Wednesday, October 10, 2018

No Barriers

There are few people at Princeton easier to like than Joe Dubuque, associate head coach for the wrestling team.

The wrestling room is next to the Office of Athletic Communications on Jadwin's E Level, so TigerBlog has considerable opportunities to see the coaches. They're all great guys.

Joe, a two-time NCAA champion at Indiana, came in two days ago to excitedly talk about the "Vision Quest" spoof that the wrestling team had put on social media.

He came in yesterday to mention that Matthew Modine had responded to the tweet that had the video in it. Modine was the one who played Louden the love-struck high school weight-losing wrestler in the movie itself.
This was big. Modine is a major Hollywood star, and here he is, retweeting Princeton wrestling.

Modine has been in a lot of movies, but his best has been his role as Private Joker in "Full Metal Jacket." That's as intense as movies get.

TigerBlog thinks that "Full Metal Jacket" is a better movie than "Platoon," which won Best Picture back in 1986. As far as Vietnam War movies go, he gives "Full Metal Jacket" the edge over "Apocalypse Now" as well, though there is a long way to go between any of those and "The Deer Hunter."

He was also great as the pilot in "Memphis Belle," which is a very underrated World War II movie. It's about the crew of a B-23 that needs to fly one more mission before it can become the first crew to fly 25 combat missions, only the last one is really, really difficult. And there's a movie crew that is trying to tell a glorious story, even if it's insensitive to all of the tragedy around them.

And now, most famously, he has retweeted Princeton wrestling. And commented.

If you're looking for star power, albeit less well-known star power, TigerBlog can refer you to tonight's Princeton Varsity Club Jake McCandless Speaker Series event featuring Erik Weihenmayer.

The event will be held tonight in Richardson Auditorium at Alexander Hall, at 7:30. It is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. You can get yours HERE.

This will actually be Weihenmayer's second appearance in the series, which TB believes is a first. His previous talk was back in November of 2005, and TB was at it.

Weihenmayer was born with retinoschesis, which gradually causes the retina to deteriorate. He had  partial sight through his childhood before losing his vision completely at age 13.

So what's his talk about? How that limited the things he could do in his life and how he came to be okay with that?

Uh, hardly.

His talk is entitled "No Barriers," and it's very applicable, as nothing in this world has been a barrier for Erik Weihenmayer. Not the highest mountains. Not running marathons. Not whitewater. Nothing.

There aren't too many people more accomplished, more adventurous and more courageous than Erik Weihenmayer. He's climbed the highest peak on all seven continents - the "Seven Summits" - something that fewer than 400 people have ever done.

In addition, he and his father Ed, a 1962 Princeton graduate and a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, biked from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with 75 others, most of whom were veterans of the war. 

And he's done it without his eye sight.

The first time Erik spoke at Princeton, he talked about his climb up Mount Everest. That's scary enough with your vision.

Beyond just the mountain climbing, Erik has recently kayaked the Grand Canyon and its 70 rapids. Again, he's done that blind.

TigerBlog was here for Weihenmayer's first talk, and he was simply riveting.

He's pretty sure tonight's talk will be as well.

The title of his speech is also the name of his foundation, which encourages thousands of challenged people each year to share his spirit. He has worked extensively with wounded war veterans as well. You can see a lot more information about what "No Barriers" is all about HERE.

From the website: "Our mission is to unleash the potential of the human spirit.  Through transformative experiences, tools and inspiration, we help people embark on a quest to contribute their absolute best to the world.  In the process, we foster a community of curious, brave and collaborative explorers who are determined to live the No Barriers Life."

Jeez. Does it get any more impressive than that?

See you at 7:30.

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