Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome, Franklin

TigerBlog was an American History major back at Penn.

It was a good fit for him, as he's always 1) been good at remembering what happened and on what day and 2) had an interest in the trivial. In many ways it was great preparation for what TB does now, and Princeton's athletic history and the dates of certain games and legacies of certain athletes or coaches have replaced wars and generals and political movements as the curriculum.

At some point, TB had memorized all of the U.S. Presidents in order, remembering them mostly by the years they were elected. For instance, William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 but died shortly after inauguration, which led to John Tyler (Tippecanoe and Tyler Too) and then one of the most underrated Presidents, James K. Polk in 1844.

These days, TB can remember almost the entire list. Washington, Adams, Jefferson and then the first of the two Princetonians - James Madison, followed by Monroe, Van Buren and Andrew Jackson before getting into the 1840s.

If there are two eras where TB struggles, it's the group right before Abraham Lincoln and then in the 1880s through 1896. In both of those cases, there are some very bland Presidents.

As an aside, it'd be pretty interesting to know how history is going to remember the Presidents of TB's lifetime with the benefit of 100 years or so. Sadly, TB probably isn't going to live into his 150s or so and won't be able to find out.

As Presidents go, it doesn't get much blander than Franklin Pierce, who followed Millard Fillmore and preceded James Buchanan and was President from 1853-1857. In fact, according to the site that knows all, Pierce's biggest claim to fame is being consistently ranked among the worst Presidents of all time.

Pierce was the lone President to come from New Hampshire.

Today, in Rindge, in southern New Hampshire along the Vermont state line, sits Franklin Pierce College, a Division II school that plays in the Northeast-10 Conference.

The Ravens have a video intro to their webpage these days, one that trumpets the arrival of four new athletic programs on campus. One is women's hockey. Two of the others are men's and women's track and field/cross country.

And the fourth?

Sprint football.

Franklin Pierce will begin play in sprint football a year from now, when it will be the eighth team in the Collegiate Sprint Football League. The Ravens will join the five long-time members - Army, Navy, Princeton, Penn and Cornell - and the two newcomers - Post and Mansfield.

The obvious question is why would colleges add sprint football? The answers are simple: it costs a fraction of what traditional football does, and it attracts full-tuition-paying students to the school.

Princeton, as any Tiger fan knows, is struggling in sprint football. In fact, the Tigers' last win was in 2005 - against a club team from Virginia Military Institute. Princeton's last league win was in 1999, when the Tigers defeated Cornell 12-7 in their opener.

Since then there have been many more blowouts than there have been heartbreakers, and yet year after year, the Tigers keep showing up.

TigerBlog has watched at least one sprint football game each year basically every year, and the one thing that always stands out is the optimism of the team. Even after all of the tough nights, Princeton still approaches every game as if it's going to win.

The 2011 season marks Stephen Everette's first as the head coach for Princeton sprint football. Everette could not have made a better first impression on TB, with his organization, enthusiasm and drive.

Late last week, Everette had all of his players here at the OAC for head shots. Each of them wore a bright orange Princeton sprint football shirt, and they all were eager to get going.

TB is rooting hard for Everette and his team to get at least one win. It doesn't seem like much to ask, right?

Princeton came closest a year ago, with a 10-6 loss to Mansfield.

Maybe this is the year, for Everette and his team.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One has to give much credit to all of our varsity athletes. In the case of the Sprint players, the love of the game obviously shines through the losses. Other schools get admission slots, have larger enrollments to draw walk-ons from, the Military academies require their enrollees to play sports. Our guys are all walk-ons, many play two ways due to a thin roster. Best of luck to them this season.