Friday, July 29, 2016

Getting Excited About "Gilmore Girls" And Other Thoughts Before A Busy August

If the words "Gilmore Girls" get you excited, then you already saw the big news.

"Gilmore Girls, A Year In The Life" will be released on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving. The sequel will be in the form of four 90-minute episodes, entitled "Fall," "Winter," "Spring" and "Summer."

The original series ran seven seasons, ending in 2007. The concept of reuniting the entire cast nearly a decade later to update what has happened to them is fairly unique, TigerBlog suspects. He can't think of another series that did this.

Okay, okay. "Gilmore Girls" isn't quite "The Sopranos" or "Hill Street Blues" or "Breaking Bad." It was still an entertaining show with some really good characters, and it was usually good for a laugh or two while having a few intriguing storylines, even tackling some fairly serious issues along the way.

The original series ran 153 episodes, and TigerBlog has seen them all, most of them more than once. It's similar to "Parenthood," another show that TigerBlog binge-watched, though it's not quite as serious.

And now it's going to wrap up all of its loose ends. TigerBlog is intrigued.

He's going to be annoyed if Rory ends up with Logan. And if it didn't work out with Lorelei and Luke. And if Lorelei ends up with Christopher? TigerBlog will be downright pissed.

One intriguing piece is that Edward Hermann, the actor who played Lorelei's father Richard Gilmore, passed away earlier this year. How will they deal with that? How will it affect Emily?

What else? Luke's daughter would be 23 or so by now. She was a really smart middle schooler. Maybe she went to Princeton? She was pretty unathletic in the original series, so if she did go to Princeton, she probably wasn't an athlete. Maybe she was a student worker?

Anyway, the four episodes will be on Netflix on Nov. 25. TigerBlog figures he's going to knock them out in one day.

By that time, the fall season at Princeton Athletics will be over and the winter season will be well underway.

The first athletic event for the 2016-17 academic year is four weeks from today, with women's soccer at home against Fordham. The Tigers are home two days later  (Sunday, Aug. 28) against Villanova in a game that will be televised live on ESPNU.

Wait? Four weeks? Is that possible? It's going to be August already?

Where does the time go?

Like TB said, the first athletic event is four weeks from today. It doesn't mean that August will be quiet.

The Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics are a week away. NFL training camps are getting underway.

Princeton figures prominently in both.

There are 13 current or former Princeton athletes, plus two current coaches, who are competing in Rio. You'll be able to follow when they compete, how they're doing and everything else on

As for the NFL, there are three Princeton alums in training camps right now. Caraun Reid (Detroit) and Mike Catapano (Jets) are veteran defensive linemen. Seth DeValve is a rookie tight end (and fourth round draft pick) with the Cleveland Browns.

A year ago Reid became the first Princeton alum in 30 years to score an NFL touchdown. Will DeValve match that feat this year?

TigerBlog would say that it's not easy to be a Cleveland Browns fan. It's probably easier this year, after the Cavaliers won the NBA title. And the Indians are in first place, with the second-best record in the American League, behind only the Baltimore Orioles.

And who has the worst record in all of Major League Baseball? The Braves. TigerBlog didn't realize that until he looked at the standings yesterday.

It also dawned on TB yesterday that he's only been to four stadiums that are currently in use by Major League Baseball teams: Citizens Bank Park (Phillies), Fenway Park (Red Sox), Camden Yards (Orioles) and Safeco Field (Mariners). Can that really be true? He's never been to Citi Field or the new Yankee Stadium.

He's been to a lot that no longer exist, including Shea Stadium (Mets), the old Yankee Stadium and Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia; TB is the only person who actually liked that stadium). And Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. He really liked that one.

Another stadium he really liked was Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. He went there a few times while visiting MotherBlog, who lived the final years of her life in that city.

TigerBlog remembers going to a game there while the Olympic Stadium was being built in advance of the 1996 Olympics. The stadium was built on the parking lot of Fulton County Stadium, which meant that nobody could drive a car to the game. Instead, fans had to go a gathering spot and ride shuttle buses, from a few miles away.

Did TigerBlog see chaos there? Nope. He saw orderly lines, as people waited for the next bus. People calmly waited there turn. When one bus would leave, another would pull up. There was no pushing, shoving, fighting, nothing.

If anything, there was just pleasant conversation among strangers as they waited for the bus. It was even more amazing on the way out, when all 40,000 people waited in one line. TigerBlog has never seen anything like it.

Years later, TigerBlog figured that if they had tried that while building the new stadiums in New York, it might not have gone so smoothly.

No wonder MotherBlog loved living in Atlanta. 

As for the stadium in Seattle, TigerBlog was there three years ago, on, like this, the final Friday in July. The occasion was BrotherBlog's wedding, and yesterday was the third anniversary for BB and Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog.

Happy anniversary to them.

And so this brings us to another Friday in the summer. Have a great weekend everyone.

Princeton Athletics will be playing soon enough. Four weeks, to be exact.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Fan Poll

TigerBlog saw the backup at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel about a second too late to get over to the far right, which was zipping through without so much as one brake light.

TigerBlog? He sat there for 20 minutes without moving. Eventually, traffic began to creep forward, revealing a minor three-vehicle (two cars, one van) accident that brought the left lane to a stop.

As he sat there, TB tried to remember if his Uncle Milton had been part of the engineering team that had designed the tunnel. He was pretty sure that Milton was an engineer and that he had worked on the construction of one of the big tunnels along the Northeast Corridor.

TB would text BrotherBlog for confirmation. The response he got was "Dunno. You stuck in it?" And he's a lawyer.

While TB had his brother on the line, as it were, he asked him another question that he'd been wondering of late. Where in Russia did their family call home?

Odessa, possibly. "Or," BB said, "that may have just been the departure point. Generally the area was referred to as 'Beyond the Pale,' an area where Jews were relegated to."

Then he suggested a book that TB had not heard of before - "The Family," by David Laskin.

That was an enlightening few text messages.

The stop at the Harbor Tunnel was the only real non-DNC convention traffic TigerBlog ran into on his trip back and forth to Maryland on his trip to retrieve Miss TigerBlog from the Terps' field hockey camp. Maybe that's because he left before 6 am, but even the traffic two hours later through that same tunnel wasn't too bad at all.

TigerBlog saw Dina Rizzo, the incoming assistant field hockey coach again. TB has now spoken to her twice, and he can tell she is going to be a great addition to Princeton Athletics.

Oh, and the funniest part of the day? It was about a thousand degrees on the turf field where MTB's team played its final game. One of the players went to hug her mother, who put a towel that she had been sitting on between her and her daughter, presumably to avoid becoming soaked herself. TB then told MTB that she didn't have to hug him, and she rolled her eyes and said "I wasn't going to."

Ah, TB missed her. 

