Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Those Were The Days

There was a time when this week would have been among the highest stress weeks of the year.

Of course TigerBlog is referring to the long-gone days of Ivy League sports information meetings, the football media guide and Ivy League football media day. The first preceded the third, for which the second had to be done.

At first, it was at the Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Conn.. TB shot his all-time best with a 91 at Lyman Orchards one year, in a foursome that included Chuck Yrigoyen (then of the Ivy League office), John Veneziano (then of Harvard) and either Kurt Kehl (then of Princeton) or Tim Bennett (then and now of Yale).

TB recalls shooting a 50 on the front nine, which gave him hope that he could break 100. And then he tore it up on the back nine, with a 41, which, granted, isn't quite tearing it up, though he did have an actual birdie.

Media day moved to Yale at some point, where TB's golf career, such as it was, ended one year on the 17th hole. TB has mentioned this story before, but his first shot on the par 3 was with an eight-iron.

Anyway, the day was really hot and humid, and the club flew out of TB's hands, helicoptering into a lake. The ball, on the the other hand, majestically landed on the green, not far from the cup.

Rather than putt, TB simply picked up the ball, and he has not hit another golf shot since. Maybe one day he will. Maybe he won't.

It definitely won't be with that eight-iron, which he never retrieved from the lake. In fact, he wonders if it's still there.

The week always began with the sports information meetings. For yucks, TB will look back every now and then to the minutes from those meetings and marvel at the fact that he used to spend time discussing those things.

Most of that stuff, by the way, technically still are Ivy rules, though nobody in the league follows any of them anymore. Like standardized rosters. Just the words themselves give TB shivers.

For the most part, the Ivy meetings were just a great way to renew relationships with the other people in the league. It was fun to just argue for a day or more over mundane minutia, because hey, everyone there was in it together anyway.

And then it would be football media day. Which meant the media guide, which every year for TB was a last-minute scramble but which was never late. It's one of his proudest accomplishments.

And there are great stories from those media days, like the time the two resident curmudgeons - the late William Wallace of the New York Times and the great Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times - went at it over, of all things, a lengthy presentation on the new rules for that season by the supervisor of officials. It included Yav's legendary "can you move it along; we have interviews to do" and Wallace's four-letter response.

In all fairness, TB sides with Yav on this one. The explanation of permissible towels to be worn in pants by quarterbacks and centers was a tad excessive.

Anyway, those days, like TB said, are long gone.

Today there are no Ivy League media guides, and football media day has been replaced by a media conference call, which was held yesterday.

The preseason media poll was released as well, and Princeton was picked to finish fifth.

Penn was picked first, followed by Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, Cornell, Yale and Columbia.

It's nice to be picked first, TB supposes. Then again, it doesn't really matter once the games begin.

This year is Princeton's turn to have four league road games, and they happen to be at Penn, Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth, the four teams picked ahead of Princeton.

In other words, moving up higher than fifth will require beating those teams in their buildings.

Princeton made huge progress last year, going from consecutive 1-9 seasons to 5-5, including a gigantic win over Harvard. This year? There's more reason for optimism.

Princeton has depth that it hasn't had in the past, especially at the skill positions. There's more experience now, and playing with juniors and seniors is bigger in football than any other sport.

And there's Caraun Reid, all 6-2, 305 pounds of him, who hopes to follow Mike Catapano into the NFL draft next spring.

Most college teams are just beginning practices. The NFL is beginning exhibition games.

The Ivy League can wait a little while.

It's still early August. Not that long ago, this was a much different week for TigerBlog than it currently is.

Good times. Definitely good times.

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