Thursday, December 17, 2015

On The Rhodes

Frank Sinatra Tuesday. Adele yesterday. That's enough music for one week.

Let's talk about Nick Barton instead.

TigerBlog has no idea what kind of singer Nick Barton is. He does know that Barton is good at all kinds of other things.

Like squash, for instance.

Barton is a member of Princeton's men's squash team. He's also a Bermuda native, making him the only Princeton athlete from Bermuda that TB can think of off the top of his head.

He'll be spending the next two years all the way across the Atlantic, however. He'll be at Oxford after being named a Rhodes Scholar.

There are few honors that a college student can earn that eclipse being named a Rhodes Scholar. The award is named for Cecil Rhodes, and it dates to 1902.

There have been more than 7,000 honorees since. The winners are selected from this criteria:
  • Literary and scholastic attainments;
  • Energy to use one's talents to the fullest, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
  • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
At least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

TigerBlog learned all about Barton from a video on that his colleague Craig Sachson narrated. You can see the video HERE.

Did you watch it? If you did, you have to be impressed.

Astrophysics. Doesn't seem like that would be the easiest major out there.

Princeton men's squash coach Sean Wilkinson was right when he said in the video that "it's mind-boggling what these kids are doing." Wilkinson has the best line in the video, when he says that on bus trips he's watching cartoons on his iPad while the rest of the team is immersed in more, uh, serious studies.

Who is TigerBlog to judge Wilkinson? TB knows way more about Bugs Bunny than he does about science.

So congratulations to Nick Barton. That's an impressive feat, and now he's off to two years at the University of Oxford, where he will study mathematical modeling and scientific computing and then applied statistics - after his thesis, which he is writing on two binary star systems.

There have been other Rhodes Scholars among Princeton athletes before. In fact, Barton will be Princeton's 24th athlete to be so honored.

TigerBlog believes this is the complete list (if it isn't, let him know who's missing):

1931-Byles, Julius (Football)
1933-Billings, Frederick Tremaine (Lacrosse, Football)
1948-Douglas, John Woolman (Football)
1948-Harr, Jr., Karl Gottlieb (Football)
1957-Stewart, Michael MacCracken (Football)
1960-Sachs, Daniel Martin (Football)
1965-Bradley, William Warren (Basketball)
1965-Smith, Michael Edward (Football)
1966-Spence, A. Michael (Ice Hockey)
1967-Peters, Charles (Football)
1970-Hicks, David Vern (Rowing)
1975-McCaffery, Michael Gerard (Swimming)
1976-Perles, Suzanne (Field Hockey)
1977-Stengel, Richard Allen (Basketball)
1977-Fournier, Daniel Edward (Football)
1990-Dechet, Andrew John (Soccer)
1992-Hessler, Peter Benjamin (Track & Field, Cross Country)
1993-Ticktin, Miriam Iris (Swimming)
1995-Babik, Jennifer (Field Hockey, Softball)
2003-Shackelton, Laura A. (Track & Field)
2005-Miller, Jeff (Basketball)
2008-Stankievech, Landis (Ice Hockey)2015-Skokowski, Rachel A. (Cross Country/Track & Field)
2016-Barton, Nicholas (Men's Squash)

The most famous name on that list is the fourth from the top, a certain William Warren Bradley.

Bill Bradley is pretty much the embodiement of a Rhodes Scholar. He's also the greatest basketball player in Princeton history and, for TigerBlog's money, the best athlete Princeton has ever seen.

He was also one of two Princeton athletes to be named a Rhodes Scholar in 1965, along with football player Michael Smith. Princeton also had two athletic Rhodes winners in 1948, with John Douglas and Karl Harr, who were football teammates, and in 1977, with Richard Stengel (basketball) and Daniel Fournier (football).

Barton joins this illustrious list.

It's certainly not an easy one to get onto. Princeton Athletics has produced only five this century and eight in the last 25 years.

In fact, Princeton has not had more than five winners in any decade.

Is there anything else TB wants to say today?

Oh yeah, there's men's basketball at home tonight. Princeton hosts Liberty at 7, with another home game Tuesday, when Bucknell comes to Carril Court.

The only other home event of 2015 will be men's hockey against Quinnipiac on Dec. 29.

That doesn't really have anything to do with the Rhodes Scholar winners, but TigerBlog did want to remind you of those upcoming games. 

And Nick Barton?

His accomplishment is to be celebrated and appreciated.

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