Take a minute to think about what the significance of today is. Veterans' Day lacks the family feel of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It doesn't conjure up the start of summer like Memorial Day or make you think of a barbecue in the backyard and watching fireworks like the Fourth of July.
Mostly, it's just another day for many people, a day to go about business as usual. Except that we do it in a country that is free, and because today salutes those who made it that way and continue to make it that way, it's nothing short of the most important day of the year.
TigerBlog woke up this morning like he does every other morning: free. It's certainly not through his own doing, and it's certainly something he takes for granted. TigerBlog is free to do what he wants. Go to work. Not go to work. Work here. Quit today. Live here. Pick up and move 3,000 miles away. Whatever he wants. Why? Because that's how it works in America, and it works that way because of the sacrifice that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have made in various wars during the last 240 years. Today is Veterans' Day, obviously. For those who weren't paying attention in school, Veterans' Day is usually Nov. 11 (it can be moved if it falls on the weekend) in honor of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. TigerBlog can't imagine the horror of fighting in a war, and he saves his greatest respect for those who have. His uncle Herbie fought in Europe and the Pacific in World War II. His uncle Larry fought in Korea and never spoke a word about his experiences there until the day more than 50 years later when he died.
MotherBlog, at one point, worked for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, at a time when each wheelchair was home to someone who left part of himself in Vietnam. She was involved in a tangential way with the construction of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and if you've ever been there and haven't shed a tear, well, then you're as much made of stone as the monument itself.
All of that still stands. Some days shouldn't be taken for granted, even if they are every year.
So before TigerBlog looks ahead at the weekend in Princeton sports, he wants to say "thank you" to all of the veterans out there, to anyone who has ever had the courage to serve in uniform to defend this country.
As for the games this weekend, well, this is big-time crossover season.
Between today and Monday, there are 21 Princeton athletic events. As for coming attractions, there are 25 next weekend, including a remarkable 16 a week from tomorrow alone.
In true crossover fashion, there are championship events mixed with season-opening events this weekend.
Princeton will be well-represented at Penn State, where it will take on the Nittany Lions in the NCAA field hockey tournament tomorrow morning at 11:30 and also compete in the men's and women's NCAA cross country regionals. The field hockey team is there with an at-large bid, something that speaks volumes about the challenging schedule Princeton plays each year.
Closer to home, the women's volleyball team will be in Dillon Gym tonight at 7 against Cornell and tomorrow at 5 against Cornell as it goes for the Ivy League championship. Right now Princeton is 11-1, followed by Yale at 10-2. Everyone else has been mathematically eliminated.
Assuming Yale sweeps, Princeton needs one win for a tie for the championship and two for an outright championship.
Tonight is also opening night for the women's basketball team. Princeton received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament a year ago, a first for an Ivy League basketball team of either gender.
For Princeton it was the sixth NCAA trip in seven years, which means that Courtney Banghart and top assistant Milena Flores have shown they can turn the program over and still win big. That is this year's challenge, as the Tigers have graduated four starters, including Annie Tarakchian, Michelle Miller and Alex Wheatley.
This year's team is going to be young, obviously. The opener is tonight, also at 7, at home against Rider.
As for hockey, a quick update on Mike Condon - he finally gave up his first goal of the 2016-17 season Wednesday night. Still, he did make 31 saves and win 2-1 in the shootout for his new team, Ottawa, over the Buffalo Sabres. Condon, the Princeton grad, has now played 145 minutes and allowed just one goal.
Speaking of Princeton hockey, the men will be home this weekend against Harvard tonight and Dartmouth tomorrow night, both at 7. There is also home men's and women's swimming and diving today and tomorrow.
Speaking of Princeton in the pros, Seth DeValve caught his first NFL touchdown pass last night for the Cleveland Browns. Caraun Reid, another Princeton alum, tweeted his congrats but pointed out that he, a defensive lineman, still has the lead, with two NFL touchdowns.
I'm still in the lead...for now https://t.co/DveznWwSlz— Caraun Akinó Reid (@ChopReid) November 11, 2016
And of course, there is a football game this weekend, as Princeton heads to New Haven for the 139th meeting with Yale. Only Lafayette and Lehigh have played more in Division I football.
Before that game ever kicks off (which will be at noon tomorrow), there's another football game of importance tonight, when Penn hosts Harvard. Princeton fans, repeat after TigerBlog: "Let's go Penn. Let's go Penn."
If you're a Princeton person, you've never loved Penn more than you do right now.
Princeton is currently 4-1 in the Ivy League football race after last weekend's 28-0 win over the Quakers. Penn is also 4-1. Harvard is 5-0. Obviously Princeton cannot get back into the championship picture unless Harvard loses a game.
So say it again: "Let's go Penn. Let's go Penn."
And of course Princeton has to take care of its own business.
Let's go Penn. Hmmm. When was the last time Princeton people needed to root this hard for Penn?