Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Unstoppable Force

TigerBlog forgot to include one thing in his story about "Sweeney Todd" the other day.

The other four musical couples whom TigerBlog referenced all had the kind of love that most people can only dream about, the kind that endures for all eternity.

Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett? They had the kind of love that endured right up until the part where, after killing a whole bunch of people and baking them into meat pies, Sweeney killed her too.

There's love, and then there's love.

TigerBlog was a bit bummed that he forgot to mention that part the other day, though not as bummed as he was a high school sophomore, when he realized that he'd forgotten to include one page from a chemistry lab in his report, which ended up dropping his grade significantly. It worked out okay, since he still got into Penn.

Another update is from the District 12 Little League baseball tournament. The winner for 2017? Huh-TER-buh. That's HTRBA, who won for the first time in 13 years.

This is from local sportswriter Rich Fisher, who may have the record for most stories written about sporting events that happened in Mercer County:
For those who assumed HTRBA stood for Hamilton Township Recreational Baseball Association, you were seemingly mistaken.
After Mercerville’s 12-year-old All-Stars won their first District 12 title in 13 years with a 7-1 win over West Windsor at Sayen Park Sunday, catcher Joe Lemly put those five letters in proper perspective to describe how the title was won.
“It was about using teamwork,” said Lemly, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored. “We have a motto for HTRBA — hustle, teamwork, respect, balance and attitude.”

That's pretty good stuff. TigerBlog forwarded that on to David Rosenfeld, the one who all those years ago asked the immortal question of "what's huh-TER-buh?" If anyone can appreciate District 12 Little League baseball, it's David.

TigerBlog texted David yesterday and asked him this question: Who would be the best two or three best Princeton men's basketball players since you started watching? Not the ones who had the best careers. The guys you would take over anyone else for one game when they were at their best.

On the women's side, by the way, TigerBlog would take Niveen Rasheed, though he reserves the right to take Bella Alarie in another three years. Bella is currently training with the U.S. U19 team, and she will be keeping a journal for You can see entry No. 1 HERE.

As for the men? David went with Brian Earl, Chris Young and Spencer Gloger, with the caveat that he hasn't watched the team as much since 2008 and that he's a huge fan of Devin Cannady.

TigerBlog thought of this question when he saw another story on the website about Mason Rocca. The story, which talks about how Rocca has received a Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship, can be seen HERE.

From the story:
Following his pro career, Rocca returned to his hometown of Evanston, Ill., to pursue his master's degree in secondary education at Northwestern with a concentration in math, completing it this year. The Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship is a five-year program intended to provide new math and science teachers with professional development, resources and support. Rocca was an electrical engineering major at Princeton.

Mason Rocca, on his best day, is the most unstoppable force TigerBlog has seen in a Princeton men's basketball uniform. The problem he had was that he didn't have too many best days, since the majority of his career was hampered by injuries.

TigerBlog has written about Mason before. In fact, he went back to look what he had said about him previously, and TB wrote this in September 2015, nearly two years ago:
Mason Rocca is the single most unstoppable force TigerBlog has seen play for Princeton - when healthy.

For the record, TigerBlog wrote this year's sentence before he went back and checked what he had said before. Clearly, there's a consistency to what TB thinks about Rocca as a player at Princeton.

That's sort of weird also. To describe someone twice in a span of nearly 24 months with the exact same phrase?

Mason played 14 professional seasons in Europe as he outgrew the nagging injuries. Had he never gotten hurt at Princeton, Rocca would have been in an NBA uniform at some point. TigerBlog is certain of that.

And, as he also said two years ago, he might have been the missing piece for Princeton to defeat Michigan State in the 1998 NCAA tournament second round, which would have bumped Princeton to the Sweet 16 that year. Rocca was out injured for the end of the year.

David's choices for the best players at Princeton in the last 25 years or so is a great one. There are other names that could be considered, starting from Kit Mueller and going through the present, with Cannady and Myles Stephens, who might be the second most unstoppable force TB has seen here.

Any list for one game, though, has to include Mason Rocca. He had great touch around the basket. He could pass. Any loose ball was his, whether a rebound or on the floor. Looking back, that was probably the reason he kept getting hurt.

With his pro basketball career over, Mason is back in Illinois, where he grew up, ready to start the next phase of his life as a teacher. The fellowship that he received will help him get started down the path in the classroom.

HERE's more on Mason's fellowship. That story includes this:
On the court, Rocca was a proven leader who was known for his creativity and collaboration. Now he’ll take those skills into the classroom, where he will teach high school math and look for ways to reform the system.

That's pretty flattering stuff.

Of course, it leaves out the "unstoppable force" part, but TigerBlog will keep reminding you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What were the nature of Rocca's injuries? I know that, while JTIII was head coach, Princeton replaced the previous straight wooden Jadwin basketball floor with a more sophisticated floor laid on top of a metal infrastructure designed to "give" slightly when players stepped or landed on it. Could the newer, more yielding Jadwin floor have changed Mason's injury history and thus the 1998 Michigan State game?