Anyway, in addition to Rizzo, TB would also like to figure out a way to bring the Xfinity Center from Maryland to Princeton as well. That is a great building. Beyond its aesthetic quality, it's also the place where the Princeton women's basketball team won its NCAA tournament game against Green Bay two years ago.

Maybe it can be towed away from its current spot and dropped down nicely on Princeton's campus?

Meanwhile, back at the Harbor Tunnel, this was one of those traffic delays where people got out of the cars, tried to figure out what was going on. TigerBlog decided to check out Twitter.

And what did he find? Bob Surace, Princeton's head football coach, is almost as good an athlete at Mike Trout, one of the best players in Major League Baseball.

It must be true. It says so HERE.

Apparently, there's a voting underway to choose the Mt. Rushmore of great athletes at any number of New Jersey high schools. Surace came in second in the voting for Millville High School to Trout, and it was really close. Trout had 10,078, to the 10,013 Surace got.

As an aside, Millville has a population of 28,400. If Surace could get 10,013 residents to vote for him, that would probably be more than enough to make him the mayor.

Jim Barlow, the men's soccer coach, got 29,165 votes in the Hightstown High voting, but it was only good for sixth place. As three of the top four from Hightstown share the name "Greczyn," TB senses the fix was in.

Besides, the greatest athlete in Hightstown High history is without question Vicky Picott, who finished in 17th place with 1,152 votes. Barlow, though, should definitely be in the top four.

It all reminds TB of when used to have a fan poll. This was a long time ago.

TigerBlog loved the fan poll. It was fun to come up with creative and engaging questions.

The problem was that somewhere along the line, someone - or multiple someones - figured out how to rig the voting. And those someones were in the pool, since swimming and water polo would always win.

And would it be close? No. Everyone else would have 100 combined votes. The swimming or water polo choice would have somewhere around a million or so.

So yeah, that was the end of the fan poll.

All because of some computer genius in the pool.

Thanks a lot, Luis.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It's an early morning for TigerBlog.

He has to go back to Maryland today to get Miss TigerBlog from field hockey camp. And he has to be there (or had to be there, depending on what time you read this) before 11. Maybe as early as 9.

To get there at 9, he figured he'd have to leave at, well, very early. Hey, it's possible he's on I-95 now as you read this.

The problem with getting to College Park in the mid-to-late morning is that there is inevitably going to be rush hour traffic somewhere. And with the Democratic convention still in Philadelphia, he was thinking maybe 295 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Or at least to the Commodore Barry Bridge and then back across the river.

Commodore Barry, by the way, was an officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution and then again in the young Navy of the United States after the war. Why a bridge that connects South Jersey and Delaware County in Pennsylvania and was built in the 1960s chose his name isn't quite clear, but TigerBlog is okay with it. 

Traffic is a big deal to TigerBlog's people. He learned this at family events at a young age, where the elders of his family would debate the merits of a given tunnel or given bridge, factoring in day of the week, time of day, tolls, etc. Some would be openly mocked and threatened with expulsion from the tribe for making incorrect decisions.

When there's bad traffic, the tendency is to get off that road and find any other road that helps you keep moving. Even if it isn't faster, it makes it seem like it is, just because you're moving. Deep in his heart, TB buys into this way of thinking.

For some reason, Delaware, a tiny state, is a terrible state for traffic. TB got stuck there badly on the way back Sunday after dropping MTB off.

TigerBlog took his car in to get the oil changed yesterday, leaving it in the capable hands of Ron, the official mechanic of the Office of Athletic Communications. Pretty much everyone who has worked here for the last 20 years or so has gone to Ron's place in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and he has never let anyone down.

The best thing about Ron is that he'll tell you what your car needs and doesn't need as far as service goes. And if something major is wrong? At least he's nice about it.

TB picked his car up yesterday (after another bike ride with John McPhee that ended with TigerBlog well off the pace as Mr. McPhee churned up a steep hill; at least he waited to take TB back to get his car) and then drove to Princeton. By the time he got to the Jadwin Gym parking lot, his car was smoking, there was oil splattered on the grill and hood and he could smell something was up. TigerBlog doesn't know a lot about cars, but he had a sense this wasn't quite how it was supposed to be.

As he got out of the car, he reached for his phone to call Ron when Ron actually called TB. Hey, Ron said, funny thing, I forgot to put the oil cap back on.

In true Ron fashion, he made the drive up to Princeton to put the oil cap on, after refilling the oil and cleaning up the spill. One problem in nearly 20 years or so. TigerBlog can live with that.

Plus he came up here to fix it.

The funny thing is that this was Ron's first time on Princeton's campus, despite the fact that he lives less than 30 minutes away. And, with a daughter who is around 10, he and his family are the exact demographic that Princeton Athletics is seeking for its events.

TigerBlog has asked the same questions for years.

Is Princeton attendance good? What is reasonable to expect? Do people who don't come not come because they're not interested or because they would be interested but don't realize there are events here and how close it is to them?

Do they think that games are sold out? Do they think tickets are expensive? Do they not realize that 32 of Princeton's 37 teams have no admission charge?

Princeton announced yesterday that it's partnering with the Aspire Group. The official release can be found HERE.

This is about fan experience here. And it's about getting answers to TigerBlog's questions, which in turn would lead to increased attendance and better experience.

TigerBlog is fascinated about what Aspire will learn through its work. And what suggestions the group will make.

Princeton Athletics provides something that is different than what most people think of when they think of college athletics. For one thing, as TB said, almost everything is free. For another, the games that do charge admission are hardly breaking the bank for anyone.

And the athletes are inviting to the spectators. They love to mix with the fans, especially the families with kids who are such a huge part of the crowds here.

The agreement with Aspire will only make this better. And, at the same time, it will also show Princeton the areas it needs improving, and specific ways to do so.

TigerBlog's theory is that anyone who comes to a Princeton athletic event will come back.

They'll see what goes on here, and they'll want to be part of it again. Who knows? Maybe even Ron will come back, this time for a game, and not to clean the oil off TB's engine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Little Political

TigerBlog forgot to mention one thing about his ride to the University of Maryland the other day.

The security around the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, home this week to the Democratic National Convention, was incredible. And this was before the convention ever began.

TigerBlog has avoided talking about politics in the eight years he's been doing this. And he'll continue to stay away from the subject, at least as it relates to specific candidates and positions.

What he will say is that the entire political landscape is fascinating. And it's fairly reflective of where American society is right now.

Let's face it. If you like Donald Trump, then you loved his speech last week. If you don't like Donald Trump, you hated it. And there's no objectivity. TigerBlog doesn't know anyone who said "hey, I don't like the guy, but that was a great speech" or "hey, I love that guy, but his speech wasn't good."

The same will be true of Mrs. Clinton's speech later this week.

Another issue is that there is almost no middle ground for analysis either. These days, people seem to like to seek out information that reinforces their existing beliefs rather than challenging them or at the very least finding something impartial about the issue that might then offer insight.

