Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgivings, Home And Away

Lisa Sweeney is the Princeton softball coach. Brendan Van Ackeren is Princeton's assistant manager of business and ticket operations.

They're engaged, which TigerBlog presumes they're both okay with. They're both nice young people. TB wishes them the best.

Hey, if it can survive what happened last night during the Princeton-George Mason men's basketball game, then they should be good for decades.

Sweeney and Van Ackeren participated in one of the in-game contests, a free-throw shooting game. Thirty seconds. Whoever makes the most wins.

At one end was Brendan, struggling to find a rhythm. At the other end was Lisa, draining so many in a row that TB lost count. The final score was five or six to one.

Brendan took it well. He had no choice.

As an aside, foul shooting contests are becoming more than just in-game promotions, with the new rules in college basketball. During Princeton's 71-66 win over George Mason, the teams shot a combined 48 foul shots as the officials called 44 fouls in the game. Princeton's games last year averaged slightly below 35 free throws and 32 called fouls per game.

Anyway, the Sweeney/Van Ackeren foul shots were a nice part of the evening. It was a family moment, as a family time of year begins.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, as everyone knows. Hanukkah starts at sundown tonight.

Christmas is looming, beyond that the New Year. December is a time for holiday shopping, holiday parties, holiday cards, holiday fun. In other words, holidays.

For some, the Thanksgiving holiday will take them far away.

Both hockey teams are headed to the Midwest, for instance.

The women, off their 1-1 tie with No. 8 Quinnipiac Tuesday night, will play Saturday and Sunday at Minnesota, which just happens to be the No. 1 team in the country.

The men will be at Michigan State for two games, Friday night and Sunday afternoon. 

The women's basketball team leaves tomorrow for Oregon, where it will take on Portland State Saturday and Oregon Sunday.

TigerBlog learned something interesting yesterday from assistant women's basketball coach Milena Flores, who told him who Oregon's women's basketball coach is. And who would that be? None other than Paul Westhead.

Yes, that Paul Westhead. The one who coached, among others, the Lakers and Loyola Marymount during the Hank Gathers-Bo Kimble years.

The one who likes his teams to run. And shoot fast. And score a lot of points.

Oregon's women lead Division I in scoring offense at 99.5 points per game. That's a ton of points.

Princeton has never had a game in which its women's basketball team has reached 100. The Tigers have come close, hitting 99 last year at Yale and 98 last year at home against Columbia.

Westhead will have his team push the tempo. Princeton is a good offensive team that can also run. It should be a rather fascinating game.

When you're traveling on Thanksgiving and playing a bunch of games, you tailor the holiday to your schedule, which is what all three Princeton teams will be doing. There are trips to houses of players who live close to where the teams are playing, and big turkey dinners moved up or back or day or so.

For most of the people at Princeton - and everywhere else - Thanksgiving will be just fine on Thursday.

It'll be a time for eating and overeating and then eating again. There will be football to watch. Relatives to reconnect with.

Thanksgiving is TigerBlog's favorite holiday. It's fairly secular, so you can say "Happy Thanksgiving" without feeling like you're going to offend someone, like you would if you said, oh, "Merry Christmas."

It has great movies (Rocky and Adrian had their first date on Thanksgiving, as did John Candy and Steve Martin) and TV shows (every sitcom worth anything has had a Thanksgiving episode) associated with it. Most people love turkey. It's a day when people make time for their family, regardless of what else is going on in their world.

You don't have to go out and get presents for people, so there's none of the stress that precedes Christmas. It's very relaxing - except for whoever has to do all the cooking.

And yes, there is the hassle of traveling, especially when the Wednesday before it is going to be such a nightmarish weather day, with rain and high winds.

So safe travels everyone.

Whether you're going to be on the road to see family or to get where you need to be for your Thanksgiving weekend Princeton athletic events, be careful and make sure you get there in one piece.

A year had 365 (or 366) days in it. Some stand out more than the rest.

Thanksgiving is definitely one of them.

And while you're eating and watching the games, make sure you take step back and think about what you're truly thankful for in your life.

And then tell those people who are part of that.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did Lisa Sweeney and Brendan Van Akeren begin dating as undergraduates at Lehigh or is this another Princeton Department of Athletics romance? What do you put in the water at Jadwin Gym to account for the raging hormonal activity in the department? Whatever it is, you should bottle it and sell it.

Princeton University, leading the way in athletic romance since 1869.