Monday, May 12, 2014

A Big Weekend In Alabama

TigerBlog had an awful shopping cart at the supermarket yesterday.

There are three kinds of shopping carts at the supermarket TB regularly uses. There are the traditional ones, with the deep basket and the place for young child to sit. There are the ones that have a miniature car for the little kids to sit in while the parent pushes from behind fills in the cart in the back.

And then there's the one TB likes. It's smaller than the normal-sized ones, and it has no place for a child to sit. It has a top rack and much smaller bottom rack, and it's about the right size for what TB usually gets.

Yesterday he grabbed the first one in the row of carts that were all stacked together in the corridor between the store and the parking lot and went inside. He didn't even make it to the first row of produce before he realized that this cart was terrible.

It's not just that the wheels weren't aligned. They couldn't even all touch the floor at the same time.

He thought about going back to the stack of carts and getting a new one, but he wasn't getting that much stuff so he figured he could tough it out. That turned out to be a mistake.

As he put things in the cart, it got even worse and more out of balance. Eventually it would only go to the left unless TB sort of picked it up off the ground and redirected it.

Of course, when he was done, he just put it back at the end of the row of carts, leaving it for someone else to have to deal with, as opposed to taking it out back and burying it. 

TigerBlog was wondering how old these carts are - how many miles they have on them, as it were - and how often the average supermarket replaces them.

Years? Decades?

If TB's cart dated back to early 2010, then it was as old as it had been since Princeton had beaten a Top 25 team in women's tennis - until this past Friday.

The women's tennis team had a remarkable weekend at the NCAA tournament. It began with a 4-3 win over No. 25 Arizona State in the first round and then continued with a 4-2 loss to second-ranked Alabama in the second round in a match that could have gone either way when it was 2-2 with a third set in the other three matches.

When you think of the great accomplishments of Princeton teams in the NCAA tournament, this weekend's stay by the women's tennis team probably doesn't leap to mind. That's a shame, because what the Tigers did was extraordinary.

Alabama is the second-ranked team in the country in women's tennis, a sport that has enough teams to justify a 64-team NCAA tournament field. That's something reserved for sports like basketball and soccer on the women's side.

Princeton went toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide, and did so with a lineup that featured no seniors.

It started with the win over Arizona State, a perennial NCAA tournament participant, one that has played in 27 straight postseasons. Princeton was playing in its fifth all-time and first since 2010.

The win was Princeton's first ever in the NCAA

Alabama is a team thinking national championship, not getting bounced in the second round by a team from the East, let alone a team from the Ivy League. Princeton pushed the Crimson Tide to the brink and did so after going five hours in its match against ASU.

And with the lineup the Tigers have, next year and beyond figure to be exciting.

All in all, it was a remarkable effort by the Tigers. If it had been in, say, basketball, it would have been national news.

Okay, the women's tennis tournament isn't what the basketball tournament are. So what?

That doesn't diminish what Princeton did this weekend.

Maybe it wasn't the 1965 men's basketball Final Four or a lacrosse championship.

It was still a great performance. 

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