Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Great Day To Be A Tiger

TigerBlog has been fairly reliable over the years.

In fact, he does this every work day, every week, five days a week, every week, every year - and has since 2008. Except when there's a holiday, like Thanksgiving.

Since the day after Thanksgiving was also a holiday, TigerBlog didn't write Friday. He never does on Black Friday.

As a result, he goes four full days between posts, which is usually the longest stretch of the year, depending on what day of the week Christmas and New Year's fall.

And, also as a result, there are things that slip through the cracks. Sometimes, those things are, shall it be said, somewhat politically incorrect.

TigerBlog didn't get a chance to mention this last week, though it jumped out out him when he heard it from David Rosenfeld, a former colleague at Princeton who has been in Baltimore for the last seven or so years. Anyway, David asked if TB had seen Rick Pitino's quote from his game against Savannah State.

A little background first. Pitino is Louisville's men's basketball coach, and his team scored the first 29 points in its game against Savannah State before winning by 61.

“I don’t like to see any team struggle like that,” Pitino said afterwards. “I really don’t. We tried everything. I played four white guys and Egyptian.”

Four white guys and an Egyptian. Funny, right?

Of course, as David pointed out, when Princeton played at Louisville in the 2002 NIT at Freedom Hall, the Tigers started, well, four white guys and an Egyptian. And ended up losing by one.

The Egyptian was Ahmed El-Nokali. TigerBlog remembers when Ahmed - an all-time TB favorite who would have been a great basketball TV color commentator - was a freshman and was asked this in a postgame interview: "So what are you babe, Egyptian?"

The four white guys? Mike Bechtold, Ray Robins, Dominick Martin and Kyle Wente. Bechtold shot 6 for 11 from three-point range and led all scorers with 24.

As TB remembers, Ed Persia hit a shot to put the Tigers up by one in the final 10 seconds, only to have Louisville answer to take a one-point lead of its own. El-Nokali took a shot at the buzzer from right in front of where TigerBlog was sitting while he and Tom McCarthy did the radio, and TB can still see it, in perfect alignment with the basket, only to fall just short.

Anyway, TigerBlog meant to get share that last week but never got around to it.

For the rest of today, TigerBlog will get back to Tiger Athletics Give Day.

It's a new event for Princeton Athletics, a 24-hour day of fundraising challenges and competition between the Tiger Friends' groups.

The give day grew out of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Princeton Athletics, which came up on Nov. 22.

In advance of the give day, Princeton Athletics has been tweeting old pictures and trivia facts, giving away some 150th anniversary t-shirts in the process, all with the hashtag #TAGD and with the mantra that "It's a great day to be a Tiger."

The give day is just that, a full 24 hours of fundraising that hopes to generate at least 1,150 donors. It began exactly at midnight and runs until exactly 11:59 PM tonight.

The women's hockey team put together a video to preview the give day as well and did a really good job with it. The video ends with a message from head coach Jeff Kampersal about the competitive nature of the give day and how each of the Friends' groups wants to win.

If TigerBlog had a dollar for every time he's heard about how large Princeton's endowment is, he might have as much as Princeton does in its endowment. Well, not really, but close.

The reality is that Princeton Athletics doesn't have a blank check when it comes to putting its teams on the field. The support of the Friends' groups has always been paramount in so many areas, such as out-of-region travel, recruiting, major equipment purchases and others.

In other words, to provide the athletes with the kind of experience that Princeton Athletics wants to, it relies heavily on the Friends, many of whom are former athletes who give back because of the great experience they had when they played here.

That's what today is all about. The athletes, the ones who will directly benefit from the giving. And it's about connecting the Princeton Athletes of all generations, something that will show the current generation that they signed up for something that lasts for way longer than four years.

Tiger Athletics Give Day.

It is, indeed, a great day to be a Tiger.

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