Monday, January 6, 2014

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Why do people have children anyway?

Is it to advance the family line? To leave a piece of oneself in the world? To try to have the next generation have it better than the current one?

All of those are acceptable answers.

So is having someone else to shovel the snow after a storm. If someone were to tell TigerBlog that tht was the sole reason that they had children, he'd understand.

One of the weirdest prolonged stretches of weather that TB can remember is currently rolling through one of its weirdest 48-hour periods.

Let's recap what's happened around here in the last few weeks. There have been four major snow events, all of which have been followed by record high temperatures, which have melted the snow relatively quickly. It's been below zero. It's been above 70. It's been sunny, snowy and everything in between.

And what about now?

There were eight inches of snow beginning Thursday night, which closed Princeton University Friday and necessitated the most recent round of shoveling. When TB woke up Saturday morning and checked the weather app, the local temperature was zero. But sunny, at least.

Then it started to warm up. And then it got cloudy. And then the freezing rain started.

By early yesterday morning, it was a complete sheet of ice everywhere. TigerBlog, among others, could barely make it off his front steps.

Then it warmed up enough to be only slightly slippery. And then it kept on warming up.

When TB woke up this morning, his weather app said 60. Well, 59, but 60 makes a better story.

And it was pouring, which combined with the warmth melted almost all of the snow again.

The forecast for the rest of the day? Temps starting to plummet, until they reach a low tonight of seven. And a high tomorrow of 14. With the wind child, it'll feel like minus-20.

To recap, the temperature at this time tomorrow will be about 50 degrees less than it was 24 hours earlier. And if you know it's going to be 60 and pouring when you walk into the building and around 30 and whipping wind when you walk out, what are you supposed to wear? A coat? A rain jacket?

It's all very confusing. TigerBlog will trade it for 90 and high humidity.

The weather is a always a huge story on the news, almost to a laughable extent, with reporters outside in hurricanes or blizzards or ice storms. Once they say "it's raining hard," there's really not much else left to cover.

The weather is the big story for the NFL playoffs, which kicked off this weekend with one game in a dome and three others outside in cold weather climates of Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Green Bay.

TigerBlog was in the supermarket Saturday shortly before kickoff for the Eagles game, and as he went outside, he thought to himself that he couldn't imagine sitting at Lincoln Financial Field on a night like that. It was actually 40 or so and raining in Cincinnati and frozen in Green Bay.

But a funny thing happened with the dire weather outside. All three home teams lost.

During the Niners-Packers game, it dawned on TB that of the 12 cities whose teams reached the NFL playoffs, he'd been to 11 of them. The only one he hasn't been to is San Francisco.

And, as is the case with so many of the places he's been to, his trips to seven of those 11 cities was for the sole reason that Princeton was playing basketball there. The four he'd been to for other reasons were San Diego (cousin Toby lived there for awhile), Seattle (BrotherBlog's home for the last quarter century), Foxboro (NCAA lacrosse championships) and Philadelphia (lots of reasons, including "attended college" and "cheesesteaks").

The other seven are Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, New Orleans, Charlotte and of course Green Bay.

TB was in Green Bay in late December of 1995, for the Pepsi Oneida Nation's Classic. Princeton knocked off Ohio in the first round 65-60 and lost to Wisconsin-Green Bay 55-35 in the final. TB didn't have to look up either score; as he knew them off the top of his head, something that scares him a bit.

TB also knew that UW-GB's star back then was Jeff Nordgaard, who had 28 points against the Tigers, something TB also didn't have to look up. TB thought he had 15 rebounds, but it turned out that he had only 13.

Oh, and as an aside, Pete Carril had this great habit of reversing the order of the school name when playing satellite campuses, so he would refer to "Las Vegas, Nevada," instead of Nevada-Las Vegas, and in this case "Green Bay, Wisconsin," instead of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

TB remembers the trip to Green Bay even before the plane descended directly over Lambeau Field shortly before touchdown, as it were. In fact, he remembers being in the Philadelphia airport for five hours, after the original flight to Detroit was cancelled and the team put on the next one.

It was during that time at the gate that TB heard over and over and over "please do not leave your luggage unattended; unattended luggage will be confiscated." After an hour or two of that message on an endless loop, one of the two other people sitting with TB - then assistant coach Bill Carmody - said "it's not the unattended luggage you need to worry about; it's the guy who's sitting there hugging his bag."

Green Bay is a really interesting place, in that it's little Wisconsin town - roughly with the same sized population and layout as Hamilton, N.J., which is about 10 miles from Princeton, though without the millions and millions of people within an hours drive that Hamilton has. And yet it has an NFL franchise, with its iconic stadium plopped down right in the middle of it.

Picture Hamilton with an NFL team - and nothing else around it.

Lambeau Field shares the parking lot with the hotel Princeton stayed at and with the Brown County Arena, where the tournament was held. When Princeton was leaving early Sunday morning (which was also New Year's Eve), the parking lot was starting to swell, as the Packers were playing the Falcons later that day.

Green Bay has a unique smell to it, from the pulp from the paper mills, as TB understands it. The people were really friendly, and the weather was awful the entire time, though what would one expect from the last days of December. Oh, and they're really, really, really into the Packers.

Tom McCarthy was TB's radio play-by-play man on the trip. Boog, as he is sometimes known, was back there yesterday, doing the national radio broadcast.

Manish Mehta, who began his tenure as an intern here at the Princeton OAC the following year, was also in Green Bay yesterday as the national football writer for the New York Daily News. Manish tweeted a picture pregame that showed players warming up wearing long sleeves, and he called them "wusses."

Facetiously, of course.

TB enjoyed his short visit to Green Bay nearly 20 years ago.

And, if he misses the place, he's in luck. Tomorrow's weather forecast indicates that Green Bay is coming here.

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