Friday, November 4, 2011

Lane Change

TigerBlog was driving on 95 the other night when he noticed a car at a weird angle on the grass between the north and south sides.

TB was in the middle lane, heading north. As he glanced away from the first car and looked ahead, the car in front of him was swerving into the left lane, rather frantically.

In a split second, TB saw why - there was another car stopped in the middle lane just ahead. With its lights off, it was hardly visible.

Like the driver in front of him, TB had to quickly move away from the middle lane, or else he would have plowed directly into the stopped car. Plus, he was texting and eating and reading the newspaper at the same time (well, not really).

TB, like the other car, went left instead of right (not TB's usual reaction) and for a brief second, he thought he turned away too quickly and might lose control. Instead, everything leveled out.

For the next few seconds, TB had the usual near-miss racing heartbeat situation. And he wondered how many more cars would be able to get away from the stuck car in the middle before one didn't.

TB never saw a story in the local papers about a big accident on 95, so he'll assume that nothing came of it.

Eventually, when his heart settled down, he began to chuckle a little as he thought back to an episode from the TV show "Cheers," from season 6, in 1988, called "I On Sports."

In the episode, Sam fills in doing the sports on the local news station in Boston. In a near-perfect spoof of TV newscasters, there is this exchange:

Reporter 1 - "... and with his appeals exhausted, the execution will go on as scheduled Friday."
Ditzy newswoman - "so he won't be around for that great weekend weather we're going to have."

Had TB smashed into the car, well, then of course he wouldn't be around for this weekend's schedule.

The schedule for this weekend in Princeton athletics isn't quite what it is next weekend, which is one of the busiest TB can ever remember.

Still, there are some good events, including two of what TB's old buddy Harvey Yavener would have given five stars.

The field hockey team is at Penn tonight as the final weekend of begins, with two games tonight, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Heading into the final weekend, there could mathematically be an outright champ or a two-, three- or four-way tie for the Ivy title. Realistically, though, any scenario for more than a co-championship would involve a Yale loss to Brown, which is 0-6 in the league.

Right now, Princeton and Yale are 5-1, while Dartmouth and Columbia are 4-2. All four play the other four schools, and wins by Dartmouth and Columbia and losses by Yale and Princeton makes it a four-way tie.

Princeton is in a win-win situation, as in a win over Penn brings at least a share of the Ivy title and the league's bid to the NCAA play-in game. The Ivy winner will host the NEC champ - already Rider, which is in the MAAC for most sports but the NEC for field hockey - in an NCAA play-in game Tuesday at 1.

Assuming Yale will beat Brown, the a Princeton loss to Penn would take away both of those prizes. Princeton does hold the tiebreakers in the four-way tie scenario, but it's really unlikely to come to that.

Keep in mind that Princeton is playing this year without its top four players - Julia and Katie Reinprecht, Kathleen Sharkey, Michele Cesan - who helped the U.S. earn an Olympic bid by winning the Pan Am Games title.

Meanwhile, the women's volleyball race is essentially a three-team contest with two league weekends left.

Yale is currently 9-1, followed by 8-2 Princeton and 7-3 Columbia. This weekend should shake things up a bit, as Princeton is at last-place Brown (2-8) tonight before what figures to be the big showdown at Yale tomorrow.

Should Yale (against 3-7 Penn) and Princeton both win tonight, then the match tomorrow is a must. A Princeton win would then tie the two for first; a Yale win would clinch at least a tie for the league title.

Princeton hosts Cornell and Columbia next weekend; Yale is at Harvard/Dartmouth.

Women's volleyball, like basketball, is a double round-robin format, and there would be a one-match playoff for the NCAA bid should there be a co-championship.

Also this weekend is obviously a football game at Penn, as well as men's and women's soccer at Penn.

There isn't much at home this weekend, other than sprint football tonight against Penn, women's hockey against Brown tonight and Yale tomorrow afternoon (Skate With the Tigers) and men's water polo in the Southern championships.

Next weekend? How about home women's basketball, women's volleyball and men's hockey Friday night and then football, men's basketball, men's soccer, women's volleyball and men's hockey Saturday.

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