Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hanging With Bob Callahan

Kristen and Bob Callahan are celebrating their 36th anniversary today.

They were 23 when they got married, a year out of college, Bob a Princeton grad, Kristen from Bucknell.

Kristen had to go to work this morning, to her teaching job in the computer science department at Mercer County Community College. Bob is spending some of his anniversary morning talking to TigerBlog.

He called himself a cheap date on his anniversary. Cheap, as in not going out tonight to celebrate.

In truth, every moment for Bob - Princeton's longtime, well-loved former men's squash coach - is a celebration. This is a man with a Stage IV brain tumor, a man who endured aggressive chemotherapy and radiation until he finally had to stop, a man living these days because of his heart, his will, his spirit, his toughness.

And his family, especially his wife.

Kristen went back to work today and needed someone to stay with Bob a few mornings per week. As TB understands it, Kristen asked Kim Meszaros, Mollie Marcoux' assistant, if she could recommend anyone. Instead, Kim emailed the athletic department, and people came running to spend time with Bob, signing up for 90-minute time slots.

TB is here now. Field hockey coach Kristen Holmes-Winn will be here shortly to replace him.

Kristen Callahan said that Bob would be asleep the entire time, but that hasn't been the case. Instead, he's been talking non-stop.

His speech isn't loud anymore, but it's definitely his voice. He is speaking in a whisper, and TB needs to be on Bob's right side, since he can't see much out of his left eye anymore.

TB is glad that Bob has been up. He's said some incredible things.

TigerBlog was struck almost immediately by something that Bob said as he asked about how TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog were doing. He asked about TBJ and lacrosse, and then he asked this: "Does your son still play goalie?"

TB would have guessed that Bob never knew what position TBJ said, let alone remember it now.

That wasn't the only thing that Bob said that made TB shake his head and smile. Bob also said this: "I'm a very fortunate man. I don't have any complaints about anything."

Bob Callahan is a man of subtle humor, always has been. He's not going to tell you a loud, wild joke; he's going to say something in which the humor is understated, the punchline not always so obvious at first.

He asked TigerBlog about everyone in the athletic department, by name, by position. He talked about the teams, who was doing well, who was new, those whom he worked with all those years.

After a pause, he said "I'll be back."

TigerBlog smiled at that. Then Bob, in typical fashion, added this: "The alternative isn't much of a choice."

His attitude couldn't be better, and it's been that way through the entire ordeal, back when he first started radiation treatments and described them as "nice," as in "all the people there are so nice."

Now he's downstairs in his house, in a hospital bed where TigerBlog surmises a dining room table once was. There's a twin bed next to Bob's, where apparently Kristen sleeps.

There's no TV in his field of vision. Bob said he doesn't want one these days. He reads a lot, though it makes him fall asleep. He said he wants to write, but he hasn't done so yet. He gets bored too, he admitted.

He talked about his two new granddaughters. He talked about his five sons, each a Princeton graduate, like Bob, a member of the Class of 1977.

He has great recall of events and people. He repeated only one thing, which TigerBlog can't even remember now.

When he asked about all of the people in the athletic department, he said their name and then added a comment about each, which usually ran to "I really like him" or "she's a great person." When he spoke about longtime squash assistant coach Neil Pomphrey, he said that TB should "take him to lunch; he's a life-changingly good person."

He talked about trying to get out to dinner, maybe to the Blue Point Grill on Nassau Street or Acacia in Lawrenceville. So much for being a cheap date.

He never fell asleep, something for about which TB is glad, because it's been great to catch up with him.

Bob Callahan is fighting a brutal fight against an opponent that does not play fair. In many ways, he's already won.

He's still the same guy he's always been. TigerBlog can remember only one time that he ever saw Bob angry, and it was so out of character that he can't help but laugh about it now that he thinks back to it.

Mostly, Bob's tenure as squash coach was marked by overwhelming on-court success, with an unusual combination of a gentlemanly sense of sportsmanship and a fierce competitiveness. He's a member of the U.S. squash Hall of Fame, and he left a mark on Princeton Athletics and the world of intercollegiate squash that few have matched.

Ultimately, the conversation with TigerBlog went back to squash.

TigerBlog has just gotten back to playing after having knee surgery. He told Bob about how his game is progressing.

It was Bob and Gail Ramsay, the women's coach, who got TB into squash 10 years or so ago. They came and watched him play, like parents who were proud that a child was sharing one of their interests, even if they winced more than once at what they were seeing at first.

Over time, TB became pretty good at the game. His regular matches were with Craig Sachson, his colleague in the OAC. Bob and Gail would watch every now and then, offering pointers, making their sarcastically funny comments.

After about 75 minutes of non-stop talk, most of it from Bob, there was a brief lull in the conversation. TigerBlog brought up his squash resurgence.

Bob smiled at that, though in truth he had never really stopped smiling.

"I'm looking forward to getting over there to watch one of your matches with Craig again," Bob said. Then he paused - and added this: "Just like the old days."

Then it was back to the lull in the conversation, if ever so briefly.

TigerBlog looked out at Bob, his friend for more than 20 years, as he lie on his bed. He thought back to the entirety of their conversation, and how sharp his mind is, even as the tumor sits there, above his right ear.

He wished him happy anniversary again. Bob talked about his wife of 36 years, saying how she had a lot on her plate. Then he said that he didn't know how she does it, keeping it all together the way she does.

It was 90 minutes earlier that Kristen had stood on the driveway, telling TigerBlog about she and her husband had first gotten together and how young they were when they got married. She talked about his condition and prognosis, and she did all this in her own usual upbeat way.

In the corner of her eyes, TigerBlog could detect a hint of a tear, just a hint, and he wasn't sure if it was because he was having such a good morning, or because of the situation itself, or because she was remembering when she and her love had gotten together and gotten married, 36 years ago today.

It was just a hint of a tear, and then it was gone. Today isn't a day for tears anyway.

It was a day to spend some time with an old friend. A special friend.

A special man, Bob Callahan is. A special man, in great spirits, fighting today as he always does.

What do I have to regret, he asked? Then he smiled, again.

Then it was time to go. Kristen Holmes-Winn came in, and Bob asked her immediately for pictures of her kids.

TB said his goodbye, and Bob reached out his hand. TigerBlog shook it, but Bob pulled him closer and kissed TB on the back of his hand.

Then he smiled again.

So did TigerBlog. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Missing The Fireworks

TigerBlog was at a wedding Saturday night.

A bride named Linda. A groom named Rich. A second wedding for both. TigerBlog is pretty sure there won't be a third for either, and he wishes the newlyweds nothing but happiness.

TigerBlog isn't a dancer, so weddings aren't exactly his favorite things. His cousin Brian recently got married and did not invite TigerBlog, something for which TB will be eternally grateful to Brian for, even if FatherBlog and BrotherBlog were both there.

Linda and Rich had a nice wedding, even if it had a lot of dancing. And it had something a little different to it than any other wedding that TigerBlog has ever attended.

The ceremony was performed by a close friend of the bride and groom who had gone online and gotten, what, ordained? Certified? Something that made it legal for her to perform the ceremony.

She wasn't a member of the clergy or a judge or anything, just someone the bride and groom were both close to for a long time. It certainly made the ceremony more personal.

TB has heard about this before. Bryce Chase, a longtime member of the men's lacrosse program, has performed two weddings. Erin McDermott, formerly the Deputy Athletic Director here and now the AD at the University of Chicago, officiated at her brother's wedding - marrying her brother, as it were. TigerBlog's brother-in-law Joe flew from Seattle to Milwaukee to officiate a wedding this past summer.

The wedding Saturday started at 5, and as such, TigerBlog had to miss the Princeton-Davidson football game, which kicked off at 6. And the fireworks after it as well.

For the record, TigerBlog likes fireworks more than he likes dancing, though fireworks aren't his favorite thing either. They're great in the beginning, but then it all starts to look the same. 

Anyway, by all accounts, the night managed to go well even without TB there.

Dre' Nelson ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, and Princeton never looked back, winning 56-17. A crowd of 15,205 saw the game and stayed for the fireworks.

Hopefully those in attendance will be back.

Why wouldn't they be?

Princeton certainly put on a show offensively. Quinn Epperly ran for four touchdowns and 118 yards while completing 15 of 18 for 176 yards. Those numbers are pretty much what Dick Kazmaier used to put up routinely.

The supporting cast was there as well. Princeton had six players catch at least two passes - including one quarterback, Kedric Bostic. Connor Michelsen was 5 for 8 for 69 yards of his own.

Princeton has now reached at least 50 points six times in its last 10 games. The Tigers are also seven points ahead of where they were a year ago after two games, when they set the Ivy record for points in a season - though they do trail Yale by 18 points after the way the Bulldogs have exploded for 103 in two games, including a monster win over Army this past Saturday.

TigerBlog would say more about the game the other night, except he wasn't there for it. He was wondering if that was first one in the new stadium that he's missed.

When he went back to see, he came up with one game prior to this one that he missed. He had to cover soccer a few times and that caused him to not see the entire football game on the same day, but he saw at least half of those football games.

No, the only other game at Princeton Stadium TB did not attend was the 1999 game against Yale, which the Bulldogs won 23-21. TB was with the men's basketball team in Syracuse at the time.

He'll be back for the last four games this year. Princeton is off to a 1-1 start, one that really hasn't proven much of anything in terms of what the Ivy race holds.

It'll be awhile before the Tigers get back to Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. First up is the Ivy opener at Columbia, to be followed by the final non-league game at Colgate.

Then it's home for Brown and Harvard back-to-back. Come the end of October, the league race - and Princeton's place in it - will be pretty clearly defined.

