Friday, January 25, 2019

The End Of The Penultimate Break

TigerBlog has worked on the Princeton campus for a long time, nearly 30 years to be exact.

The physical makeup of the campus has changed dramatically in that time. To TigerBlog, though, it's been gradual, so he hardly has noticed the radical changes. If you were a Princeton student 30 years ago and haven't been back much? The campus probably looks wildly different.

It's sort of like when TigerBlog goes back to Penn. There are buildings that look exactly the same as the days when he was a student there, and there are other parts of the campus that he can't even recognize.

The same applies to the changes in the procedures on the campus and in the athletic department as well. When TB first started covering Princeton, for instance, freshmen weren't eligible for varsity football and there was no strength and conditioning, among many other things.

Hey, there wasn't even a webpage. There was barely email.

Every now and then, TigerBlog looks back on the way things were when he first started here and realizes two things. First, if they hadn't changed about 180 degrees he probably would have not been able to continue doing it.

Second, there was a real charm to it back then. TB can't help but smile and chuckle when he thinks of all the things that went into athletic communications in the 1990s or so that no longer remotely apply now.

There were so many nights when TB would stay late in his office with the rest of the OAC staff, finishing one publication or another. Back then, there was no way to do such things outside of the office, because of the pesky little fact that the laptop wasn't yet part of every day life.

Even if there had been a laptop, it wouldn't have helped anyway, since TB's iPhone now has about 10,000 times the storage capacity of his MacIntosh desktop computer in 1994. And, by the way, TB thought his Mac back in 1994 was some futuristic tool sent to help make things easier for him at that time.

The advances in technology have completely reinvented what athletic communications has become. It's changed the way people consume information and therefore the way information is provided, and things like producing published media guides have long gone away in favor of podcasts, videos, social media and even a blog.

There have been so many changes to the way things used to be. The football media luncheons were a staple of mid-week falls around here. It's been years since Princeton has had one.

What's the point of all this nostalgia?

Well, TB realizes that there is another major change coming, that in the next few years will seem radical and then will become just another normal part of business around here, leaving the way it's always been to fade further and further from memory.

The break for first semester exams comes to an end tomorrow, with the men's and women's track and field HYP meets at Jadwin Gym and the women's tennis trip to North Carolina. Come Sunday, there will be home men's basketball (against Wesley at noon) and home men's tennis (Liberty at 10, Army West Point at 3).

With the resumption of events, Princeton University and its athletic teams move one step closer to the massive change in the academic calendar that's coming in the 2020-21 academic year. For the first time ever, Princeton University will have first semester exams before the holidays.

That leaves one more year of the current setup, and one more year of the two-plus week break in the athletic schedule for final exams that has come each January. It's something that's been unique to Princeton, and it's something that the people who work in athletics at Princeton have just gotten used to.

For TigerBlog, the thought of the January exam break will always take him back to when the break in men's basketball was the time to do the men's lacrosse media guide, to make sure it was done in time for the season. That was his goal each year, and each year he got it done.

Like everything else that has come and gone around here, TigerBlog will miss how it used to be while at the same time appreciating the next step forward. And the January exam break will join the long list of things that once were a big part of TB's job but don't exist anymore.

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