Monday, June 3, 2013

Welcome Back

TigerBlog has said this before and he'll say it again.

Princeton alums are not like other alums.

Nope. Not at all.

TigerBlog is an Ivy League graduate. He went to Penn, with a bunch of people who liked Penn, had a great experience there and (with a notable exception) have remained very loyal to Penn.

It's nothing like what TB has seen from Princeton.

There is nowhere near the affection for the institution that is generated at Princeton.

For Princetonians, it's just part of the deal. You come to Princeton and are immediately made to feel like being part of your particular class is something special and unique, that the class before yours and after yours is not like yours.

It's like family, actually. You may fight with the other classes, compete with the other classes - but nobody is ever going to come between you and the other classes.

There was nothing at all like that at Penn. At Penn there was no attempt to make each individual class into something independent, something different.

TB can't even count the number of times he has answered the phone in his time at Princeton and heard the voice on the other line introduce himself/herself simply by saying a class year, as in "I'm Class of ’57." Sometimes there's a name included, but it's always followed by a class year.

There have been an equal number of times where someone has referred to a friend or introduced TB to someone by saying "so and so ’72" or something like that, or used the one word that Princetonians use that maybe nobody else ever does.


As TB said, if you're a Princetonian, it's just part of the deal. Just be aware that not everybody is like that. Actually, in TB's experience, nobody else is like that.

Maybe people from Yale and Harvard? TB isn't sure. He doubts it. Not to the extent Princetonians are.

The real proof was held this past weekend, starting Thursday night and running through the early hours Sunday, when Reunions brought nearly 25,000 people to campus.

TB has tried to explain Reunions to his college friends or to people he knows who have no connection to Princeton. It's next to impossible.

Usually it's met with comments about whether or not that particular person had gone to Homecoming or to a class reunion at his or her alma mater. Uh, no, that's nothing close.

TB went to his 25th reunion at Penn a few years ago, the 25th reunion of an Ivy League class. It wasn't even in the neighborhood of what goes on every year at Princeton.

TigerBlog can't even begin to imagine what goes into planning Reunions and executing it once it starts, how many people work full-time year-round on these three days.

The three days of Reunions bring back former athletes in huge numbers. Each team does something for them, with alumni pick-up games, barbeques and the like.

Basketball alums flock to Jadwin, and they have pickup games Friday during the day before having a big cookout as well. Each year TB sees so many familiar faces, all of whom can still play, all with this bond from having played basketball at Princeton.

And that gets multiplied out by 38 sports.

They were everywhere this weekend, each team with its own event, all of which brought back a huge turnout of alums. As it does every year.

TB often writes about how young athletes come to Princeton, where they compete for four years and while doing so make friendships that last for 40 years - or more.

The proof of that was on display all weekend.

Princeton Athletics are about wins and losses, to be sure.

It's also about those 40+ year friendships.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dartmouth grads are uniformly referred to by year. They wear their class numeral on hats and shirts and license plates. No one on campus refers to another student as a freshman or sophomore. You are a '16 or a '15.