The fireworks of opening night will be a distant memory by then. Still, it looked like a great night at the stadium - even if TigerBlog missed it.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Opening Day, Take 2

When TigerBlog is asked the last time he went to temple, the running joke is to answer "when they played St. Joe's."

Big Five humor at its finest.

TigerBlog didn't exactly go to temple yesterday. He went to the Nassau Presbyterian Church, for the reform Rosh Hashanah service offered by the Center For Jewish Life, a service led by Rabbi Sara Rich.

It's an annual tradition for TigerBlog to go to services on the High Holy Days. Well, a mostly annual tradition.

In truth, he's debating going to the Yom Kippur service - or to the Princeton at Columbia football game. And, the reality is that the football game will probably win out.

TigerBlog spent seven years in Hebrew school as a youngster, at a temple called Shaari Emeth, which means "The Gates of Truth." TigerBlog knows this well, as it was MotherBlog who actually named the temple and it was his parents who were one of seven founding families. There is still a plaque outside the sanctuary at the temple that bears their names.

At one point, he was pretty good at reading Hebrew, even if he didn't know what most of the words meant. He was never close to conversational or anything.

Yesterday, sitting upstairs at the church, TigerBlog was reminded that most of what he learned about reading Hebrew in the time leading up to his bar mitzvah - something that was a long, long time ago - he no longer remembered.

TigerBlog has never wavered from his faith, even if he hasn't reaffirmed it on a weekly basis - and even as TigerBlog Jr. attends a school called Holy Ghost Prep. He also understands that that faith hasn't really been tested in ways that it has been for many others of his people through the years (actually centuries) and that there are few places on this planet where it is safer to be Jewish than it is in the area where TB has lived his life.

The service was a traditional Rosh Hashanah celebration of the New Year, along with contemplation of one's sins and a reaffirmation of self-improvement. The eight-day period ends with Yom Kippur and its 24-hour fast to atone for one's sins.

TigerBlog was struck by one passage in one of the meditations in the service yesterday, so much so that he took a picture of it so that he wouldn't forget. It said: "Freely we choose, and what we have chosen to become stands in judgement over what we may yet hope to be."

He's still trying to process its meaning. He sort of thinks it's reversed, that "what we may yet hope to be" is what is judging "what we have chosen to become."

There were lighter notes to the service. Rabbi Rich managed to make the Shofar sound melodic, which is no easy task. If you're not familiar, the Shofar is a ram's horn, and it's not easy to make a sound come out of it at all, let alone a smooth one. It is used to announce holidays, most often on Rosh Hashanah.

Then there were the orange and black yarmulkes, of which TigerBlog saw a few.

And there was way that Rabbi Rich turned it into a decidely Princetonian service, when she brought up attendees by class, beginning with the Class of 2015 and ending with the Class of 2018. After that, she invited all alumni in attendance.

That's pure Princeton, people. When TigerBlog use to go to services as an undergrad at Penn, there was nothing remotely like that.

As TigerBlog said, he will probably choose Princeton-Columbia football over Yom Kippur services, though he will do the 24-hour fast. He always does.

Turning to a more secular subject, there is the matter of the Princeton-Davidson football game tomorrow night, before Princeton can worry about its first Ivy League game. The Tigers play the home opener a week after a tough 39-29 loss at San Diego in the first game a week ago.

This figures to be a pretty nice night at Princeton Stadium.

The weather forecast is nearly perfect for the kickoff at 6 pm, with the temperature at 76 degrees with 53% humidity and a zero percent chance of rain. There are also fireworks set for after the game.

If you missed it, that's perfect weather + fireworks. And a football game, of course.

Going back 52 weeks, nobody at that moment could have figured that Princeton was sitting on an offensive juggernaut and Ivy League championship team. Actually, the Ivy title would probably have seemed more likely than the offensive explosion.

Princeton lost its opener to Lehigh 29-28 last year. Going back a year earlier, Princeton had lost three of its last four to finish off a 5-5 year, and the Tigers had not reached more than 39 points in any game since Bob Surace had become head coach.

Game 2 last year was against Georgetown. Remember what you were thinking as a Princeton fan?

TigerBlog wrote this the day before the game:
The football team is at Georgetown, where it will be homecoming for the Hoyas. Georgetown football isn't quite like Georgetown basketball, but the Tigers and Hoyas had a pretty entertaining game last year. This time around, it'd be great for Princeton to be 1-1 heading into the Ivy League opener next Saturday against Columbia.

In other words, it was anything but a sure thing. Princeton then went out and hammered Georgetown 50-22, and the track meet that was the 2013 season was on.

TigerBlog's point is that the opener rarely defines the season, especially at Princeton, which struggles so much to win on opening day (0-8 in the last eight). The season really starts Saturday and then again next Saturday against Columbia.

So make sure you're out there tomorrow night. Weather. Fireworks. Football. A stadium that looks great under the lights.

It's opening day, take 2.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy 5775

The High Holy Days - the "holidays," as TigerBlog's people puts it - seem to have arrived on time this year.

This is something very unusual. As TigerBlog wrote two years ago and repeated last year:

In Jewish culture, the High Holy Days never come on time. They're either early or late, as in "the holidays came really early this year," which is said at every family celebration as a way of suggesting that the hostess was caught completely off guard, what with the end of the summer and all, and therefore couldn't create a proper meal for the occasion. This is usually followed by a general agreement that "we should only be together on wonderful occasions."

For this year, it seems like it's right about when it should be. And by this year, TigerBlog means the Year 5775, which is what this year is on the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashanah arrived at sundown last night. For those who don't know these kinds of things, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and the start of the High Holy Days, which end eight days from now with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

It's a time for celebration and self-reflection, and it ends with a 24-hour fast to atone for one's sins. It's a time to hope, often against hope, that perhaps one day there will be peace - even if that day seems fairly far away right now.

As for the Hebrew calendar, it has run continuously for 5,775 years now. It's not exactly like the Gregorian calendar, in that there are months that appear in some years and not others, months whose main role seem to be to keep the Hebrew calendar in line with the Gregorian one. They're sort of leap months, though not exactly.

As a result, the Jewish holidays don't always fall on the same exact day from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. Some years they're early. Others they're late.

Last year, the High Holy Days started at sundown on Sept. 4, which also, by the way, the earliest that it can ever start. The latest it can start is Oct. 5. The midpoint would be Sept. 20, so pretty much anything this week is right in the middle.

TigerBlog's memories of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from his childhood are of no school, no work and no playing outside. They were family days, and there was no running around before heading off to see the family, which usually meant a long ride to either Brooklyn, Queens or Long Island, depending on who the host that year was.

Every little Jewish kid tries to fast on Yom Kippur, and none make it. Rosh Hashanah? Eat up.

Rosh Hashanah lasts two full days, though Reform Jews, of which TigerBlog is one, aren't as diligent about the second one.

Rosh Hashanah will end at sundown tomorrow. If the holiday started a day later, it would end with fireworks, but only over Princeton Stadium at the conclusion of the Princeton-Davidson football game.

The men's soccer team played at Drexel last night. TigerBlog understands playing on religious holidays in a secular league like the Ivy League. Hey, everyone plays baseball and softball on Easter Sunday. The men's soccer team is home Saturday as well, against Binghamton.

The women's soccer teams opens its Ivy League season at Yale Saturday in what could be the biggest game of the weekend. Getting off to a good start in the Ivy race in soccer is huge.

The field hockey team is also at Yale Saturday and then is at Albany Sunday. The women's volleyball team opens its Ivy League season against Penn tomorrow night. Sprint football is home against Post tomorrow night as well.

There are other events as well. Water polo is home Sunday. There is also golf and tennis on the road.

It's a busy weekend.

Next weekend is the Ivy opener in football, at Columbia. TigerBlog will probably go, even if it is Yom Kippur. If he does go, he'll fast. Like he did that year at Brown, when he went to services across the street from Brown Stadium with a Bears player in full uniform.

In the meantime, happy 5775, whether you're one of TigerBlog's people or not.

Hopefully it is a year of prosperity, happiness - and peace.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Athletic Communications"

If you call TigerBlog in his office, he will answer the phone by saying two words: "Athletic Communications."

That is unless, of course, he doesn't already recognize your number in the caller ID. Then he'll just say "hello," or possibly "hey" or "yo." Or, possibly not answer the phone at all, depending on the number.

TigerBlog remembers when he used to be in the newspaper business and covered Princeton sports. When he called then, or when he was in the office here and others would call, those who worked here then answered the phone by saying "Athletic Communications," so he figured he would do that as well when he started working here.

When he was at the newspaper, he would answer the phone by saying "sports," and then he would hope it wasn't someone who was calling in an obscure result that he didn't care in the least about.

The majority of calls at the newspaper were from people who were calling in a result of a game, usually a high school event. When TigerBlog took on the task of reporting TigerBlog Jr.'s results to the local paper, he found that the system of "call and hope someone who cares answers" had been replaced by "log onto website and fill out reporting form."

Oh, and TigerBlog forgot all the other calls that would come into the paper. Those would be the "my paper didn't come today" calls. He would get those on Sunday mornings, when he would go into the office to write a college football or basketball column (because he needed access to the AP wire, because there was no web yet). For some reason, the phone would ring to the sports department instead of circulation on Sunday mornings.

Sadly, TB was of little value to those who did not get their paper.

TigerBlog isn't sure how his colleagues here at the Office of Athletic Communications answer the phone. He's probably heard them 10,000 times each, yet it doesn't really stick in his mind.

Or, for that matter, how does anyone else here answer the phone when it's a number they don't recognize on caller ID.

