Wednesday, May 16, 2018

47 In 4

If you like thunderstorms, then this was the place to be yesterday.

TigerBlog loves a good thunderstorm. He's certainly in the right area for them, since they're a staple of Central New Jersey throughout the summer.

If you like rain, then apparently you'll want to be in Princeton the next few days too.

TigerBlog likes the peaceful kind of rain, the kind that is soothing to listen to - even in the middle of the night - or look out at from a covered porch or something. This is different than, say, standing in it and getting soaked.

After yesterday's massive thunderstorms, the forecast is for rain every day through Monday. It probably won't come to that, or hopefully won't, anyway.

One thing the rain won't do is mess up the athletic schedule around here this weekend. That's because, for another academic year, every home event has come and gone.

TigerBlog can't remember the first athletic event he went to at Princeton. He wonders how many he's gone to in all. It's probably a pretty high number.

He does know that he was still in the newspaper business when he covered Princeton High School boys' tennis in the New Jersey state tournament. The Little Tigers, as they are known, had to play in Jadwin Gym because of rain outside, and the last two matches were played on the courts on E level.

Today, 35 years later, TigerBlog's office is about 50 feet or so from where those courts are. Could he have imagined any of what was to follow way back then, when he was watching those tennis matches? Never.

When TB was in the newspaper business, he used to think that he'd go through one more yearly run and then get a "real" job. While he moved to Princeton long ago and he'd say he has a "real" job, he has spent his entire career in athletics.

And when you work in college athletics, not all months are created equally. There are the busiest times of year - early November, February/March especially - and then there are the times that are quieter.

This time of year is hardly quiet, not with the Gary Walters Princeton Varsity Club Banquet up soon, along with Class Day, Commencement and Reunions.

On the other hand, there are no more home events for the 2017-18 academic year. The only remaining events for the year are NCAA track and field regionals and finals and the national rowing championships.

Every other team is done.

The Ivy League still has the baseball championship series this weekend between Yale and Columbia, which would have been a series between Yale and Dartmouth had Harvard not come from six runs back to knock off the Big Green 18-17 in the regular season finale the other day.

TB isn't sure if Columbia will be considered Ivy co-champ with Yale if it wins the baseball series. That's how it worked in softball, where Harvard was considered the co-champion with Dartmouth after finishing second in the regular season.

Regardless, TigerBlog does know regardless of what happens in baseball, Princeton will finish with 11 Ivy League championships and no other Ivy school will reach double figures.

This is the 25th time Princeton has had double figures in Ivy titles. Among the other seven Ivy schools, only Harvard has ever reached double figures in an academic year, something the Crimson have done 10 times.

This is the end of Mollie Marcoux Samaan's fourth year as Ford Family Director of Athletics. TB hasn't talked to Mollie about this, but his sense is that she feels a special bond with the Class of 2018, who came to Princeton at the same time she did.

During her tenure, Princeton has now won 47 Ivy League championships. The second-best total during that time is Harvard with 38. The third-best total by an Ivy school? That would be 17.

Princeton has had 23 different teams win at least one Ivy League championship the last four years. One of the 10 who did not, by the way, is men's hockey, which didn't win an Ivy title but did win a much bigger prize, the ECAC championship this year, which also meant an NCAA tournament berth.

Incredibly, 15 Princeton teams have won at least two, and seven have won at least three. Two - men's indoor track and field and women's lacrosse - have won four.

The challenge never changes, of course. The goal is always to give the athletes here the opportunity for a championship experience.

There are, of course, no guarantees about that. No team in any sport, any year, is handed an Ivy League title. Every single one of them requires a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication and usually a favorable bounce here or there.

That's why nobody around here ever takes any of it for granted.

1 comment:

Bart Kalkstein said...

50 feet? I hope that's a vertical measurement and you haven't been sent out to pasture on E level, TB.