Monday, August 31, 2015

Eight Goals, Eight Players

TigerBlog turned on the TV Friday night just in time to see Rocky drink six raw eggs on one channel and Victor and Ilsa talk about how Rick said Ilsa might know something about the letters of transit on another channel.

Clearly, TigerBlog had hit the daily double here.

Rocky is of course the title character in the "Rocky" series, and this was the first one of the six. As an aside, the trailer for the seventh move in the series, entitled "Creed," looks great.

Victor, Ilsa and Rick form the greatest fictional love triangle of all time, edging out Jay, Daisy and Tom, in TigerBlog's opinion. The latter is, of course, from "The Great Gatsby," in which among Tom's other shortcomings was the fact that he played football at Yale. They were, though, "careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things and beings and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that held them together, leaving others to clean up the mess they had made."

Really, what chance did Jay Gatsby ever have?

So that leaves Rick, Ilsa and Victor. Hopefully you now that those three were the good guys in "Casablanca." If you didn't know that, go watch the movie. Now, if possible.

"Rocky" and "Casablanca" are TigerBlog's two favorite movies of all-time, just ahead of "The Godfather," "The Godfather Part II" and "Goodfellas," which sort of have a common theme between them.

And here they were, his two favorites, both on TV at the same time. They started at the same time, but as "Rocky" is 17 minutes longer than "Casablanca," TB was able to see the end of both.

Even now, after watching these two movies dozens and dozens of times each - TB wonders what the actual number is - he still gets chills when he watches them.

And when he says he gets chills, he means pretty much throughout both. There are too many great scenes and great lines in each, and he was flipping back and forth between the two, hoping not to miss his absolute favorites.

He succeeded perfectly, especially when he went back to "Rocky" just in time to hear him tell Paulie that if he can make money of his name, make it, which is followed by asking him to help him off with his gloves and then THIS.

As for "Casablanca," he saw the great scene where Rick and Victor talk about destiny and then back after the training scene in "Rocky" in time to see Rick tie up all the loose ends while starting a "beautiful friendship."

As for "Rocky," the best parts of the fight scene are when he knocks Creed down in Round 1 and when he gets up in Round 14.

Ah. Chills. Lot of chills.

TigerBlog missed the beginning of both movies because he was at the first athletic event of the 2015-16 academic year, which also happened to be opening night for women's soccer and the first game as head coach of the Tigers for Sean Driscoll.

It was the start of what turned out to be a pretty good - and fascinating - weekend for the women's soccer team.

First of all, TigerBlog had no idea what to expect from the visitors Friday night, when Howard came to Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. Howard had won its most recent game 17-0 over first-year program Hampton.

On this night, though, it would be all Tigers. Even with a disallowed goal early in the game, Princeton still won 6-0. Next up was a trip yesterday to Fordham, where the Tigers won 2-1.

So that's two games and two wins. Not a bad way to start off a season, or a Princeton coaching career.

That's not the only interesting part, though.

Princeton has scored eight goals in two games. There are eight players who have one each.

Eight goals. Eight players.

That's extraordinary. Princeton had only seven players score at least one goal in all of 2014. Now eight have at least one.

Princeton scored 35 goals last year, and one player, Tyler Lussi, had 18 of them, or more than half.

This year, Lussi is one of the players with a goal. But there appears to be greater balance, right, at least through two games.

The game Friday night was the 27th time in program history that Princeton has scored at least six goals in a women's soccer game. TigerBlog has no way of knowing, though, if Princeton had at least six players score at least once in any of those other 26.

Of the six goals Friday night, two were extraordinary.

The second goal came off the right foot of freshman Mimi Asom and was a laser into the top corner from outside the box. The third goal was a corner kick from Vanessa Gregoire that curled in, clanked off the far post and dropped into the goal.

You can see both goals in the highlights HERE.

Princeton next plays at home against Rutgers Thursday. That game can be seen on ESPNU, by the way, with a 5:00 kickoff.

Eventually, someone will score her second goal of the year. For now, Princeton's stats look incredible.

Eight goals. Eight players.

That's a good weekend.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Question No. 4

Well, the summer is over.

It's Game Day for Princeton Athletics, Game No. 1 of the 2015-16 academic year. It comes up later today on Myslik Field on Roberts Stadium, where Sean Driscoll coaches his first game for the Princeton women's soccer team as it hosts Howard.

Princeton has some great athletic venues, and Roberts Stadium is as good as any of them. It is entering its eighth season as the home of Princeton soccer, and it seemingly gets better every year.

TigerBlog's preferred place to watch is directly behind one of the goals, though there isn't a bad seat in the facility. And, of course, admission to all regular season men's and women's games is free, so how can you beat that?

The women's soccer team will play four home games in the next two weeks and five home games before the men have their first, on Sept. 19. The game tonight starts at 7, so that will be the official end of Princeton Athletics' summer vacation.

As such, TigerBlog better hurry up and answer the last of the five questions he said he was going to answer by the end of the summer. The last one, by the way, is No. 4, as he's already answered No. 5.

As a reminder, here was the original challenge:
Now that the academic year is over, just a word to encourage more of your feature stories which include your personal memories or historical compilations. Here are some unsolicited ideas: Greatest games or events you've witnessed, with and without regard to historical context
Happiest moments you've experienced due to Princeton sports
Weirdest fluke plays
Most improbable comebacks
Most inspiring student-athletes

TigerBlog has already answered four of them. You can read them HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

So the last one is the most improbable comebacks.

TigerBlog's friend Mark Eckel used to say that soccer games should be over when the first team scores. Every game would be 1-0. What if a team scores in the first minute? Game over. Like a first-round knockout in boxing.

His logic was that the team scoring first always wins. When Princeton head men's soccer coach Jim Barlow hear of this theory, he scoffed and mentioned that his team had won its most recent game 2-1 after giving up the first goal. "Greatest comeback in soccer history," Eckel called it.

In all seriousness, TigerBlog has seen some incredible comebacks at Princeton.

The thing about a great comeback is that in the moment, it hardly seems improbably or completely out of the ordinary. The game starts out one way and then shifts radically in the other direction, and suddenly the team that was up big is completely out of sorts because what had been going so easily now isn't anymore and the team that was down big has all kinds of confidence.

It's only until after the game is over that it is apparent that one team has done something incredible, something that can't be done every game. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to come back from being down big, and TigerBlog has seen a lot of cases where a team was down big, tied it and then went back down quickly and ultimately lost fairly big. That's what usually happens.

But in the moment? It seems so plausible because it's happening, and you forget how rare these comeback are.

The best of all of them is obviously the men's basketball game against Penn at the Palestra in 1999. As you might recall, Princeton led 3-0 on a Brian Earl three-pointer and then trailed by all of these scores:
* 29-3 after a 29-0 Penn run
* 33-9 at halftime
* 40-13 with 15 minutes left.

Final score? 50-49 Princeton.

So on this list, that would be No. 1. It's going to be hard to ever bounce that one off.

There are a few other great comebacks that come to mind though.

The most woefully overlooked great Princeton comeback ever has to be the men's basketball game at Penn State two years ago. Princeton trailed by 20 with 10 minutes to go and came back and won 81-79 in OT.

Princeton still trailed by 18 with six minutes left, down 60-42, and still pulled it out. The game has little historical significance, but then again, the 1999 game doesn't really either, as Princeton ended up losing the Ivy title to Penn that year.

In football, the best comeback TigerBlog has seen was also fairly recent, back in the 2012 season.

Princeton trailed Harvard 34-10 with 12 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Had you stopped and asked the first random million people you found at that moment and asked if Princeton had a chance, not one would have said yes.

Harvard, after all, had the longest active winning streak in the FCS at the time and had won 14 straight by double figures. This one seemed over.

Then Princeton came back, winning 39-34 on a 36-yard TD pass from Quinn Epperly to Roman Wilson with 13 seconds left.

What stands out to TigerBlog about that? Princeton scored twice and added two two-point conversions to make it 34-26 and then scored another touchdown with 2:27 to make it 34-32. The two-point conversion this time, though, was no good.

Had that two-point conversion attempt been good, it would have been 34-34, Princeton kickoff to Harvard, 2:27 left. In that scenario, Harvard almost surely would have won.

Why? Because the Crimson would have aggressively tried to score, not passively tried to run out the clock. Instead, Harvard punted near midfield on 4th-and-inches. Princeton got the ball back - and won.

So that's football and men's basketball.

Men's hockey?

Princeton, ranked 10th at the time, trailed fifth-ranked Cornell 1-0 in the final minute at Lynah Rink in February of 2009. Then Dan Bartlett scored with 36 seconds left to tie it. Then, 18 seconds later, Taylor Fedun won it.

Yeah, it wasn't a monstrous deficit, but it might as well have been 100-0, not 1-0, with less than a minute to go in that venue.

As for men's lacrosse, there have been a few. TigerBlog will give you two, consecutive games one week apart in 1998.

Princeton had won the 1996 and 1997 NCAA championships, and now in 1998 the Tigers had a dominant senior class, led by Jesse Hubbard, Jon Hess and Chris Massey. A third straight NCAA title would stamp that group among the greatest ever to play the sport.

Playing Duke in the NCAA quarterfinals at Hofstra, Princeton trailed 8-4 in the second quarter and looked on the verge of getting blown off of Long Island.

