Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beach Pillows

It was three degrees when TigerBlog walked outside this morning to begin digging out from the nearly one foot of snow that fell in the Princeton area yesterday.

It was hardly weather that suggested lacrosse or the beach, yet those are two subjects that are never all that far from TB's mind. And sometimes, those two subjects get combined, like they did in the past week.

TigerBlog is a very good typist. He always says that the two most practical subjects he learned in school were typing and grammar.

He can type really fast, as fast as anyone he's ever seen, with the possible exception of an editor way back in the newspaper days, who could type a story, talk to 10 other people and probably edit another story all at the same time.

For all of the words he's typed in his life, there has always been one that has caused him to hit the brakes, because he just could never get it right the first time. That word is "Hartofilis."

Even now, all these years after Sean Hartofilis (Class of 2003) played lacrosse at Princeton, TB still can't type his last name without slowing way down. For some reason, he's always wanted to put an "i" after "Hart," or sometimes an "f" after "Hart." Either way, it never flows.

It's been like that since TB first started writing his name, which included sentences like "freshman Sean Hartofilis scored five goals against Virginia in Princeton's NCAA semifinal win" and "Hartofilis scored the game-winner against Towson in the NCAA semifinal."

Sometimes TB would write his name once and then hit the "copy" function and simply "paste" his name when he had to use it again, because of how problematic it always was to type it.

Princeton lacrosse has had some great players and great scorers through the years, and yet for some reason, Hartofilis always seems to be overlooked when the subject comes up.

Jesse Hubbard is Princeton's all-time leader in goals scored with 163. Chris Massey is second with 146. Hartofilis is third, with 126.

That's the top three. It's pretty good company, no? The next three on the list are Justin Tortolani (120),  B.J. Prager (118) and Wick Sollers (114). Those are names that are always mentioned among the great Princeton goal scorers - and in fairness to Sollers, he did it in three years, as freshmen weren't eligible when he played.

When TB thinks back to Hartofilis, he thinks about how underrated he's always been. And how clutch he was. His 126 career goals came in 60 career games, 51 of which were in the regular season and nine of which were in the NCAA tournament.

He scored 99 of his goals in the regular season, which was an average of 1.9 per game. He scored 27 of those goals in his nine NCAA tournament games, which is an average of 3.0 per game, or more than one full goal per game more when it counted most.

Hartofilis is tied with Hubbard in goals per game in the NCAA tournament in school history, trailing only Tortolani, who had 20 NCAA goals in six games (3.3).

TigerBlog is currently in the process of counting down the top 25 Princeton men's lacrosse players of the last 25 years, as the 2014 season - which somehow starts in less than 10 days with the first Division I games and for Princeton begins one month from today at home against Hofstra at 11 a.m. - will be TB's 25th with the program.

He had Hartofilis 18th on his list, as part of the group of 16-20 that was released yesterday, as TB is doing this is groups of five. TB had to chuckle a bit when he went back and looked, because maybe he again had Hartofilis underrated a bit.

As part of the series, TB has included what each player is doing now, and so he emailed each one last week to ask. He did not expect the answer he got from Hartofilis, who is currently writing and directing movies with his company Walls Farm Pictures.

It was quite a coincidence to find out that his first movie was being released the day after TB emailed him.

It's called "Beach Pillows," and it was written, produced and directed by Sean Hartofilis. The producer section of the credits does read like a bit of a whose who of Princeton lacrosse, as so many of his former teammates and former Princeton players helped him get his project off the ground.

The movie was released directly to iTunes and on demand, and TB decided to watch it. To say he was really impressed would be a huge understatement.

First of all, the movie stars some pretty familiar faces and names, including Vincent Kartheiser (a star on "Mad Men") and Richard Schiff (who was on "The West Wing").

Oh, and Annette O'Toole plays the main character's mother. TigerBlog has been in love with Annette O'Toole - who in addition to acting was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2004 - ever since she played Robby Benson's tutor in "One on One" back in the 1970s.

The lead in "Beach Pillows" is played by Geoffrey Arend, who has some good acting credits, as well as the distinction of being married to Christina Hendricks, also from "Mad Men."

The story is about Arend's character, who is trying to come to grips with where his life is and how it got off track from where he really wanted it to be. He's struggling with his career, which has taken him from wanting to be a writer to working in his father's furniture store, and with his girlfriend, who he thought would be his wife, though it doesn't quite work out the way he envisioned.

His best friend (Kartheiser) seems to have caused a lot of his issues, and yet he feels a real responsibility to him. Their relationship is what drives most of the movie.

The movie is funny and serious and is a tremendous first effort for Hartofilis. It has some really good character development and some outstanding moments, both of which are the sign of quality writing.

Hartofilis is one of three former players in the group of five TB had between 16-20 who is involved in the arts, along with Lorne Smith (guitar player in a band) and Peter Trombino (who is a live music event promoter while also being involved with a non-profit that promotes arts in New York City and in the NYC public schools).

Trombino came to Princeton after Hartofilis, from the same high school on Long Island and with the same uniform number (20). At one point in the movie, one of the characters wears a "St. Anthony's" pinnie, for the school that Hartofilis and Trombino attended.

"Beach Pillows" is definitely worth the investment to see. There is good chemistry between the main cast, Kartheiser is nothing like his "Mad Men" character, there are really good supporting characters - and O'Toole still looks great just past 60.

Beyond that, it took a real team effort to get it done. A Princeton lacrosse effort, led by one of its most underrated - and most clutch - members.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TB, these "Where Are They Now?" updates on former Princeton student-athletes are great. During the years they compete for the Tigers, we fans get to know them, or at least think we do, and it's very interesting to find out what they've been up to since graduation.

I think feature-length stories on a few selected Tigers would be great reading, especially during, say, the slower summer season. Thanks for the enjoyable columns.