Monday, June 16, 2014

Meeting Fred, And Stephanie

TigerBlog was in Baltimore over the weekend.

In an extraordinary upset, the weather was perfect, as opposed to what it normally is in Baltimore, which is hot and sticky.

The big issue among the group of people TB was there with was how to get back and whether or not it would be better to go up 95 or to take 83 to York and then go over Lancaster and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. TB's friend Todd chose to go up 95 and got slammed in traffic; TB went the other way and made it in more than an hour less than Todd.

Back on Saturday, Todd was faced with a similarly tough decision. Should he get ice cream or frozen yogurt?

TigerBlog's has two theories on this. First, he thinks frozen yogurt has as much fat as ice cream and is all a marketing ploy. Second, even if it doesn't, he thinks that if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right and go with ice cream.

Todd chose frozen yogurt and got what looked very much like a typical ice cream sundae. The frozen yogurt place was on the next corner of York Road from an ice cream place. TB went to the ice cream place and got a small cookies and cream, nothing fancy.

It was at the ice cream place, though, that TigerBlog met Fred.

Who is Fred? The coolest dog in Baltimore, and possibly on the planet. He might even be cooler than Snoopy, and Snoopy can fly a plane and play shortstop, despite not having fingers. He might be cooler than Underdog, who fights crime and can fly.

TigerBlog was standing outside the ice cream place when Todd came back with his "sundae," and the two noticed a motorcycle and sidecar parked in the parking lot. It's not something that TB sees too often.

The owner of the vehicle came by with his dog, who turned out to be named Fred. The owner, whose name TB never got, put the dog in the sidecar, put the seatbelt/harness on him, and then put Fred's sunglasses on him.

And then Fred peered out at the world from behind his shades.

The average dog would not have allowed the sunglasses to be put on in the first place, let alone kept them on, let alone looked completely comfortable - and ridiculously cool - with them on. Fred? He was loving the moment.

It was like he knew all eyes were on him. In fact, TB asked if he could take Fred's picture, and the owner said sure. Fred knew the camera was on him.

If TigerBlog was impressed by Fred, imagine what the average girl french poodle thinks when Fred goes whirring by in his sidecar. She must positively melt.

Anyway, if you're in Baltimore and see a dog in a sidecar, you'll know you've met Fred.

Meanwhile, back in the ice cream place, TigerBlog saw a young family, consisting of a husband, wife and toddler who was being held by the father. TB was wearing his orange Princeton Athletics t-shirt and a Princeton football dri-fit longsleeve shirt over it, which made him a walking advertising for the University.

As it turns out, the husband and wife were both alums. Class of 2004.

They asked TigerBlog about his shirt and if he had a connection to Princeton, and TB explained that he works there. The husband mentioned that they had just been there for their 10th Reunion.

TB asked if they were athletes, and the husband said his wife was a swimmer. Her name was Stephanie, and her maiden name had been Wright.

TigerBlog looked her up and found that she lettered four times. Not that he didn't believe them or anything - though it's happened numerous times that people have fabricated such things.

In fact, one of TB's favorite stories in his time at Princeton is from when he got a call from a young woman who said she had met a young man in a bar the night before who had told her that he was an All-America fencer with the Tigers. She gave TB his name, and TB looked it up. Turns out he wasn't being truthful.

Though TB has always assumed that she never went out with him after that, TB did admire the suitor's attempt. If he had said he was an All-America in football or something like that, it would have been too easy to check out his story. Picking fencing was genius, and in the pre-internet days, it took a really thorough investigation to catch him.

As for Stephanie Wright, she was a part of four Ivy League championships in women's swimming and diving. In fact, she was a member of one of four different classes at Princeton that can make that claim: 1981, 1982, 2003 and 2004.

After the young family went one way, Fred went another way and TB went his own way, TB did think back about his chance meeting with the alums.

TB has often heard talk of how the athletes are at Princeton for four years and make friendships that last 40 or more years. It makes it seem like there are current students and alums in their 60s and 70s and older and really nothing in between.

In reality, the life lessons that intercollegiate athletics teach apply much more to people in Stephanie Wright's age range, especially people who are 10 years out of Princeton, raising young families, moving forward in careers, trying to balance both, trying to figure it all out as they move from recent grads to can't-fight-it-anymore adults.

Anyway, it was a pretty good weekend in Baltimore, including the random encounter with a certain cool dog and certain young family.

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