Then Trevor Tierney came in to replace Corey Popham in goal (don't worry, the story has a happy ending for Popham) and proceeded to make six saves and allow only one goal the rest of the way. Princeton 11, Duke 9 was the final.

That moved second-seeded Princeton into the semifinals against third-seeded Syracuse at Rutgers.

Again, Princeton trailed 8-4, this time in the third quarter. It was 9-6 at the end of three. It was 10-7 less than a minute into the fourth.

And who then scored two huge fourth-quarter goals for Princeton? Seamus Grooms, who had 16 career goals prior to that quarter. Seamus Grooms, who was the fourth roommate of Hess, Hubbard and Massey. Seamus Grooms, who saved Princeton's legacy.

Grooms scored with 12:42 left, making it 10-8. Then, after Hubbard made it 10-9, it was Grooms who tied it at 10-10.

The game-winner came from Josh Sims, and Princeton had won 11-10. Two days later, the Tigers hammered Maryland 15-5 to win that third straight championship. And Popham? He was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

So there you have it. The comebacks that TigerBlog most remembers.

He's sure he's missed a bunch.

As for women's teams, he can't think of a great one off the top of his head, so he's willing to be reminded of a few, if you have any.

And to whoever anonymously posted the comment in the first place, thanks. TigerBlog likes to take requests.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tramps Like Us

It was 40 years ago this week that the greatest album in the history of music was released.

TigerBlog speaks of course of "Born To Run," the third album for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, after "Greetings From Asbury Park" and "The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle."

Of TigerBlog's 10 favorite songs of all-time, four can be found on the album "Born to Run." Those four would be: "Thunder Road," "Backstreets," "Jungleland" and the title track, "Born to Run."

Music today, in a word, sucks. That's a little harsh. It's more like three words - pretty much sucks.

 At least TigerBlog Jr. likes the indie rock-type stuff, like Imagine Dragons and Of Monsters and Men, which is actually pretty good stuff.

TigerBlog cringes every time Miss TigerBlog turns on her music, which is almost all awful.

According to the Billboard Top 100, the top three songs in the country right now are:
1. "Cheerleader"
2. "Can't Feel My Face"
3. "Watch Me"

Sadly, because of Miss TigerBlog, TB has heard all of them more than he would have liked, which means more than once each.

Here are some lyrics from these songs:

Do the stanky leg (stank)
Do the stanky leg (stank stank)
Do the stanky leg (stank)
Do the stanky leg (stank stank)


I can't feel my face when I'm with you
But I love it, but I love it, oh

and the even more cringe-worthy:

I think that I've found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

Then there's this:

Remember all the movies, Terry
We'd go see
Trying to learn to walk like the heroes
We thought we had to be
Well after all this time
To find we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
And forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets


Outside the street's on fire
In a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded
Not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland


The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again

and of course:

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
but there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
Oh-oh, someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really wanna go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run

Ah, TigerBlog weeps for the youth today, the ones who didn't grow up in the 1970s, who didn't go to the record store and buy these things called "albums," especially the one called "Born To Run." TigerBlog grew up not far from where Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt did, and he took his SATs at the high school Springsteen attended.

It was impossible to grow up in TB's town without being a Springsteen fan back then, but really, it didn't really matter where you lived back then. There was nobody like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, especially, especially in concert.

The  "Born To Run" album was released on Aug. 25, 1975, so technically that would be 40 years and two days ago. It's the best album that's every been, and it's the best album that ever will be. With the stuff coming out today, the Boss has very little to worry about.

The balcony yesterday afternoon was filled with young men, large young men for the most part, who fumbled to put on shirts and ties and jackets and get their pictures taken. They were Princeton football freshmen, along with a handful of older players who wanted to get a new picture taken.

They were all born 20 years after "Born to Run" came out and, as they are the same age as TigerBlog Jr., they have lived lives deprived of quality musical selections.

They can't worry about that now. Not with today the first day of Princeton football practice.

Princeton, as it does every year, starts football practice late. Basically every other football-playing entity has already started, from Pop Warner through high school to the pros.

Now that it's here, it's a big grind.

It's three weeks of preseason, followed by 10 straight Saturdays of games.

TigerBlog has written almost since the beginning of TigerBlog that he would make some changes. At first, he was okay with the longtime Ivy rule of not going to the NCAA football playoffs, but he's changed his mind on that one.

Before he would do that, though, he'd start the preseason a week earlier (yes, there are costs involved) and then have each team in the league be off after Week 5.

This makes sense on every level, except the cost. First, the season would start a week earlier, so it wouldn't seem as late as it is. Second, that week is the perfect time for a break. Each team will have played two league games and all three of its non-league games and will have five league games left.

Then there's the idea that the 10 games, 10 weeks haul is rough on the body and mind. A week off in the middle is the perfect rest for both.

TigerBlog was in the weight room yesterday with assistant coach Andrew Aurich. Shortly after that would be the first team meeting - after the head shots.

TigerBlog is fascinated each November by the last practice of the year. It seems like the time just flies by, and it many ways it does.

But it is a 13-week - that's one quarter of the year - process, with a lot of practice and repetition for only 10 games. By the time the last practice rolls around, it's cold, it's dark, it's nearly Thanksgiving.

Yesterday in the weight room, TB was thinking about the first practice, to be held on a 90-degree summer day, before Labor Day. What do they think before it starts? What do they think in November, at the end?

Anyway, it's starting today. Opening day is Sept. 19 at Lafayette. The home opener is Sept. 26 against Lehigh. The Ivy opener is against the Al Bagnoli-led Columbia Lions a week later.

Tramps like us? Baby we were born to run.

And, hopefully, to stop the run. And born to throw. That too. With multiple quarterbacks.

Princeton football 2015. It's starting today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Getting Ready

TigerBlog doesn't quite remember exactly what he did in his last few days before he left for college.

He's pretty sure he didn't do what he and TigerBlog Jr. were doing yesterday afternoon, when they were reviewing how to use StatCrew, something that TBJ hopes to be doing when he arrives at Sacred Heart University in a a few days.

StatCrew is the program that basically every college uses to do in-game stats. Being able to do StatCrew, something TBJ has done for years, is a fairly valuable skill for a college student, who can make himself a pretty valuable part of the school's athletic communiations office.

Back in 2010, TigerBlog wrote this:
Back when TigerBlog first covering Princeton in his newspaper days, the shift to computerizing stats was just happening, though not yet for in-game. Instead, then - and through TB's first year or two here in the OAC - stats at all games were still done by hand, with a group of four or five or so people armed with papers, charts, pencils, a typewriter (to type the play-by-play) and blank box scores to fill in. It would take at least 30 minutes after a game to have a finished box.

And this:
All of the programs work in the same manner. Games are set up with the opponents and their rosters, and then all statistical entering is done by uniform numbers, not by names. The programs are designed to anticipate everything that can happen off of a given situation, so if you enter, say, a shot in soccer, the program knows that the next thing for that shot has to be that it was a goal, was a save, went wide, hit the post, was blocked, etc. 

Anyway, as anyone in athletic communications knows, having a student who can do StatCrew is an awesome luxury. Princeton has been lucky in the last few years, with rowers Dave Mackasey and Pat Eble on the keyboard - both of whom could churn out game after game across basically any sport, all without ever changing their expression and in most instances, not even looking up from their sandwich.

And now the Princeton OAC has Anna Broome, who will be a sophomore this year. Anna went from watching a game to inputting a game in StatCrew in less than one period of a hockey game, which is pretty impressive.

TigerBlog's hope is that TBJ makes that kind of impact at Sacred Heart. And not just for the money.

TBJ has a few days left until he packs up and ship off to Connecticut. TigerBlog is laughing at the difference between what he took to Penn way back when and what TBJ is currently packing up in the living room.

TBJ, for instance, has a brand-new laptop. TigerBlog? He had a brand-new electric typewriter. In fact, back then, TB thought he was completely cutting edge, with his built-in correct-tape.

TigerBlog actually had this conversation, word-for-word, with his son about it:

TB: Do you know what a correct-tape was?
TBJ: You mean like Scotch tape?
TB: No.
TBJ: I'll Google it.
TB: Correct-tape was the tape you needed for a typewriter. If you had a typo, you would hit the back button and then hold down the key for the correct-tape. Then you'd type the incorrect letter again, and it would erase that letter. Then you'd have to type the correct key. Then you'd have to do this for every mistake you made.
TBJ: What are you, 100 years old?

What else will TBJ be taking? Oh yeah. To listen to music, he'll be bringing his phone. To listen to music, TigerBlog brought a large turntable with even larger speakers.

TBJ's dorm room is equipped with a microwave oven and a refrigerator. TigerBlog had a toaster oven and had to carry a tiny refrigerator with him.

TBJ is one of the last of his friends to go, even though it's still August. His friend Matthew left last week and started classes this week, and his first class was Introduction to Computers, which is what he intends to major in. Or intended to major in. After his first class, he texted his dad and said "I want to change my major."

This is not without precedent. TigerBlog's first class was a political science class, held in the University Museum across Spruce Street from Franklin Field. That was his intended major when he first started out. Then he changed to history.

TigerBlog didn't go to college until early September. Princeton doesn't start until mid-September, though it does have the Outdoor Action for incoming freshmen.

TigerBlog was the only person in his high school class who went to Penn. He didn't meet the people who would be his best friends until his junior year - though he met all of them within the same five-minute span on move-in day that year.

