Thursday, October 8, 2015

Winter's Coming, But Not Here Yet

Basketball practice started already? Wow, that was quick.

You know, from summer to the start of basketball practice. That used to seem like such a long time. Not anymore.

Now the unmistakable sound of basketball practice emanates from Jadwin's courts every day. It's a familiar scene, the women on the main court, the men on the side court, then swapped the next day. And then swapped again the day after that.

The men's and women's basketball teams start their seasons on the same day, Nov. 13. That's a Friday night. That's five Fridays from tomorrow, to be exact.

Perhaps you remember a year ago, when the women's team went 31-1 and finished ranked 13th nationally? Courtney Banghart's team opens at home against American. The men are at Rider that night.

Of course, that same night, the women's hockey team will be playing its seventh game and the men's team will be playing its fifth game. Yeah, winter is on the way.

The men's hockey team will be led by an American citizen this year after being led by a Canadian last year. There has been no coaching change, though.

Ron Fogarty, entering his second year as head coach, became an American citizen this past off-season. It's a huge moment for anyone, and with immigration being the issue it is these days, there should be nothing about having someone become an American citizen that should be taken lightly.

So congratulations to Ron. He's facing a big turnaround, but there's something about him and his staff that gives off the vibe that they're going to get it done.

Speaking of Princeton hockey, Mike Condon, a 2013 grad, made the Montreal Canadiens as their backup goalie. That's quite an accomplishment. HERE is more on that story.

When TigerBlog first started working here, the start of basketball practice always seemed like it coincided with the coming of colder weather, shorter days and the inevitability of winter. The days are in fact getting shorter, and winter is coming. The weather? It's still perfect.

There are other signs that winter is coming, like the fact that TigerBlog got his flu shot yesterday. TB gets one every year, always at the University's "Flu Fest." Shouldn't it be "Anti-Flu Fest?"

Still, it's not exactly wintery yet. The lowest the temperature has gotten around here has been the high 40s, which just so happened to be in a driving rainstorm while the last home football game was going on. But hey, what can you do? Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it. Who said that? Ben Franklin? Mark Twain? One of them.

So winter is out there on the horizon, but not quite here yet. Hey, TigerBlog hasn't even seen his first Christmas commercial. And he still fast-forwards past Christmas songs on his iTunes.

And can it be winter yet if the baseball playoffs have just started? TigerBlog watched fewer than nine innings combined of the regular season on TV, and he hardly watched any of the Yankees-Astros game the other night. He's glad the Yankees lost, but hating the Yankees has lost some of its luster.

He's rooting for the Royals, with Chris Young, and the Rangers, with Will Venable. Any other team without a Princeton connection can go away.

If it can't be one of those two, then okay, let the Mets win.

The Princeton connection in the Major Leagues has skyrocketed in recent weeks. Now Princeton fans can include the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, both of who named Princeton alums as their General Managers recently.

In Cleveland, that's Mike Chernoff, a 2003 graduate. In Boston, it's Mike Hazen, a 1998 grad.

That's probably more impressive than having players reach the Majors. Two GM's in two weeks?

Actually, maybe it's not the baseball program here that gets the credit. Maybe it's Ben Badua, the baseball contact here in the Office of Athletic Communications.

Ben came to Princeton from Amherst. While he was there, there were three Amherst alums who became Major League GM's.

Today is the annual College Athletic Administrators of New Jersey awards luncheon. Princeton will again be honored with the CAANJ Cup, given to the top athletic programs in New Jersey in the Division I/II ranks, Division III ranks and JUCO ranks.

The cups are awarded to the teams that finish highest in the Directors' Cup the previous year. Princeton was the highest in New Jersey at 41st. Rutgers was second, at 104th.

Princeton also swept the scholar-athlete awards for Division I/II, as Cameron Porter and Julia Ratcliffe were the winners. The requirements are a 3.5 GPA and a very accomplished athletic resume. 

The annual CAANJ event is a TB favorite, as he used to be the president of the organization. It's always held this time of year.

Pretty soon it'll be Halloween. And then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas.

Winter isn't here yet. But the signs that it's on the way are.


Anonymous said...

Russ Ohlendorf?

Richard Woodward said...

Don't forget Ross Ohlendorf, who was selected as part of the Rangers' 25-man roster this morning.

TigerBlog said...

Apologies to Ross Ohlendorf. TigerBlog missed that one.