Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Year In Review

So TigerBlog was able to get into the eye doctor yesterday, which is good, considering his glasses are broken and essentially unwearable.

The bad news is that his new glasses won't be ready for as much as two weeks, which means that TB will be struggling to see for awhile. This will lead to squinting, which will lead to bad headaches, but hey, you have your own problems.

In other news, TigerBlog mailed two books off to Bruce Wood, the Big Green Alert Guy who wrote a guest entry here a week ago about his interactions with Pete Carril.

To send the books, TB went to the post office. He picked up a large mailing envelope, put the two books inside, sealed it and sent it on its way.

When the envelope got to New Hampshire, interestingly enough, only one book was still inside. The envelope had been taped up but wasn't ripped or anything.

It's just that one book was missing.

What explains this? Seriously. TB has no idea what happened.

He called the post office who said that there was no book in its lost and found and that the package had reached its destination. That didn't really answer any questions.

Hey, but again, you have your own problems.

In still more news, TigerBlog is working on the Princeton Athletics Year in Review for the 2019-20 academic year.

He's done a lot of Year in Review stories, and his favorite part has always been the idea that when any given academic year begins, there's been no way of knowing what the biggest story of that year will turn out to be. 

It's been one of his favorite parts of working at Princeton, knowing that there are 37 different teams and that any one of them in any given year could do something special and warrant being the lead part of the Year in Review.

As you can guess, there was no way in the world that TB could have figured out what the main story of 2019-20 would be when the academic year started. In fact, here's what he wrote for the first sentence:

The 2019-20 athletic year was unlike any that had ever come before it at Princeton University – and Princeton Athletics goes all the way back to 1864.

Even with no championships contested in the spring, Princeton teams won seven conference championships this past year - six Ivy League titles and the ECAC women's hockey championship. The six Ivy champions were: field hockey, women's volleyball, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, wrestling and women's swimming and diving.

The 2019-20 season will also be remembered for the 500th Ivy League championship in Princeton history. That distinction went to the wrestling team, whose history-making championship also was the program's first since 1986 and the one that ended Cornell's 18-year title run. It came on a spectacular afternoon at Jadwin Gym in February, where the Tigers defeated Cornell in what was very high drama from start to finish.

There were other huge highlights. Among them:

The field hockey team followed up its 7-0 run through the league by reaching the NCAA championship game. The women's hockey team won its first ECAC championship by taking down No. 1 Cornell in overtime. The women's swimming and diving title was the program's first since 2015 and first for current head coach Bret Lundgaard.

The women's volleyball team won its third Ivy title in four years. The men's indoor track and field title was the program's sixth straight.

The women's basketball team went 26-1, won every Ivy League game by double figures and reached the national rankings.

Unfortunately, the 2019-20 athletic year will always be that year, the one when the seasons ground to a halt in March due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The end of athletics in March meant winter teams couldn't compete in the postseason and the spring teams wouldn't get into the meat of their seasons, or even compete at all, in the case of rowing.

For each of the last five years Princeton has won five Ivy League spring championships. The spring is also the season that contributes the most Directors' Cup points on average, and Princeton was ranked 28th without any of the winter championships or spring ones contested.

Also, Princeton 18 nationally ranked teams still competing when the games stopped.

Who will ever know what kind of year this one ultimately would have been? Who knows what successes would have happened in the winter and spring postseasons, even national championship ones perhaps.

It makes the Year in Review an interesting project, that's for sure.

When it came to the lead story a year ago at this time, TB wouldn't have guessed "global pandemic."

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