This, TigerBlog thinks, is one of the main reasons why this country is so polarized. Complex issues are simplified into "right" and "wrong," and there really is very little in the way of neutral discussion. It becomes "I am right" and "you are wrong." It's actually sort of childish. With the explosion of information out there, especially Twitter, and the 24-hour cable news talk programming, this will continue to grow.

TigerBlog loves to read both sides of an issue to see this dynamic in action. Mr. Trump's speech is a perfect example. It got either an A+ or an F, depending on who was doing the grading.

TigerBlog has met two U.S. Presidents. No doubt they remember the experience just as vividly as TB does.

Both times it was because of Princeton Athletics.

The first was at Commencement in 1996, when Bill Clinton, then running for reelection, spoke here. TigerBlog's job that day was to be a liaison to the national press corps, which mostly meant taking Wolf Blitzer to the U Store.

TB got to meet President Clinton after the speech, when he met with the men's lacrosse team and women's rugby team after their national championships. That was in front of Prospect House.

For some reason, none of the other five men's lacrosse teams that won the NCAA championship were invited to meet the President. The 1996 team wouldn't have been either had the President not been on this campus.

The second time TB met the President was in the White House, when TB was there with the women's lacrosse team. This was in the fall of 2003, when all of the spring NCAA championship teams were invited to meet President George W. Bush.

After a very long wait, the teams were ushered into a large room, and TB was the furthest away from the front entrance of any one involved in the proceedings. The Secret Service then instructed everyone not to reach for the President unless he extended his hand first.

After a few minutes, the door next to TB opened - TB didn't even realize it was a door - and President Bush walked out. TB was the first person there, and the President offered his hand. TigerBlog reached out to shake his hand while possibly also saying "don't shoot" at the same time.

As TigerBlog thinks back on his time at Princeton, the opportunity to meet two sitting U.S. Presidents is way up there.

In fact, Princeton Athletics has enabled him to meet congressmen, senators and governors, including the current governor of New Jersey, with whom TB had his picture taken at the baseball regional in Louisiana. Governor Christie, whose son Andrew was the senior catcher for the Tigers, looks pretty happy to be in the picture with TB.

On both occasions where he met the President, TigerBlog was as impressed or even more impressed by the extent of the security. And the manner in which the Secret Service officers conducted themselves.

When President Clinton was at Princeton, the security presence was everywhere, with officers who were at once heavily armed and unbelievably polite. It was quite a combination.

If you wanted to cross over from one side of a walkway to another and in doing so would go from one restricted area to another, the Secret Service person assigned would not let you go under any circumstance and would apologize profusely for not being able to let you go, all while holding a gun.

That's sort of intimidating. And it sort of changes the dynamic quickly. It's no longer "should I walk across the path." It becomes "will I get shot if I do so?" 

The Secret Service people were dressed in business suits with earpieces, just like on TV. This, though, doesn't even mention all of the people who were there who were Secret Service agents but weren't dressed like them. You know. The ones who piled out of the limo early that morning dressed like a gardener, a back-packer, anything to blend into the background. That's another one of TB's most vivid memories of that day, seeing the limo turn off Washington onto Prospect at about 6 am, as seven people got out and dispersed into anonymity.

The White House? That was inspections and pressure chambers and searches and everything else you can imagine.

As for I-95 by the Wells Fargo Center, well, there's quite a perimeter set up there.

If you know the stretch of road, then trucks are not permitted anywhere between the Philadelphia Airport and the Ben Franklin Bridge. There are police cars everywhere on the highway. Lanes are closed. Exits are blocked with dump trucks.

By the arena itself there is a big wall, and a bunch of temporary structures that TB assumes are entry points.

Again, TigerBlog was impressed with the security, both what could be seen and what was there but couldn't be seen.

So that's enough politics for one day.

Maybe TB should stick to something less controversial. Like the weather.

It's hot out.

But who could possibly like winter better? 

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Sunday At The University Of Maryland

As a small follow-up to Friday's discussion of summer jobs, TigerBlog would like to mention Matthew, the official best friend of TigerBlog Jr.

Matthew is spending his first college summer unloading trucks at a local Dicks Sporting Goods store. His hours? He starts at 4 am and goes until noon. Those are tough hours.

TigerBlog was in that very same Dicks Sporting Goods store Saturday afternoon. He had to take Miss TigerBlog to get new turf shoes.

It was pretty hard for TB to stand there among rows and rows of shoes and boxes as MTB tried on basically every pair of turf shoes in the store, especially since he knew exactly which ones they were going to end up buying anyway. MTB took her sweet time - and tried on countless shoes - before she came around to the ones that TB knew they'd get from the start.

Of course, had TB said to her "these are the ones" when they got there, then she never would have agreed to buy them. Nope, TB had to amuse himself for 10 or 15 minutes while she went through all of them.

The ones she eventually chose were Nike turf shoes. TigerBlog wouldn't have been okay with any other brand other than Nike, unless they were Warrior. Those are the two brands that Princeton Athletics uses, and TB is a big believer in brand loyalty.

TB mentioned this earlier this summer, but this was another one of those "I knew I needed these for a long time but I'm only telling you about it today when I need it tomorrow" moments. The turf shoes were for field hockey camp at the University of Maryland, which began yesterday and which MTB's high school team decided to attend.

So that's how TB spent his Sunday. He drove to Maryland's campus. Dropped off MTB. Made one stop. Then drove back.

When TB and MTB arrived, the first person they saw was someone TB had never met but whose face he knew immediately. It was Dina Rizzo, the former associate head coach at Maryland who is now joining Carla Tagliente's staff at Princeton. This, of course, means, that Dina's last game at Maryland would be last fall's NCAA tournament first round game, when Princeton defeated the Terps 3-1.

TB, wearing a Princeton lacrosse shirt, walked up to Dina and introduced himself and welcomed her to Princeton. Rizzo will be coming to Princeton after the camp, and maybe TB should ask her to drive MTB home.

In all seriousness, Tagliente and Rizzo - and returning assistants Mike Pallister and David Williamson - will have only a few weeks until practice starts and a few more after that until the season begins. The Tigers start the season at home Sept. 2 against North Carolina to start a run of six home games in the first seven games of the year, including a Sept. 20 home game against those very Terps that Rizzo coached a year ago, that Princeton defeated in the NCAAs a year ago and where Tagliente and Rizzo both played.

As they drove down, MTB asked TB if he'd been to the campus before. TigerBlog told her that he'd been there a lot and in fact had seen Princeton win three NCAA men's lacrosse championships there - in 1994, 1996 and 1997. The women won there in 1994.

Perhaps the biggest win in the history of Princeton men's basketball happened on that campus, or at the very least, one of the two biggest wins Princeton ever had. Back in the 1965 East Regional final, Princeton defeated heavily favored Providence 109-69 to advance to the NCAA Final Four, the crowning achievement in the history of the program.