At one point, Kurt Kehl, who had TigerBlog's job before TB did and who was the one who hired TB from the newspaper business, debated changing the name of the office from "Office of Athletic Communications" to "Office of Athletic Public Affairs."

TigerBlog even recorded a new voicemail for the office, referring to it as the "Office of Athletic Public Affairs."

Back then, the main number for this office, whatever it was called, was 609.258.3568. Kurt used to like to put a period instead of a small dash in phone numbers, and TB has stuck with that. He likes how it looks.

At one point, if you called that number, you'd be greeted with TB's voice as it gave you about eight or so options, including speaking to someone in the office, getting a directory of coaches, being transfered to the ticket office, that sort of thing. Back then, menus on voicemails were becoming big.

Now? They're infuriating, especially the kind where you keep going from one menu to another by pressing "1" for this and then "3" for that and so on. The ones TB hates the most are the ones where they ask for your account number (always followed by the "pound" sign) and then the person picks up and what's the first thing asked? Right. Account number.

Anyway, when TB first started working here, the only office number was the 3568 one. Eventually, the phones were equipped with that number and another one, which became each person's direct line. The problem then was that when 3568 would ring, the same person would always end up picking it up, since most of the rest of the office didn't want to have to deal with whoever it was on the other end.

TigerBlog has also answered the phone a lot here and had the first words out of the other person's mouth be "you're probably not the right person." In that case, the person has been right about 95% of the time, though it never stops them from wanting to be connected to the right person. They figure they have a live person, so that person will listen to their issue.

Let's see. Eventually, "Office of Athletic Public Affairs" didn't stick. And 3568 went away. Now each person has a direct line but no common line. And TigerBlog is still saying "Athletic Communications."

Not even "hello, Athletic Communications." Not even "Princeton Athletic Communications." Just "Athletic Communications."

There was a time when TigerBlog would get more than 1,000 voicemails each month. Now? He gets about 10.

One of the great advancements around here has been the fact that if someone calls, gets no answer and doesn't leave a voicemail, TigerBlog gets an email saying he has a missed call from that number. This leads to never having to worry about who was calling when he can hear it ring but not get there in time, though it does have the awkward moment of having to call a strange number back and explain who it is. Or worse, a number that TB should recognize but doesn't.

What's the point of all this?

Well, TigerBlog was recently asked if there is anything that happens in this office exactly the same way it did when he first started working here all those years ago. As he thought about it, this is what he came up with.

The way he answers the phone. Unchanged in more than 20 years.

Everything else, top to bottom, has changed.

Hey, the phone is ringing. It's a number TB doesn't know, with a 212 area code. Maybe he'll finally do it. Say something different.


"Athletic Communications."

It's okay to keep one thing the same.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kip And Ryan

TigerBlog was walking towards the parking lot yesterday afternoon when he saw seniors Kip Orban and Will Rotatori, who were walking to Caldwell Field House for the first fall practice for the men's lacrosse team.

The first practice for the actual spring season won't be held on as nice a day, TigerBlog predicts. It'll be the middle of winter, after all.

This is the fall, officially now, for that matter. And yesterday felt fall-like, which meant basically perfect.

For Princeton, it was the first step down the road to the 2015 season, one that hopefully will continue well into May.

Princeton will be playing in the Play For Parkinson's event a week from Sunday, which would be Oct. 5, at Episcopal High School in Arlington, Va. The event is part of ProjectSpark, which is dedicated to the fight against Parkinson's.

The organization was started by Christian Cook and his sister Lauren, after their mother Diane was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008. Christian, if you don't know, was a first-team All-America defenseman and member of three NCAA championship teams at Princeton before graduating in 1998.

TigerBlog first saw Cook play on Finney Field when he was a freshman backup and saw how fast he was. And tenacious. And ridiculously fast. He had "first-team All-America written" all over him.

Cook's event is now an annual part of Princeton fall lacrosse. The Tigers will play Loyola at 1 and Air Force at 3.

The 2014 Princeton season didn't go as well as the Tigers would have hoped, as the team went 7-6 and missed out on the Ivy League tournament. Again, it was close losses that doomed the Tigers, as they lost three one-goal Ivy games on the road. One goal. Maybe it was just bad luck?

TigerBlog thinks that Kip Orban is one of the most underrated players in Division I lacrosse.

Orban ended the 2014 season without so much as an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection, despite all of the following:
* becoming the first Princeton player since Peter Trombino in 2004 to have at least one goal in every game
* the longest (or second-longest, TB isn't 100% sure on this one) current streak in Division I of consecutive games with at least one goal; Orban enters 2015 with at least one in 26 straight games
* back-to-back seasons of at least 20 goals, something only five other Princeton midfielders in the last 25 years have done
* the ability to make plays like the one at the 1:15 mark HERE

Going back to the third point, Orban is one of six Princeton middies in the last 25 years to have back-to-back seasons with at least 20 goals. Of the other five, two were on his midfield line last year - Tom Schreiber and Jake Froccaro. The other three? Brad Dumont, Josh Sims and Lorne Smith.

Of the other five, Schreiber, Sims and Smith were all multiple time first-team All-America selections. Dumont was a second-team All-America.

Froccaro was at least second-team All-Ivy this past year. Orban? Nothing this year (though he was second-team All-Ivy a year earlier).

Anyway, why is TigerBlog talking lacrosse in September? Two reasons - first, it's always a good time to talk about lacrosse.

Second, Ryan Boyle announced his retirement from Major League Lacrosse a few days ago. Boyle finishes his career as the all-time leader in assists (by a wide margin) in MLL history, and he is third all-time in points.

In what is more telling about Boyle, he is second in MLL history in playoff points. He also won four league titles (three with the Philadelphia Barrage, one with the Boston Cannons) and added two World Championships with the U.S. national team.

Without question the lacrosse Hall of Fame awaits him.

Boyle is a 2004 Princeton grad. He was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year. He ranks second all-time at Princeton with 233 career points and 162 career assists.

He assisted on the game-winning goal in overtime in Princeton's 2001 NCAA championship game win over Syracuse, and he had the game-winning goal against Loyola with four seconds left in the quarterfinals that year.

In all Boyle would play 11 NCAA tournament games and have 37 NCAA tournament points.

When TigerBlog thinks of Ryan Boyle, he thinks of someone who is tied for first, along with former football player Keith Elias, among charismatic athletes he's seen here. They both had natural cool even as teenagers, and they both immediately commanded all attention when they were in the room, without ever trying. People are just drawn to him, and the same was the case with Elias when he was here. Boyle and Elias, 1 and 1A in that respect.

Boyle speaks softly but always thoughtfully. It's part of why he's becoming such a great ESPN lacrosse broadcaster. There aren't many who know lacrosse better than he does.

He also came along at a time when the stars of lacrosse were first starting to be seriously marketed, in marketing that ran towards the celebration of the "great player as lax bro." Boyle never fit that mold, or at least that's how it always seemed to TB. While everyone else was the wild rock star of lacrosse, Boyle was his sport's Bob Dylan, the poetic genius who left everyone else is awe of his talent.

A few weeks ago, TigerBlog suggested that Boyle may have supplanted Bill Bradley as having the most successful post-Princeton athletic career by a male athlete. Now that playing career is over.

For everything Boyle accomplished on the field, the one moment that stands out the most was in the NCAA quarterfinals in 2004, his senior year. Princeton was playing Maryland at Virginia, in the nearly empty football stadium. The Tigers trailed 8-6 with two minutes to go, and then Boyle took over in what was without question the single best individual effort TB has ever seen from a Princeton lacrosse player (and maybe any athlete).

Boyle scored two goals in the final 1:55 - including the tying goal with 12 second left - and then assisted on Trombino's game-winner 1:42 into the overtime to give Princeton a 9-8 win over the Terps and a spot in the Final Four. Boyle did all that matched against Chris Passavia, a first-team All-America defenseman.

It's not just that he scored. He scored with Passavia all over him, and he scored when he was always more of a feeder. And then he did it again. And then, when the entire stadium figured he was going to do it a third time, he found Trombino wide open for the layup.

Those aren't performances that just happen. They come from the greatest of the great players, and that's what Ryan Boyle has always been for lacrosse, from his days here through the end of his professional career. 

TigerBlog was looking back at the story he wrote about the 2004 quarterfinal, and he was struck by this quote from Boyle:  "The thought that this might be the end of my career never entered my mind."

Eventually it did, a little more than 10 years later.

With nothing left to prove.

Ryan Boyle steps away from his days on the lacrosse field, secure in his place as one of the greatest who ever played the game. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Opening Thoughts

TigerBlog saw a really good concert on TV Friday night - after he had gone through five episodes of "Breaking Bad," of course.

It was Imagine Dragons, one of TigerBlog Jr.'s favorites. And, TigerBlog must admit, a group he really likes as well.

TB's introduction to Imagine Dragons was when the song "It's Time" was used to promote the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament on ESPN two years ago. The group has a really strong unique sound, and some of its songs are great - including the aforementioned "It's Time," "Radioactive," "Demons" and TB's favorite, "On Top Of The World."

TigerBlog looked through the audience at the concert and didn't see too many people in his age range. Okay, none. Still, TB does like the group, and he especially likes Imagine Dragons compared to almost the rest of what passes for contemporary music.

Has TB become one of those stodgy old people who views modern music the way people who were the age he is now back in the 1960s viewed Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones?

Nah. He just thinks most of what he hears on Miss TigerBlog's stations is awful.

