Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Defending Champs

Miss TigerBlog is officially a teenager.

TigerBlog is struggling with that little fact. Ever since Day 1, all any father of a daughter hears is "wait until she's a teenager."

Well, she is now.

TigerBlog has a picture of MTB and her friend Wiki, taken at a Princeton women's basketball game in Jan. 2012. He has another one of the same two girls taken just about a year later, prior to the big middle school formal dance.

Granted, in the first picture, they are wearing sweatpants at a basketball game. And in the second one, they are wearing formal dresses for the dance.

Still, in the first picture they look like little girls. In the second they look like, well, they look like what every father of a daughter can't believe has happened so quickly.

Then there is the whole "I hate you phase" that all teenager girls apparently go through, no?

TB isn't trying to stereotype boys and girls here. Still, TigerBlog Jr. is halfway through his teens, and the drama has been kept to a minimum.

Of course, there hasn't been any teenage drama yet from MTB either, though it'd been less than a week.

And what did she want for her 13th birthday? A new field hockey stick, what else?

TB took her the other day to a place that specializes in girls' athletic equipment. The field hockey equipment was upstairs, so up the steps father and daughter went.

Before the two ever reached the top, they heard the unmistakable sound of field hockey ball meeting stick. At the top of the stars, the near wall was covered with field hockey sticks, of all the leading brands.

In the back of the room was an area that had mats on either side, about 10 yards apart, so the girls could practice hitting the ball off the wall or back and forth with someone else to get a feel for which one they wanted.

Miss TigerBlog has many, many great qualities, but her ability to make a quick decision is not among them. Knowing this, TigerBlog walked over to check out the rest of the field hockey section of the store.

The walls were decorated with jerseys of national team players and posters with entire national teams on them.

Off to the side was a bulletin board with Olympic team players on it, and TB couldn't help but notice four Princeton players were represented.

Note to the NCAA and Princeton's compliance staff and everyone else - they were not endorsing anything. It was just a picture of each Olympian, sort of like a baseball card. Everything was perfectly legit.

Two of the Princeton players graduated last year, after leading Princeton to the 2012 NCAA championship. Those two - Katie Reinprect and Kathleen Sharkey - were on the right side of the board.

The other two were Michelle Cesan and Julia Reinprecht, who are both back this year for the title defense. Princeton actually has a fifth member of the national team, Teresa Benvenuti.

Princeton became the first non-ACC team to win the Division I field hockey title in 12 years, ending a series of wins by Wake Forest, North Carolina and Maryland.

The Tigers, even without Sharkey and Katie Reinprecht, are ready to make a serious run at a repeat.

Princeton opens its season at home two weeks from Friday, as the summer continues to wind down.

The home of Princeton field hockey is Bedford Field, which is currently undergoing additional renovations, including the permanent stands and a rebuilt Class of 1952 Stadium press box that now faces in both directions.

As for MTB, she finally picked out a stick.

Then it was off to the nearby diner for matching turkey club sandwiches.

It was a pretty serene start to her teenage years. Hopefully it's a precursor for the next few years.

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