If you're wondering what the other biggest win was, it was the 43-41 win over UCLA in the opening round of the 1996 NCAA tournament in Indianapolis. That was the win that vaulted Pete Carril over the finish line and into the Hall of Fame.

The two biggest wins in program history. Princeton scored 109 in one and 43 in the other.

The win over Providence - powered by Bill Bradley - was in Cole Field House. As TB walked into the football stadium at Maryland, which used to be Byrd Stadium when Princeton was winning lacrosse championships there and which is now Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, he could see that just a shell remained of what was once Cole Field House. The Terps moved to the Comcast Center awhile ago, and apparently Cole Field House had outlived its usefullness.

Actually the only game TB ever saw in the building was between Maryland and Rider, not Maryland and Princeton.

TigerBlog has always liked the University of Maryland.
His cousin Roy went to dental school there. The Terps always played Duke and Carolina tough in basketball when they were in the ACC. He's always liked the campus, which is huge but doesn't quite feel that way.

He knows a few people who grew up in Maryland and had their whole families go to Maryland, only to go to much smaller schools themselves. Still, they remain as loyal to the Terps as any alums.

One of them is David Rosenfeld, a Franklin & Marshall grad, a Diplomat in a family of turtles. David spent much of his early career working in the Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, and TB was able to connect with him for lunch on his way back.

David has always been one of TB's favorites ever at Princeton. The word TB would use to describe David is "thoughtful," as in "kind to people" and "with a gigantic heart" but also as in "depth of thought." He's one of those people who sees the world clearly and rationally and is able to cut through the nonsense of any situation to get to the heart of the issue.

TB would have loved for David to have stayed at Princeton all these years, but he wanted to get closer to home. TB understands.

After lunch, it was back up 95. On a summer Sunday afternoon, that's not always the best ride to take.

Still, it was good to spend some time on Maryland's campus. And even better to see David.

It's been more than 20 years since TB first hired him as an intern for the OAC. He's the same today as he was then.

Thoughtful. And funny. And loyal.

And just a really good guy.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Employment History

TigerBlog once wrote about trying to figure out exactly when he had spent more time on the Princeton campus than the Penn campus.

This is what he came up with:

Of course, that stretch includes basically every hour of every day. Maybe subtract out a month or two for time not actually on the campus, so that leaves 33 months. With 30.4 days per month, that comes to 1,003 days or 24,076.8 hours.
If TB was at Princeton for eight hours a day, five days a week, or 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, plus an additional, say, six hours on a game day 40 times a year, well, then that adds up to 2,240 hours a year. Divide that into 24,076.8 and that comes to 10 years and nine months, so it's been awhile.
As an aside, that could be the dullest two paragraph stretch in TigerBlog history.

For some reason, that made TB laugh when he stumbled on it yesterday afternoon.

That was back on Dec. 14, 2011.

TigerBlog tries not to repeat himself. Perhaps he should add a statute of limitations. Seriously, who would remember something he wrote five years ago?

 The whole thing about when he reached the point of being on Princeton's campus more than Penn's started when TB was thinking about summer jobs he'd had in college.

Actually, before his freshman year, he had a brief run as a delivery person for an envelope company based in Rahway, N.J., basically across the street from the prison there. TigerBlog would drive to the company office, get the samples he had to deliver in New York City, get a list of other companies where had to pick up other things to bring back to the company and then get on the train.

And then the subway. It was up to him to figure out where to go first and to plan his day. He just had to be back to the company in Rahway by a certain time. That was a fun job for an 18-year-old.

A year later, he worked for a company that did, well, he's not quite sure what it did. Something about business ventures in Central America and South America. TB's job was to do basic office tasks, and it was there that he first used a word processor. He remembers being amazed that he could actually type in the address labels to send a book to 100 different people in South America and then have them print out all perfectly neat and all.

The company was located in Manhattan, at the corner of 68th and Park Avenue. This was not cheap real estate. There was a hot dog cart on the corner of this plush neighborhood, and TigerBlog would get a hot dog with sauerkraut and a Yoo-Hoo every afternoon. Today? He wouldn't eat a hot dog off a cart in Manhattan if you gave him $1,000.

His next summer was spent as a vendor at Veterans' Stadium in Philadelphia. The Phillies went all the way to the World Series that summer, losing to the Baltimore Orioles. TigerBlog was there for the postseason. And for about 60 regular season games.

The 1983 Orioles, by the way, had the American League MVP (Cal Ripken) and the runner-up (Eddie Murray). That can't be something that has happened a lot. Don't tell any of the other vendors from that summer, but TigerBlog was actually rooting for the Orioles in the World Series.

TigerBlog loved Veterans' Stadium, which puts him in the minority. It was a cookie-cutter stadium of the 1970s, but it was a great place to see a game. And to drag two trays of beer or soda or a steaming hot vat of hot dogs up to the 600 and 700 levels on days and nights like the ones that are currently around here.

The vendor job was certainly unique. First of all, you'd work however many days in a row the Phillies were home and then not at all when they were on the road. Then, you'd have to get there around 4 or so for a 7:30 game (TB thinks the games started at 7:30 then) so you could sign in and pick what you were going to sell and from what location in the stadium (there were four for vendors, two upstairs and two downstairs) that night.

You also had to bring cash with you and buy whatever it was you were going to sell. You kept the difference. If you sold soda, it cost $24 for a tray and they cost $1.75 each. If you sold all 24 in the tray, you'd make $42, or $18 per tray. If you hustled, you could sell maybe eight trays in a night. And get really, really sticky from the soda being all over you. 

By the next summer, he was already in the newspaper business, trying to figure out why exactly he was covering Little League baseball. That was more than 30 years ago.

And those were his four summers before each year of college. He thought about this as TigerBlog Jr. has been spending his summer on Princeton's campus.

TBJ has been a counselor at the Dillon Gym day camp, the one he attended as a camper for eight years (in the junior and senior programs) and where he was once a CIT. There are a few current counselors who were campers and then part of the CIT program.

He also spent this past week at the Princeton boys' lacrosse camp and prospect day, as a coach. TB wondered how many people have attended that camp and then gone on to coach at it.

TBJ's favorite time of each year when he was a kid (you mean he's not a kid anymore? When did that happen?) was the time he'd spend in the dorms at Princeton lacrosse camp. It was his first time on his own, in a college dorm, and to say he loved it would be a major understatement.

The first time he went to the camp was when he was 8. The first time he stayed over in the dorms was when he was 10. Now he's nearly 20.

Now you see it. Now you don't.

Anyway, who knows what next summer will hold for TBJ. His father guesses lacrosse will be involved.

And for you? Well, it's a summer weekend. Enjoy it. Do something fun. The first Princeton athletic event is five weeks from today.

