hawaii.

After his workout, TigerBlog hustled to Jadwin Gym, arriving in the D Level conference room at 9:59, with one minute to spare for the weekly event meeting.

At some point in the meeting, someone mentioned Palmer Stadium, and it dawned on TigerBlog that of all the people in the room, only he and one other - Event Goddess Karen Malec - had ever been to Palmer Stadium.

If you don't remember, Palmer Stadium closed after the 1996 football season. It was torn down in March of 1997. Princeton Stadium (now Powers Field at Princeton Stadium) opened in 1998.

With how great the weather has been around here, it's hard to imagine that half of the football season has already come and gone. TigerBlog missed the football game last weekend to attend the men's lacrosse event in Baltimore.

As a result, he has seen only one of the first five games this season. The last time Princeton played a football season during which TB saw only one of the first five games was way back in 1989.

Princeton's goal for each football season is to get to this point in position to make noise in the Ivy race, and these Tigers have clearly done that.

Princeton is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Ivy League. That makes this Saturday's game against Harvard relatively huge, as the Crimson (and Penn) are also 2-0.

Another team that has set itself up for some meaningful moments down the stretch is the women's volleyball team.

A quick glance at the Ivy League standings tells you a lot of the story. Princeton is 7-0, followed by Yale and Columbia, who are both 5-2. Everyone else in the league is under .500, with Penn and Harvard both at 3-4, Cornell and Brown at 2-5 and Dartmouth at 1-6.

Princeton knows better than anyone how radically different the first trip through the league can be compared to the second. A year ago, Princeton went 3-4 in its first seven matches and then 7-0 the rest of the way, earning a share of the league championship.

Princeton lost the playoff game for the NCAA tournament bid to Harvard, and that game is the only blemish the Tigers have in their last 15 against Ivy opponents.

This year's team is more than just 7-0. It's 7-0 with six 3-0 victories. The only Ivy team to win a game off of Princeton was Penn, who pushed the Tigers to five games at the Palestra in the Ivy opener.

Those two get back together Friday night at Dillon Gym as Princeton makes the turn for home. TigerBlog has no idea what the Ivy record for 3-0 wins in a season is, but he has to think not many teams have won six by a 3-0 score in the first time through the league schedule.

Princeton is either hoping last year repeats itself (going 7-0 the rest of the way) or doesn't repeat itself (3-4 on one trip through the league; 7-0 on the other).

The forecast for Saturday here is a little more seasonable, with sunny skies and 56 degrees forecast for kickoff. The forecast for inside Dillon Gym Friday night is, in a word, loud. 

Yesterday morning? It was just perfect.

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