Thursday, December 29, 2011

Memory Lane

One of TigerBlog's favorite moments in his time at Princeton came back during this week in 1998, which would be 13 years ago already.

The men's basketball team was playing in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, which interestingly enough is pretty nice this time of year.

Anyway, the Tigers defeated Florida State, Texas and Charlotte in three consecutive nights to win the tournament. As TB remembers, Gabe Lewullis was the tournament MVP. Or was it Brian Earl?

No, it was Lewullis, who went over the 1,000-point mark for his career during that tournament. Earl, though, at one point did win the MVP award at four consecutive in-season tournaments.

Because Princeton kept winning, the team kept playing the late game. As a result, TB had his afternoons free after getting work done in the morning, and the hotel was right on Waikiki Beach, right next to where the Brady Bunch stayed during their trip to Hawaii.

If you're going to be in athletic communications, TB recommends a week like the one he had in Hawaii, complete with then-Princeton radio man Tom McCarthy and the purple pineapple bathing suit he bought.

TB remembers using the pay phone (see, there used to be these things called "pay phones," which people could use when they were away from home and couldn't use the phone that was mounted on their wall) on the beach itself to call the men's hockey contact from the office, who was also traveling at the time.

Unlike TigerBlog, he was in Minnesota, at Bemidji State, where the temperature wasn't quite what it was in Honolulu.

TigerBlog thinks about that trip every now and then, especially during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

It's especially relevant now, as the men's basketball team will be playing Florida State for the first time since that game in Hawaii and the men's hockey team will be playing in Minnesota.

As an aside, Princeton had four players go at least 35 minutes in the 1998 game against Florida State, including Earl and Lewulls, who went all 40 not just in that game but in all three games, playing 120 of 120 minutes in the tournament.

TB will give you two paragraphs to figure out the other two.

The 2011 Princeton-Florida State game will be played not in Hawaii but in Tallahassee, where the Tigers will also play Florida A&M on New Year's Day.

Princeton is 6-7 on the year, with the two games in Florida to be followed by a Jan. 8 home game against the College of New Jersey and then 14 Ivy League games.

The other two Princeton players who went 35 minutes against FSU in 1998? Chris Young and C.J. Chapman.

Of course, the current Seminoles are 8-4 overall, and one of those four losses came against Harvard in an awful game in the Bahamas, which interestingly is also nice this time of year.

The men's basketball team played five games in 15 days before a break for the holidays.

The men's hockey team hasn't played since Dec. 11. The trip to Minnesota, which will feature games Friday and Saturday against Northeastern and then either Niagara or the host team, begins a stretch of six games in 16 days - and then 17 days off for first semester exams.

The Tigers last played at home on Dec. 10, and the next home game isn't until Jan. 13-14 against Colgate and Cornell. If 34 days between home games sounds like a lot, how about the men's basketball team, which goes from Nov. 30 against Lafayette to Feb. 10 against Dartmouth without playing a home game against a Division I opponent.

Playing on the road can be challenging, but it can also be fun. Especially at this time of year.

Especially 13 years ago in Hawaii.

Those were the days.

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