Anyway, when the concert was over, he flipped around and came upon "The Silence of the Lambs," which was just starting. TigerBlog once wrote this about the movie:

"TigerBlog assumes that pretty much everyone has seen it at least once, and if you have, it's left you fairly freaked out for life to a certain extent ... Anthony Hopkins' performance as Hannibal Lecter is extraordinary. It's not easy, after all, to make a cannibalistic serial killer so likeable, like the kind of person you'd want to have a meal with, well, uh, no to that actually."

He stands by that.

Every time he sees the movie, he is amazed that Hopkins is only in it for 16 minutes. He does a lot in that time, of course, to the point that he was one of the easiest Best Actor choices of all time.

Perhaps his best scene is the one in the beginning where he talks to Agent Starling for the first time. That's as far as TB got in the movie, since it was late and he didn't really want to have nightmares all night, even if it's seen the movie a millions times.

One night after Hopkins was on screen for 16 minutes in a performance that won Best Actor, Jameis Winston was on screen for eight minutes during Florida State's overtime win over Clemson.

In case you missed out on this, Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy last year, was suspended by FSU first for the first half and then for the entire game after he jumped onto a table in a public area and shouted an obscene vulgarity. Apparently, that earns a one-game suspension, whereas allegations of sexual assault and stealing crab legs merit nothing.

Clearly, Winston would not still be at Florida State if he was a regular student or even an average football player. But okay, FSU has decided that winning the national championship last year was worth the risk of what the star quarterback will do next.

Oh well. By the way, this treatment is why NFL players feel so untouchable by the rules of regular society, but that's another issue.

But why did ESPN feel the need to show so many reaction shots of him during the game that it added up to eight minutes of screen time? Why? Okay. He's happy when his team does something right. Everyone gets it.

For that matter, why would Florida State permit him on the sideline in the first place. Oh wait, the rules don't apply to him. TigerBlog forgot for a minute.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Princeton opened its football season with a 39-29 loss to San Diego.

TigerBlog, ever the optimist, will point out that Princeton is now, after Week 1, one point ahead of its pace of a year ago, when it set the Ivy League record for points in a season. Princeton scored 28 in its opening day loss to Lehigh a year ago.

Princeton wasn't as sharp offensively against San Diego as it was for most of last year. It was a tough opener, with the long plane ride and all of the other activities around the game, as well as the most interesting issue of all: Week 1 in the Ivy League comes in Week 4 for everyone else.

How big a deal is that?

Princeton is now 0-8 in its last eight season openers, by far its worst showing in any week in that stretch.

Princeton plays non-league games in Week 1, Week 2 and Week 4. Since the start of the 2007 season, Princeton is 0-8 in Week 1, 5-2 in Week 2 and 3-4 in Week 4.

If you want to say it's a function of the opponent, consider this: Since the start of the 2007 season, Princeton is 2-4 against Lehigh - 0-4 in Week 1 games and 2-0 in games that were played in Week 2.

From 1976 through 1999, Ivy League teams opened their seasons with a league game. To say there was a lot of pressure on the opener would be an understatement.

After all, it's hard to win the league when you're 0-1 to start. History says it doesn't happen often.

Princeton, for instance, has never done it, never won the Ivy title after losing its first Ivy game.

So the decision was made to play a non-league game first. In Princeton's case, it's the first two weeks.

And that's always going to be a disadvantage. Teams are much sharper in Week 2 than Week 1 and much fitter in Weeks 3 and 4 than in Week 1. It's just how it is. 

This year, Davidson comes to Powers Field at Princeton Stadium for the home opener, this Saturday at 6. There will be fireworks after the game, by the way.

What does the opening day loss mean? In the long run, not much, other than the chance to go 10-0 is gone. But hey, that's getting way ahead of things anyway.

The goals are the same every year. Win the Ivy title. Get a bonfire for beating Harvard and Yale.

The goal of an opening day win? That will have to wait until next year, at Lafayette.

Princeton has won three straight against the Leopards, just none of them in Week 1.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Opening Out West

TigerBlog starts his Friday with a good trivia question: Name the only six teams Princeton has opened its football season with in the last 60 years?

This doesn't count San Diego, whom Princeton opens with tomorrow at 4 pm Eastern time.

So go back 60 years and come up with the six teams. TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs to come up with it, as always.

In the meantime, here's something TigerBlog has been meaning to share since he first read it a week or two ago. It's a link to John McPhee's story in "The New Yorker" about his experiences growing up around Princeton football, and, like everything by John McPhee, it's well worth your time to read it.

So click HERE to read it.

The 2014 season will be Princeton's 17th in Princeton Stadium. It spent 83 in Palmer Stadium. That means that it's been 100 years since Palmer Stadium opened.

In fact, Game 1 in Palmer Stadium was played on Oct. 24, 1914, which means that this year's Harvard game will be one day after the 100th anniversary of the day the old stadium opened.

TigerBlog spent a lot of Saturdays in Palmer Stadium, all at the end of its long life as the home of Princeton football. He has nice memories of the place, even if it was a zero frills building by the end. Or, for that matter, in the begining, TB assumes.

Mr. McPhee has a much stronger connection to Palmer Stadium than TigerBlog does. Much, more stronger.

His father was the team physician for Princeton football (and the U.S. Olympic team at one point). John McPhee grew up around Princeton football, with access to the players, coaches and program that any little kid at the time would have loved. It comes out in his recent magazine piece, and it makes TigerBlog think about what Palmer Stadium must have been all about way back when.

Any picture that TigerBlog has seen of Palmer Stadium from those times was in black and white, obviously, yet it was a world of color back then as well. What did it look like on game day?

And how did Princeton distribute tickets back then? Were there event meetings like the ones that TB goes to every Tuesday?

Anyway, the answer to the trivia question is this: Lehigh, Lafayette, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Cornell and the Citadel.

TigerBlog only got five of them right when he was asked. He completely forgot the games against the Citadel.

The 2014 opener is in California, against a San Diego team that is 1-1, with a win over Western New Mexico and a loss to Jacksonville.

Princeton left yesterday afternoon on a charter flight from Philadelphia to San Diego. It's an exciting trip for the players, and it's a logistical challenge for those who had to put it together.

Still, it's a great experience all around.

Princeton comes home for its first game on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium next Saturday, when it hosts Davidson at 6. There are fireworks after the game.

This is expected to be a season of fireworks, both the literal kind after the first home game and the figurative kind on the field during games. Princeton has the bulk of its offense back after last year's explosion of points and yards, both of which set Ivy League records.

The leader of the show is Quinn Epperly, the reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year who is back for his senior year as Princeton's quarterback. Or, more precisely, one of Princeton's quarterbacks.

Princeton's scheme is built around using multiple quarterbacks at the same time. And multiple running backs. And multiple receivers.

Princeton went 8-2 a year ago, losing its opener (to Lehigh) and its finale (in the snow at Dartmouth) and winning eight straight in between. Princeton reached at least 50 points five times in those eight games; Princeton didn't reach 50 points five times going back, oh, pretty much to the time that John McPhee was a kid.

The big win last year was a 51-48 win over Harvard, the team that Princeton would tie for the league championship. This year, those two are picked to finish 1-2 in the league, and they got every first- and second-place vote in the preseason poll.

It's been awhile since Princeton has gone into a football season with so much, well, let's call it cautious optimism. It has depth. It has speed. It has size. It has experience. It has newcomers pushing to get on the field. It has an established coaching staff and system. It's bigger than any single one of its players, including Epperly.

It has its question marks. Princeton sent two defensive linemen to the NFL in two years and has some rebuilding to do on that side of the ball. The rest of the league has had a year to figure out the multi-quarterback sets; will that make a difference?

Still, there is a lot to be excited about as 2014 kicks off, even if it is 3,000 miles away.

It's the start of 10 games in 10 weeks. It's been a long wait. Now the sprint begins.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

200 National Champs, Or Is That 202?

TigerBlog was in a meeting the other day when the question of Princeton's all-time national champions came up.

Actually, questions. As in, how many? What sports? Who has the most? All of it.

Princeton has won its share of national championships. More, actually.

As you probably know, Princeton has had at least one team or individual win a national championship in each of the 43 years. Julia Ratcliffe somewhat dramatically kept the streak alive last year, winning the NCAA women's hammer throw at the final event of the athletic year.

When TigerBlog started working here, he saw someplace that said that Princeton had a long streak of producing a national champion. He didn't, however, see the list of the national champions during that streak.

At some point, he decided he'd put together the list - and he found that it actually ran 12 years longer than he thought it did. Now it's up to 43 straight, thanks to Ratcliffe.

And TigerBlog can prove it. Click HERE and scroll to the bottom.

So that's the last 43 years.

As for all time? Well, that's not as clear cut, though it is possible that Ratcliffe's championship this past spring was also a huge milestone, in addition to one that kept a big streak alive.

TigerBlog went through and added up all of Princeton's all-time national championships, team and individual. He found four teams with at least 20; he will give you a few paragraphs to guess the four.

In the meantime, there's a little issue with men's hockey national championships. As in, Princeton doesn't claim any.

Harvard, of all places, credits Princeton with two during the Hobey Baker years. Yale claims national hockey championships during that era, suggesting that perhaps there was a champion crowned.

TB is working on this one.

Okay, as for the four teams with at least 20? That would be football (with 28), women's squash (26), men's squash (24), men's swimming and diving (22). This includes team and individual for the last three.

Yeah, yeah, TigerBlog gets it. The 28 national championships in football that Princeton won aren't quite the same as winning, say, the BCS championship or something. But they're national titles nonetheless.

Not counting the men's hockey issue, TigerBlog has come up with 200 national championships all time at Princeton. In other words, if men's hockey never won a national title, then the one that Ratcliffe won was the 200th in school history.

Oh, and of those 200, the breakdown is 111 team and 89 individual. Or 113 team and 89 individual, if you count hockey.