TBJ will benefit from being on the lacrosse team, which will give him an immediate sense of belonging and comaraderie.

There is a lot of time spent at Princeton talking about the value of college athletics, and all of it is true. College athletics teach all kinds of great lessons, things that TB has written about over and over - things like the educational value of athletics, like the ability to develop good time management skills, like the need to put the team ahead of the individual.

The one thing that often gets overlooked is the value of being part of a team in the first place. From the time they walk on campus, Princeton's athletes - and Sacred Heart's and everyone else's - are immediately part of something. They have an instant group of friends. They have an instant base.

For now, the incoming freshmen at Princeton - other than the fall athletes - still have some time to go before they come to New Jersey. They can spend it packing, buying what they need, figuring out what to leave home.

And, hopefully, at least one of them is brushing up on StatCrew.

You can never have enough of them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

17-0, And Donn Cabral

It's game week for Princeton Athletics.

The first athletic event of the 2015-16 season is this Friday night, when the women's soccer team hosts Howard on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. It'll be the first game as women's soccer coach at Princeton for Sean Driscoll.

Howard has already played two games this season, having opened this past weekend, as did most of Division I women's soccer. The quick version is that Howard split its two games, losing to Radford and defeating Hampton.

Or TigerBlog could give you a little more detail if you like.

Howard's loss to Radnor was 4-2. Howard's win over Hampton was 17-0.

Like you, TigerBlog thought the score was a misprint when he saw it. But no. The final was 17-0. That is, by the way, one off the NCAA record for goals in a game, something that has been done four times.

Hampton is a first-year program, one that has now lost 16-1 (to Canisius) and 17-0. Hampton has been outshot 114-2 in the two games.

TigerBlog doesn't really know what to say, other than to wish the Pirates good luck as they get their program off the ground. Hampton's first-year schedule includes a trip to play at Yale and Dartmouth, by the way.

Hampton added two sports for this academic year. The other one is men's lacrosse. Hampton is one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which means that adding women's soccer and especially men's lacrosse gives the school a pioneering role in the world of intercollegiate athletics.

As for Howard, the team that Princeton will face, the Bison were 13-9-1 overall and 9-1 in the SWAC a year ago. They then won the SWAC tournament but could not get the league's automatic bid, as it was the team's first year in the SWAC, since the MEAC - Howard's normal home - does not have women's soccer.

This year, TigerBlog believes, Howard would be good to go, as it were, if it could win the SWAC tournament. In the meantime, the Princeton-Howard game will be the first of the 2015-16 academic year.

By the time the NCAA track and field championships roll around in June to end the year, Princeton will have played more than 600 games and competed in a bunch of other multi-team competitions, bringing the total number of events to more than 700.

The 2016 NCAA track and field championships will precede by two months the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Rio August 5-21. In other words, a year from today, they'll be over.

Princeton fans are of course rooting for Donn Cabral to be on the U.S. team in Rio for the Games. Cabral competed in the 2012 Olympics in London and, yesterday, ran in the final of the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the World Championships in China. Presumably the majority of China was more preoccupied with its economy yesterday, but that's another story.

As for Cabral, he ran an 8:35.44 to win the steeplechase at the 2012 NCAA championships (by five seconds, by the way). He then finished eighth at the London Olympics in 8:25.91.

He ran an 8:13.37 to finish second at the U.S. outdoor championships in June, running a time that would have been the meet record had Evan Jager not run an 8:12.29.

Yesterday in Beijing, Cabral's time was 8:24.94, earning him 10th in the race. The top four spots all went to Kenyans.

TigerBlog would definitely be as a better consultant to the new Hampton men's lacrosse program than he would be as an analyst of steeplechase times. As such, he asked head men's track and field coach Fred Samara and director of track operations Mike Henderson why Cabral's times could vary so wildly from June to August, or from the 2012 NCAA championships to the Olympics.

The answer turned out to be pace. It's all about the pace that gets set in any given race.

So TigerBlog learned something new.

As TigerBlog said earlier and wrote yesterday, he's a huge fan of Cabral, one of the most likeable and easy-to-root-for Princeton Athletes TB has seen in nearly 30 years here. He'll definitely be rooting for him to get back to the Olympics and to reach the finals again. And improve on the eighth place finish in 2012 and 10th place finish this year.

He's not sure if Cabral, who is 26, would have another Olympic cycle in him. Maybe he would. TB doesn't know if 30 is old for the steeplechase.

In the meantime, there's the start of a new athletic year a few days away.

TB's prediction is that Howard doesn't match its goal total from its previous game. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Question No. 5

Spencer Stone. Anthony Sadler. Alex Skarlatos.

Do you know those names? If not, read them. Remember them.

They're heroes. Real live, real life heroes.

They're the three Americans - two servicemen and one student at Sacramento State, childhood friends all three - who got on a train in Amsterdam to go to Paris as anonymous tourists and got off as international heroes.

In a world that seems to embrace celebrity for the sake of celebrity, which values achieving notoriety regardless of what it takes to do so, these three are now known throughout the country and world for every possible right reason.

As a crazed person with an AK-47 came out of a restroom intent on killing as many innocent people as possible, these three ran towards the man with the gun and neutralized the situation without any loss of life, and only three injuries - one of which was to Stone.

Even after the gunman was neutralized, Stone - himself cut with a box cutter - went to perform first aid on one of the others who was injured.

Think about what might have happened if these three had cowered under their seats? The story would have been about fatalities, lots and lots of them.

What would TigerBlog have done in the same situation? He has no way of knowing for sure, but he has a hunch.

He does know that he hopes to never find out. He does know that people like Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos inspire awe in TB for their courage and their willingness to put themselves in danger to help strangers.

They are real heroes, in a world that desperately needs them.

They're real inspirations.

TigerBlog has spent some time this summer answering a series of questions that were asked - anonymously - by someone. The questions were from a comment left under a previous story.

Here is the comment:
Now that the academic year is over, just a word to encourage more of your feature stories which include your personal memories or historical compilations. Here are some unsolicited ideas: Greatest games or events you've witnessed, with and without regard to historical context
Happiest moments you've experienced due to Princeton sports
Weirdest fluke plays
Most improbable comebacks
Most inspiring student-athletes

TigerBlog has already answered the first three. You can read them HERE, HERE and HERE.

TigerBlog is skipping over No. 4 for right now and going to No. 5. Who are the most inspiring student-athletes he's seen at Princeton?

He'll get to No. 4 soon.

Let TigerBlog start out by saying that he's not equating disarming a crazed terrorist on a train with competing in sports at Princeton University. He's just talking about inspiration today.

And the answer to the question? Well, it's a bit of a wimpy one, but it's true:

There are too many of them to name.

It's the reason anyone works at a place like Princeton. It's to be around young men and women of the caliber of the ones who compete as Princeton Tigers.

They are, obviously, great players. They are, obviously, great students. They also are out in the community, working with kids and adults, those who are homeless, needy and less fortunate.

There have been so many times in his nearly 30 years around these athletes that TigerBlog has shaken his head and thought to himself "where do these people come from? How did they get like this?"

Yes, for some of them, it all comes easily. They were just born with some sort of mechanism that makes them exceptional athletically and academically. TigerBlog has encountered very few, though, who took it all for granted and were cavalier about it.

You want a few names of those who have really made TB think "who are these people?"

How about Justin Tortolani, Class of 1992? He's one of the best lacrosse players in Princeton history and was one of the keystones of a dynasty that won six NCAA titles in 10 years, the first of which came his senior year, four years after Princeton was 2-13.

Today he's Dr. Justin Tortolani, a pediatric surgeon in Baltimore who in addition to his regular work has done countless hours of free medical care in the city.

How about Donn Cabral, an NCAA champion in the steeplechase who has now been a finalist at both the Olympics (eighth in 2012) and now the World Championships (he runs tonight in Beijing in the final)? You want humble? Talk to Donn Cabral for a few minutes, and you'll figure it out.

How about the late Dick Kazmaier, a man who won the Heisman Trophy and who, in all the years TigerBlog spoke to him, never once talked about "I," only "we?"

How about John Thompson and Jason Garrett, two of the most successful coaches in their respective sports, and yet two men who dropped everything to be at Conte's one night because they were needed their to try to help a young man who has been devastated by an awful disease? Thompson and Garrett, by the way, have foundations that spend a lot of money and offer a lot of time to touch an awful lot of unfortunate people.

How about women's basketball players like Michelle Miller and Alex Wheatley, who have so many academic and service honors that TigerBlog has lost track and yet still combined that with the drive on the court to help their team go 30-0 in the regular season a year ago?

How about Julia Ratcliffe, who is an NCAA champion and NCAA runner-up in the hammer throw and also the winner of the national scholar-athlete award for track and field as well?

Maybe most of all, there was Bob Callahan,  Princeton's longtime men's squash coach, who passed away nearly a year ago from a brain tumor at just 59 years of age? Nobody, anywhere, has ever fought a terminal disease with greater grace than Bob did.

To be honest, TigerBlog could go on forever naming current and former Princeton athletes whose accomplishments are jaw-dropping. Hey, there are all of the alums who have come back to coach at Princeton through the years. Or are in the military. Or have joined Teach for America or the Peace Corps or any number of other noble endeavors.

If you're looking for a place filled with inspirational people, Princeton Athletics is a good place to start.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Today is BrotherBlog's birthday.