The rest of your summer, like TBJ's childhood, will be gone in a flash.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Guest TigerBlog - Jim Barlow Is Not Talking About Lacrosse

TigerBlog has an open invitation to anyone who has something to say - even if it isn't about lacrosse. Jim Barlow, the head coach of men's soccer at Princeton, has repeatedly taken TB up on this offer.

This time, Jim gives an update on soccer around the world, from Princeton to the international realm. Don't worry. TB will be back with more lacrosse stuff soon enough.

TB readers may not have picked up on this, but I think TB likes lacrosse. A couple of months ago, after what I perceived to be too many blogs about lacrosse, I gave TB a bit of a hard time about the lack of soccer blogs.

He responded to my ribbing with an open invitation to guest blog about soccer, and so, after much procrastinating, here I am, with a long-overdue, rambling update on all things soccer (actually, this will be more all things men's soccer in an attempt to entice Sean Driscoll to also make a guest TB appearance).

It has been a busy summer of soccer, starting with arguably the biggest upset in sports history when Leicester City won the English Premier League. It was incredible to see Leicester defy the odds -- some had them over 5,000:1 -- with a starting 11, according to The Daily Mail, making just 24.4 million pounds (Manchester City's starters, by comparison, earned 308.8 million).

For a team that barely avoided relegation a year ago, was predicted for relegation in 2016 and played in England's third-tier league just seven years ago, this was truly an unprecedented triumph. Leicester was a breath of fresh air, an overachieving team that was so much greater than the sum of its individual players. Organized, competitive, stingy in defense and explosive in attack, they humbled European giants Manchester City, United, Aresenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. It was great to see.

Next up were the Copa America Centenario (played in the USA) and the European Championships (since I'm not a big Real Madrid fan, I will skip mentioning the Champions League Final).

Chile repeated as Copa America champions, defeating Argentina in penalties in the final for the second year in a row, while Portugal outlasted France in the European Championship in extra time. Both tournaments had some great matches and some terrible ones.

In the Copa America, you can make the case that the two best teams met in the final, in a rematch of their opening round game (which Argentina won 2-1). In the Euros, favorites Germany and Spain fell in the knockout stages (to France and Italy, respectively), leaving a defensive-minded Portugal staving off waves of French attacks in the final, then stealing the victory on a long-range shot by Eder in extra time. In the Euros, so many goals were scored very late in games, or in extra time.

A colleague of mine theorized that by that time in games, goals were created because "the coaching started to wear off." In other words, tactics, especially defensive tactics, dominated much of the competition, with teams remaining hyper-organized defensively and refusing to commit too many numbers to attack. As games wore on and legs started to tire, players reverted back to their instincts, throwing caution to the wind and attacking, resulting in some wild endings.

The darling of the tournament was Iceland, who won over the support of much of the world with its incredible run to the quarterfinals, tying Portugal and beating England on the way. After qualifying ahead of Holland for the Euros, Iceland - with a registered soccer-player total similar to the state of Rhode Island - borrowed a page from Leicester's recent history and proved that on any given day, anything is possible.

As we prepare for the 2016 college season, I hope our players bring the commitment, desire, and fearlessness that we all observed in Leicester and Iceland this summer.

Speaking of college soccer, some Princeton Soccer alumni remain in the world and US Soccer headlines.

On the international front, former Princeton coach Bob Bradley '80 guided French Ligue 2's Le Havre to a fourth place finish in 2016. With three teams earning promotion, Le Havre missed out on the third spot by the narrowest of margins. Le Havre finished tied in points with third place Metz, and on the final day of the season, Le Havre won 5-0 (while Metz lost 1-0), thus making up a six-goal deficit to finish tied in goal difference. The second tie-breaker was goals for, and Metz finished ahead of Le Havre in that category. One more goal on the final day would have earned Le Havre promotion, and the team hit the post three times that afternoon. After a couple of months off, Le Havre is preparing to make another run at promotion in 2016-17.

On the domestic front, Jesse Marsch '96 is in his second season as head coach for the New York Red Bulls, and, after winning the Supporters' Shield with the best record in MLS last season, Jesse currently has the team in third place in the Eastern Conference. Former Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Cameron Porter '16, was traded last week from the Montreal Impact to Sporting Kansas City. As Cam returns to action after a devastating knee injury, we wish him all the best in his new city.

Two other Ivy League Players of the Year, Antoine Hoppenot '13 and Thomas Sanner '16, have also been busy. Antoine is currently playing for FC Cincinnati in the USL, while Thomas recently began his professional career with the MLS's Vancouver Whitecaps.

Finally, it is an important time for men's college soccer, as numerous proposals will go before the NCAA that could significantly change the college soccer landscape.

In an effort to decrease time demands in the fall on student athletes, space games out in a more reasonable way, increase class/study time, allow athletes to enjoy other aspects of campus life, and create a better NCAA championship, college soccer coaches are proposing an academic-year season model, spreading the soccer season out over the fall and spring rather than cramming everything into the three-month fall semester.

Recently, the NCAA conducted a time-demand survey, and Division I men's soccer had by far the highest percentage of participants with 92% of coaches and 80% of student athletes participating. On the question, "Do you wish to support reducing the amount of competition by 10%," 97% of coaches and 90% of players said NO.

On the question, "Do you support the same number of competitions spread out over a lengthened season," 92% of coaches and 81% of athletes said YES. Finally, when asked whether they are in favor of a two-semester model, 90% of coaches and 70% of players said YES.

In our current system, too many games are crammed into too short a season, resulting in numerous health and well-being issues. Spreading the season out over the fall and the spring would reduce the number of mid-week contests, allow players an additional day off during the week, give coaches the chance to really develop players, and give the students more time during the week, especially in the fall, to pursue other activities on campus.

There are a number of obstacles/hurdles to overcome for this legislation to become a reality, but it will be interesting to see if it gains momentum over the coming months. Stay tuned.

I'm sure TB thinks that is enough soccer talk for one day. Thanks to TB for giving me the soap box for a little while. Enjoy the rest of the summer, and please visit Myslik Field in Roberts Stadium for some matches this fall!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Rowing Stones

The opening ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympics are two weeks from Friday.

The first Olympics that TigerBlog can really remember clearly were the 1972 Summer Olympics. Those were the ones in what was then West Germany, with the murder of these 11 members of the Israeli delegation:

David Berger (weightlifting)
Ze'ev Friedman (weightlifting)
Yossef Gutfreund (wrestling referee)
Eliezer Halfin (wrestling)
Yossef Romano (weightlifting)
Amitzur Shapira (track and field coach)
Kehat Shorr (shooting coach)
Mark Slavin (wrestling)
Andre Spitzer (fencing coach)
Yakov Springer (weightlifting referee)
Moshe Weinberg (wrestling coach)

The day that the Israelis were taken hostage is really the first day of any Olympics that TB can remember. That, and Mark Spitz - himself Jewish - and the seven gold medals (with seven world records) he won in Munich.