Of course, this does not translate to 200 NCAA championships. Or 202.

Does anyone remember the AIAW, which stood for the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women?

The AIAW was founded in 1971 as the governing body of women's athletics on the college level, and it was the AIAW - not the NCAA - which ran the national championship events for the women's teams. This lasted until the early 1980s, when the NCAA basically obliterated the AIAW.

TigerBlog isn't sure how the compliance end of the AIAW worked, compared with NCAA rules and regulations. And it's not on Wikipedia, so he may never find out.

Princeton won six AIAW championships in swimming, including four individual ones by Cathy Corcione. One of TigerBlog's favorite Princeton stories is how six swimmers from Princeton went to the 1973 AIAW national meet and ended up finishing third in the country, helped along by Corcione's two individual wins and her leg on the winning 200 free relay team, along with teammates Jane Fremon, Barb Franks, and Carol Brown. All three of Princeton's champs set national records at that meet.

Corcione won two more events the following year, taking both the 100 IM and 200 IM. The most recent Princeton national championship in women's swimming came in the 1982 AIAW meet - the last one - when Diana Caskey, Ann Heusner, Liz Richardson and Betsy Lind won the 800 free relay.

Some sports still don't compete for NCAA titles, such as squash and men's rowing. Others won national titles in sports before there was an NCAA to award them, or before there was an NCAA tournament to crown the championship.

Men's lacrosse, for instance, has won 12 national championships. Of the 12, two were before the formation of the NCAA (which was in 1906) and four others were when the national champion was voted on. The remaining six were by virtue of winning the actual NCAA tournament.

Anyway, here's the list, sport by sport. Where you see a "x/y," that is "team/individual champions."

And if Julia's was No. 200, that's even cooler.

If Princeton won the two hockey championships, by the way, then the 200th would have Eliza Stone's individual fencing championship in 2013.

Football – 28
Women’s squash – 26 (17/9)
Men’s squash – 24 (10/14)
Men’s swimming and diving – 22 (0/22)
Mens’ golf – 19 (12/7)
Fencing – 14 (2/12)
Men’s lax – 12
Men’s tennis – 10 (0/10)
Women’s open rowing - 10
Men’s lightweight rowing - 8
Men’s track and field – 7 (0/7)
Women’s swimming and diving – 6 (0/6)
Women’s lightweight rowing – 5
Women’s lax – 3
Men’s heavyweight rowing – 3
Wrestling – 1 (0/1)
Field Hockey – 1
Women’s Track and Field – 1 (0/1)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Soccer Trumps Meth For A Night

TigerBlog can't imagine which storylines were passed over before the AMC executive stopped and shouted "this is the winner" when he got to "underachieving high school chemistry teacher finds out he has terminal cancer, turns to cooking crystal meth to make money for his family for after he dies."

Anyway, that's the basic plot of "Breaking Bad," a show to whose party TigerBlog has been very late getting to, though now that he's here, he figures he'll stay til the end.

"Breaking Bad" ran for five seasons and 65 episodes on AMC before coming to a close almost exactly one year ago. TigerBlog never got into it, for whatever reason.

Maybe it's the premise. It's not that Walter White couldn't or wouldn't become a great meth cooker. It's not that he wouldn't be too concerned about getting caught.

It's that you have to assume that he doesn't care about the people who ultimately take the stuff he makes and what it does to them and to society. That's sort of a hard thing to overlook.

As an aside, in a great moment of irony, TigerBlog just got an email announcing the University's new chemistry website: http://chemistry.princeton.edu. TigerBlog hopes that all who learn there use that knowledge for good, and not how Walter White used it.

Or at least uses it through the middle of Season 2, which is as far as TB has gotten to date. It's the new way to watch a show. All 65 episodes are out there, just waiting to be watched, whenever TB has the time.

With Season 4 of "Homeland" coming up, TB is debating not watching it until it's all aired and then going with all 12 episodes in a week or so.

Meanwhile, back at "Breaking Bad," the show has some great characters, beginning with Walter and Jesse and continuing especially with Hank, the brother-in-law in the DEA. He's not just a cop. He's in the DEA. That was a great touch by someone. Anyway, Hank is a great, great character.

Hank's wife Marie is another great character. Skyler, Walter's wife, is very, very good; the son, Walter Jr., brings little to the table so far. There have also been some great fringe characters as well.

There are also some hysterically funny moments, as well as some that make you close your eyes and look away. So far, TigerBlog gets why so many people loved the show.

TB won't be watching much of it tonight, not with Princeton men's soccer on ESPNU against 13th-ranked Georgetown at 7. The game will be played on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium, and admission is free.

Georgetown has become a soccer power. The Hoyas were the NCAA runner-up two years ago, and last year they were the sixth-seed in the NCAA tournament before losing in the Round of 16 to No. 11 Michigan State.

Princeton is 1-1-1 on the season; Georgetown is 2-1-3, though their three ties are against the No. 5, No. 6 and No. 14 teams in the country. Princeton has gone from loss to tie to win in its first three games.

If you're quick, you noticed that Georgetown has played twice as many games as Princeton, and yet the Tigers have scored almost as many goals as the Hoyas, trailing just 9-7.

And Princeton's total of seven goals in three games includes one 0-0 tie. Of course, the goal total was helped considerably by a five-goal outburst against Seton Hall in a 5-4 win Sunday.

Princeton is playing its third straight Big East opponent, or at least TB thinks that it's the third-straight Big East opponent, if Seton Hall, St. John's and Georgetown are all still in the Big East.

After tonight, there are still three more non-league games (against Boston University, Drexel and Binghamton - TB is guessing Patriot League, CAA and America East) before the Tigers play Dartmouth (definitely in the Ivy League; TB is sure of it).

For tonight, it's a chance to take on a national contender at home - and on national TV to boot. The TV truck has been parked on the gravel road by the tennis courts and 1952 Stadium all week, as the Princeton women's 2-1 win over Villanova was also on ESPNU.

That begs the question - when was the last time ESPNU did consecutive games by one school's women's soccer team and then men's soccer team. It can't happen too often.

Anyway, it's going to be another perfect weather night in Princeton. There is no excuse not to either be there or to watch it on TV.

For TigerBlog, he can hold off on the crystal meth for a night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Boycotting At Bedford

There's a really disturbing point that can be taken from this awful little stretch that the NFL is currently experiencing, and it's really not about child abuse, domestic abuse or even that a recent study showed that one in three former players can expect to suffer from dementia.


It's that for the most part, nobody really cares about any of that. They just want to watch football. NFL football, for that matter. They can't get enough of it.

Want proof? Just a few days after a video surfaced that showed Ray Rice's devastating knockout of his then-fiance and now-wife in an Atlantic City hotel elevator, the Ravens-Steelers game drew CBS' highest Thursday night rating in forever.

The NFL is in a freefall. Do you really think that Rice is the only one who has hit a woman in the last few weeks? No, he's the only one caught on video.

Do you think that Peterson is the only one who is hitting a child because he himself was hit - "whooped" - when he was a kid?

How many NFL players right now are exhaling because there was no video or no indictment or damning text messages of when they committed their offense?

And that doesn't even take into account the "Gladiator" factor, that this is essentially watching participants who could be killing themselves by playing this sport. Maybe not right there and then, but eventually.

And nobody cares. They just keep watching. In huge numbers. Not just that, but look how many people wore Ray Rice jerseys and Adrian Peterson jerseys this week.

What would it take for people to stop watching?

Oh, and do you really think Roger Goodell is in trouble for his job? Not right now he's not. You know when he'll be in trouble? When the owners lose their first dollar because of something directly relatable to him.

That's when.

Until then, he's the one who prints the money for the owners, and that's all they care about.

TigerBlog used to love the NFL, used to count down the weeks til opening kickoff. Now? Not so much.

He used to watch a lot of Major League Baseball too, and hasn't watched nine innings all year. But that's more of a lacrosse-baseball thing now. He's not getting to be appalled by baseball.

But football? NFL football especially? It's getting harder and harder for TigerBlog. Through two weeks of this season he's watched next to none of the NFL.

Are there more like him? Hardly.

TB bailed on Sunday's games. Instead, he headed to Bedford Field to watch Princeton field hockey against Bucknell in the home opener.

Call it Boycotting at Bedford.

The game was a pretty even one, and Bucknell scored in the 7-on-7 overtime for the only goal of the day in a 1-0 win. The loss dropped Princeton to 0-4, but all four games have been against top teams, including three in the top eight nationally.

Princeton is two years removed from the NCAA championship and one year removed from the NCAA quarterfinals. The Tigers have graduated, among others, Katie and Julia Reinprecht, Michelle Cesan and Kat Sharkey in the last two years. That's a lot to overcome.

On the other hand, Princeton field hockey has won 19 of the last 20 Ivy League championships, and a case can be made that it is year after year the most successful single program in Ivy athletics. The one year it didn't win the Ivy League, it lost on a penalty corner after time had expired - corners are played out if the whistle blows before the clock gets to all zeroes - on the final day of the season.

Bedford Field is now completed. It has perfect artificial turf. It has bleachers that face the access road and make the facility look pristine, especially at night. It's a great place to watch a game.

As an aside, when TigerBlog first got there, assistant coach Mike Palister went to the scorer's table and asked if anyone had hand sanitizer. That's a silly question - TigerBlog is never without it.

TigerBlog watches a lot of field hockey these days, especially the high school junior varsity variety. He saw a game yesterday that ended up 0-0 without a shot taken by either team, largely because it was played on a field where the grass needed to be cut much tighter than it had been.

Field hockey on turf, on the college level, is a different game. It's fast-paced. The ball rockets off of sticks. It's non-stop. It has quick restarts. There is no offsides.

