Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rooting For Brea, Again

Yesterday was "Tiger Tuesday" here at Princeton.

To TigerBlog, pretty much every Tuesday for the last quarter-century has been a Tiger Tuesday. Some Tuesdays are more Tigery than others, with games like Princeton-Penn basketball or some lacrosse games on the schedule.

Your average Tuesday is highlighted by the weekly event meeting. TigerBlog feels like Princeton could stream that meeting, since it's always good for a few laughs in the 30-45 minutes that it usually runs.

Yeah, it would get good viewership.

TigerBlog can't imagine how many event meetings he's been to on Tuesdays. He remembers the first one, though, for two reasons.

First, it was in a conference room on the Jadwin mezzanine that long ago was converted to offices. Second, the big issue was that nobody could find the women's soccer programs at Lourie-Love Field BUT that there also weren't enough of them. TigerBlog, still trying to fit in, let it go as long as he could before he had to point out the obvious: if nobody can find them, how do you know there aren't enough.

Out of that meeting, by the way, grew the wooden program holders that you still see today at Princeton games.

TB's all-time favorite event meeting moment, he's pretty sure, came from Hank Towns, the old equipment manager and one of the greatest people who has ever walked this planet. The issue that came up was that Pete Carril was keeping the players too late at practice, something that caused some concern about whether or not the players would be able to get to dinner on time.

Hank, as only Hank can, said this: "I don't care about their dinner. I care about my dinner. They can eat at McDonald's."

Two things on that - 1) that's word-for-word what Hank said and 2) TB laughed when he wrote that again.

TigerBlog has been going to Tuesday event meetings since before either of his kids was born. He's used to those Tiger Tuesdays.

The actual Tiger Tuesday was a day on which high school seniors who have been admitted to Princeton were invited to the campus to go to a class or two, eat lunch, take some tours, meet some of their future classmates. The Class of 2022 will include Miss TigerBlog, and she was in attendance yesterday.

Of course, she has spent more time on the campus than your average incoming freshman, though the first other student she met yesterday was from Princeton High School.

TigerBlog is excited enough about the opportunity his daughter now finds awaiting her. He's seen so many people who have been touched by the amazing chance to attend Princeton, and now it's just a few months away from her.

Having her on campus yesterday was pretty special. He can't imagine what it'll be like when she's there all the time - other than the part where she'll go out of her way never to see him and all.

It dawns on TigerBlog that the Class of 2022 will be 100 years behind the Class of 1922, which featured the two men for whom the old soccer field was named - Donold Lourie and George Love.

The old field - it was called Lourie-Love Field - was on the same spot where Roberts Stadium now stands. Lourie-Love featured exactly zero frills, not even a place to put the programs in the early 1990s.

It was the women's soccer team's dramatic run to the 2004 NCAA Final Four, one that packed Lourie-Love, especially in the quarterfinal win over Washington, that was behind the inspiration to build the new field, which is as nice a soccer venue as you will ever see.

One of the mainstays on that 2004 team was a defender from Canada named Brea Griffiths. TigerBlog remembers her as being funny, friendly and outgoing off the field and ferocious on the field. To get to the goal required getting past Brea, something that was intimidating and, usually, impossible.

She was a two-time All-Ivy selection and the rock of a defense on a team that was perfect in the Ivy League and won four NCAA games her senior year. She also was the perfect teammate, the kind of team-oriented leader without whom you can never really reach your fullest potential as a group. 

TigerBlog hadn't heard from her in a long time when she checked in a few weeks ago. These days, she's Brea Kroeker.

As it turns out, Brea has been battling very serious health issues the last four years, and honestly TB didn't really understand what exactly was wrong with her, just that it's clear that she has been in pretty rough shape.

It can be generally termed as "severe chronic illness." Basically what she needs now is more diagnostic testing. It's completely turned her life upside down.

It's been brutal, actually. It took a long time to even figure out what was wrong with her. At least now she knows, and she's trying to do something about it.

If you want more information, HERE IS THE PAGE where you can see more information and how to help.

The incredible thing about Brea is that her spirit is great. She was laughing about it to TigerBlog, and her determination comes through with every word she says. She continues to raise her three children in the face of all this.

It's a tough fight. She's a tough person, and always has been. It's like she was saying "hey, no big deal. I'll take this on too."

Her determination is obvious. Her sense of humor is still there.

She's fighting a very tough battle here, and she is doing so in extraordinary fashion. TB wants her to win now more than he ever wanted her to as a player at Princeton.

1 comment:

R. Wimbush ('05) said...

Great post, TB. We're all rooting for Brea and I have no doubt that she will beat this thing!!!