Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orange And Black Clashes With Red And Blue

TigerBlog spent 11 glorious years working in the newspaper business.

Back then, it was a nearly perfect job for him. He went to games. Wrote about them. Worked late. Slept late. What could be better when you're in your 20s, right?

Being in the newspaper business taught TB an important lesson about life, too.

In newspapers, you can never get more than a day behind. Get today's paper out and then worry about tomorrow's. Life is sort of like that too.

Almost all of TB's time in the business was spent writing, the first six years about high school sports and the last five about college sports. It was in those last five years that he first started to learn his way around the Princeton campus and athletic department.

TB did have to spend some nights working on the desk, which wasn't quite his favorite thing to do, though looking back on it there were some big time laughs with some great people.

Mostly what the desk is about is proofreading (something TigerBlog is awful at) and headline writing (something TB loved to do).

Proofreading is hard for a lot of reasons, at least to TB. For starters, there's the balance between correcting errors and rewriting stories, and TB was never a fan of having his own stuff redone.

Then there's the whole concentration part. There are few things more frustrating than reading through a story, finding nothing wrong with it and then picking up the paper the next morning and having some dumb mistake instantly jump out at you.

Headline writing, though. Now that was fun. And it's also the biggest misconception people had about newspapers. TB can't tell you how many times someone mentioned the headline, not realizing that the person who wrote the story never writes the headline.

 TigerBlog has touched on this before, with some of the great headlines he wrote in the newspaper business:

"Dykstra's Appendix Out At Home" - the story was about how Lenny Dykstra had to fly back from a road trip for an appendicitis
"Eagles Kicking Circus Auditions Two New Clowns" - this one was about how the Eagles couldn't find a kicker, brought in two mid-week and then didn't sign either one

There were also the two legendary headlines that lived on forever in the newsroom lore. TigerBlog, for the record, saw both in the paper so he can verify that they were true, though he didn't write either one:

"Irish Girls Are Loose" - preview story of a big Notre Dame High girls basketball game
"Vazquez Rides Miss Wyoming To Victory" - self-explanatory, sort of

TigerBlog's favorite goprincetontigers.com headline that he's written? "Final 0:04," written after Ryan Boyle's goal with four seconds left sent Princeton to the 2004 NCAA men's lacrosse Final Four.

Get it? Final 0:04?

TigerBlog received an email last week from a Penn alum he'd never met, and on the bottom of the email, he said that he'd love to see a headline one day that read "Orange and Black Clashes With Red and Blue."

TB could not for the life of him figure out how he'd ever missed that one before.

The colors clash with each other as color schemes, and the teams are huge rivals. What a perfect headline.

Maybe TB will use that one this coming men's lacrosse season.

Earlier in the email he said he'd always wondered how someone could turn his back on his alma mater and embrace his rival school.

The answer?

It was hard at first. Very conflicting. TigerBlog could never have imagined when he was in college that there would be a day where he would actually want Princeton to beat Penn in men's basketball.

Then it got easier. Then it got to be second nature.

It's mostly about the people, after all, more than the schools themselves. TB didn't know anyone at Princeton at one point. Once he got to know the people, the place wasn't as important.

And so now he's no longer about the Red and Blue, at least when it's clashing with his favorite colors, Orange and Black.

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