Yes, Princeton would lose this one, but it was still a well-played, entertaining game.

Up next is Dartmouth Saturday. Two years ago, Dartmouth was the only team in the league to score a goal against Princeton, and that came in a 4-1 Princeton win.

This is the first Ivy event of the year for Princeton, and the start of the chase for the 20th title in 21 years.

It's worth going to see. There is no admission charge. The venue is great. The game is exciting.

A few hundred will be there.

Millions and millions will watch college football that day and then even more will watch the NFL the next day.

It's just how it is. Football is king. TigerBlog doesn't really understand why that is, though. 

And he wonders if it will always be that way.

Monday, September 15, 2014

All-Access: Training Camp

If you're a Princeton fan, watch this video ... then come back and read the rest ... or read first, watch second ... CLICK HERE

TigerBlog sat down on his couch at about 1:15 Saturday afternoon and flipped on the TV.

Then he started counting the number of college football games that were on at that moment. He made it all the way to 11 - and he doesn't have any premium sports channels, which would have pushed that total into the 20s. And then there is ESPN3, which would push that number twice as high probably.

That's a lot of competition for the viewer. And for the consumer, for that matter, since why buy a ticket and go through the hassle of going to a game when there are so many options available on TV and online?

That's the reality of the matter for those who are hoping to get consumers to buy tickets, and it's being felt on every level of the sporting world.

Then there's the oversaturation issue. TigerBlog couldn't decide what game to watch. Nothing was leaping out at him. Ohio State vs. Kent State? Bowling Green vs. Indiana? East Carolina vs. Virginia Tech? Pitt vs. Florida International? UConn vs. Bowling Green? Maryland vs. West Virginia? Syracuse vs. Central Michigan? There were others too.

As it turned out, some of these games were great. TigerBlog didn't stay with any of them though. He watched another "Breaking Bad," which he's getting into, even as he's overwhelmed by how many episodes there are.

On the other hand, "Breaking Bad" was made to run on commercial TV in a one-hour time-slot, whereas on Netflix they're in 45-48 minute blocks without commercials. Still, TB still has 53 episodes to go. According to TigerBlog Jr., TB should be done with that in about three weeks.

Meanwhile, back at college football, TigerBlog didn't really feel strongly about any of the games that were on early. He roots for East Carolina out of loyalty to Scott Jurgens, the former marketing director here and there who is currently at Montana State, for whom he also now roots.

There were two games he was really interested in Saturday.

First was Georgia vs. South Carolina. TigerBlog roots for Georgia, because the guy whom Andi picked on "The Bachelorette" this past season was the brother of Georgia's quarterback last year - or maybe it's actually because MotherBlog lived in Georgia before she passed away and rooted for the Bulldogs.

If you didn't see this game, South Carolina won by virtue of the closest measurement in recorded history on a fourth-and-inches near midfield with 1:20 or so to play.

The other game was Rutgers-Penn State, which started at 8. TigerBlog saw the beginning and end and listened to some of the middle on the radio. To say that the Rutgers radio team is a bit homerish would be quite the understatement. TigerBlog's favorite part was when Ray Lucas called one of the refs a "clown" for his spot on a third-down, even as his partner Chris Carlin was saying how it was a good call after watching the replay.

Anyway, two things about that game. First, Rutgers Stadium looked unbelievable on television. It was jammed with more than 53,000 fans, almost all in scarlet. Second, it was an excruciating loss for Rutgers, which won't have too many better chances at a Big Ten win this year.

The question TigerBlog heard the most this weekend was "how did Princeton do today?" The answer was "Princeton hasn't played yet."

That changes this Saturday in San Diego, where the Tigers open the season at 4 Eastern. You can hear it on WPRB FM 103.3 with Dan Loney and Craig Sachson; those two will do the away games this year, while it'll be Loney and Dave Giancola on the home games.

The Tigers - and the rest of the Ivy League - can't wait for Saturday to get here fast enough. It's been a long wait, as it always is, with not only the start of the college football season but also the start of the season for every other Ivy sport.

For the football players, it's now a 10 game, 10 week sprint.

If you want to know what it takes to get ready for that sprint, then there's a video today on goprincetontigers.com that chronicles just that. It's All-Access, Football Training Camp.

The video, done by Princeton cinematographer John Bullis, follows the Princeton football team around a few days of its camp. It includes footage from meetings, practices, team gatherings and other activities, as well as interviews with Max Lescano, John Hill and Connor Kelley.

The piece is 19 minutes or so, and worth every second.

The "All-Access" series that Bullis has done here started last winter and spring. It will continue this fall. They're excellent pieces, and they do an outstanding job of showing what the experience is like for the Princeton athlete. Women's volleyball is coming next.

The football one is little longer, but make sure you check it out.

And then get ready for kickoff Saturday, and for the nine that follow. Princeton is the defending champ and preseason pick to win again.

Let's find out how it goes.

Friday, September 12, 2014


This was always the week that TigerBlog thought was the toughest for the Princeton football team.

The newness of training camp is over. Classes have started. Every other fall sport is playing. The rest of the football-playing universe started its season weeks ago.

And yet the Ivy League has one more week to go until kickoff.

TigerBlog used to love the 10-games, 10-weeks Ivy football schedule. Now, TigerBlog would love to see the season start this week and have all eight teams take Week 6 off. Play five games. Take a week off. Play five more games.

Maybe it'll come to be one day. Maybe not.

It won't be this year, when Ivy football is still off this week. And if you're an Ivy football player, you can't wait to get going, only to be faced with one more weekend of watching on TV.

By next week, it won't matter. Princeton will be at San Diego in its opener, and away it'll go. In the blink of an eye, it'll be Halloween and the Ivy race will be reaching the top of the stretch.

For this weekend, there is no Ivy football.

There is home field hockey Sunday at 1 against Bucknell, after the Tigers are at Penn State today. And the women's soccer team is at La Salle tonight and then home Sunday against Villanova at 4, in a game that can be seen on ESPNU.

Other than that, everyone else is on the road this weekend. And by everyone, TigerBlog means women's tennis, women's volleyball, men's soccer, men's cross country, women's cross country and men's water polo.

Looking for updates for all those events? Well, you can do what you usually do. Get them from Twitter.

Starting today though, Princeton Athletics will be trying something a little different.

Starting today, Princeton Athletics introduces @putigers_live, a second official athletic department Twitter feed.

That's @putigers_live. An offshoot of the original Twitter feed, @putigers. The logic is to have one feed for in-game updates and another for everything else.

Princeton has a busy weekend coming up. It's nothing compared to what happens in the winter and spring - and especially when the fall and winter or winter and spring overlap.

On those Saturdays, there can be nearly 20 events. That's a lot of updated on one Twitter account, and TigerBlog's fear is that it overwhelms people who aren't looking for those updates, to the point where they simply unfollow to get rid of the traffic.

The solution is one feed for updates only.

The problem, of course, is that everyone who is expecting updates on @putigers needs to now follow @putigers_live. The hope is not to the audience in the transition.

As for the original @putigers, there will be additional content coming to that feed as the fall goes along.

It's incredible what Twitter - and all of social media - have become. TigerBlog loves the 3,000-word feature, but there is a lot to be said for the 140-character format. Yes, it speaks volumes about the world's current lack of a real attention span.

But yes, it's a great way to get the message directly to those who want it. And yes, there is a huge thirst for creative content.

That's the new challenge in athletic communications. Stay current on technology. Always come up with newer, interesting content. There's a lot more going on than just keeping stats at games.

It always brings TigerBlog back to the same place, which is how much the business has changed since he first got into it and where is it going from here.

TigerBlog remembers when livestats first came along, and he thought to himself "who is going to sit in front of a computer all afternoon following a game." At the time, that's all there was. A computer.

Now? There are smart phones and tablets and who knows what's coming next. The need to provide immediate - and easy to find - updates is a primary function in athletics on all levels.

TigerBlog gets frustrated when he can't find out scores from high school games when he wants them, but he gets why he can't. On the college and pro level? That's unacceptable.

Princeton has done a very good job of getting scores out to those who want them.

TB hopes @putigers_live will be the next step in making that effort even better for Princeton fans.

So go and follow it. And get all your updates there. And check out @putigers for the rest.

And have a good weekend.

It's the last one without Princeton football.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Day To Remember

Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium opened as the home of Princeton men's and women's soccer in 2008.

From that beginning until four days ago, there had been five 0-0 ties played at the facility. Of those, four were played by the women - one each in 2008, 2009, 2010 and last year. The only men's 0-0 tie there was also in 2008.

Then this week rolled around, and the women played a 0-0 tie Monday against Seton Hall and the men followed with a 0-0 tie against St. John's last night. These were the first consecutive 0-0 ties at Roberts Stadium ever.

Given that the Rutgers women scored with 0.1 seconds remaining against Princeton in the game prior to the back-to-back 0-0s, the scoreless streak there is now 220:00.1.

The next two games that will be played at Roberts will be televised by ESPNU, beginning Sunday at 4 against Villanova for the women and then continuing with the men's game Wednesday against Georgetown.

It'll be a great showcase for the facility, which is an incredible place to watch soccer.

Today, though, can't be about Princeton soccer. Or Princeton Athletics, for that matter.

It can't be about Ray Rice, even as the whole thing gets uglier, with a report that the NFL did in fact have a copy of the video inside the elevator, whether or not Roger Goodell has to go and with the social media post by Janay Rice, in which she rather directly ripped into those who have been critical of her husband, which begs so many more questions about her mental state, the nature of physically abusive relationships, whether or not this was a one-time moment or a chronic problem. It even goes to the issue of modern-day media and social media and the instant analysis and commentary that pops up everywhere, regardless of any qualification on the part of the commentator.

But hey, today can't be about that either.

It can't be about Oscar Pistorius, and whether or not he's about to get away with murder.

Not today.

No, today can only be about one thing.


Today is Sept. 11 - 9/11. Nothing else matters today other than remembering what happened on this day in 2001.

It was on that day that Islamic terrorists changed the world forever and brought real terror to this country. It was on that day when four commercial airplanes, filled with innocent people of all religions, were hijacked.

Two of them were flown into the World Trade Center's twin towers, killing more innocents, of all religions. Another crashed into the Pentagon, with more deaths. The fourth was heroically overtaken by the passengers and crashed into a field in Western Pennsylvania, before it could hit its target, which was either the White House or the Capitol building.

In all, 2,977 innocent people were killed that day. And the United States was changed forever.

It's been 13 years since that day. So many events have transpired, with so many more deaths since.

And yet for all that, even now, there are those out there who are plotting the next attack. Some of them are doing so rather brazenly. The world is not a safe place right now.

This country has not been immune to terrorism since that day 13 years ago, though on a much smaller scale. Is the day coming when another attack of the same magnitude - or greater - arrives here?

TigerBlog hopes not. But if it doesn't, it won't because the bad guys aren't trying. It'll be because the good guys stop them.

That's the threat that the world faces now.

But even that isn't what today is about. Today is about remembering, as painful as that is.

This wasn't a movie. This wasn't something that got wrapped up neatly. This was a day that America was beaten and beaten badly - and yet it was a day of such unimaginable courage and fortitude that that even if it was physically tattered, the spirit of America - and especially New York City - was on full display, for the entire world to see.

TigerBlog knows so many people who were in New York that morning, or arriving at Newark Airport at around the same time. He knows former Princeton athletes who were in the Twin Towers that morning - one of whom, former men's lacrosse player John Schroeder - who was among those killed.

Schroeder was a St. Anthony's product from Long Island, and he was a member of the 1992 NCAA championship team. TigerBlog didn't know him well, but he thinks of his memory every year on this day.

TigerBlog was dropping off TigerBlog Jr. at the nursery school across from the Jadwin parking lot, after taking Miss TigerBlog to her babysitter that morning. He was told by a woman who worked at the nursery school about a plane that had flown in the World Trade Center, and when he went outside and looked up, he saw the most perfect, crystal-clear blue sky he's ever seen. No way, he thought, was this any kind of accident.

Of course, it wasn't. TB remembers being here all day, with everyone crowded around the only TV around at that time, one in the training room in Caldwell Field House. He remembers looking for information anywhere it could be found.

He remembers trying to get in touch with FatherBlog, whose office is in midtown, a relatively safe distance from Ground Zero and yet not really.

He remembers going back in the afternoon to pick up his kids and seeing TBJ and a few others on a swing, unaware of the significance of that day on their world, their childhoods.

That night, TigerBlog stood on his driveway and looked up to the clear sky. He saw stars everywhere, but no airplanes. They'd all been grounded. It was so calm, and yet so uneasy and unnerving, all at once.

TigerBlog was convinced that the next attack was on its way, in much the same way that people must have felt after Pearl Harbor, that there was another attack on Hawaii or even the mainland right behind the first one.

The night before the 13th anniversary of 9/11, TigerBlog was at the men's soccer game. At one point, a faint orange light appeared in the trees beyond the field. In what seemed like no time, that light became bigger and brighter as it rose above the trees, a beautiful moon on another beautiful evening.

The moon eventually went through some hazy clouds and then eventually stood watch over the field. It was a moment of serenity, of peacefulness.

But serenity and peace these days aren't what they were before the events of 13 years ago today.

America can try to hide from that fact, hide in the new iPhone, hide in reality TV, hide in the outrage over a football player who punched out his then-fiance and how a billion dollar enterprise has tried to make it go away as smoothly as possible, hide in whatever other diversion it wants.

It can't, though. It's there. It's not going away.

Remember what happened. Remember all of those who died, many of whom lived within a 50 or so mile radius of Princeton University. Think about the children who lost parents. Think about those who ran into the burning buildings and didn't come out. Think of the ones who lost their lives years later from the toxic mess that they cleaned up.

Think about it all.

And think about the threat that is still out there.

Never forget any of what happened not far from here 13 years ago today. Never.

Maybe one day, there will be real peace in this world. Whatever peace there had been, it was shattered on this day, in 2001.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

School Is In Session

TigerBlog was minding his own business yesterday when all of the sudden his windshield cracked.

It was a tad scary, followed by a tad annoying. After all, the car is less than a half-year old.

TigerBlog's old car, which is currently being used by TigerBlog Jr., had a cracked windshield. Actually it still does. TigerBlog cracked it in the middle of winter, maybe four or five years ago. The windshield wiper was frozen to the windshield, and when TB pulled it up, it snapped off, and the metal part cracked the windshield.

That crack was in an upside-down U shape. It never got any bigger or smaller, never changed in any way. So TigerBlog just left it as is.

This one? Forget it. First of all, TigerBlog doesn't remember having anything hit the glass. It just cracked. And like that, it made its way across the windshield, stretching from one corner out to the middle, and then up and down.

It looks like a smartphone after it's been dropped and cracks. Anyway, TigerBlog's morning will be spent trying to rectify the problem.

The morning of Princeton's student population will be spent in school. Today is the first day of classes.

TB remembers his first day of classes at Penn. His freshman dorm was in the Quad, the huge conglomeration of dorms that you'd see if you walked up Spruce Street past the hospital.

That morning a long, long time ago, he walked down Spruce to the Art Museum, across the street from Franklin Field, for his first ever college class, a political science class. All he remembers about it was that the professor was really dry.

But he does remember what happened before the class. There was construction going on on Spruce Street around 34th, and TB definitely remembers the smell of the tar they were using to fix the road. Like it was yesterday.

It wasn't quite yesterday, but two days ago, when he walked from Jadwin Gym to McCosh 50 for freshman student-athlete orientation. When he got closer to McCosh, he saw that the entryway that he normally would use was closed off, and he could smell that same tarry smell that he smelled all those years ago at Penn.

It must have been an omen for the start of classes, even if most of the parents of the current group of freshmen probably didn't even know each other yet when TB first smelled the pre-college tar.

TigerBlog has written basically every year about how much he loves to look around at freshman athlete orientation and wonder what's in store for all of them.

And he loves to project ahead to the senior awards banquet nearly four years away and wonder which of them will walk away with the biggest prizes, for having the best careers here.

They're all at the start of their road here, the members of the Class of 2018. Athletically, and starting today, academically.

It's that balance that led them to Princeton in the first place.

It was a big day for the school yesterday, when the U.S. News and World Report rankings came out, and Princeton was again ranked No. 1. It's easy for TB to take it for granted that this is the No. 1 university in the country and one of the very, very best in the world, since he's here every day.

But the truth is that there aren't many places like Princeton anywhere. And those who come here to compete are brought here by that combination of education and athletics. They want to be challenged in both arenas, and they come here for that reason.

When kids are little, they all basically start in the same place - kindergarten and youth soccer. From that beginning, some kids grow up to become super students. Others become super athletes.

Very few become both.

If you think of those two groups as a graph, then the intersection of the top of the two is a very, very small subset of the whole. That intersection is here, at Princeton.

It's not something that too many get the opportunity to experience. TigerBlog certainly didn't.

To those who are now starting down the path of navigating Princeton as students and athletes, TigerBlog wishes you the best of luck.

He also hopes that you appreciate how unique you are and what an incredible opportunity you have. And how there are thousands and thousands of others who would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

So today, school is in session. There's men's soccer at home tonight against St. John's. TigerBlog hopes to be there, if his new windshield cooperates.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Caught On Tape

Ray Rice is one of the luckiest people on Earth right now.

Huh? Yeah. The former Baltimore Ravens running back is lucky - very, very lucky. How so? He's lucky that he didn't kill his then-fiance, now-wife Janay when he knocked her out in an elevator in Atlantic City.

If you write about sports every day, like TigerBlog does, then you can't really start anywhere else today than with Ray Rice.

You have to want to say what you're thinking about this whole situation, and to TigerBlog, this is what he's thinking: Ray Rice got what he deserved, but nobody really comes out of this looking very good.

The NFL? If the league had been interested in doing what was right, it would have banned him nearly immediately after the first video was released. If you didn't see the two videos - the one where Rice drags his now-wife Janay out of the elevator and the one where he knocks her out in the elevator that came out yesterday - then go find them or simply take TB's word for it.

They're reprehensible. They're worse than that actually.

They're scary.

As TB said, Rice deserved to be released by the Ravens, and he has no one to blame but himself for the fact that he's suspended indefinitely. Does TigerBlog think he'll get another chance in the NFL? Yes. If a team thinks he can help. After all, there are players who killed people and still got another chance in the NFL.

And Rice's case did lead to a revamping of the league's rules dealing with domestic abuse, making them much stricter. But why?

Because Rice's original penalty was a two-game suspension. Did the NFL change the penalties because it was the right thing to do or because of the backlash of the way Rice got off easy - and how Josh Gordon of the Browns was suspended an entire season for smoking pot?

Oh, and the two-game suspension came after the first videotape surfaced. Two games? Remember, this was after the NFL saw the first video.

The NFL claimed it had not seen the video from the inside of the elevator until yesterday. This begs a few questions: 1) is that really true and 2) how did TMZ come up with it but the NFL couldn't.

