Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Stuff

TigerBlog spent his weekend on fields watching lacrosse, which makes this weekend pretty routine as far as summer weekends go for TB.

Of course, it was about a million degrees, and the tournament might as well have been played on the sun and all.

Still, they were all out there, all of the same people who have been out there for four or five or six or even more weekends each summer for the last four or five years.

As TB sat out there for about eight hours Saturday and six more yesterday,  even his sweat was sweating.

As amazing as it seems, yesterday was fairly pleasant compared to Saturday, or as pleasant as a 90+ degree day can be.

It's become so normal for TB - and for hundreds of others - to sit on scaldingly hot fields baking for hours at a time on the weekend that he has to stop every now and then and think "hey, most people would find this really, really, really weird."

If you've never be around a group of 20 or more teenage boys huddled under a tent between games on ridiculously hot days, well, let's just say that they, uh, reek. As with most teams, the one that TB is around has parents who bring food and drinks and coolers and ice, and this weekend, the coolers couldn't keep the Gatorades and waters for more than a few minutes before they were downed.

At one point, TB and his friend Todd were standing on a field that had a goal that was rolled over onto its side, and TB asked Todd if he knew what sport the goal was for.

After hesitating for a minute, Todd correctly said "field hockey." To TB, it was a reminder that fall is around the corner, even if summer is just getting warmed up, as it were.

TB loves the sound that a field hockey ball makes as it plunks against the wooden part of the goal.

The rules of field hockey are a bit complex, but TB thinks he has a pretty good handle on them. Miss TigerBlog has gotten into playing field hockey, though she only started last year.

This coming field hockey season should be a pretty good one for Princeton, which welcomes back four players who took last year off to successfully get the U.S. to the Olympic Games.

The return of the Reinprechts, Michele Cesan and Kathleen Sharkey should vault the Tigers to a role in the national picture, though TB wonders what it'll be like for them to go back to college field hockey after a year of international play, culminating in the Games themselves.

One thing that is certain about Princeton field hockey in 2012 is that they'll be playing on a different field. TB thought about that the other day when he had to go to the other side of campus, and so he stopped off to see how the construction was going on the Bedford Field part of the project.

It was already a brutally hot day, but work continues in advance of the start of field hockey practice in about another six or seven weeks or so.

Princeton has played field hockey at Class of 1952 Stadium since 1996, but the team will be moving - a very short distance - to Bedford, which is the former hard grass practice field next to '52 that dining service and TV trucks used to beat up and which has been called at times "Bedrock" to say how tough the surface there was.

Now Bedford Field is shaping up to have brand-new artificial turf and brand-new bleachers (this year's will be temporary; the permanent ones will be in place for the 2013 season). The press box at Class of 1952 Stadium will now face both ways, onto Sherrerd Field for lacrosse and Bedford Field for field hockey.

During the lacrosse season in 2012, fans could look behind them and see the earliest stages of the construction, with a huge hole dug onto Bedford, which looked like a water fall minus the water.

Now the field is smoothed out, though the turf has yet to be put down. The scoreboard is up, and it's easy to see how good the final product will look.

Princeton has won 17 of the last 18 Ivy League field hockey titles. The coming 2012 season figures to be up there with any of the ones that have preceded it.

In other words, Princeton figures to be able to make itself right at home in its new home.

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