Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hello Addison, Goodbye Tessio

Welcome to the world, Addison Grace Widener.

Addison is the third child of Kelly Widener, Princeton's Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance. Addison came into the world just ahead of the blizzard - and about two weeks ahead of her due date - joining her two older brothers Michael and Connor and her father Ben.

Congrats to Kelly. She's one of the hard-working people behind the scenes here at Princeton Athletics, and she works in some way with pretty much every athlete in some capacity.

Like most of the people who work here, Kelly's commitment is to the betterment of the student-athlete experience. She works on so many different elements of that, and most of the time the average Princeton student-athlete doesn't realize how much effort people like Kelly are making.

It's not always easy to balance working in athletics with raising a family, and it's not for everyone. For those who do it, Princeton Athletics provides a great place for children to grow up, as TigerBlog can attest to first hand.

And now there's a newcomer to the extended Princeton Athletics family. Addison Grace Widener.

She made her appearance, and a few days later - yesterday to be exact - Abe Vigoda bowed out.

Abe Vigoda was 94 years old when he passed away. According to the obit that TigerBlog read, the cause was "old age" and his daughter said that hadn't been sick a day in his life.

That's the way to go.

TigerBlog is trying to think of Abe Vigoda's third-best role, and he can't think of one. It doesn't matter, because his two best are what defined him forever.

If you know anything at all about Abe Vigoda, it's that he played Salvatore Tessio in "The Godfather" and Detective Fish, first on the epic sitcom "Barney Miller" and then on the spin-off "Fish."

Let's start with Fish.

It's TigerBlog's belief that "Barney Miller" - which ran in the late 1970s - is the most realistic cop show of all time, in that the detectives in the squad room often went out on seemingly dangerous assignments, only to find out that they were nothing - except every now and then, when they really were serious. Almost nobody on the show every drew a gun, let alone fired it, and they spend most of their time making sarcastic comments at basically everyone.

It had great characters - Dietrich, Yemana, Levitt, Inspector Lugar, Wojo, Harris. And Fish.

Fish was as good as any of them. Vigoda played Fish as a detective who was well past his prime, for whom every day provided a challenge just to get out of bed, let alone be a New York City police officer. Every line he delivered was understated, deadpanned - and hilarious.

In fact, TB saw in that same obit a story for the how Vigoda came to be Fish in the first place. From the AP:
He liked to tell the story of how he won the role of Detective Fish. An exercise enthusiast, Vigoda had just returned from a five-mile jog when his agent called and told him to report immediately to the office of Danny Arnold, who was producing a pilot for a police station comedy.
Arnold remarked that Vigoda looked tired, and the actor explained about his jog. "You know, you look like you might have hemorrhoids," Arnold said. "What are you — a doctor or a producer?" Vigoda asked. He was cast on the spot.

As for Tessio, he was one of Vito Corleone's oldest friends and Capos, along with Clemenza, in "The Godfather."


TigerBlog will give you one more paragraph to divert your attention. Actually, he'll give you a few.

Before he gets back to Tessio, Princeton Athletics is coming back to full action this weekend, with 31 events - 11 at home - and 16 teams who will be competing. There are Division I teams who do not have 16 teams total, let alone 16 who can compete in one weekend in January

Coming Feb. 1, which is Monday, practice starts for most spring sports, including lacrosse. It's hard to believe, but the first Division I lacrosse games are actually a week from Saturday, and the majority of D1 gets going the following Saturday, Feb. 13.

Princeton starts Feb. 20, with a doubleheader, with the women against Virginia and the men against NJIT.

Before that, there all of these winter teams, as well as men's volleyball - TigerBlog has never figured out if that's a winter or spring sport - and men's and women's tennis who play in Jadwin until he gets warm enough.

Is that enough Princeton for one day? For today, it'll have to be.


It's Tessio who betrays Michael at the end of the movie, which sets up the two greatest lines Abe Vigoda ever uttered in his life. They are Tessio's last two, as it turns out.

Vito, the retiring Don, warns Michael that whoever it is that comes to him to make a deal with Barzini is the one who is actually the traitor. While Tom Hagen muses that he thought it would be Clemenza, Michael says that he knew it would be Tessio, because "It's the smart move. Tessio was always smarter."

Anyway, Tessio doesn't realize he's been figured out until Tom and enforcer Willie Cicci make it clear that they are not going through with all of his arrangements. It leads to this exchange:

Tessio: Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him.
Tom: He understands that.

And then, a few seconds later:
Tessio: Can you get me off the hook? For old times sake?
Tom: Can't do it Sally.

If you've seen the movie, you know just how much Vigoda punctuated the word "hook." You also know how classic, epic, that scene is, not just in that movie but in the entire history of American movies.


And now, it appears, nobody was able to get him off the hook.

The news that Abe Vigoda died was probably met by many with "I thought he was already dead." He actually played along with that belief many times on late night shows through his later years.

By all accounts, he was a good guy, one who appreciated his good fortune in life and treated people well.

So goodbye Tessio.

And hello Addison.

Maybe you live as long, healthy and happy a life as Abe Vigoda did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks TB! Miss you and the rest of the Tiger family already!