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.

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