Thursday, February 2, 2017

Once Again, To The Groundhog

TigerBlog understands that not every movie made is trying to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. In that vein, he's never understood the complete disdain so many people have for the movie "Groundhog Day."

TB saw it in the movies when it came out in 1993, and he's seen it about a thousand times since. It's a perfectly harmless, funny, at times charming, certainly inoffensive movie, and yet there are so many people who flat out hate it.

As an aside, TigerBlog was always confused as a kid by Groundhog Day, as six weeks after Feb. 2 takes you to March 16 (or March 15 in a leap year), which is still winter. He never quite understood the whole "six more weeks of winter" thing. Shouldn't it be more like 10 more weeks of winter if the point is that figuratively speaking spring will be late to arrive?

TB was crushed to learn the whole thing is a sham, at least according to a story he read:The ceremony is largely that: Phil's prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group who dons top hats and tuxedos and decides in advance what the groundhog will predict.

Still, what could be better than Groundhog Day, a small-town tradition that has such a great little Americana feel to it. Something wholesome, something that hasn't been ruined by commercialism or lack of civility or any of the other ills of contemporary society.

As Phil Connors said: This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Sound familiar? TigerBlog has written that before on Groundhog's Day. And before that. And before that.

You  know, like the movie. Get it? Subtle, yes.

Before the movie came out, Groundhog Dog was all about anticipating spring. Since then, it's become a reference to something that happens over and over and over - you know, like the way Phil kept living the same day over and over. Maybe that's the biggest tribute to the movie, the way it changed an entire meaning of something.

And that ends TigerBlog's annual Groundhog Day thoughts. They'll be back next year, unchanged.

TigerBlog can tell you about the funniest thing he heard yesterday. For those who follow such things, yesterday was national signing day for college football, meaning it was the first day recruits could sign National Letters of Intent.

These NLIs only impact scholarship athletes, which the Ivy League and Princeton do not have. Ivy League schools have official offers of admission, which do not require an NLI. In fact, TigerBlog had never even seen an NLI until TigerBlog Jr. signed his with Sacred Heart a few years ago.

As a result, any picture you've ever seen in your life, which is probably in the hundreds, of Ivy League athletes who are "signing" with a school are really pictures of kids who are "signing" blank pieces of paper.

It works, since most of those pictures show all of the kids from whatever high school it is who are going to Division I or Division II in any number of sports as they sign something, while wearing hats and sweatshirts from the different schools. TigerBlog actually loves pictures like that, sort of a mix of childhood friendships and an uncertain but limitless future.

Anyway, the annual signing day isn't that big of a deal in Ivy League football, even if it is off the charts intense for those whose lives revolve around recruiting news. And, you know, how many times can you see a 17-year-old kid at a table with five hats in front of him who then puts on the one hat and beams? It was cute the first time. It's a little overdone by now.

Here at Princeton's Office of Athletic Communications, Craig Sachson is the football contact. He's as into Princeton football as anyone you'll ever meet. He hasn't missed a game in 15 years or so. One of his favorite things to do is talk Princeton football with the coaching staff, at any time of year.

Craig is also the squash contact, among a bunch of other sports - wrestling, swimming, volleyball, rowing. TigerBlog has said often that there can't be too many other sports information people in Division I who cover as many sports and as many athletes as Craig. In addition to football, Craig will talk about any of his sports with their coaches as well.

Yesterday, Cody Chrusciel, one of the Princeton video types, said to Craig that he had to be the only football contact in the country more focused on squash than on football on that day. You know, because Princeton was hosting Penn in men's and women's squash.

Yeah, that was pretty funny.

And of course, it's part of what makes Princeton a unique place. The commitment to all of Princeton's teams is genuine.

Football does not drive the entire athletic department, or the entire university for that matter. Football is great, this past season especially, as Princeton won the Ivy League championship. And nothing other than Reunions and commencement brings as many people to this campus as a football game.

It is not, though, the entire show here. It takes a special coach to realize that, and that's what makes Bob Surace such a great fit for Princeton and for the football program. He gets the balance, and he is the perfect front man for Princeton football, something his two Ivy titles in four years combined with his place as a well-liked, highly-visible, well-respected figure on campus would confirm.

In fact, he's a much better football coach for Princeton than Nick Saban would be, since Saban would never be able to exist in this world.

So let national signing day go on with Princeton. That's just fine with TigerBlog.

And happy Groundhog Day. If you get a chance, watch the movie. Again. It's great, even if it never won a thing.

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