Thursday, December 9, 2010

Home Sweet Home

TigerBlog has a few jackets that say "Princeton Athletics" on them. Of course, he resists wearing any of them until he absolutely has to, since to do so is an admission that summer is over.

His favorite is the black one with white sleeves, a fairly lightweight one that works well in the late September/early October time. There's also the lightweight rain jacket, which is good pretty much anytime of year, especially when layering.

There's the all black with orange trim one with the thin lining that makes it a good one to wear when it gets a little chillier.

Then, lastly, there's the big winter one, which is the one TB will wear when he vacations at the North Pole one year, since it probably would keep him warm enough all by itself.

It takes a lot to get TB to break out the big one, though. Just as putting on any jacket at all means waving the white flag on summer, putting on the big coat means an acceptance of winter and, even worse, the possibility of snow.

As TB pulled into the parking lot today, he heard the weather on the radio say that it was 26 degrees, with the wind chill at 16. And yet TB refused to put on the big winter coat, so it was a long, freezing walk into Jadwin Gym, as it has been every day this week.

If the walk between the parking lot at Jadwin is 200 yards, then TB estimates that he's walked more than 1,200 miles back and forth through the years.

It long ago stopped being something that TB gave any thought to.

And yet it's important to remember that Jadwin isn't just a place with offices. In fact, to most of the people who come into this building, it's a place to go a few times a year to see a game, not a place to go every day to go to work.

TigerBlog did think about Jadwin as a basketball arena and not just an office building twice this week.

The first time was last Sunday, when TB sat in the balcony for most of the Princeton-St. Joe's men's game. The other time was when he looked at the pictures from Monmouth's new Multipurpose Activities Center, where Princeton defeated Monmouth 64-61 last night.

Jadwin was built more than 40 years ago as what was then a state-of-the-art multipurpose facility, and it's certainly served that purpose. If you've never wandered through the building, it has just about everything: an indoor track, tennis courts, squash courts, strength training facilities, a field turf field, offices, meeting spaces - and of course three basketball courts.

For a department like Princeton's, which has 38 varsity teams and a commitment to broadbased athletic participation, it's a must to have a place like Jadwin.

But as a basketball arena?

Well, TB does love the idea of a 5,000-seat basketball-only facility, with luxury boxes, offices, a wide open concourse from which to see the game, a huge video board, great acoustics and the rest of what comes with a great on-campus arena.

While TB is dreaming, how about having half the seats painted orange and the other half painted black?

Or maybe put a roof on Princeton Stadium and then use it like the Carrier Dome at Syracuse? Play basketball in the end zone across the football field?

How much could that possibly cost?

Speaking of which, one of the people who used to work at Princeton said when the stadium was completed at a cost of $45 million: "Couldn't they have built a stadium that cost $44 million and then a $1 million dollar house near here that any one who worked in the athletic department could use when they needed it?"

In all seriousness, there is a lot to be said for a basketball-only facility. The seats would be right on top of the court. The sound wouldn't be dispersed throughout a mammoth building. It would be new.

But there is something about Jadwin that TB likes.

When he sat in the balcony the other day, it was really the first time he'd done so for a long period of time during a game. The view was great from either of the two spots he was in, the section all the way in the end nearest Gary Walters' office and then at midcourt.

And yes, there are things about the building that TB would love to change, like the lower bowl seating and the lobby.

But Jadwin has its charm and its practicality. And most importantly, it has its history, something that has been represented even more so in recent years with the banners that now hang there.

This is the same building that has been the home for so many legendary players and coaches in Princeton basketball history, with so many great moments.

As for TB, he's been in the building for so many great games, so many tense endings, so many wonderful nights.

Maybe TB doesn't think about those every day as he walks his 200 yards to work.

But one day Jadwin won't be here anymore.

And TigerBlog, for one, will miss it.


CZ said...

Let me guess -- you also wrote "The Top 40 Moments in Jadwin Gym History".

Guess Springsteen as #1 (along with play list details) kind of gave it away.

Anonymous said...

Jadwin Moment #31 (and its significance in rock music history): 11/27/1978, during a concert by the band Boston, there is some type of technical problem and lead guitarist Tom Scholz throws up his hands in frustration. Meanwhile, the music keeps playing uninterrupted, revealing that much of the instrumentation was being played from a tape. Foreshadowing of the Milli Vanilli scandal just over a decade later.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Jadwin has practicality and history on its side ... just not charm.

I would love to see an intimate, basketball-only facility that does justice to the incredible tradition of excellence established by Tiger hoops.