At first, TigerBlog thought that the TV announcers said that terrorists had attacked the Australian contingent, which made little sense. He quickly realized they said Israeli.

He doesn't remember watching the 1968 Olympics on TV. He does remember watching the Mets win the 1969 World Series and the Jets win Super Bowl III a few months earlier. Those are his first sports-on-TV memories.

His most vivid memory of 1976 actually was the amazing downhill run of Franz Klammer of Austria in the Winter Games, which back then were in the same year as the Summer Games.

In 1980, there was the Summer Olympic boycott by the United States. If you don't remember it, the Games in 1980 were in Moscow, which the U.S. boycotted as a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

If you were an American athlete who was primed to compete in 1980, the boycott came at a really bad time. Here you were, ready to have what likely would have been a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and it was yanked away by politics.

Back then, there was a certain Olympic ideal of amateurism and purity and all of those things. Politics wasn't supposed to be a part of it.

One of the athletes who never got his chance was a rower named Gregg Stone. Now, all these years later, his daughter Gevvie is going to Rio as a singles sculler, for the second straight Olympiad.

Not that it's exactly clear cut.

If you've been following these Olympics at all, you've heard about the potential problems that are on the horizon. None of these issues are bigger than the threat of the Zika virus, especially for women.

Gevvie Stone is a Princeton grad, Class of 2007. She barely missed out on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and then finished seventh in her event in 2012.

Now, for 2016, she's earned a return trip.

The question for athletes, especially women's rowers, is whether or not she should accept it. Yes, it's her last chance to win an Olympic medal. But at what cost?

The issues in Rio - Zika, security, among others - has put athletes in a terrible position. In 1980, there was no choice. The U.S. didn't go, so you didn't go if you were a U.S. Olympian.

This time, it's a personal choice. Do you want to accept the potential risks to be able to reach your life's dream?

Gevvie Stone has decided to go. And she has done an incredible job of explaining why.

If you haven't already read her piece in The Players' Tribune, then you definitely need to read it. You can do so HERE.

Here's a sample:
When people ask me if I’ve thought about skipping this year’s Olympics, I think of the whole journey — the commitment, the hard work, the sacrifices and the opportunities that I have let pass — and I tell them no. Not once. I’ve got too much invested in this. I’ve heard about all the problems in Brazil right now (about the Zika virus, about the polluted bay in which I’ll be competing, about the crime and poverty in Rio de Janeiro, and about the political unrest that is roiling the whole country). Both U.S. Rowing and the USOC have been great about keeping our team informed about what is going on. I don’t take any of the concerns lightly. At all. I’m a doctor, and I try to be very rational about everything. But how can I be completely rational about a once-in-a-lifetime (or in my case, a twice-in-a-lifetime) opportunity like the Olympics?

TigerBlog has never met Gevvie Stone. He knows her name and has followed her career, but he never met her.

After reading the piece, he feels like he knows her well.

For one thing, he didn't realize she was a doctor. Also, he didn't realize her family history in rowing.

Mostly, though, she does such a great job of putting words together and of explaining her decisions. And you can feel through her writing how passionately she feels about her sport and the opportunity, even while the doctor in her is talking about practicality and precautions. She even mentions using hand sanitizer on the handles of her oars.

Her first race is on Day 1 of the Games.

She is one of 13 Olympians from Princeton. They each have their own decisions to make and their own stories to tell.

Gevvie Stone told hers in a very public way.

And she did so perfectly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Kind Of Car Was It? A Blue One.

TigerBlog was at a stoplight the other day when a blue sedan pulled up next to him.

It looked like any other sedan - until TigerBlog noticed the word "Maserati" across the back of it. Yeah, it was a Maserati, an elite Italian car.
TigerBlog went to Maserati's website. Judging by what he saw of the car, he thinks it lists for $76,000. And that's the low-end model. There are others that approach $90,000.

Here's TigerBlog's question - how many people can tell a Maserati by sight without seeing any identifiable markings? How many people know what any given car looks like and what makes one car different from another?

Could TB take, say, a Toyota and put the "Maserati" lettering across the back and pass it off as a $76,000 automobile? How many people would say "no, that's a Toyota?"

TB assumes that the value of the car is in the way it rides? But how great can the ride be to be worth that much? Does it come with a driver? A valet? No. You still have to drive it yourself.

Perhaps you're just paying for the name?

Maybe TB would feel differently if he drove one, but he'd be way too nervous about scratching it - or worse.

TB owns two cars. For eight months of the year, he can use either one. The rest of the year he drives one and TigerBlog Jr. drives the other. Miss TigerBlog will be able to get her permit in a few weeks, so she's going to want the other car when she gets her license. TBJ wants to take the car back to school with him, while MTB will want to be able to drive herself to school, so that battle is coming soon to TB's world.

The car that TBJ drives is a Honda CR-V. It is closing in on 198,000 miles. TigerBlog's car is a Nissan Rogue. It is closing in on 75,000 miles.

About the only complaint TB has about his car is that the seats come up close to but not exactly touching the console, so things like pens, cookies and phones can fall into the opening. And then it's a nightmare to try to get them back. 

Before the CR-V, TigerBlog had a Toyota Sienna minivan, which had 155,000 miles when he traded it in on the CR-V. It was TB's understanding that his old minivan was sent to the Caribbean to be a taxi - that's not a bad retirement.

And in fairness, TB bought all of these cars before his former and now current boss became the Ford Family Director of Athletics. And he did own two Ford's before that, both of which were Tauruses, which, now that he thinks about it, is what the Maserati looked like.

When TB went to yesterday, he saw that, here in the middle of July, two of the top stories were about men's basketball.

One is about T.J. Bray.

As a longtime basketball player in Europe, T.J. Bray must have been given a car at some point. Even though Bray is a veteran of the Italian leagues, TB doubts it was a Maserati.

Bray recently moved from the Italian second league to the top league in Germany. Bray, who graduated in 2014, spent two seasons in Italy.

If you look at the assist leaders in Princeton men's basketball history, you'll notice Billy Ryan is first, Kit Mueller is second and T.J. Bray is third. Bray also had 1,024 points and was a total fan favorite at Jadwin Gym.

The complete story about Bray's move to Germany is HERE.

Another fan favorite at Jadwin is current Tiger Devin Cannady, who also was on the front page of the website yesterday.

Cannady, if you've been following, has been spending his summer in Tanzania, studying Swahili and immersing himself in local culture. He has been reporting on his trip on the Princeton website, and you can read about it HERE (Part I), HERE (Part II) and HERE (Part III).

Cannady is an exciting player who had a great freshman year. He's tough when toughness is needed most, and he's the kind of player you can't help but notice while the game is going on. He's one of those players where anytime he touches the ball he's capable of doing something extraordinary.

