Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pinning The Groundhog

TigerBlog understands that not every movie made is trying to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. In that vein, he's never understood the complete disdain so many people have for the movie "Groundhog Day."

TB saw it in the movies when it came out in 1993, and he's seen it about a thousand times since. It's a perfectly harmless, funny, at times charming, certainly inoffensive movie, and yet there are so many people who flat out hate it.

As an aside, TigerBlog was always confused as a kid by Groundhog Day, as six weeks after Feb. 2 takes you to March 16 (or March 15 in a leap year), which is still winter. He never quite understood the whole "six more weeks of winter" thing. Shouldn't it be more like 10 more weeks of winter if the point is that figuratively speaking spring will be late to arrive?

Hey, if the weather wants to be like it is on this Groundhog Day, TigerBlog would be fine with maybe 10 more weeks of winter.

Ah, but maybe not. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, forecasting an early spring.

And TB was crushed to learn the whole thing is a sham, at least according to a story he read:
The ceremony is largely that: Phil's prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group who dons top hats and tuxedos and decides in advance what the groundhog will predict.

Still, what could be better than Groundhog Day, a small-town tradition that has such a great little Americana feel to it. Something wholesome, something that hasn't been ruined by commercialism or lack of civility or any of the other ills of contemporary society.

As Phil Connors said: This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Sound familiar? TigerBlog has written that before on Groundhog's Day. And before that. And before that.

You  know, like the movie. Get it? Subtle, yes.

Before the movie came out, Groundhog Dog was all about anticipating spring. Since then, it's become a reference to something that happens over and over and over - you know, like the way Phil kept living the same day over and over. Maybe that's the biggest tribute to the movie, the way it changed an entire meaning of something.

Speaking of things that happened over and over and over, there was the not-so-recent history of the Princeton-Penn wrestling rivalry. Year after year, Princeton woke up, hear Sonny and Cher on the radio, and relived the same outcome - a Penn win.

This went on for 24 straight matches. Then this past Saturday rolled around, when Princeton hosted Penn at Dillon Gym, looking to snap that 24-match losing streak.

Princeton wrestling has made meteoric strides forward under head coach Chris Ayres, and his assistants - Sean Gray, Joe Dubuque and Nick Heflin.

TigerBlog has gotten closer to the wrestling program of late, literally, as the OAC has relocated down to E level of Jadwin, next to the wrestling room. Now TB sees the wrestling coaches more than he does the people back up on the balcony.

TigerBlog will say this about his new neighbors - sometimes they play their music a little loudly. But that's okay.

And they're certainly a friendly group. It's not hard to see why they have such appeal to recruits. They scream "you'd love to be part of this" in basically everything they do.

The results certainly back that up.

Princeton has gone from a wrestling afterthought to a legitimate player on the national scene. There were five wrestlers - a program record - who qualified for the NCAA championships last year.

The Tigers have been even better this year, with strong showings all season that lead up to the Ivy opener against the Quakers. And that little 24-year streak to take care of.

Penn led 15-9 with three matches left, but a major decision from Brett Harner and a decision from Ray O'Donnell made it  16-15 Tigers heading into the final match. This put it all on the 125-pound shoulders of Pat D'Arcy, a freshman from South Jersey who was a state champion a year ago at Holy Spirit High School.

D'Arcy got a takedown in the first and then got one escape to his opponent's two, making it 3-2 D'Arcy and 19-15 Princeton. Final. End of losing streak.

So Princeton is now 1-0 in the league. There's the little matter of Cornell, who like Princeton is also 1-0. Those two, early on, are the lone league unbeatens.

Of course, unbeaten Cornell is nothing new. The Big Red hasn't lost an Ivy match since 2002.

Princeton is at Harvard and Brown this weekend and then Princeton and Penn host Columbia and Cornell on Feb. 13. Cornell will wrestle at Penn at 1 and then drive to Princeton to take on the Tigers at 7 in Dillon Gym.

Cornell is still the favorite, despite how much progress Princeton has made. But hey, all streaks have to end sometime.

Even Phil Connors woke up on Feb. 3 at some point.

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