TigerBlog bought him a really nice card in plenty of time to get it to Seattle in time. The only problem, really, is that it's still sitting here in TB's desk drawer.

Yeah, TigerBlog is starting to doubt that the card will make it to BB by the end of the day. So, uh, yeah, sorry about that one.

To make it up to him, TigerBlog will formally wish his brother happy birthday in this spot.

BrotherBlog is two years older than TigerBlog. They do have some commonalities, such as the fact that their first names actually rhyme. And they both love musical theater.

Beyond that, they don't really have much in common, other than a fraternal bond that will last forever.

BrotherBlog is a lawyer, something that TigerBlog once considered becoming, only to be derailed more than 30 years ago, when his friend Jack McCaffery - then a sportswriter for the Trenton Times - said "hey, you want to cover some high school football games?"

BrotherBlog is also a first-class cook, a frequent world traveler - with a trip to Australia on the horizon - a multi-lingual speaker and a generally adventurous sort.

He and his brother used to share a bedroom back in their old house, until TB was 14. TigerBlog has lived his entire life within a 50-mile radius of that room. BrotherBlog left there long ago and has never lived anywhere near there since.

At various parts of his life he has lived in Washington, D.C., Cape Cod and even China. He settled in Seattle long ago, in a city that has welcomed more than one nomadic soul and given them a permanent home. For BrotherBlog, these days that means teaching at the University of Washington Law School.

Today BB is another year older. TigerBlog wishes him happy birthday - and apologizes for forgetting to mail the card. On the bright side, TB already has a card for him for next year.

So that's BB.

Then there's WBB, as in women's basketball. This season will be "year after" for the Princeton women's basketball team.

In case you forgot:

* the Tigers went 30-0 in the regular season a year ago
* there was the first NCAA win in program history, with a win over Wisconsin-Green Bay in the opening round
* Princeton ended up ranked 13th, the highest ranking in Ivy League women's basketball history
* the 31-1 record was the best in Ivy League men's or women's history
* Princeton was the only undefeated team in Division I women's basketball during the regular season; Kentucky was the only undefeated men's team

There were all kinds of other accomplishments last season. And now that's over.

On the other hand, this coming season isn't devoid of reason for optimism, even with the graduation of Ivy Player of the Year Blake Dietrick. Princeton returns four starters from last year, as well as some of its top reserves, and what looks like a pretty strong recruiting class enters the mix.

The schedule for 2015-16 is up on, and there are seven non-league home games, along with the seven league games. Princeton drew at least 1,500 for its last three home games last year, including nearly 2,100 for the last game.

There's a four-game homestand over an eight-day stretch beginning Dec. 6, as Michigan, Monmouth, Pitt and Fordham all come to Jadwin Gym. TigerBlog can never remember a Princeton basketball team that played four home games in eight days.

The Dec. 6 game is especially special, and not just because Michigan assistant coach Melanie Moore used to be an assistant coach at Princeton.

Nope, that game is also special because it'll be on ESPN2.

It's a very big moment for the Princeton women's basketball program. A year ago, Princeton defeated Michigan by 30 in Ann Arbor, and you know Michigan will clearly remember that.

And it'll be on ESPN2. Princeton's ESPN contract has had games almost exclusively on ESPNU, but this one is on ESPN2.

It shows how serious ESPN is about women's basketball and how hot an entity Princeton is right now.

Even though the first Princeton athletic event has yet to be played (though it will be a week from today), it'll be basketball season soon enough. The opener for the women is Nov. 13, at home against American. That's less than three months from now.

TigerBlog's cousin Janet's birthday is a few days after the women's basketball opener, and TB is pretty sure he'll forget to send her a card too.

As for BrotherBlog, have a happy birthday.

TB and his brother have gone down completely different paths, and yet they remain invested in each other's lives.

As TigerBlog thinks about it, that's something pretty nice.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Challenge Accepted

Mary Sutton is leaving for college today.

Mary, the daughter of Princeton's longtime ticket manager Stephanie Sutton, is off to Loyola, the one in Baltimore. She will run cross country and track and field there, as well as presumably go to classes and such.

TigerBlog wishes her well. She's three days older than TigerBlog Jr., and she was born two rooms over from where TBJ was, in the old hospital that used to be on Witherspoon Street. Because they were so close in age, they reached pretty much every milestone at the same time, including now going to college, something Mary will have beaten TBJ to by nine days.

TB wishes Mary the best as she heads to school. Like TBJ, she spent a lot of her youth on this campus, and like TBJ, Mary long ago lost track of just how athletic events she's seen here.

Mary won 12 varsity letters at Princeton High School, four each in cross country, basketball and track and field. Only one women's athlete in Princeton University history has ever won 12 letters - TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs to name her.

In the meantime, TigerBlog stumbled onto an article yesterday that asked 11 Huffington Post (okay, it was forwarded to TB) employees about their experiences as college athletes.

Of the 11, nine had glowingly positive things to say about their experiences. Two - including a former Harvard football player whose career was derailed by three straight years of torn ACLs - didn't have the same memories of their time playing in college.

Interestingly, none of the athletes said "I was a star and the team won championships" and that was why they had a good experience. No, they all talked about the things that are always talked about at Princeton Athletics - teammates, the educational value of athletics, the overall experience, the way it prepared them for life. 

The first of TigerBlog Jr.'s friends to leave for school is his best bud, Matthew Anderson, who heads to Chestnut Hill tomorrow. When Matthew went to orientation, the president of CHC told the incoming freshmen how excited the school is to be fielding a sprint football team and that its first game ever will be against Princeton. 

Matthew and TBJ first played lacrosse together in fourth grade, which was actually TBJ's third year of playing.

Back then, playing lacrosse meant Lower Bucks Lacrosse, a local youth organization for players in grades 1-8. At the time, there was a pretty good in-house competition and a few games against some of the other local organizations.

TigerBlog ran the first- and second-grade league  - that's what happens when you wear "Princeton Lacrosse" gear to registration, which back then was at the municipal building and not yet online - and coached a team starting in third grade. He remembers getting destroyed in the first outside game in third game and wondering just how far down the lacrosse food chain LBL was.

As it turned out, it wasn't very far down at all. It turned out that TB and his son had stumbled onto some of the best youth lacrosse in the country. 

In all, TBJ played high school, youth or club lacrosse with 29 kids/men who will be playing in college beginning in the next few days, ranging from the highest levels of Division I through DII and DIII. Two of his other teammates will be playing football instead of lacrosse. One will be playing soccer. 

And they're all heading out soon to get started.

Of that group of 29, six will be playing against Princeton this year: Connor Howell (Stony Brook), Jack Auteri (Dartmouth), Zach Drake (Lehigh), Matt Brown and Grant Toller (NJIT - secret's out, Princeton opens with NJIT this year) and Curtis Zappala (Maryland). TigerBlog will state for the record that of all the players TBJ played with, Curtis was the best one.

Oh, and speaking of Princeton, the answer to the trivia question is Emily Goodfellow, who lettered four times each in field hockey, squash and lacrosse.

Meanwhile, will all 29 have good experiences? No chance. For that matter will all 29 still be on rosters when they're seniors? Highly unlikely.

But still, right now, they're all off to find out what is in store for them.

As for TBJ, he leaves a week from Saturday for Sacred Heart University. His arm is still in a sling, six weeks after surgery to repair a labrum tear in his shoulder.

This makes move-in something of a challenge. The doctor and his physical therapist have told him he can start to wean himself from the sling but that he needs to be really careful about lifting his arm up and about carrying anything heavy.

So can he go move into college with no sling on his arm and not carry anything while his parents do all the work? He'll look like a spoiled jerky kid/man that nobody will like.

On the other hand, his definition of "wean yourself from sling" is "take sling off and burn it."

For all of the 29, the opportunity and desire to play college varsity lacrosse impacted - and in fact drove - the choice of school. This doesn't mean that this was the only factor or that academics played no role. That wouldn't be true.

But for serious and skilled athletes, there's nothing wrong with having that be a huge part of the college experience.

It's a grueling world to be a college athlete, that's for sure.

TigerBlog has tried to get TBJ to understand this. His dream has always been to play Division I lacrosse, and now he gets to live out his dream - but he has to understand what he's signed up for.

He's going to need to be able to balance the needs of academics with those of athletics (and in his case, rehab). It won't be easy. TB has said this a million time, but between school, sports and fun, he'll only have time for two. The ones who get in trouble will be the ones who choose the sports and fun piece above school.

On the other hand, athletes are by definition forced to learn to handle more than non-athletes, and they are forced to develop good habits or they have no chance of being successful.

TigerBlog has been contacting the incoming freshmen for the men's lacrosse team about bios and such. They're in the same place as the 29 kids TBJ played with, only they're coming here.

Like TBJ, they have no idea what to expect when they get here. There's no way to know it until you go through it, TigerBlog supposes.

And like TBJ, they're finishing up their summers with their old friends, getting ready to pack and head to school and wondering what their immediate futures hold.

Being a college athlete isn't easy. It takes a lot of time and physical and mental determination.

They all do it because they love it.

They all love the idea of being able to play their sport at the next level, whether it's Mary Sutton and running or all these lacrosse kids or the rest of the athletes coming here to play 38 different sports.

They're accepting the challenge. It's not for everyone. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Fool And A Villain - Even If He Was Right

TigerBlog hasn't even had a chance to hate the Little League World Series yet before the women's side (girls' side, actually) took over.

Did you see this story?

The Little League Softball World Series is currently ongoing in Portland. The round-robin pool play was supposed to have ended Monday before a special playoff game was mandated by Little League International, who has oversight of all this stuff.

And why was there the need for the playoff game?

Well, there was a team from Washington state, a team from North Carolina and a team from Iowa in the hunt for two spots in the next round. As the tiebreakers played out, the team from Iowa would be eliminated if Washington beat North Carolina or scored three or more runs in a loss and regardless of what happened, Washington was to have advanced.

Instead, Washington was no-hit by Carolina. A great accomplishment? Hardly.

Throwing a no-hitter is easier when the team getting no-hit is the team doing the no-hitting, as in having the coach say "hey, no hitting."

Washington wanted to eliminate Iowa, and so its coach had its players all swing at pitches in the dirt and bunt on two strikes. In other words, intentionally not get on base.

The result was an 8-0 North Carolina win, which eliminated Iowa, who said "hey, wait a minute." Little League Softball said there was nothing that could be done, and then Little League International stepped in, ordering Washington to play a special play-off game against Iowa.

The narrative is pretty obvious - slimy coach ruins it for kids.

It goes a little deeper though. If you read the comments under the story, you'll see half of them are going down that path and half are saying that the point is to win the tournament and it's not Washington's fault that the tiebreaking rules were written the way they were.

TigerBlog has seen some scenarios for things like the Ivy League lacrosse tournaments where a team entered a weekend knowing that there was a way to win and not reach the tournament or lose and reach the tournament, but TB cannot remember a single one where a team has ever gone into a game knowing that if it lost the game it would advance and that if it won it would not.

Besides, that's not what's happened here. Washington was saying that it didn't want to play Iowa, so let's eliminate Iowa and worry about everybody else.

That is the 100% absolute wrong message to send young athletes on every possible level. We're here to win the national championship but we're afraid of a team?


As it turned out, Washington lost the play-in game 3-2. Iowa advances. Lesson learned?

What is the lesson for the kids? Seriously. What can they take away from this experience?

They would have advanced had their coach not told them to throw a game. Now, as it turns out, they didn't advance.

So what are they supposed to make of that? Defy authority? Stand up to the coach?

TigerBlog isn't quite sure. He does know that the Washington coach looks like a compete villain and fool - other than the inarguable fact that, as it turns out, he was right about the Iowa team. But still a villain and fool.

What does this have to do with Princeton?

Not one thing.

But hey, it was an interesting little side note in the world of sports. And besides, TigerBlog gets to cash in the "what does this have to do with Princeton? Not one thing" card five times a year or so.

Back here in Princeton, one team is already here practicing, the women's soccer team. Opening day is a week from Friday. Egads.

Beginning tomorrow, a bunch of other teams will be here to start their preseasons. Eventually it'll be time for football practice, games and everything else.

The Little League World Series is usually a sign for TigerBlog that summer is really winding down and that fall sports are right around the corner. So is the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

And the NFL preseason. TigerBlog has hardly watched any of it to this point.

TB did talk to his friend Mike Tuberosa at Drexel the other day. He sighed when he pointed out that Drexel women's soccer has already scrimmaged twice and now opens Friday. As in the day after tomorrow.

Tuberosa - Tubes, as he is known - said that no month flies by like August. He's right about that.

In college athletics, August starts out as a simple, calm, easy-going part of summer. By the time it's over, it's back to business.

In between? There are some diversions.

Like a softball coach from Washington, one whose trip to the Little League Softball World Series didn't go exactly as he might have hoped.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Study What You Like

TigerBlog wrote about the Mets the other day - and then they went out and got swept.

Jim Barlow, Princeton's men's soccer coach, pointed that out to TigerBlog yesterday morning.

The Mets are an interesting team. They play in the largest market, and they're biggest rival is the Yankees, who have what appears to be unlimited money.

And yet the Mets are basically small-market, crippled, it appears, by the whole Bernie Madoff situation, from which the team's owners lost a ton of money. In fact, the Mets - the New York Mets - have the 21st-highest payroll in baseball.

That's just ahead of the San Diego Padres. Just behind the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies. For that matter, the Mets' payroll is $12 million less than the Royals.

In other words, the Mets are basically a small-market team, or at least what you think of in terms of how a small-market team operates. The team is strapped for money and can't simply go out and write blank checks to get whoever is needed for the stretch drive.

On the other hand, small market teams are easy to root for, right? They're the gritty underdogs, or at least as much as a team from New York City can be.

Anyway, when TB got the email from Barlow about how the Mets had been swept, his response was that the Nationals were swept also, so the Mets ended the weekend still 4.5 games up.

The whole conversation reminded TB of what John Thompson used to say when he was Princeton's men's basketball coach. The goal, he'd say, was to finish each weekend in first place.

And that's what the Mets have done.

TigerBlog remembered what Thompson said because he heard him say it a million times. What he meant was for everyone to calm down if the team had lost a game during the previous weekend, because it's not the end of the world. Just be in first place every Monday and you'll be fine.

Of course, if you lose too many games, you won't be in first place one of these Mondays. But mostly what Thompson was saying was that he couldn't go back and change what happened last week, so just focus on the next week, the next game, the next possession even. He said that all the time too.

When you hear someone say something you like over and over, it sticks with you. It resonates. You file it away and use it when it applies, which is when you'll need it most.

Bill Tierney, for instance, would always say "when things are going poorly, stop and ask yourself what you do best and do that." There's a lot to that, and TigerBlog has referred back to that many times.

And then there was this one: "Study what you like." TigerBlog heard Clayton Marsh say that a bunch of times in Freshman Student Athlete Orientation.

Clayton Marsh has been Princeton's Deputy Dean of the College since 2011. Prior to that, he was a member of the Office of the General Counsel.

In addition to his current position, Marsh also serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative, a position that is basically what you think it would be. Clayton's role has been to be a liaison between the Department of Athletics - and especially the athletes - and the members of the faculty.

As such, few people impact the experience Princeton's athletes have as much as the Faculty Athletic Rep, which for the last few years has meant Clayton Marsh.

Clayton is a 1985 Princeton grad who was an English major. He got a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Columbia and then graduated from Michigan law school.

His days at Princeton will be winding down, though, as he is leaving his positions here to move to Arkansas and start a new independent school. The University's official story is HERE.

TigerBlog has always liked Clayton Marsh. He doesn't know him that well, but he's worked with him enough to know that he's everything Princeton's athletes have needed in an advocate. He's passionate, smart, personable, approachable and friendly.

Oh, and "Study What You Like?"
That was always Clayton's advice to the incoming freshmen. Find what you have a passion for and study that. You'll be more successful that way.

What he was saying was that you shouldn't study something that you think is going to make you more marketable when you graduate if you have no interest in it, because you'll be shortchanging your undergraduate education here, of which you only get one.

The late, great Marvin Bressler, someone else who said a lot of things that resonated with TigerBlog, used to say that the Faculty Fellows program, for which he was the original, was good because it gave the athletes an "adult" to talk to. Clayton has been an extension of that.
Sometimes the athletes need an adult they can talk to. Other times, they don't need an adult to talk to, because they have an adult talking FOR them and they don't even realize it.

Clayton Marsh has reached so many Princeton athletes in that way. They probably haven't even realized it.

Good luck to him in Arkansas. He's definitely left a mark in Central New Jersey.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ted Cruz ’92, Mark Milley ’80

You might have heard that there's a campaign underway for the U.S. Presidency.

This is a campaign unlike any other that TigerBlog can remember. Maybe this is just how elections are going to be from now on?

There are 17 Republicans - extra credit if you can name them all. There are three Democrats so far - at least three who are actually campaigning. Again, it might be just as tough to name all three, as one appears to have gotten a bit more publicity than the other two. And of course, there may be a fourth entrant on the Democrat side, one who may shake some things up if he gets in.

TigerBlog is a huge student of politics. He majored in U.S. history, political history at that, and he's been tuned in ever since.

MotherBlog was an even bigger political animal than TigerBlog, though they seemed to have slightly different perspectives on things.

Anyway, TB can never remember this many contenders on one side and, essentially, one anointed one on the other side, unless that anointed candidate was a sitting President looking for reelection.

The last three elections that came after a President had served two full terms were the elections of 2008, 1988 and 1960. In 2008, there were 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats. In 1988, there were nine Republicans and 13 Democrats.

To show you how much times have changed, in 1960 there were three Republicans and five Democrats. How many of each can you name? Hint - two attended Princeton and one graduated from Princeton.

Anyway, the 2008 election and 1988 election, the two most contemporary ones, had crowded fields on both sides. This time, it seems that one party has not attracted too many contenders.

There's a long way to go between now and Election Day 2016, which will be Nov. 8. The fields will narrow to one on each side, and the one who comes out of the Republican field will hardly remember that there were 16 others who wanted to be the one who did.

For now, though, it's fascinating theater.

Oh, and in 1960, the fields shaped up this way:
Democrats - John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Adlai Stevenson (he's the Princeton alum), Hubert Humphrey and Wayne More
Republicans - Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller

If you got them all, that's pretty good.

Meanwhile, back at this current race, there is one Princeton alum in the field, Ted Cruz, Class of 1992. TigerBlog was already covering Princeton sports from the time Cruz arrived on campus, and TB wonders how many times they crossed paths - if ever - without any sense of the fact that he was a future Presidential candidate.

For that matter, how many athletic events did Ted Cruz go to as a Princeton student? What athletes was he friends with as an undergrad?

Here's TigerBlog's real question: If you're a liberal Princeton alum, what do you think of Ted Cruz?

On the one hand, he's a Conservative Republican. On the other hand, Princeton loyalty is a serious thing. Hmmm. What would that polling date reveal.?

Whoever wins the Presidency will be, of course, the next Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

There is a new Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, which brings with it a spot on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The newest member has been on the job only three days, and he too is a Princeton alum.

And, in this case, a former Princeton athlete.

General Mark Milley, Class of 1980, lettered in hockey while at Princeton. Now he is one of the most important members of the United States Military.

TigerBlog wondered what both of these men wrote their Senior Theses on, so he looked it up. If you're keeping score:
Ted Cruz - Clipping the Wings of Angels: The History and Theory behind the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution
Mark Milley - A Critical Analysis of Revolutionary Guerrilla Organization in Theory and Practice.

There have been two Princeton alums who have gone to become President of the United States: James Madison and Woodrow Wilson.

There have been a ton who have gotten as close as Cruz has already, only to fall short. A few have made it even further than this, including Stevenson, who was the Democrat nominee in 1952 and 1956, losing both times to Eisenhower.

And of course, Bill Bradley - maybe the best athlete in Princeton history but at least in the top two with Hobey Baker - made a serious run in 2000, coming in as the runner-up to Al Gore on the Democrat side.

Will Cruz still be in the Presidential mix when the primaries start to roll by? Will he make a serious run?

Will liberal Princetonians root for him?

Stay tuned.

It's going to get more and more fascinating.

Oh, and by the way, you do know where Donald Trump went to college, right?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Let's Go Mets

Today is not just any summer Friday.

Nope, today is the last summer Friday before the storm. Not the weather, which suggests that it'll be nearly perfect for mid-August in Central Jersey this weekend.

No, the storm will come in the form of returning athletes. Gradually, they will be here, starting with the women's soccer team, which begins practice Monday or so, in advance of the first Princeton athletic event of 2015-16. That would be women's soccer at home against Howard two weeks from today.

That game will be Sean Driscoll's first game as head coach of the Tigers, by the way. That alone makes this women's soccer preseason radically different than those of the last 20 years.

Before long, every other fall sport will be here getting ready for the start of all of the fall seasons.

By one month from today there will already have been 26 Princeton events played across seven sports. Or 27 and eight, if you count sprint football's alumni game.

And, one month from today, it'll be game week for football, who opens at Lafayette on Sept. 19.

But today?

None of that is on the radar. Not yet. At least not here.

Most of the rest of Division I athletics is already in preseason mode. And good for them. There's plenty of time to play for the fall sports. By the time the season ends, the sun will be setting around 5 and the temps will often be half of what they are right now.

So let them all practice in the heat now. Princeton and the Ivy League will be going strong soon enough.

In the meantime, today is just another Friday in the summer.

It's a Friday in which the New York Mets find themselves in first place in the National League East. Actually, the Mets are sort of comfortably in first place, at least for now, 4.5 games up on the Washington Nationals.

The Mets currently rank 30th in team batting average, hitting .237 as a team. Just in case you lost track, there are only 30 teams in Major League Baseball, meaning the Mets are dead last.

So why are they 11 games over .500 and with a great chance of reaching the postseason? And why do people say that the Mets have as good a chance as anyone come the postseason, should they get there?

It's their pitching. The Mets have an army of young arms that have pitched the team to the second-best ERA in Major League Baseball, even if ERA isn't the standard way of measuring pitching anymore.

And of course, there is the whole Wilmer Flores situation. You know, how he went from crying on the field when he thought he had been traded to hitting nearly .400 since. 

These are definitely great times for Mets' fans, those at least who haven't been completely turned off by the team's ownership and recent record of frugality and, well, bad teams. Right now it's all like something from the movie "Major League," which, by the way, is the most underrated sports movie ever ("Field of Dreams" is the most overrated).

If you're a Mets' fan, your team is in first. The crosstown rivals, the Yankees, have fallen on hard times, and seven-game lead over the Blue Jays is completely gone.

So if you like the Mets, do you want a chance to beat the Yankees in a Subway Series? Or would you rather see the Yankees completely fade away here and now?

Jim Barlow, Princeton's men's soccer coach, is a Mets' fan.

He's such a big Mets' fan that he DVR'd games the last few years to watch them when he had things that prevented him from doing it live, even though the team was miles out of first.

Barlow was in the Office of Athletic Communications yesterday. He walked back and forth in front of TB's office about six times before he actually came in, and TB has no idea where he was going or anything.

While Barlow was here, the subjects ranged along the usual - the upcoming Princeton season, international soccer, the upcoming World Cup qualifying and of course Major League Lacrosse. Barlow to his credit knew that Rochester was one of the teams in the MLL final last weekend, though he only knew that from Monday's TigerBlog.

And Barlow talked about the Mets. He was downright giddy about the team and especially the young pitching.

He was calm. Relaxed. Well, he's usually both, but he was even more of both at this moment.

Beginning next week, he'll have some other issues to deal with, such as how to replace Cameron Porter, who led Princeton to a share of the Ivy title last fall while leading Division I in goals per game.

But that's for next week.

This week wasn't a time for that. And this weekend isn't either.

This weekend? Go to the beach. Find a pool. Have a barbeque. Go to a baseball game. Do all those summer things, before you can't anymore.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Goodbye, 5LSM

TigerBlog has no idea what the average person thinks when presented with the letters "LSM."

TB hopes, by the way, that "LSM" isn't some contemporary slang thing that actually means something awful or off-color or something of which he is completely unaware.

To be sure, TigerBlog did a search for "LSM" and found two things - the Living Stream Ministry at and the Life Sciences and Management School at, of all places, the University of Pennsylvania. Website:

Neither or those appears to be problematic. Nor, by the way, are they what TigerBlog has come to mind when he thinks of the letters.

First, as any men's lacrosse fan knows, "LSM" stands for "longstick midfielder."

It's evolved through the years from being a team's next-best defenseman to being an indispensable part of any good team and, as much as anything, a player counted on for offense.

This past year, Princeton got two goals from longsticks - both from Sam Gravitte, the longstick midfielder.

It's not an easy position at all. You're constantly running on and off the field as possession changes, and you find yourself with a never-ending diet of covering the other teams' best offensive midfielder.

And yet, it's become as big - or bigger - for an LSM to be able to turn defense into offense. Get the ball, get it out in transition, and make things happen.

It's actually one of the most exciting parts of lacrosse, when a really good, really fast pole comes sprinting into the box. Gravitte's second goal last year, against Yale in the Ivy League tournament final, was a thing of beauty.

But hey, TigerBlog isn't here today to talk about lacrosse. As much as you might want him to.

He'll talk about lacrosse again another time. He promises.

For the rest of today, he'd rather talk about the other LSM.

The 5LSM.

And what is the 5LSM?

Well, to be honest, TigerBlog has no idea what the LSM stands for. He does know that for years, the 5LSM was a cherished commodity in Jadwin Gym that only a few select people had.

It was a key. Today, it's an irrelevant key.

Yesterday was a big day in Jadwin, as the entire building was re-keyed. Still, it also marked the end of the era of the 5LSM.

The 5LSM key was a master key for the entire building. It could open almost any door in Jadwin, including almost anyone's office. Anyone who was locked out of his or her office had to find someone with a 5LSM.

TigerBlog was one of the lucky ones who had a 5LSM. The real benefit was that you didn't need a separate key to get into the building and then into your office. The 5LSM was good for both.

It was a status thing really, to have a 5LSM.

When TB first started here, he didn't get a 5LSM. He had two keys. Actually, he had a bunch of others, some of which are still in his desk drawer. He has no idea what these keys are for or every were for, to be exact.

Now everyone in Jadwin has new keys. There is no master key anymore, or at least not one that will be widely distributed. TB isn't sure what will happen when people get locked out of their offices.

The project, which has been under the more-than-capable direction of Greg Paczkowski, kicked into high gear this week. The giveaway that something was up came when the entire building was covered in pink Post-its, which were on every door with a lock, showing what key opened that particular door.

TigerBlog now has two keys. Many people have more than that. 

The 5LSM days are over.

And with it, TigerBlog supposes, ends the concern of whatever happened to the other Office of Athletic Communications 5LSM. Legend has it that Jeb Stuart, who used to volunteer in this office after he sold the weekly newspaper Town Topics, had it at some point, and nobody knew what happened to it after Jeb passed away.

Actually, the point of all this is that with the re-keying, TigerBlog thought about the 5LSM and then about his old friend Jeb, who has been gone for seven years now. It was at his funeral - in the chapel here - that one of his friends who was eulogizing him stopped and answered his cell phone and then pretended he was talking to Jeb. It was funny and touching at the same time.

Jeb was a character, that's for sure. His father was in the publishing business and was the longtime PA announcer at Palmer Stadium. His brother is a filmmaker. His mother was murdered in town in 1989 - a murder that remains unsolved.

As for Jeb, he was just a fun guy to have around. When he retired, he asked if he could volunteer here and do all the little tasks that nobody else wanted to do. For years, Jeb would clip newspapers, string credentials, all that kind of stuff.

And talk. And laugh. And make everyone here laugh. He loved Princeton Athletics and being a part of it.

And really,  that's what he wanted to say today. It wasn't really about the key at all.

TigerBlog liked Jeb a lot. He misses him.

He's been gone seven years already?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Meanwhile, In The Present

Way back when TigerBlog first started doing this in the summer, he figured he'd never be able to fill five days a week with something new when school wasn't in session and there were no events.

At one point, he thought about a "Best of TigerBlog" type series. You know, take some of the best ones and just copy and paste them.

As it's turned out, he hasn't had to do that yet. Today, though, he wants to.

Not because he can't think of anything to say. Far from it. He knows exactly what he wants to say.

It's just that he's said it before.

In fairness, if he copied and pasted the first two-thirds of the entry from Aug. 7, 2013, who would ever know? It's not like someone would remember it.

Or maybe someone would. After all, it can't be that much different than when someone is watching a movie on TV and then realizes "hey, I've already seen this one."

Nah. Nobody would ever remember that this was a two-year-old blog.

Oh well. Just read it HERE.


Hey, those were the days. Of the more than a quarter-century that TigerBlog has been around Princeton Athletics, there haven't been too many that were more fun than the old days of Ivy League sports information meetings and football media day.

TigerBlog has said this a bunch of times, but it's a completely different world these days. It's an electronic one, and while that has so many great benefits, one of the down sides is the loss of interpersonal contact.

There are no Ivy SID meetings anymore. There is no more Ivy football media day, at least not in person.

And as a result, there is no Ivy League sports information dinner on the night between the two. And no golf after media day.

TigerBlog isn't a very good golfer, but he always played at Ivy media day, as much for the camaraderie as anything else. Most years, that was the only time he'd ever played.

Ah, but what's the point of living in the past, right? Even back to all those years when Dartmouth's legendary SID Kathy Slattery always started and ended the meetings with a reminder that no matter what was said, everyone should remember that it was all "for the good of the clan."

Fast forwarding to the present, Ivy League football media day isn't a media day at all. Instead it's a conference call, one that took place yesterday.

TigerBlog tuned in just before Princeton head coach Bob Surace was supposed to speak, but the call was running behind, so instead he heard the last minute or so of Dartmouth's Buddy Teevins. Then it was Harvard's Tim Murphy - who interestingly is not in favor of having the Ivy champ go to the FCS playoffs - and then Penn's first-year head coach Ray Priore before Surace.
Princeton was picked to finish fourth in the league this year. Princeton's last two Ivy titles came after the Tigers were picked to finish sixth and fifth, so fourth isn't too bad. On the other hand, Princeton was the preseason No. 1 last year and then finished fourth.

Harvard is this year's preseason No. 1. Consensus - in August, at least - is that it'll be between Harvard and Dartmouth, with Yale and Princeton the next two best teams. That's just fine with anyone associated with Princeton football at this point, since none of it matters once the teams start to play.

When it was his turn, Surace talked about the balance of the league and how there are no gimmies. He mentioned that graduation took some players who "rewrote the record book," particularly quarterback Quinn Epperly and co-quarterback Connor Michelsen. And Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Mike Zeuli.

Then again, Princeton does have a healthy Chad Kanoff and Kedric Bostic leading the quarterback charge this year, where there will again be many times with both - and more - quarterbacks on the field.

Who is playing quarterback, Surace was asked? Who? Or how many? That was his answer.

He also said he doesn't like having his best athletes standing next to him on the sidelines.

Beyond that, he said all the usual football coach stuff, except with one major exception, one that TigerBlog loves about Surace. He never used the actual word "football." That's makes him unique in his profession.

TigerBlog's least favorite hip colloquialism is actually from basketball, as in "score the basketball." What does that even mean?

Maybe, though, he can get Surace to bring "score the football" into the lexicon?

Anyway, TigerBlog used to think of Ivy football media day as a sign that summer was winding down, though it still had a long way to go until all of these coaches would be seeing each other again, under much more formal circumstances.

And that it wouldn't be long until TB and his Ivy SID buddies would again be seeing each other each weekend.

Yesterday's conference call was a distant cousin to those days. You know, days that are long gone and show no sign of coming back.

They were great days.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Just Kidding

Just kidding. Or, just joking.

When applied correctly, those two little phrases can be sort of the "apple-Z" of real life. You know, like when you say something over-the-top, you can follow it with a chuckle and a "just kidding," and it can be like it never happened.

It has to be in the right setting. Like in a very small group, for starters.

And what's "apple-Z?" On a Mac, it's the command that undoes whatever the most recent entry on the computer, whatever it was. Again, like it never happened.

You want to know when "just kidding" or "just joking" won't work? On social media.

Once it's out there, it's out there for good. Even if you delete it, somebody probably already took a screen shot of it.

TigerBlog likes to stumble on stories on Twitter that have a practical application in his world, and he did so yesterday, when he read about the Twitter feud between two Major League Soccer teams, the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders.

The crux of the story is that one team made a joke about the other and the other responded. It's about a joke. About, well, poop.

Read it for yourself.

Seattle backed down, deleting its tweet. Portland did not.

The story also refers to a story from the NBA playoffs, when the Houston Rockets tweeted emojis of a gun pointed at a horse in the closing minutes as the Rockets were about to eliminate the Dallas Mavericks. Included was this text: "Shhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon."

The tweet got the team's social media director fired, even though the story says that 1) he was told to be edgy when he was hired and that 2) the team won an award a year ago for having the best Twitter feed.

So what does all this mean for Princeton?

Well, first, maybe a nice Twitter feud with Harvard or Yale or someone else would be fun. As far as TigerBlog knows or can remember, there hasn't been one yet in the Ivy League.

Is that because the league's coaches and athletic communications types are too in tune with the possible downfall to go down that path? TB can't imagine anyone in the league who would get into something like that, for about a hundred reasons.

But hey, it might be fun - at least until everyone got fired, like in the Rockets' example.

It didn't matter that his marching orders were to be edgy. And it didn't matter that he won that award. He was gone.

No offense to the San Francisco startup company for whom he is now marketing director, but he'd probably still rather be working in the NBA. And as he says in the story, he's not even sure what was considered the most offensive part, the unforgivable part. That it was about an animal? That it was mocking a rival?

To date at Princeton, nobody has been fired for something tweeted. No athlete has lost eligibility for the same reason.

Fortunately, around here, most of the tweets will always by nature be about Princeton athletes and their on- and off-field accomplishments, almost all of which are off-the-charts positive.

Like the last few days.

There was a tweet about how Austin Sims of the men's lacrosse team is now one of 30 players remaining - from an original field of almost 500 applicants and 108 who were chosen to tryout - for the United States U-19 team for next summer's World Championships. Hard to go wrong with that one.

And there was one about Ashleigh Johnson's latest victory, this time at the FINA World Championships of water polo in Russia, where she helped the U.S. team to the gold medal.

Johnson's had quite a summer, with gold medals in the Pan Am Games in Toronto and now in Russia, where she was named the MVP. And why not? She made 12 saves, including a stop on a penalty shot in the fourth quarter, as the Americans defeated the Netherlands 5-4 in the championship match.

And about the perfor

So those are the kinds of tweets that are usually sent out around here. They're the kind you want to be sending.

On the other hand, TB cringes at the thought of what could happen. All it takes is hitting the "tweet" button, and it could all be gone for someone. Even for TigerBlog.

He knows that if he tweets the wrong thing, more than a quarter-century of goodwill would be gone in a flash. Without any chance to hit the "just kidding" button.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Lax

As father-son moments go, there's really not much that can beat sitting together in front of the television to watch a major sporting event.

And so that's what TigerBlog and TigerBlog Jr. did with their Saturday night. TB speaks of course of the Major League Lacrosse championship game, which was on this weekend.

The two teams that TigerBlog was rooting for lost in the semifinals, which left the championship game of less interest to TB, or, in other words, without a Princeton alum in the game. Instead, it was the New York Lizards who came from behind and then pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat the Rochester Rattlers 15-12.

The two teams who lost in the semifinals each had a Princeton alum, Chad Wiedmaier on the Boston Cannons and Tom Schreiber on the Ohio Machine.

Okay, TigerBlog is going out on a wild limb and saying that you're probably not as into Major League Lacrosse as he is, and he knows he's not nearly as into MLL as TBJ is. And so, it's likely that you didn't see how the semifinal game between the Lizards and Cannons ended.

Boston trailed by four late in the game but rallied to tie it with 36 seconds left to force overtime. Then, in the OT, Boston goalie Adam Ghitelman found himself across midfield, inside the two-point arc and then with the ball. He dodged once and ripped what would have been the game-winner - except Lizards' goalie Drew Adams made a great save.

Adams then started a fast break the other way, one that became infinitely easier with Ghitelman 70 yards or so out of the play. Yale grad Matt Gibson was the beneficiary, scoring into the goalie-less goal for the win.

In truth, Ghitelman made a great play and took a great shot. It took a great save from Adams to keep the game going. You can see for yourself HERE.

Adams was the MLL Goalie of the Year, an award that was close between him and Chesapeake's Tyler Fiorito. Perhaps you remember Fiorito as Princeton's goalie and the 2012 Ivy League Player of the Year.

Fiorito led MLL in saves (255) and save percentage (.606). In fact, his save total was the third-best in MLL history, and he became the first goalie since 2011 to have at least a .600 save percentage for the summer.

Tom Schreiber finished his second season in Major League Lacrosse with 60 points.

Sort of.

It depends if you count his three points in the playoffs, when his Machine lost to Rochester. And it depends if you want to count two-point goals as two points or as one goal.

Schreiber finished the regular season with 29 goals and 30 assists. His assist total tied him for the league lead, and he was named first-team All-MLL. In fact, Schreiber was the highest vote-getter among MLL middies for the all-league team.

Schreiber had a goal and an assist in the playoff loss, and his goal was a two-pointer. He also had one two-pointer during the regular season, so, adding the playoff game and regular season he actually scored a goal 29 times and had 31 assists, which would be 60 points going by the way stats are done in college.

The only two Princeton players who have ever had a season with at least 30 goals and 30 assists are David Tickner (34G, 32A in 1976) and Mike MacDonald (48G, 30A this past season). Schreiber came excruciatingly close twice, with one season of 28 goals and 32 assists and another with 32 goals and 28 assists.

And this year, his MLL totals were 29 goals and 31 assists. Sort of. If you count the two-pointers as two, then it was 31 and 31.

Either way, Schreiber, two years out of Princeton, has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the game, anywhere. And when it comes to passing from the midfield spot, nobody currently does it better.

As for TigerBlog and TBJ and watching the game Saturday night, yeah, there was nobody from Princeton to root for, and so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

And yes, it wasn't the World Series or the Super Bowl, or more traditional father/son viewing through the years.

But for TB and TBJ, this was better. TigerBlog took his son to the 2003 MLL championship game at Villanova Stadium, where Prineton's Kevin Lowe scored the game-winner in OT for, of all teams, the Lizards. Lowe, by the way, remains the only player ever to score an overtime goal in an NCAA championship game and MLL championship game.

And TB and TBJ have watched basically every MLL final together on TV.

TBJ's first college class is three weeks from today, a fact that has made TigerBlog fairly nostalgic these days.

So forgive him, but Major League Lacrosse championship games are part of that nostalgia.

Friday, August 7, 2015


TigerBlog read a story the other day about how the Chicago Bears are trying to limit what the media is able to say about the team during preseason.

Is there nobody there who can tell the people in charge what a mistake they're making? Is nobody on the Bears' payroll able to say "hey, we might as well make the policy be 'let's have all of our media hate us and rip us every chance they get?' "

You can read about it HERE.

TigerBlog's favorite part is the no tweeting of basically anything.

For one thing, TigerBlog finds tweet-by-tweet updates of what happens at a football training camp to be only somewhat more interesting than tweet-by-tweet updates of how high lengths of the blades of grass they're practicing on would be. So it's no big loss to TB.

On the other hand, a lot of people love that stuff. And anyone sitting in the stands watching practice can tweet whatever comes to mind.

The whole purpose, of course, is for the Bears' opponents to have no idea at all what the team is working on during training camp. Football is by far the most paranoid sport out there, and it's .

That's one of the reasons why TigerBlog likes Princeton head football coach Bob Surace so much. He's not nuts about stuff like that.

He also doesn't have to use the word "football" in every sentence, like most football coaches do. You've heard it. We have to run the football, stop them from running the football, on and on.

TigerBlog was working out yesterday morning in the Princeton Varsity Club weight room. At this time of year and at the time that TB works out (morning), there is usually nobody there, so TigerBlog can listen to his music. When it's during the school year, he's stuck with whatever music the athletes like, which rarely overlaps with TB's tastes.

Yesterday morning, he heard noise from the weight room as he walked down the hall, but it wasn't music. It was ESPN radio's "Mike and Mike" show, which new men's assistant basketball coach Donovan Williams was listening to while he worked out.

Jon Gruden was on. Chris Carter was a guest host. Anytime they talked about any coach or any player, they followed it by saying "in the National Football League." Never just the NFL. Never just "he's one of the top young quarterbacks." Always "in the National Football League."

Everyone gets it. Football. Yes.

The first preseason game "in the National Football League" is two days away, when the Steelers and Vikings play Sunday night. Next weekend everyone will be playing.

Princeton is still a few weeks away from starting practice in football, and no Princeton team has yet to start for that matter. It's just a matter of days though. In fact, Princeton's first athletic event is three weeks from today, when the women's soccer team hosts Howard.

TigerBlog usually gets to this long before August starts to reach its midpoint, though this year he has been a tad delinquent.

And what is this particular "this?"

Princeton's overall record from last academic year.

Princeton teams combined to play 631 games in 2014-15. This doesn't count things like cross country invitationals, track meets, large swim meets and such. Just an event where there were two teams, one of whom won and one of whom lost. Or, in the case of 12 games, there was a tie.

Princeton's record for those 631 games was 370-249-12. That's basically a .600 winning percentage. That's not too bad, right?

The men were 166-151-6. The women were 204-98-6.

In Ivy League-only games, Princeton was 144-83-6. That's a .631 percentage in Ivy-only games.

So now that TigerBlog has that out of the way, it's time to get ready for 2015-16. But not exactly time. There's still a few weeks of summer left.

So enjoy the day. And the weekend.

Three weeks til the first Princeton game.

And you can watch a game this weekend, even if it's a preseason game.

You know, "in the National Football League."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Top 29?

The high temperature yesterday in Princeton was 88 degrees.

At least according to TigerBlog's iPhone anyway. The day topped out two degrees short of 90, ending a streak of nine consecutive days of temps in the 90s here in the tropics.

It didn't seem like it was anywhere near 90 yesterday, perhaps because of the lower humidity. In fact, this week hasn't seemed nearly as oppressive as last week.

And what did the end of the 90 degree streak call to TigerBlog's mind? Of course, it was the second game of the 2015 men's lacrosse season, the one where Princeton and Hofstra played in a driving snowstorm that left the field covered in several inches of snow by game's end.

Hey, it's been almost six months now since that game.

Actually, when TigerBlog released the Princeton Class of 2019 for men's lacrosse the other day, he used a picture of the No. 20 Princeton jersey (belonging to Braedon Gait) and the No. 19 Princeton jersey (belonging to Bobby Weaver). Pretty clever, no?

When TB went through the pictures of the Manhattan game, one week earlier than the Hofstra game, he remembered that it had snowed on that day as well. At least in the second half, which is when the picture of Gait was taken.

The snow that day, though, was nothing like it was for the Hofstra game. In fact, TB has never seen lacrosse played in weather like that before.

Mike MacDonald and Zach Currier, both from Canada, had huge days. TigerBlog went back and reread his story about the game, which started with this rather flowery sentence: The only thing more beautiful than the peacefully falling snow on Sherrerd Field Saturday afternoon was the way the Princeton men's lacrosse team clicked on offense in the third quarter.

Not bad, right? TB did mention that MacDonald and Currier were big in the game and that they were from Canada, with the implication that because they were Canadian that they wouldn't mind the snow. TB never actually asked either. Maybe they hate the snow.

It reminds him of an old joke - two camels were walking in the desert when one said to the other "I don't care what anybody says. I'm thirsty."

Anyway, TigerBlog tweeted a picture from that Hofstra game yesterday, just for fun. This picture, to be exact:

TigerBlog saw that the picture had been retweeted by Austin Sims, a rising sophomore on the team. He also saw that Sims had tweeted a link to a story in Business Insider, entitled "The 29 Most Successful Princeton Alumni of All-Time."

The world of online media is built around things like this. Lists of this. Lists of that. You read one story, and all along the side you can click on one list or another, like the most horribly scary pictures ever or the best looking athletes ever or pictures of celebrities at their proms or something.

It's all designed to get as many clicks as possible, which in turn can translate into ad revenue. It's the 2015 version of circulation.

The list of Princeton alums wasn't designed to turn one story into 29 clicks. TigerBlog was able to read the entire list as one story, which is a rarity these days.

Anyway, as far as this list goes, TB couldn't help but notice one thing right away. And it was sort of shocking.
Of the nine current Supreme Court Justices, three of them are Princeton alums - Samuel Alito, Elene Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. There have been other Surpreme Court Justices through the years. None made the list.

But David Duchovny did? And Ellie Kemper, who went from the field hockey team to a reasonably successful acting career. And they got picked over the three Justices?

So did Brooke Shields and Dean Cain. Perhaps you remember Cain as a record-setting defensive back, who set Division I-AA records for interceptions in a season and career, both of which have since been broken. Of course, his little write-up says he played on the basketball team, as opposed to football and volleyball, which he also played.

Speaking of basketball, Bill Bradley made it of course.

So did Michelle Obama, the current First Lady of the United States. Woodrow Wilson and James Madison, the two Princeton alums who became Presidents of the United States. Ted Cruz, who wants to be the next one, is also there. Cruz graduated in 1992.

Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense for two different Presidents, was honored. He also wrestled and played lightweight football at Princeton.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was there. So were a bunch of others. You can see for yourself. And why 29? That's a weird number. What about, as former Princeton broadcaster John Nolan said, America's obsession with round numbers?

Princeton has had so many successful alums through the years that it's hard to pick just 29. TigerBlog's list would have been wildly different. 

So other than the Supreme Court Justices, who else should have been there?

John McPhee, obviously.