Friday, February 10, 2017

Old Friends, And Sadness After Eight Years

The snow that arrived here yesterday was expected to drop a foot or so by the time it was done.

Instead, it was more like three or four, which was just fine with TigerBlog. The wind was pretty intense, more so than the snow itself.

It didn't turn out to be much, just a normal snowfall for the middle of winter. There was really only one interesting thing about the storm.

It came about 12 hours after the temperature was in the mid-60s here. It hardly seemed possible being outside Wednesday afternoon that snow was on the way.

TigerBlog remembers a lot of other times when it went from snow to sunny and warm the next day, though maybe not in the 60s. He cannot ever remember a time when it went from sunny and that warm to snow in that short of a time, except for the time he came back from Hawaii and then it snowed the next day, but that wasn't really the same thing.

That's enough about the weather today.

This a big weekend for Princeton basketball, both on the court and with some interesting storylines involving old friends. That's not really what TB wants to talk about today either, but he will for a little while. Then he'll get to his main point for today, and this weekend.

Princeton plays Cornell tonight and Columbia tomorrow, with the men at home and the women on the road.

That means that tonight will mark the first return to Jadwin Gym for Cornell head coach Brian Earl, and just typing those words is sort of weird for TB. Brian Earl was part of one of the greatest eras in Princeton men's basketball, along with current Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson, for whom Earl was an assistant coach for five years, after having been an assistant under Sydney Johnson at Princeton for five years before that.

Earl is still Princeton's all-time leader in career three-pointers made with 281 and is the seventh all-time leading scorer in program history with 1,428 points. TigerBlog did not have to look either of those numbers up.

TB will be shocked if there isn't a huge ovation for Brian at Jadwin Gym tonight.

As for the games, Princeton is the lone unbeaten in the league at 6-0, but the Tigers will be playing their fourth and fifth games in eight days. Yale is right behind at 5-1, followed by Harvard and Columbia at 4-2 and then Cornell and Brown at 2-4.

On the women's side, the game tomorrow night in New York City will match Princeton and another old friend, Columbia head coach Meg Griffith, who is in her first year with the Lions. Meg coached under Courtney Banghart at Princeton for five Ivy titles and six NCAA tournament appearances.

Like Brian Earl, Meg has her team playing a bit ahead of schedule in Year 1. A year after going 1-13 in the league, Columbia is now 2-4 in the league and actually 12-7 overall, after going 12-17 last year.

Penn is the lone Ivy unbeaten at 5-0, followed by Harvard and Brown at 4-2 and Princeton at 3-2 after a huge sweep last week at home against Dartmouth and Harvard. Cornell is right behind Princeton at 3-3, and this will be Princeton's first trip on the road in the league.

Again, the top four make it to the Ivy League tournament.

And so now TB gets to what he really wanted to talk about today. Actually, the theme is "old friends," but this one didn't have a happy ending.

Not at all.

Sunday will be the eighth anniversary of the plane crash outside of Buffalo that took the lives of 50 people - 49 on the plane, one on the ground. One of the people on the plane was Lorin Maurer, who was Princeton's athletic friends group coordinator at the time.

She was just past her 30th birthday when she died.

With each passing year, there are fewer and fewer people at Princeton who knew Lorin or worked with her. It's interesting how much of the department has turned over. By TB's quick count, there are 16 head coaches here, for instance, who never worked with Lorin.

Oh, some of her best friends are still here. Kellie Staples from external affairs. Kelly Widener from compliance. Chris Brock from finance and administration. Jon Kurian from the business office. There are others too.

TigerBlog was Lorin's friend. He wasn't as close to her as some of the others in the department, but he was her friend. 

Every year at this time, TigerBlog remembers his old friend. He remembers the last time he saw her.

It was after a meeting in Jadwin. Lorin had to get on the road, to get to the airport for her flight, as she was heading to her boyfriend's brother's wedding in Buffalo.

As she headed to the parking lot, she walked past TB's old office on the Jadwin balcony. The door was open, as always, and she stopped when she walked by, paused and smiled. She didn't say a word. TB can still see her.

The next morning, TigerBlog awoke to the news. It was stunning. Numbing. Thinking back, it still is.

TB says the same things each time he writes about Lorin. She was nice, friendly, funny. She was happy. She smiled a lot. She laughed a lot. She worked hard in a job that can be thankless and endless. She had recently found love in her life. 

TigerBlog has written about Lorin for the anniversary of her death each year since it happened. He does so to remind people who she was, what kind of person she was, because Lorin deserves to have people know that.

He does it to say that Lorin Maurer is still remembered, by anyone who knew her, and certainly by TigerBlog. She'll always be a part of Princeton Athletics.

Now, eight years later, there's the same sadness as that awful morning when TB heard the news, the news that his friend had died.

Some old friends from Jadwin Gym you get to see again, like Brian Earl and Meg Griffith.

Others, like Lorin Maurer, you don't.

Lorin, gone way too soon, at the age of 30, with so much life in her and so much life ahead of her.

Lorin, who will never be forgotten. 


Jennifer Cross said...

We remember too TB. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. ❤

Nassau83 said...

Thank you TB for remembering Lorin.

Terry and Scott Maurer said...

Thank you TB for your kind words about Your Friend - Our Daughter, Lorin. We will forever be grateful that you remember Lorin!