Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Tour Guides

The theme for today's discussion is that when someone named "Tierney" asks TigerBlog to do a favor, odds are good that he'll do it.

Most recently that would be Trevor Tierney, the former first-team All-American men's lacrosse goalie who graduated after leading Princeton to the 2001 NCAA championship. Trevor was one of three Tierneys on that team, along with his brother Brendan, an attackman who scored the game-winner in the semifinal win over Virginia a year earlier, and his father Bill, who won six of those championships at Princeton and since has added another at Denver.

It was about two weeks ago that Trevor emailed TigerBlog and said that the club team that he runs in Denver had added a girls' team for the first time and that the team would be playing in a tournament near Princeton. Trevor was looking for someone to give the team a tour of the campus.

TB said he would take care of it. No problem.

And so it was last Saturday at around 12:30, after the day started long before that at the bike race in Philadelphia, that TB arrived outside of Jadwin Gym to find a team of eighth grade girls and their parents waiting for him.

None of them had ever been to Princeton. And they had TigerBlog as a tour guide.

Actually, they had two tour guides. Miss TigerBlog was there as well.

TB thought it would be good to bring her, since she could talk about her experiences at Princeton as a student and a lacrosse player. He figured the girls would be really interested in what she had to say about the combination.

When TB mentioned it to his daughter, her immediate reaction was one of these two: 1) "of course, can't wait to help," or 2) "I'll do it for $10."

It was actually somewhere in between. She said she'd do it, but could TB give her 10 for gas? And when TB tried to give her $10, what did she say? "Can you make it $20? I want to get lunch."

Regardless, MTB was there when the tour started. And, as TB thought, the girls had a million questions for her.

The tour started inside Jadwin, on the main court. Then it was the squash courts, Caldwell and then back outside to Finney and Campbell Fields. That's where the questions for MTB really began.

What's it like to be an athlete? How often do you practice? How do you balance school and lacrosse? What is the fall season like? How did you end up here? What are you studying? Do you get to have fun?

And a bunch of others. Lots of them. The one that was TB's favorite was "does everybody get to play the same amount?"

MTB answered all of their questions. She went over the routines and the schedules, in-season and out-of-season. She talked about her experiences and gave them advice. She told them about how important it is to work hard in practice and to make sure you're doing your schoolwork. She talked about what it's like to be a Princeton athlete.

For TigerBlog, it was great. First of all, it hasn't really been all that long since she was the eighth grader looking up to the Princeton Athletes she met along the way.

For another, it was great to see her explain to the girls what it meant to her and what she'd gotten out of being a lacrosse player at Princeton. It's been interesting for TB, to see all of the things he's worked on here for three decades through the eyes of his daughter. It's a new dimension.

The tour went out into the football stadium, and then MTB showed them the walk the team makes on its way to Sherrerd Field. Once there, she showed the girls the facility and answered more questions. Then they all took a few pictures together, and MTB was off to her job.

TigerBlog then showed them around the rest of the campus. He stopped off in the rink and pointed out that Princeton had three players who had gone directly to the NHL this season and asked if Denver could match that.

He showed them all over, to Nassau Hall, the chapel, the eating clubs, Prospect gardens, all over. Pretty much everywhere they went, the kids and their parents stopped for pictures. TB pointed out that if this had been exactly one week earlier, the campus would have been swarming with people, rather than empty. In fact, it was right at 2 that they were at Dillon, where the P-Rade had been one week before.

You know how long it took to show them around? Just short of three hours.

It was well worth it. The kids and their parents loved it.

And for TB, it was a reminder of just how special a campus it is. In fact, one of the parents mentioned that, how lucky it must be to go to work every day at a place like that.

He was right of course.

Between that and the way his daughter had presented her team and her school, it's likely that nobody enjoyed it more than TigerBlog.

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