If you read his posts, you'll see he's capable of doing extraordinary things off of the court as well. And of incredible personal depth.

It's hard to imagine too many people are getting more out of their summer than Cannady.

Make sure you read his entries. They're well worth it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dream Baby Dream

TigerBlog's friend Charlie - he's from Penn, but you can still like him - used to say that he liked the song "Hey Jude" because the words were easy to remember.

You know. "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na. Hey Jude."

TigerBlog is pretty sure that he read somewhere that when the Beatles wrote that sang, they put the "na na na na" part in as a place-holder, figuring they'd go back and add lyrics later, only to find out that they liked the way it sounded.

Maybe that's really how it went.

TigerBlog heard a relatively obscure Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band song over the weekend called "Dream Baby Dream." Perhaps you've heard it.

Anyway, each verse of the song is basically one line repeated three times. Why wouldn't there have been different lyrics in each verse, with possibly fewer verses?

What is the reason? What is the meaning?

Maybe it's because he liked the way it sounded. Or maybe it's because he couldn't think of anything else to write. Or maybe he was just being lazy. So many theories. So many complexities.

Or maybe it's simpler.

Take the line "I just want to see you smile." It's actually sung three times in a verse and then repeated two other times, for a total of nine times in the song where the Boss sings that he just wants to "see you smile."


Maybe it's simple. Maybe he just wants to see someone smile, and in doing so, all of the problems in that moment seem a little more distant, a little more solvable.

It's the same with "c'mon and open up your heart," which he sings 12 times.

Maybe with those lines, one of which is seven words and the other of which is six, he figures he's saying everything that needs to be said.

Sometimes what appears to be complex is actually simple.

So yeah, "Dream Baby Dream." It's a pretty good song.

The start of the gold medal game at the U-19 men's lacrosse World Championships Saturday night was more of a nightmare than a dream for the U.S. team.

The Americans had zoomed through the tournament, beginning with a 12-5 win over Canada and then hammering everyone, including Australia 23-1 in the semifinal.

When the tournament started, as with most international tournaments, the pre-determined final seemed to be the U.S. and Canada, which is part of the problem with international lacrosse. The game continues to grow, and more and more countries are fielding teams, but the gap to the Canadians and Americans is huge (as for the U-19 championships, the Americans had won each of the seven tournaments).

The only team that can even pretend to compete is the Iroquois team, which is loaded with Division players, but the U.S. still defeated that team 17-3 in pool play. The Canadians had a tougher time with the Iroquois but still won 12-9 in the round robin game and 14-11 in the other semifinal.

The Iroquois then beat Australia 20-8 for the bronze. If you're curious, the other placement game saw England beat Israel 10-7 for fifth, Ireland beat Germany 16-12 for seventh, China beat Scotland 15-9 for ninth, Hong Kong beat South Korea 13-4 for 11th and Mexico beat Taiwan 9-4 for 13th.

And so that left the U.S. and Canada for the gold.

The U.S. may have had a relatively easy win over Canada - the host, as the tournament was being played in British Columbia - but the Canadians had defeated the U.S. 14-13 in overtime in an exhibition game last winter.

Any thought that this game might be easy for the U.S. was erased when Canada scored the first six. And it was 8-2 Canadians at the half.

Back, though, the Americans would come, eventually tying it at 12-12 and then winning it 13-12 with 8.5 seconds to play. It would be the only lead the U.S. would have in the game.

Princeton men's lacrosse played a big role in the championship.

Austin Sims, who was an All-Ivy League midfielder for the Tigers last spring, was the U.S. team co-captain. Sims scored 23 goals last year for Princeton, and he will be the team's second-leading returning goal-scorer next year (Gavin McBride had 26).

Sims played much more of a defensive role for the U.S. team, which is what he did as a freshman at Princeton. He also played a huge leadership role, which was something that was mentioned often during the tournament.

The other Princeton player on the team hasn't yet suited up for the Tigers, and that would be incoming freshman Michael Sowers. A recent graduate of Upper Dublin High School outside of Philadelphia, Sowers had 402 career assists in high school, which is believed to be the national high school record - by 95, over the next-best total, which was the 307 that current Yale attackman Ben Reeves had.

Sowers made the All-World team on attack after having 11 goals and 11 assists in the tournament, including a goal and two assists - all in the third quarter as the U.S. made its run - in the championship game.

Sowers was the only U.S. player in double figures in both goals and assists.

Princeton men's lacrosse will be starting over this year, as Matt Madalon will begin his first full season as head coach. Obviously the return of Sims and the addition of Sowers will be huge pieces for the Tigers, especially after their international experience.

The first gold medals of the summer have been won, not in Rio, but in Canada, by the U.S. men's U-19 team. In highly dramatic fashion.

With a nightmare start that quickly turned into a dream finish.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Mid-Point

Has it really been six weeks since Princeton played UL-Lafayette in the opening game of the NCAA baseball regional?

Six weeks?

If you paid attention at all, you know that the trip to the regional was one of TigerBlog's favorite Princeton trips ever. The atmosphere at the games themselves was unlike anything TB had ever experienced, and there were parts away from the stadium that were incredible also.

And that was six weeks ago.

Princeton lost to UL-Lafayette 5-3 on that Friday and was eliminated the next day by Sam Houston State 7-2.

TigerBlog thought Sam Houston State was really good. The Bearkats put a lot of pressure on Arizona both times the teams met in the regional, and Sam Houston was eventually eliminated with a 6-5 loss. Arizona then beat UL-Lafayette twice - and then won the Super Regional and its division at the College World Series to get all the way to the championship series, only to lose in three games to Coastal Carolina.

In other words, Princeton found itself in a pretty strong regional. The host team (TigerBlog came back with two Ragin' Cajun t shirts) was ranked 17th, and even though UL-Lafayette lost twice to Arizona, it still outscored the Wildcats 14-12 counting its win the first meeting they had. And Sam Houston barely was edged by Arizona.

In the end, it was Arizona who made the big run. It could definitely have been UL-Lafayette. Sam Houston was going to be pesky no matter what.

Princeton actually led in its first game at the regional 3-2 before the home team rallied. Chad Powers was great that night, with eight strikeouts and no walks in front of an absolutely packed house.

Yup. That was six weeks ago tonight.

What's six weeks from today? The first athletic event of the 2016-17 season for Princeton.

That would be on Aug. 26, when the women's soccer team hosts Fordham. Two days later, the Tigers also host Villanova. Make sure you're there. What? You have something already planned for Aug. 28?

 The women's soccer team, by the way, should be well worth seeing.

Tyler Lussi, who is starting to put herself into the national team picture with the U-23 team, will be chasing down Esmeralda Negron's career records for goals and points, for the men's and women's programs (she is four goals and 12 points away from tying them). Sophomore Mimi Asom, the Ivy Rookie of the Year who has been with the U-20 national team, will then try to chase down whatever records that Lussi puts up.

