Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting Oriented

The first song by the group Angels & Airwaves that TigerBlog ever heard was called "Heaven"

Jeff Taylor - who at one point was the only person around these parts who knew how to do a video and who now has moved on to much bigger projects while everyone else figured out how to use I-movie - used it in a senior banquet video a few years back.

Since then, TB has become a big fan of the group, led by Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge.

Angels & Airwaves is the kind of group, sort of like Steely Dan, where the sounds is so consistent that the listener either likes basically every song the band plays or no song the band plays.

After TB began to listen to a few others, he began to realize that almost all of these songs, like "Heaven," would fit nicely into the videos that are produced here.

And why not? They have long introductory instrumental pieces and then an up-tempo melody with lyrics that usually talk about allegiance and fidelity and commitment.

TB's most recent video is for today's freshman athlete orientation.

This time around, TB went with the group's first released song, "The Adventure," which features the lyrics "I can't live, I can't breathe, unless you do this with me."

Freshman athlete orientation, for some reason, continues to fascinate TigerBlog in all kinds of ways.

Here you have a bunch of kids who a year ago were high school seniors, standout athletes and students, being recruited from all over the country and the world, all of whom chose to come to Princeton.

And now they're all thrown together from so many different backgrounds, mostly strangers still, at the beginning of relationships that will last in many cases til they day they die.

For that matter, there are probably athletes in the room who haven't yet met but who will end up married to each other.

As TB looks around, he wonders what kind of experience they'll all have, what impact they'll have on Princeton athletics, what will go right and what will go wrong.

Mostly, as TB has said before, he'll look around the room at the assembled group and wonder which ones are going to win the Roper Trophy and von Kienbusch Award, in this case to be awarded in May 2015.

It's next to impossible to do, of course. Yes, sometimes there is a Yasser El Halaby or Ryan Boyle or Alicia Aemisegger, athletes who come here as can't-miss studs and have careers that don't miss.

And then there are most years, when it's hard to say who's going to be the big winners.

Look back 12 months.

Last year, there were five Roper winners - Kareem Maddox, Taylor Fedun, Mark Amirault, Robin Prendes and Josh Walburn - and five von Kienbusch winners - Sarah Cummings, Ashley Higginson, Addie Micir, Lauren Wilkinson and Megan Waters.

Going back to Sept. 14 of last year, TB is pretty sure he wouldn't have picked out all 10 of those. Maybe that's a good thing, since it's a four-year award and senior year should count for a lot.

Looking ahead a year, there are a few really, really strong contenders for the awards, and TB could probably pick out a few on both sides with success. Still, if TB had to write down right now who's going to win, he'd come up with three men and two women.

Now he'll wait until the spring to see if he's right.

For now, it's off to orientation, to hear Gary Walters welcome the athletes and hear others from the university speak to specific topics, such as athletic medicine, academic services and such.

And there's the video to lead it off.

Just like the one that will be there at the senior-athlete banquet in May 2015.

TB can't predict who will win the big awards that night, but he'll take a stab at the music in the video - some combination of Bruce, Bon Jovi and Train, along with some song that hasn't yet been released.

And a random one by Angels & Airwaves.

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