Friday, February 2, 2018

Fathers And Sons

The men's basketball game against Yale tips off tonight at 6.

When it does, there were also be new chapters added to a pair of father/son relationships that have had as their cornerstones a shared love of sports.

TigerBlog won't be in Jadwin Gym for the men's game. Instead he'll be in New Haven, where the Princeton women take on the Yale women at the same time.

Because TB won't be here for the men's game, he won't be able to join Patrick McCarthy on the radio. As such, he wanted to find a replacement for Patrick, and he had the perfect person in mind: Patrick's father Tom.

If you recall, Tom McCarthy was Princeton's former radio play-by-play man for football and men's basketball, beginning before Patrick - the oldest of the four McCarthy children - was born. Since his Princeton days, Tom has moved up to become one of the top play-by-play men in the business, doing the Philadelphia Phillies, the National Football League and national college basketball games.

Patrick is just starting out, and he's very, very good for someone his age. He will be doing Triple A baseball this summer, with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

When TB needed a replacement, he called Tom.

His first question was whether or not he and Patrick had ever done a game together before, and Tom said they had not. He was also excited about the opportunity.

Patrick and Tom have worked together a lot through the years, especially on his NFL and college basketball jobs. Those, TB imagines, have been pretty special experiences for them.

Doing a game together? And one at Princeton, which is so much a part of Tom's early days and clearly part of where Patrick's career will have started? Tonight has to be special for them too.

Princeton, by the way, is 2-1 in the Ivy League, with a loss at Penn and then a home sweep of Columbia and Cornell, neither of which was particularly close. Yale and Brown are both 2-2 in the league.

Harvard and Penn are both unbeaten heading into the weekend, Harvard at 4-0 and Penn at 3-0. Again, the top four teams will reach the Ivy League tournament at the Palestra, March 10-11.

Princeton hasn't played a league game in 20 days and has only played once, last Sunday against Rowan, since its win over Cornell. The Tigers will be quite busy moving forward, with their remaining 11 games to be played in just 29 days.

The first five of those will be in eight days, including another home game Tuesday, when Penn will be here. Then it's a trip next weekend to Harvard and Dartmouth, which starts a run where six of the final eight are on the road.

As for the women, they are at Yale and Brown this weekend and then home next weekend with Harvard and Dartmouth, followed by a visit Feb. 13, a Tuesday, from Penn.

Princeton is 3-0, with a win over the Quakers earlier this season. Harvard is 3-1, and Penn is 2-1. Dartmouth and Yale are 2-2.

And why will TigerBlog be there? It's also a father/son thing.

TigerBlog Jr. has been working this year as a PA announcer for Yale athletics. He started out doing women's volleyball and field hockey, and he's continued this winter doing women's basketball.

And so this will be his second Princeton-Yale game. The first was women's volleyball in the fall, which Princeton won, by the way.

TigerBlog can't even begin to guess how many games for which he's been the PA announcer, but the number is pretty high. TB has never heard his son do the PA, and he's pretty excited about it.

You may have read at some point that TigerBlog Jr. plays lacrosse. TB hasn't written as much about his son's background in public speaking, which goes back to his high school days doing speech and debate, for which he was a state champion, a national qualifier his last three years and a top 24 national finisher in one event.

As much as he loved playing lacrosse in high school, it was with speech and debate that he really found a home and the group of guys with whom he has stayed friends.

So let's see how he does on the PA. TigerBlog has already told Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart to give him a hard time at some point.

In reality, TigerBlog is very excited to see how TBJ does.

It's not easy watching your child be the goalie in lacrosse. If you're the parent of a goalie on any level in any sport, then you know exactly what he means. TB has always joked that when the goalie gives up a goal, everyone looks to the parents as if to say "if you did a better job raising him, he would have made that save."

At the same time, TB has no experience being a goalie, let alone a lacrosse goalie on the Division I level. He does have a lot of PA experience.

As a result, he'll be watching his son tonight with a perhaps critical eye, but mostly, of course, a proud eye.

He imagines his friend Tom will be doing the same thing here at Jadwin.

It'll be a special night. For all four of them.

No comments: