Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day

Not that you need TigerBlog to remind you of this, but today is Tax Day.

There are very few days on the calendar that are as identifiable with something year after year after year as is today, April 15. What else matches that?

The Fourth of July? December 25? January 1? That's about it, right?

TigerBlog spoke to his friend Todd yesterday, and Todd had to cut the conversation short because he was finishing his taxes. TB would never have pegged him for a procrastinator.

The tax laws in this country are insanely complex. And TigerBlog's own tax situation has evolved radically since he first filed them way back when, using the 1040EZ form, something that took him about three minutes to complete.

The lingering deadline of April 15 always hangs over people. It starts probably in mid-February or so, when people first think about getting their taxes done.

If TigerBlog had to guess, he'd say that more than 90% of people wait until April to actually do anything about filing their taxes, and probably 75% get them done within 72 hours of the deadline.

Back when TB first started filing them, it was a bit tougher, because they actually had to be mailed. On the other hand, it made for good theater, and the news was always filled with those who were mailing their taxes as the midnight deadline closed in.

Now, everything is e-filed. It makes getting the refund a lot easier, that's for sure. Oh, and the refund? That's just your money, not a bonus you get from the government of anything. It's the money you had withheld above what you should have.

You know who probably won't be cheating on his taxes?

Kyle Hagel.

If you happened to stop by yesterday, you might have noticed that, in between the pictures of volleyball, golf, tennis, softball and lacrosse was one lone hockey picture, perhaps somewhat out of place here in the spring.

The picture went with a story about Hagel, a 2008 Princeton alum who won the American Hockey League's Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the Man of the Year. Hagel was given this honor for his service to the local community as a member of the Charlotte Checkers.

Each team in the extremely large AHL has a local winner of the award, and then the league-wide winner is chosen among them. Of the 30 team winners, three were Princeton alums, with Mike Moore of the Hershey Bears) and Mike Sdao of the Binghamton Senators also honored.

Princeton had more representatives than any other college. From the release about Hagel, by the way: A five-time recipient of his team’s Yanick Dupré Award nomination, representing five different AHL cities, Hagel has been the face of the Checkers’ efforts in the Charlotte community this season. He has spent countless hours at school and community appearances delivering toys to patients at a children’s hospital, leading school assemblies to promote healthy living and the importance of hard work, bringing lessons of hockey to both physical education and science classes, and much more. Hagel also implemented the successful “Stick to Reading” program that he created in his previous AHL cities, contacting administrators at a local middle school, laying the groundwork for the program and encouraging his teammates to participate. Hagel captained the Checkers’ efforts during “Movember” to raise funds for men’s health causes, and also remained involved in two endeavors he helped develop earlier in his career: Shnarped, a popular mobile app that directly connects hockey players with fans; and Hockey Players for Kids, a non-profit organization made up of hockey players dedicated to improving the communities they live in.

You know who else is unlikely to cheat come tax time? The woman in the softball picture next to Hagel's on the website.

Last time, it was Skye Jerpbak, the catcher, who was all smiles in an action picture on the website. This time, it's Kelsey Smith, who also has an ear-to-ear grin while getting ready to hit.

Why are all these softball players so happy? Maybe it's because the team is in first place in its division heading into a huge weekend series at Penn.

Princeton is 6-4 in the South Division, while Penn is 7-5. Dartmouth at 11-1, is three games up on Harvard in the North Division.

The two division winners meet, at the home of the team with the better record, in the Ivy League Championship Series. The four games this weekend in Philadelphia could push one of the teams in a big way in the right direction should one get three or even four of them.

On an ominous note, Penn has won at least three from Princeton every year since 2008. Does that impact this year? 

Princeton still has two games with Yale and four with Cornell. After this weekend, Penn will have just four with Columbia, whom Princeton swept last weekend.

Princeton is doing all this is a year when it played its home opener on Saturday and had its senior day on Sunday, due to awful weather and construction on its home field.

Speaking of races between Princeton and Penn, there's a huge one tonight at Franklin Field between the teams in women's lacrosse.

Princeton and Penn are the only unbeatens in the Ivy League, at 4-0 each.

The Tigers have already clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament. Penn has not, mathematically at least, though that would change with one win its final three league games.

Princeton and Penn are thinking bigger than just getting in the field, though. The winner tonight will have taken a huge step towards winning the championship and hosting the tournament.

On paper, Princeton has the easier schedule for the last two weekends with home games against Brown and Columbia, who are both 1-4 in the league. On the other hand, Brown defeated Princeton a year ago in Providence.

Penn still has to play Harvard - tied with Cornell at 3-2 for second - and Yale, who is 2-3. Yale appears to be in with a pair of wins and can even get in with a 3-4 record if the right things happen.

Princeton's Erin McMunn, already the program's career leader in assists, needs one point to reach 200 for her career, which would make her the sixth player in program history to reach that milestone. Another Erin, Slifer, leads the team with 44 points.

Princeton is ranked 13th. Penn is ranked 11th.

The weather should be perfect in West Philadelphia for this one.

So if you haven't done so yet, e-file and then get to the women's lacrosse game.

TigerBlog's advice is to not mess around on your taxes. After all, that's how they got Al Capone. It wasn't murder or anything like that. It was income tax evasion.

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