Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Few More Minutes

The Princeton Varsity Club held its annual freshman BBQ Monday night in Jadwin Gym.

TigerBlog stood in the back as the 225 or so freshmen athletes came in and headed to the buffet lines. As he stood there, he tried to figure out which sports the athletes played just by looking at them.

Some were easier than others, since they wore shirts that said "Princeton Squash" or "Princeton Baseball." Others weren't as easy to pick out, since they wore "Princeton Athletics" stuff or just non-Princeton clothes.

It's not easy with 37 varsity teams and nearly 1,000 athletes - or the 225 freshmen - to figure out who plays what.

TigerBlog has always been fascinated by the different paths that athletes take to compete here. How does someone decide to become a swimmer instead of a field hockey player or a tennis player instead of a baseball player?

And, as he has asked before, are athletic skills transferable? Jesper Horsted is a pro prospect in football and baseball. Could he have been a great fencer? A great rower?

Some of it is body type obviously. Certain sports and certain positions within those sports dictate that.

Some of it is opportunity. TB has wondered this about a lot of lacrosse players through the years, especially before the growth of the game. Would they have ever picked up a stick if they'd grown up in the South or West, as opposed to, say Baltimore of Long Island?

Regardless, they all chose their paths, and they all led them to Princeton. The BBQ comes at a time when the initial awe of the school has presumably worn off and the freshmen are starting to get their collective legs under them, in school and in their sports.

For the BBQ Monday night, of course, the issue really wasn't who was on which team. It was that they were all on the same team.

That was part of the message from Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the Ford Family Director of Athletics, who talked to the group about being more than just their teams, about embracing being part of the larger community of Princeton athletes and the University.

TigerBlog listened to Mollie's short talk Monday night. He'd also spent a few minutes with her earlier in the day, recording the podcast entitled "A Few Minutes With Mollie Marcoux Samaan." You can listen to it HERE.

It's obvious from both the podcast and from her speech that Mollie is a huge believer in the values that Princeton Athletics represents. The "Be A Tiger" motto directly ties those values to athletic performance, which is somewhat unique.

The podcast - Molliecast? - covers her own experiences as a student-athlete, which helped develop her belief in the importance of building the right culture. She also talks about other subjects, including the ESPN+ arrangement, and of course her competitive side comes out when she talks about wins and losses.

This is the second podcast TB and Mollie have done, with one back in late June. At the end, they talk about making it a somewhat regular event, and they're going to aim to do them every other week moving forward.

The "Original 11" podcast was also available yesterday on The podcast talks about Princeton football, with a look back at the 51-9 win over Monmouth and the game coming up Friday night at Columbia (6, ESPNU).

The player interview this week is with John Lovett, the quarterback who has led the Tigers to 101 points in two games. The 50.5 average, by the way, is second in the FCS.

You can hear Lovett HERE. TigerBlog has never met Lovett, but you can tell by watching him that 1) he is a great leader, 2) he is a fearless player, 3) he plays with great intensity and 4) he is a team-first guy. All of this comes out during the podcast, in which he mentions his return from missing last year due to injury and then the start the team has had to far this season, through two weeks at least.

If you're a Princeton fan, you should definitely hear what Mollie has to say.

And the same is true for Lovett.

It's definitely worth a few more minutes.

No comments: