Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Half Over Or Half To Go?

As TigerBlog said last week, today is the midway point between the last event of the 2016-17 academic year and the first event of the 2017-18 academic year.

Does it seem like it's been nearly six weeks since the NCAA track and field championships? Or more than eight weeks since the last game of the year, the NCAA women's lacrosse quarterfinal game against Penn State?

Time either flies by or drags. Or, at times, both. Ponder that if you will. Perhaps one day, if TigerBlog teaches a philosophy class, he'll make that the lone question on the final exam: Time either flies by or drags. Or, at times, both. Discuss.

There are, of course, some questions that may never be answered. Or maybe they already have been, and it's just a matter of accepting the outcomes? But which outcome?

Today is a philosophical day, after all. It's the midway point. Is the summer half over, or is half the summer left? Glass half-full, half-empty thing.

This is deep stuff. Maybe too deep for the middle of summer. Maybe the summer isn't meant for these kinds of in-depth philosophical issues. TigerBlog will have to wait for that.

One thing everyone can agree on is that it is, in fact, the middle of summer. At least using the Princeton Athletics calendar, if such a unit of measure exists.

On this campus, that means one thing more than any other. Summer camps.

TigerBlog has always loved the summer sports camps that Princeton offers. There's an army of kids, from little kids to high school kids, marching all around the campus, playing games, practicing, working with college coaches and athletes and, best of all, staying in the dorms and eating in the dining halls.

Both TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog had their intro to dorm life at Princeton summer camps. For TBJ, that meant lacrosse camp, and it meant it from maybe fourth grade, when Bill Tierney first let him jump in the goal at some games.

There was nothing that TigerBlog Jr. loved more as a kid than the days he'd spend at Princeton lacrosse camp. They were the best of times for him, the best of everything.

Where is TBJ today? He's back at the Princeton boys' lacrosse camp, this time as a counselor. It's not his first stint there. It does make TigerBlog wonder how long the list is of people who have been campers and counselors at one of Princeton's camps.
Also, narrowing that list further, TB wonders how many people have lost their meal card as both campers and counselors. Yeah, TigerBlog Jr. has accomplished that.

It's obviously different being a counselor versus being a camper, but TigerBlog was taken back to those camper days Sunday when he watched TBJ pack up. Unlike when he was a kid, TBJ simply got in his car and drove himself there.

Of course, it wouldn't be the a first day at camp without his having forgotten something. In the case this year, it was the fan he needed for his dorm room. Miss TigerBlog, of course, swore she'd looked all over the house and couldn't find it. TigerBlog wanted to bet his daughter that he could find it in less than 60 seconds. She didn't take the bet, which is good for her, because it took TB exactly 18 to locate it.

One of the first coaches TBJ ever worked with at Princeton's camp was an assistant coach at Hartford named Jon Basti. He was one of TBJ's favorite coaches from Day 1, and the coach clearly felt the same about the enthusiasm the young goalie showed. In fact, TigerBlog still has an old, old email from Basti, talking about TBJ to that effect.

Today, Basti is the head coach at Sacred Heart University and TBJ's college coach. Their experience together at those Princeton camps from a long time ago definitely helped in the recruiting process.

Of course, that's something of a coincidence. That's not the point of the camp for a little kid. It jsut sort of worked out that way.

Still, those camps are awesome experiences for the campers. TigerBlog has seen so many of these kids, who come from all over, in genuine awe of their chance to be at a place like Princeton. And to play the sports that they love.

Maybe they're all thinking that they're going to grow up and play for the Tigers one day. And that's great. They should think that way, even if maybe none of them actually well.

It's part of what summer camp gives to these kids. If you're on Princeton's campus every day, like TigerBlog is, you lose the thrill of what it can be like to be there. Look in the eyes of a kid at one of the camps and it comes right back to you.

And that's where things are now. Camp season. Lots of camps, lots of kids.

It's what the middle of summer is all about.

Come tomorrow, of course, it'll be closer to the start of 2017-18 than the end of 2016-17.

But will it still be the middle of summer?


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