Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Day, Two Rarities

If you were in Princeton yesterday afternoon, then you had one of the perfect spots in the country for the eclipse.

Princeton, Kentucky, that is.

Princeton, the one in New Jersey, had only a 71 percent eclipse, with the peak of it at 2:44 in the afternoon. TigerBlog read beforehand that it wouldn't be completely dark out but would instead mirror the conditions of early evening.

TB would be more impressed, of course, if there wasn't one of those "early evenings" every night. Now if it would simulate the conditions at noon at 2:44 a.m., now that would be pretty cool.

The fact that the eclipse is something that happens very rarely is somewhat intriguing. The actual eclipse didn't really do much for TB.

Maybe it comes from being in the basement of Jadwin all day. Or maybe it takes more than just some rare celestial event to get him fired up.

TigerBlog remembers the last one, back in 1978. He was in high school. The thing he remembers most is being told not to look directly at the sun or he'd summer permanent eye damage. Then, yesterday, there were stories online about people who had in fact suffered eye damage in the last eclipse, or the one in 1962.

The next one will be in 2024. TigerBlog assumes he'll be just as unimpressed.

He hopes you enjoyed it though. And that your eyes are fine.

Oh, and it turns out that there are 11 states in this country that have a town called "Princeton."

Anyway, only slightly less rare than an eclipse is a Barron family sighting in Jadwin Gym these days. Interestingly, that happened yesterday too.

Richard and Maureen Barron and their three kids Lane and Rae (twins entering eighth grade) and Billy (heading into fifth) made a stop here yesterday on their way from Maine to South Carolina.

Who are Richard and Maureen Barron?

They are, TB believes, the only husband and wife coaching tandem in Princeton history who have both won Ivy League championships. Is that right? Is he forgetting anyone?

Richard Barron was the women's basketball coach at Princeton before Courtney Banghart. He coached the Tigers for six seasons, including an Ivy title in 2006.

He's also a Jadwin Gym lunchtime basketball legend. 

In fact, one of TigerBlog's favorite Richard Barron stories occurred after a game one night in Jadwin. Richard was upset with one of the decisions that a player had made on a fast break and had this actual conversation with TigerBlog:

RB: "Can you believe she did that?"
TB: "Can you believe that you criticized someone's decision making after you threw a behind-the-back pass off one of the green screens on a 3-on-1 fast break today?"

Ah, Richard. He's a good man. A likeable one. Now the head coach at Maine, he's battled through a really tough road health-wise, with a rare condition that affected his hearing, balance and other things.

"I literally had a hole in my head," he told TigerBlog yesterday.

That hole was between his ear and his brain, and it caused every sound to become amplified. It took surgery at UCLA to correct it and start Richard back down the road to being healthy and being able to resume coaching, something he couldn't do this past season.

He looked good as he sat in TB's office yesterday. Relaxed.

As for Maureen, she was the softball coach for those same six seasons, during which time she won four Ivy titles. Does that make her four times the coach of her husband?

Before she became the coach here, she was a player (as Maureen Davies) on three Ivy championship teams here. She also was a four-time All-Ivy League selection, and she also won the Ivy Rookie of the Year and Ivy Pitcher of the Year awards during her career.

Among the school records she holds are most wins in a career (83, or 26 more than the next-best total) and shutouts in a career (32, or five more than second place). She's also third all time with 596 strikeouts.

Remind TigerBlog to research how many people have ever been part of three Ivy League championship teams here as a player and then won at least four as a head coach. He can think of one off the top of his head - the late, great Bob Callahan with the men's squash team.

Maureen, like Richard, doesn't appear to have changed much. She's still the same easy-going, funny, laid-back Mo.

They're happy in Maine, they said. The winters are, you know, Maine winters, but so what. They're used to them.

It's been 10 years since they worked here. TigerBlog isn't sure the last time he saw them. Their kids are certainly growing up. They wanted to see pictures of TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog. They asked about all the people they knew who used to work here, asking which ones TB was still in touch with these days.

They're just really nice people. Richard and Mo. 

It was really good to see them.

Oh, and the eclipse? It was actually really cool. Seriously. It looked like it was clouding up, but it wasn't. It felt like it was cooling off, but it wasn't. And then it got a little dark, like it was early evening. And then it got light again.

By 4 or so in the afternoon, the world was back on track.

And the pictures that TB saw on TV from the total eclipse were even more amazing. Total darkness, in the middle of the afternoon.

Yeah, it was cool. 

He can't wait to share his thoughts on the next one with you in seven years. 

No comments: