Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bob And Warren

It was a pretty good weekend on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium.

The Princeton men and women both won 2-1, both against really, good teams, both on late goals - the men with three minutes to go to beat Boston University, the women in overtime to beat William & Mary.

Actually, TigerBlog called the men's game-winning goal long before it happened.

A day before, TB and his colleagues John Bullis and Cody Chrusciel were filming a video for the "Achieve, Serve, Lead" series with Josh Miller, the captain of the men's team. The interview with Miller was the last piece needed for the video, and once it was dropped in, the video was done.

With the score 1-1 deep into the second half, TigerBlog told Bullis that Miller was going to score the game-winner and that Chrusciel, who was on the sideline with his camera, would get a good shot of it. And Bullis, being the way he is, would want to include the footage in the video that was already completed.

Sure enough, in the 87th minute, Miller knocked in a shot off a corner kick, and Princeton had itself a big non-league win.

And sure enough, Bullis put the football into his video.

That video is not the one that was put up yesterday, by the way. That's the first one in the series, an "Achieve" video. There will be several more videos to follow throughout the fall.

If you missed the first video, you can check it out HERE.

As for the women's game, Princeton led 1-0 most of the second half after a Tyler Lussi goal, before William & Mary tied it to force the overtime. Then, early on, Mimi Asom won it for Princeton.

Lussi, by the way, leads Princeton with six goals, while Asom is second with four. They were both honored by the Ivy League and Top Drawer Soccer.

Lussi, a junior, has 34 career goals, which puts her fifth all-time in program history. The record is held by Esmeralda Negron, who had 47. Linda DeBoer had 41, Emily Behncke had 39 and Jen Hoy had 36. That's pretty elite company already.

The games last weekend were played on picture-perfect days at a picture-perfect facility. There were good crowds both days, and you can't beat seeing a game at Roberts Stadium. It's designed perfectly for fan experience.

TigerBlog walked around the concourse at one point and ran into all kinds of familiar people. As he turned the corner and headed past the concession stands, he saw Kristen Callahan.

Kristen gave TB a hug. He asked her how she was doing, and she said good, but with a lot of moments, and that it was hard.

Who could blame her?

Kristen is the widow of Bob Callahan, the longtime men's squash at Princeton. Even now, more than seven months after Bob's death, it pains TigerBlog to have to write the word "widow."

Bob was just 59 when he died, after a fight against brain cancer, a fight that, like the man himself, was one of humor, grace, humility and courage.

It was nearly a year ago that TigerBlog spent his last meaningful time with Bob, back on Sept 30, 2014, when Bob and Kristen celebrated their 36th anniversary. For Kristen, it meant having to go back to her teaching job at Mercer County College. For Bob, it meant hanging out with various Princeton athletic department staff members while Kristen was away.

TigerBlog went to see him first. As he thinks about it now, he's glad that the last time he spent with Bob was when Bob was still on his game, equal parts smart, funny, kind, loyal, warm - basically every good quality one man could have.

In talking to Kristen at the soccer game Saturday, it all came rushing back to TigerBlog, all the things he loved about Bob Callahan. The tragedy that was having such a great person cut down at the age of 59 also came back to him, but TigerBlog tried to block that out and only focus on the good.

It's not easy though. TigerBlog half expects Bob to come walking into his office again, with his white 1970s tennis shorts and a windbreaker, asking TB how many days are left until lacrosse starts. That was always his first question. Sadly, he never will. Having it happen in TigerBlog's mind will have to do.

After TigerBlog left Kristen and began to walk back to the press box at Roberts, he checked his  phone to find he'd received an email from Warren Kimber, or at least he thought so. Instead, it turned out to be from Warren Kimber's daughter on Warren Kimber's email address. She'd sent out a group email to all of his contacts, explaining that her father had passed away.

TigerBlog was stung by the news.

Warren was the supervisor of officials for men's lacrosse. He'd be a frequent visitor to Princeton games, and TigerBlog had gotten to know him there and at the NCAA championships.

He was a lot like Bob Callahan. He was just a nice guy, a warm, friendly guy, someone who saw the best in people, someone who always had something nice to say, someone who asked how you were doing and seemed to genuinely care.

And now he too was gone. TigerBlog doesn't know how old Warren was, but his guess is he was around 70ish. It dawned on TB that he doesn't really know much about Warren's background, other than that he was a longtime lacrosse ref and then the supervisor of officials.

But he does know that he was a man who made TigerBlog's favorite sport better and that it was always good to see him. He had just retired too, and just like that, he's gone.

The sport of lacrosse will miss him. TigerBlog will miss him too.

Bob Callahan and Warren Kimber.

Two of the good guys.

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