Thursday, January 3, 2019

RIP, The Tyler Trent

It's been about a year since TigerBlog went to Indianapolis for David Morrow's presentation of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

While he was there, he took a side trip for about an hour to West Lafayette and the campus of Purdue University. While there, on a night when the temperature was three degrees by the way, he went to a men's basketball game at Mackey Arena between the Boilermakers and Wisconsin.

TigerBlog has seen basketball games all over the country, and the atmosphere in Mackey is up there with anything he'd ever experienced. North Carolina. Duke. Michigan State. Louisville. Syracuse. Kansas. He's been to all of those and more, and Purdue is his favorite.

Since that night, TB has been a big Purdue fan. He's gone out of his way to watch the Boilermakers on TV, and he still thinks they would have beaten Texas Tech and given Villanova a game in the regional final last year had center Isaac Haas not gotten hurt.

His interest in Purdue carried over to this football season, when he again paid special attention to his adopted team in the Midwest. In fact, Purdue was the only team to beat Ohio State this season and did so convincingly, 49-20.

Somewhere during the football season, TigerBlog became aware of the intriguing story of Tyler Trent, the Purdue student and superfan whose goal was to become a sportswriter. Sadly, Tyler's dreams were cut short by a rare bone cancer, one that first caused him to break his arm playing ultimate frisbee when he was 14 and, on New Year's Day, ultimately claimed his life, tragically, at the age of 20.

Tyler Trent became a rallying point for the entire Purdue community, especially the football program. His huge spirit was evident on his Twitter feed - @thetylertrtent.
He used his brief time in the spotlight to promote the fight against cancer, even writing a book about it. He also wrote in a nationally syndicated column his thoughts on his impending mortality, including this:
Though I am in hospice care and have to wake up every morning knowing that the day might be my last, I still have a choice to make: to make that day the best it can be. To make the most of whomever comes to visit, texts, tweets or calls me.
Yet, isn’t that a choice we all have every day? After all, nobody knows the amount of days we have left. Some could say we are all in hospice to a certain degree.
So why don’t we act like it? 

Wow. What else can TB say?

He wanted to talk about Tyler today, because of the way he's followed his courageous and inspirational fight these last few months. The world has clearly lost someone pretty special.

There's no appropriate segue from that to anything to do with Princeton Athletics today, so TigerBlog will just jump ahead to the coming hockey weekend.

TigerBlog was at three of the four hockey games played at Hobey Baker Rink this past weekend, when the men's team swept Maine 1-0 and 7-3 and the women's team tied Merrimack 1-1 before winning 5-3. The women, by the way, stretched their unbeaten streak to 14 games (10-0-4), which is the longest streak in program history.

The teams each played a different goalie in each game, and all four played very well. Ryan Ferland had to wait two weeks after getting pulled against Penn State before he got back on the ice and made 40 saves in the 1-0 shutout. That's a huge statement about Ferland, the MVP of the ECAC playoffs last year.

Austin Shaw, who was lights out (and didn't allow a goal) in relief of Ferland in the 4-4 tie against Penn State, then made 27 saves to win his first career start in Game 2 against Maine. 

On the women's side, Rachel McQuigge stopped a penalty shot in overtime to preserve the 1-1 tie and then Steph Neatby made 35 saves in the win.

The two hockey teams are entering an interesting two weeks, with four big games each before the break for first semester exams. The men are home for all four (Harvard/Dartmouth this weekend, Cornell/Colgate next weekend, face-off at 7 for each game), while the women play the same teams on the road. If you're in New England this weekend and want to watch the women, they play at 3 at Harvard and 3:30 at Dartmouth. 

By the way, both teams are used to dealing with busy stretches followed by long periods off.

The women, for instance, didn't play for 22 days before the Merrimack games. Those two games then started a stretch of six games in 14 days, which will then be followed by 17 days off for exams and then nine games in 26 days to end the regular season.

The men have a very similar schedule: 13 days off, then six games in 15 days, then 20 days off, then 10 games in 30 days to end the regular season.

Princeton's women head back into the ECAC schedule in first place, unbeaten in the league at 8-0-2, five points ahead of Cornell and seven ahead of Colgate. Princeton and Quinnipiac have played 10 of their 22 league games; everyone else has played either eight or seven.

As for the men, the Tigers are in a three-way tie for fifth with Brown and Union, but the men are a week behind the women and there is just way too much time to go in the season for anything to really matter quite yet.

The games this weekend are big, of course, since every game counts. What's most important is building momentum heading into the postseason.

That's something that can't be accomplished in January with exams looming. Check back in February, and you'll see two teams hoping to play well into March.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Among the best things to be found on the GoPrincetonTigers website are the "jubo shots" of players, coaches and fans in full exuberance, celebrating joyfully and perhaps even mindlessly after a Tiger victory or championship. In the latest Episode 9 of "Hard Cuts," the postgame scene after the Arizona State upset is GPT's first extended "jubo video."

More, please.