Friday, April 28, 2017

Connor Fletcher, And The Rest Of The Weekend

TigerBlog actually has a CD player in his car. This is good, because he still has one CD.

It's actually a four-disc set of a live performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. TB listens to it over and over, usually, except for when he needs a break.

That happened yesterday, when he popped out the CD. When he did, the radio came on, a classic rock station, and here is what TB heard:
"From your front porch to my front seat. The door's open but the ride ain't free. And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoke ..."

Yup, it was The Boss again. This time, it was the studio version of "Thunder Road."

If you're a long-time reader, you know that "Thunder Road" is one of TB's two favorite songs of all time. The other? "Born to Run," of course.

He has no idea how many times he's heard the two songs. It's in the thousands. Lots of thousands.

TB wishes he could go back to when he first heard those two songs and remember what he thought. He thinks that about a lot of things.

He doesn't have to wonder about what he thought when he first saw Connor Fletcher play lacrosse.

Here is the scouting report on Fletcher, a Cornell freshman:

"Great natural athlete. Hard shot. Very good stick. Sees the field very well. Has a high lacrosse IQ."

Is that from the Princeton's men's lacrosse handout, in advance of the game tomorrow in Ithaca? Nah.

That was TB's report on Connor, back when TB had to do a review of each player he coached on the Lower Bucks Lacrosse 5th/6th grade team. This was back in 2009, by the way. Don't ask TB why he still has it on his computer. Don't ask him why he still has the stats from that season too.

TigerBlog actually first coached Connor Fletcher when Connor was in third grade and TigerBlog Jr. was in fourth. Connor's father Dan - an orthopedic surgeon, he was Dr. Dan to all of LBL - and TigerBlog coached a team together, which TBJ wanted to call the Lizards, after the Major League Lacrosse franchise.

In that season, TB put Connor on defense for the big games. It was Connor who wiped out Michael Major in a huge in-house LBL game that year; Michael now plays for St. Joe's.

In fact, the 5th/6th grade team that Connor and TBJ played on actually had seven players who would go on to play college lacrosse, one who would play college football and one who would be a college swimmer.

Connor, one of TB's favorite kids from Day 1, would go from Lower Bucks Lacrosse to Princeton Day School for high school. He would also go from being an average size third-grader to a giant, as he stands 6-3 and weighs in at 225.

In any other year, Connor would be in the running for Ivy League Rookie of the Year, with his 22 goals and nine assists, which rank him second on the Big Red in scoring. In fact, Princeton's last three Ivy Rookies of the Year averaged 33 points as freshmen, which leaves Connor two short of matching that in tomorrow's game.

This, though, is not any other year for Ivy League freshmen men's lacrosse players, not with Princeton's Michael Sowers (70 points, the Ivy League record for a freshman) and Cornell's Jeff Teat (60 points, third-best by an Ivy freshman).

The men's lacrosse game is a matchup of the two historic powers of Ivy League lacrosse. Between them, they've won 56 league championships; no other team has more than 10.

This weekend is an interesting one for Princeton Athletics. It's the end of the regular season for a few sports, three of whom have intriguing games this weekend but have their eyes firmly on the huge events of the coming weeks.

There's also postseason for women's water polo, who starts the CWPA playoffs at the University of Indiana as the second seed, taking on seventh-seeded Bucknell today. The top seed is Michigan.

Keep in mind, the end of this season will mark the end of the legendary career of Ashleigh Johnson, and the games this weekend begin a run of elimination games.

Both lacrosse teams are still hoping to get a share of the Ivy League championship - and yet both are firmly focused on the upcoming Ivy League and NCAA tournaments.

No matter what happens in the game at Cornell, the men's lacrosse team will be the No. 2 seed and play No. 3 Brown in the Ivy League tournament at Yale next Friday. Yale will be the top seed, and Penn will be the four.

The Tigers could get a share of the Ivy title, with a win over Cornell and a Yale loss to Harvard.

As for the women, they are home against Columbia at 1 tomorrow. A win in that game assures Princeton of at least a share of the Ivy League championship.

Right now the Tigers are tied with Cornell and Penn at 5-1 in the league. Each has a win and loss against the other, and each would get at least a share with a win tomorrow, when Penn plays Yale and Cornell plays Harvard. Princeton, Cornell and Penn are all in the Ivy League tournament, as is Harvard.

The question is where will the tournament be. The answer is Cornell if the Big Red win, Princeton if the Tigers win and Cornell and Penn both lose and Penn if Penn wins and Cornell loses.

Going further, a Cornell win assures that it'll be Princeton-Penn in the first round. If you're wondering why, by the way, Cornell would win head to head against Penn with its win over the Quakers and in the event of a three-way tie with its better goal-differential in the games between the three. Princeton would get the top seed with a two-tie with only Cornell, whom the Tigers beat a week ago.

Also, having said all that, all three teams are pretty much locks for the NCAA tournament.

The softball team ends the regular season this weekend too, with four games against Cornell. Princeton is assured the South Division championship and the spot in the Ivy League championship series that goes with it.

On the line this weekend are: 1) where the series will be and 2) who the opponent will be. Princeton would clinch the host role with two wins in four games this weekend, regardless of anything else.

As for the opponent, it'll be either Harvard, Dartmouth or Yale, and there could even be a three-way tie in the North Division, depending on how this weekend goes.

There is also rowing this weekend, with the heavyweights and women's open at home.

And of course there is the Penn Relays, which began yesterday and run through tomorrow in Philadelphia. Hey, the same is true of the NFL draft.

Did anyone else notice that?


Anonymous said...

All these years I've been singing Thunder Road to myself as, "And I know you're hungry for words that I ain't spoken." It's a little jarring to read in TigerBlog that the lyric is actually "lonely" and not "hungry." In my own defense, I think that Bruce might have sung "hungry" in a live performance or two; "hungry" actually makes more sense in context. I've seen more than one show in which Bruce has what is essentially a teleprompter resting on the stage floor in front of him, with the lyrics scrolling by as he sings. That's another sign that we're all getting old.

Let's play Rutgers in 2019 for the sesquicentennial!

TigerBlog said...

TB double-checked. It appears that it's "I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken."

CU77 said...

The Tiger lax team will be favored over Cornell on Saturday, but if the Big Red pulls off an upset, Connor Fletcher will need to play a big role. As a Cornell alum and former Princeton postdoc, I say good luck to both teams!