Thursday, December 30, 2010

Issue No. 1

The McLaughlin Group first aired back in 1982, and it was an immediate hit with TigerBlog and MotherBlog.

Through the years, the two would often watch the show "together" in different states, arguing with each other on the phone the entire time.

The show is a political roundtable that has found a way to differentiate itself from the others, in several ways. One, since it's nearly 30 years old, it's stood the test of time. Also, there's the panelists themselves, who aren't trying to be outdo each other as the coolest and most outrageous.

Mostly, though, it's about the host, John McLaughlin, whose delivery, personality and subtle humor make him unique on television. The evolving group of panelists has usually been a strong complement, even if some are so rigidly ideological that they become too predictable.

The show airs each Sunday on various channels, and TB tries to watch it each week. If he can't, he usually checks it out on-line afterwards.

The best time of year to see the show is this time, when McLaughlin and the panelists review the previous year and make predictions for the new one.

TB saw Part I of the Year In Review last week, and he's looking forward to Part II this week.

The format of the show normally has McLaughlin lead the group on a discussion of various topics, always starting out with "Issue No. 1" and then getting into it.

For the year in review, McLaughlin instead brings up different categories and asks for an answer from each panelist. Among the questions were top politician, biggest winner, biggest loser, best capitalist, biggest lie, person of the year - stuff like that.

As for the Princeton athletics 2010 year in review, TB can do it McLaughlin style. Keep in mind, none of this is official Princeton stuff, just TB's thoughts:

Top Female Athlete - Alicia Aemisegger, swimming. Aemisegger put the finishing touches on one of the great athletic careers in Princeton history by running her totals to 12 individual Ivy titles and 13 All-America designations.

Top Male Athlete - Donn Cabral, track and field/cross country. Cabral, among other things, was the runner-up outdoors at the NCAA championships in the steeplechase and then ran away from the field to win the Heps cross country title.

Top Female Freshman - Niveen Rasheed, basketball. A unanimous first-team All-Ivy League selection and Ivy Rookie of the Year, Rasheed led Princeton to a 26-3 record and the program's first NCAA tournament berth

Top Male Freshman - Todd Harrity, squash. Harrity was the national individual runner-up, as well as an All-America and Ivy Rookie of the Year, as a freshman.

Best Game - Princeton 10, Cornell 9 (overtime), men's lacrosse Ivy League tournament final. Princeton trailed, as it always seems to, early against Cornell. Unlike previous times, Princeton able to rally, erasing a four-goal deficit to win on Jack McBride's goal with one second left in OT in the first Ivy League tournament championship game.

Toughest Loss - Mansfield 10, Princeton 6, sprint football. The Tigers had their best defensive effort in years but were unable to generate the winning points as neither team scored in the second half.

Toughest Tie - Princeton 0, Penn 0, women's soccer. It wasn't quite winner-take-all, as a tie gave the Ivy title to the Quakers while Princeton needed to win outright. The Tigers got a great effort from No. 3 goalkeeper Claire Pinciaro, who made her first career start when injuries knocked out the first two keepers, but a header from Caitlin Blosser that seemed to be heading in in the final minute of the second OT was deflected off the line by a Penn defender.

Best Moment On Campus By A Non-Princeton Team - The U.S. Men's National Soccer team trained on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium before going to the World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. coach is Bob Bradley, the former Princeton player and head coach, and bringing his team to Princeton before heading to the biggest sporting event in the world was a great one for the Tigers and the local soccer community.

Stat of the Year - Princeton teams won 14 Ivy League championships in the calendar year of 2010: women's basketball, men's fencing, women's fencing, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's lacrosse, men's lightweight rowing, women's tennis, men's soccer, field hockey, women's cross country, men's cross country.

Best 19-Hour Stretch - Princeton won five of those Ivy titles - the two fencings, two indoor track and fields and women's swimming and diving - in a 19-hour stretch the last weekend of February.

Individual Stat Of The Year - Kareem Maddox of the men's basketball team had two 30-point games, making him the first Princeton men's player in 27 years and eighth all-time to do so.

Under the Radar - The women's tennis team went 7-0 in the league and won every one of those matches either 5-2, 6-1 or 7-0.

Top Accounting Error - The men's lightweight rowing team won the national championship on the final day of the academic year, extending Princeton's streak of having at least one team or individual national champion to what TB thought was 24 years. When he went back to make a list of champions, TB found that Princeton's streak is actually currently at 39 straight years.

Most Heartwarming Story - The return of Jordan Culbreath. As everyone knows, Culbreath was the Ivy League's leading rusher in 2008 and then missed almost all of 2009 with what started as a minor ankle injury and quickly became a life-threatening blood disease. Nobody could have possibly envisioned that he'd ever play football again, but there he was this year, back as the team's leading rusher. In fact, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry this past season, which was only slightly off the 5.7 he averaged in 2008. He also scored the game-winning touchdown against Lafayette in overtime in his first home game after the illness.

Biggest Injuries - There are co-winners here. The field hockey team was undefeated and beat eventual-champion Maryland when its team was at full strength. Katie Reinprecht's broken leg took a huge piece of the puzzle away and kept the Tigers from being full-strength for the NCAA tournament, even when Reinprecht tried to play with the injury in the postseason anyway. Tommy Wornham, the quarterback on the football team, separated his shoulder in Week 5 and missed the rest of the year. A healthy Wornham would have almost surely meant a few more wins, and his injury cost Trey Peacock a shot at several receiving records.

Best Achievement By A Non-Championship Team - Co-winners here as well. The wrestling team went from being the perennial last place team in the Ivy League to a third-place finish. Considering how strong Ivy wrestling is, that's no small feat. The men's volleyball team reached the EIVA final and pushed Goliath Penn State before falling.

Women's Team Of The Year - Basketball. Princeton went a perfect 14-0 in the league and won every game by double figures, becoming the first Ivy women's team ever to accomplish that. As a result of its league championship, Princeton played in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. For the calendar year 2010, Princeton went 13-0 at home and is 24-4 heading into tomorrow's game against Wake Forest.

Men's Team Of The Year - Soccer. Princeton started out 1-3-1 and then put together a school-record 12-game winning streak. Along the way, Princeton went a perfect 7-0-0 in the league, making the 2010 Princeton team the first perfect men's soccer team in school history. If you think that there was nothing to it, consider that four Ivy League soccer teams made it to the NCAA tournament and a fifth had been nationall ranked during the season. Princeton, who climbed almost into the national Top 10 along the way, defeated two Sweet 16 teams during the regular season.


Oh, and Happy New Year To All.


Anonymous said...

Given the academic calendar, you might be better off saving a "best of the year" column until the end of the school year. I'm not quite sure how you can have Niveen being the top freshman athlete and Kareem posting his 30-point games in the same year when they accomplished what they did in different seasons.

jdd91 said...

"Toughest loss" might also be the loss in August, of Professor Marvin Bressler, so much more than a mentor, fan, and friend to so many Tigers.