But even beyond that, what did Roger Goodell think happened in the elevator. TigerBlog didn't need to see the video inside the elevator to figure out that Rice had to have hit her really hard. After all, she was out - almost lifeless - when the video outside the elevator starts. How did she get that way?

As Dustin Hoffman said in "All the President's Men," "if you go to bed and there's no snow and you wake up and there's snow on the ground, you can conclude it snowed."

And if you want to really be skeeved out by something here, try the Ravens and their Ray-Rice-Rehab PR efforts after the first video and before the second. Included in this: 1) a tweet saying that Janay had apologized for her role in this, 2) a reference to how much the Ravens' fans love Ray Rice and 3) a story on the team's official website from a team VP about "how much I like Ray Rice."

Who thought any of this was a good idea?

So the axe fell on Rice yesterday. TB wonders if it would have had he averaged 5.1 yards per carry last year, instead of 3.1 He wonders if he'd be suspended had the league not had a PR nightmare after its first weak suspension.

And then there's the owner of the Hawks, who announced he'd be selling his controlling interest in the team after it came out that he had made some comments about the team's desire to attract more white fans than black fans.

When the whole Donald Sterling story broke, TigerBlog wrote this:
TigerBlog wonders how many of the people who jumped all over Sterling did so in a "look at how offended I am by this; doesn't this make me enlightened" way would want all of their private conversations to suddenly become public, to have everything that they've said that they thought no one would ever hear be everywhere.
Is it possible that Donald Sterling is the only NBA owner or pro sports owner who ever privately said anything that would destroy his/her career? TB can't believe that's the case. How can it be, with primarily white billionaires who employ primarily black multimillionaires. TB can't begin to image what these billionaires have said in private.

And that's sort of what happened. But not really.

TigerBlog doesn't think the comments the Hawks owner (TB is too lazy to look up his name right now) were racist. He thinks they were racial, and any racial comments put the commentator in a minefield. These comments were more business than anything else, and they were offensive in the way that it showed that every single person was viewed solely for their dollar value. But hey, it's business.

Yesterday was freshman student-athlete orientation at Princeton. It's another hour of orientation for the incoming freshmen in a week of orientations. Today is new employee orientation.

TigerBlog didn't have a speaking role yesterday. He does this morning.

What he will tell the new employees is the same thing he would have told the freshmen athletes, and that is to understand that the times in which they live and now find themselves on this campus under the umbrella of Princeton Athletics are ones where everything should be assumed to be recorded, videotaped and available to show up anywhere at any time.

There's no way to get away from it. And they need to understand the possible ramifications.

Ray Rice couldn't talk his way out of what appears on the video. There's not one thing he could possibly say. Judge. Jury. Done. There is no defense.

The last thing you want to be is in the position of having to face the music with an unforgiving video or audiotape. That's it these days. There's no way around it.

The solution is to make good decisions at all times, and then there's nothing to worry about.

Otherwise, there's plenty to worry about. It's just how the world is these days.

Everything is public - and permanent.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Remember All Their Faces

TigerBlog saw a commercial for the first of the two Monday night NFL games.

It started out with the predictable "Eli Manning and the Giants take on ...", at which point TigerBlog had hoped it would say "Caraun Reid and the Lions." But no. It had Matthew Stafford instead.

Who makes these decisions?

Reid, after all, is a rookie back up defensive lineman. Why wouldn't he be featured, instead of Stafford, the starting quarterback?

Okay, TB gets it.

Still, Reid is a Princeton grad making his NFL debut. Against Eli Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. What could be better?

Reid is one of two Princeton alums in the NFL this year, along with Mike Catapano of the Chiefs, though Catapano is on the Physically Unable To Perform list to start the year. TigerBlog will root for both of them.

He'll root for the Lions as well. It can't be easy to be a a Lions' fan.

The team last won an NFL championship in 1957, and the Lions are one of four teams to have never played in a Super Bowl. TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs to come up with the other three.

On the other hand, the Lions seem to be pointed in the right direction. They have the franchise quarterback and enough good pieces around him, and the division they play in isn't overly strong.

Plus, the Lions are owned by the Ford family, the same people who brought you the Ford Family Director of Athletics position at Princeton. So TB will root for them. Oh, and 10-time Heptagonal champion John Mack  - a former OAC student worker - is a huge, longtime, loyal Lions fans, and he deserves a Super Bowl more than anyone TB knows. 

Anyway, the Browns, Texans and Jaguars are the other three who have never been in a Super Bowl. The Browns aren't exactly easy to root for either, and 2014 hasn't quite started off in a fan-friendly way.

So it's Giants-Lions at 7:10 tonight.

Before you watch the football game, you can go to Roberts Stadium and see Princeton take on Seton Hall in women's soccer at 5. It's an interesting start time. It's 5, not 7.

Princeton opened its season with a 5-0 loss to Rutgers Friday night, but it wasn't quite that bad. Princeton was right there with unbeaten Rutgers until it ran out of steam, largely because it was playing Game 1 versus Game 4 for the Scarlet Knights.

This time, the challenge is another Big East team. Oh wait, Rutgers is in the Big Ten. TB has to keep reminding himself of that. Is Seton Hall still in the Big East? Is there still a Big East?

The answers are yes and yes.

Seton Hall has also lost to Rutgers. That score was 1-0.

This will be Game 6 for the Pirates. That's extraordinary. Seton Hall defeated Wagner 3-0 in its opener and has since lost to Rutgers, Rider, Monmouth and Stony Brook - all by one goal. The first three of those losses were by 1-0 scores.

If you want a closer look at the women's soccer team, TigerBlog suggests clicking HERE.

And what will you find if you click there?

Well, if you're a fan of "Orange Is The New Black," you'll get it immediately. It's a video created by women's soccer goalkeeper Darcy Hargadon, who TB believes is not related to the late Director of Admissions Fred Hargadon.

Darcy has done other videos, and she is tremendous at it. This one is her best.

The Netflix show "Orange is the New Black" is about life in a women's prison. It starts out with the song in the video that Darcy did, and it follows the same style as the one Darcy did, only Darcy substituted the faces of the inmates with the faces of her women's soccer teammates.

As for the game, it's a 5 pm start, not 7.
It's the first of two home soccer games this week, with St. John's at Roberts Stadium Wednesday night to take on the men's team. That game kicks off 7.

The women are at La Salle Friday night and then home against Villanova Sunday at 4 in an ESPNU game.

Oh, and the video?

It's really, really well done. Even if you're not a fan of the show.

It's definitely worth the 1:18 of your time it takes to see it.

In fact, here's the link again: Princeton women's soccer, Orange is the New Black.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Off And Running

TigerBlog stopped at the bank machine this past Saturday morning.

When he got there, a man about 10 years or so older than TB was just finishing his transaction and getting back into his car. As it was a nice day, he had the top down on his convertible.

TigerBlog has never owned a convertible. In fact, he can't remember ever being in one, other than when he was really, really little and FatherBlog had one.

As the man got back into his car to drive away, he cranked his music to a very high level. TB found this odd, as the man was probably in his 60s, as opposed to his teens or 20s.

And then there was the song itself. It took TB a second to get it, but then he figured it out. It was "Silhouettes On The Shade," a song TB recognized from Saturday night oldies of long ago. He couldn't remember who sang it and never would have come up with The Rays.

"Silhouettes On The Shade" is a doo-wop song from 1957. It was redone many times, including by the Four Seasons, Frankie Lymon, Herman's Hermits and the Crests.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

Anyway, the man from the bank machine was dressed for golf, and TB assumed that's where he was going next. Was this the music he listened to to get him pumped to play? Maybe.

Perhaps that was his standard Saturday morning pre-tee psych music.

One of the most common sites before any athletic event is that of the competitors with headphones on, listening to whatever it is that gets them ready to go. TigerBlog, were he about to play in the Super Bowl or - even bigger - the Major League Lacrosse championship game - would listen to "Born To Run," of course.

Anytime television cameras go into the locker room or shows an athlete not yet in uniform out on the field or court or walking off a bus, there they are, the headphone. Hey, you can go into a Princeton locker room before a game and see the same thing.

Oh, and this is completely unrelated to anything, but TigerBlog has been in the writing business for more than 30 years and has never gotten a definitive answer to the question of whether or not it should be "lockerroom" or "locker room."

There are other avenues for inspiration.

Mollie Marcoux turned to one such avenue yesterday as she led her first department-wide staff meeting.

Before she ever spoke, there was Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in "Miracle." It was the scene in the lockerroom (or is it locker room?) before the U.S. played the Soviet Union.

Go ahead. Watch it. Click right HERE and do it. And try not to get moved by it.

Watch whatever you need. Listen to whatever gets you going.

Tonight is opening night, for Princeton Athletics 2014-15.

It's actually late for opening night. Pretty much every school everywhere has already played.

Princeton has one home game today. The women's soccer team opens Julie Shackford's final season as head coach with a game against Rutgers at 7.

Admission is free. As in no charge. So be there. 

Rutgers comes into the game having already played three times - and won all three. It's a tough task for a team in its opener to play a team playing its fourth game.

The field hockey team is at Duke, who is 2-0. The men's soccer team is at FDU, who is 0-2.

The women's volleyball team is actually the first team to play, as it goes at 12:30 today against Charlotte at Temple's tournament.

There is a difference between being in shape and being in game shape. The challenge for tonight isn't just the opponents themselves but the transition to competing in games that matter.

However it goes, tonight is the start of a new year. By the time June rolls around, Princeton will have had more than 600 other athletic contests. Will there be a national champion for the 44th straight year?

What teams will surprise? Which teams will win as they are expected to do? What will be the biggest story of the year?

It starts tonight.

Opening day.

Tramps like us? Baby, we were born to run.