Friday, November 20, 2020

Who's No. 1?

This is the last week of the CoSIDA Fitness Challenge.

TigerBlog's team, the Scrambled Aches, had their final Zoom call of the season yesterday. It's a team that started slowly, finishing last the first two weeks, before rallying in a big way. When the final standings come out, the Aches will be near the top.

The runaway - or in his case, walkaway - winner of the MVP of the event is Princeton's own Warren Croxton, who TigerBlog believes was the individual winner in eight of 10 weeks.

Speaking of Warren, he certainly put in the miles - that's a little joke - for the story he did on the oral history of the 2012 NCAA field hockey championship. You can see that story HERE.

It's a really well done piece. It includes this quote from Molly Goodman:

The morning of the National Championship was – for lack of a better word – a hot mess.

And, of course, this one from Julia Reinprecht:

I was standing over the ball and collapsed. That’s where the dog pile started. I remember being under it all and hoping for some air.

When your national championship day starts with the first one and ends with the second one, you know it's an interesting story. 

The 2012 field hockey championship is one of the greatest moments in the first 50 years of women's athletics at Princeton. As TB has gone down the path of writing his book on those 50 years, he has been asked more than once two questions: 1) who is the greatest woman athlete in Princeton history, and 2) what was the biggest moment in Princeton women's athletic history?

He hasn't answered either, though he's given them both a great deal of thought. At some point, he'll come out with a list. Maybe around when the book comes out in the spring.

These aren't easy questions, not in the least. On the men's side, it's a bit different.

Even though the men competed in intercollegiate athletics for 86 years before the women did, it's easier to narrow down the list of the top athletes. In fact, pretty much everyone would agree that there are three of them: Hobey Baker, Dick Kazmaier and Bill Bradley. 

If you needed to add a fourth to that list, that's where it gets pretty tricky. If you ask 100 knowledgeable Princeton fans to name the top four Princeton male athletes, you'll probably get 95 votes for Bradley, Kazmaier and Baker and then probably 50 different names for the fourth.

Another way of looking at that, by the way, is that if those three are the top three athletes in Princeton history, then a good question would be who is the best Princeton male athlete of the last 50 years? For that alone you'd get a lot of different answers.

The same would be true of the women.  

As for the greatest single moment in Princeton men's athletic history? Again, there are so many possible answers that could be No. 1, depending on perspectives.

As part of the celebration of the anniversary, TigerBlog has been posting book excerpts on the page. He'll be doing this on the third Thursday of each month.

And hey, that's what yesterday was. 

TigerBlog chose to share the piece of the book that focuses on Cathy Corcione, a five-time national swimming champion and the first woman from Princeton to make an Olympic team. Of course, she did so when she was 15, so it was before she was a Princeton student. 

And, since it was the 1968 Summer Games, it was before women were at Princeton.

You can read about Corcione HERE.

When you make a list of the greatest women athletes at Princeton, you have to include her name, certainly in the top 10. 

Like most of the women from the early 1970s - actually like all of the women from that time - Corcione has a great appreciation for the ability to have competed at a place that was famously all-male for 230 years or so before they came along. The timing was perfect.

Of course, it took more than timing to make it happen. It took timing, and the willingness to kick down the doors that stood in the way. From that sort of experience comes an obvious amount of pride.

In fact, this was the last line of the story, a quote from Corcione:

I was lucky enough to be one of the first women ever to be able to swim at Princeton.

That says it pretty well.

1 comment:

D '82 said...

My favorite athlete quote from the 2012 field hockey national championship comes at the end of the video. As the players pile on each other in jubilation, there are shrieks and shouts of joy. In the midst of the pandemonium, a composed voice off camera asks, "Is this real life?!"

I conducted a class reunion survey in which I described the 2012 field hockey quote and then asked respondents whether they had ever experienced such personal joy that they weren't sure if it was real. The answers make clear just how rare is this level of elation. Congratulations to the players and staff for creating such a singular moment.