Anyway, what does that make today?

Well, the baseball games were the last games of the 2015-16 academic year, though track and field athletes competed a week later.

But basically, that makes this weekend the mid-point between the end of the old year and the start of the new year.

It's mid-July, of course. The forecast for Princeton is summery. And it's going to stay that way for awhile. The next 15 days, apparently, will have no day that will have a high temperature lower than 86.

Hazy. Hot. Humid. Toss in some thunderstorms. This is not TB's first July in New Jersey.

Since it's a Friday in July, TigerBlog can take a paragraph or two to say that there is no part of him that understands the whole Pokemon Go thing. And there's no part of him that wants to participate in it either.

Apparently there have been some people who have actually gotten hurt playing this game. TB saw one story, for instance, from Auburn, N.Y., outside of Syracuse, where a driver playing the game smashed into a tree.

This is from a wire story:

New mobile game Pokemon Go has become an overnight sensation with U.S. fans but also played a role in armed robberies in Missouri, the discovery of a body in Wyoming and minor injuries to fans distracted by the app, officials and news media reported on Monday.
The "augmented reality" game based on the 1990s Japanese franchise surged to the top of Apple Inc's app charts over the weekend. Gamers use their mobile devices to find and capture virtual Pokemon characters such as cuddly yellow Pikachu at various real-life locations.
Five days after its release, the game now is on more Android phones than dating app Tinder, and its rate of daily active users was neck and neck with social network Twitter, according to analytics firm SimilarWeb.
Highlighting a dark side to its popularity, the game was used by four teens in Missouri to lure nearly a dozen victims into armed robberies, police and media reports said.

What else?

This is a big weekend for Austin Sims and Michael Sowers of the men's lacrosse team. They'll play in the U-19 World Championship gold medal game tomorrow.

For the most part, though, it's a quiet time for Princeton Athletics.

And the mid-point from last year to next year.

Next year will be here soon enough.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Doyle And Mike, And Meeting Carla

For a Wednesday in the middle of July, yesterday was a pretty busy day for TigerBlog.

He had four meetings. That's probably half of the meetings he has for the entire month.

One of those meetings was with a committee that TB has been a part of for years, one that first wrote the official stat-keeping rules for men's lacrosse and now continues to update them.

The original stat-keeping rules were written by the late, very great Doyle Smith, who was the longtime men's lacrosse contact at the University of Virginia and a graduate of Johns Hopkins. Doyle, as gentle a soul as TigerBlog has ever met, passed away in 2004 after battling Parkinson's for years.

A few years after Doyle's death, the idea arose from the NCAA to update his manual. TigerBlog was honored to be part of the group.

When TB first started doing men's lacrosse stats here, each school kept its own. This led to wild inconsistencies, especially in the area of face-offs, where both teams routinely claimed that it had won that particular draw.

Once every school started using StatCrew for in-game stats (StatCrew is a computer stats program that is used for basically every NCAA sport), there was at least a little more uniformity. What was missing was a real definition of what constituted a ground ball or a save or an assist or anything that happens in lacrosse.

The updated manual grew out of a series of conference calls over the course of the summer of 2008. The idea was to define each term and then come up with every possible situation that could occur in a lacrosse game.

For TigerBlog, it was a lot of fun.

Since then, the on-field rules have changed, which resulted in changes to stat-keeping. The call yesterday was to basically see what if anything needed to be updated.

Mostly for TigerBlog, the question isn't about what rules need to be updated. It's how does the committee and the NCAA get everyone who is responsible for stat-keeping to follow the rules. After all, the stats lead directly to things like all-league and All-America and such, so there is huge importance to them.

But there is still inconsistency. And in the world of college lacrosse stat-keeping across all three NCAA divisions, there's a lot of turnover, a lot of young intern-types, a lot of non-lacrosse people who sit down behind a computer to stat a game.

Moving forward, that will be as important for TB's committee as the rules themselves.

After the call, TigerBlog found himself with his thoughts back two old friends, both of who are gone. Doyle, of course, was one of them. Doyle had issues communicating due to his disease, and it got way worse as time went on. Still, there have been very, very few people TigerBlog has ever met who could touch TB and reach TB with just a smile the way Doyle Smith could.

Doyle was 60 when he died. The other friend was even younger. Mike Colley, who took over for Doyle as UVa's men's lacrosse contact when Doyle could not longer do it, was part of the original committee that put together the stat manual. He would say that he gave away ground balls like they were "Halloween candy," and TB has appropriated that term many times since.

Mike was 46 when he died suddenly in 2009. It was seven years ago this week actually, and TB still remembers the stunned feeling he had when he heard the news.

Doyle Smith. Mike Colley. Good men. Good friends.

TigerBlog spent part of his day yesterday thinking back about the two of them. He also spent some of it meeting someone new, Princeton field hockey coach Carla Tagliente. It was the first time he'd met her.

Tagliente comes to Princeton from UMass, where she was the head coach for five seasons. Her first game with the Tigers is a little more than six weeks away.

Right now, she is in the process of moving to Princeton, finalizing her coaching staff, learning her team. It's a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.

Is she stressed? Phased? Worried?

If she is, she hides it well. She certainly comes across as calm. And confident. And excited about the opportunity here.

She seemed interested in how things work around here, and she had some specific questions. Mostly though she just wanted to say hello, put a name with a face, put a lot of names with a lot of faces here.

And there was one familiar face. Carla worked at UMass with Cody Chrusciel, who also went from there to Princeton, in his case to be a video dude.

Now Carla is here as well.

She's made a very good first impression.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

112 Athletes, 157 Appearances - And One Robin

TigerBlog bought a new bicycle the other day.

It's about time. He was borrowing a bike for his rides with John McPhee, and it was actually a women's bike.

The difference between a men's bike and a women's bike is the bar parallel to the ground. Men's bikes have them; women's don't.

The question is why? TB presumes it has something to do with how young ladies used to wear long skirts when they rode way back when. That makes sense, right?

What doesn't make sense is the bar. If TB were to, uh, slip off the bicycle seat, he'd rather not land on that metal bar.

TB broke out his new bike (and new helmet) yesterday, for a nearly 14-mile ride with Mr. McPhee. This time it was at a park a little north of Princeton, where there is a mostly flat, fairly wide bike path.

There are also trees and benches under some of those trees, and other benches out in the sun along a ridge. It's a very calming place.

And it's a bit more peaceful than battling the traffic throughout town.

While TB and Mr. McPhee rode, they encountered maybe 10 people, and one dog, whose name turned out to be "Lincoln." And a robin in one of the trees.

The robin is a very common bird around this area, and by this area TigerBlog means North America. There's something appealing about the robin, perhaps because it seems to be such a happy, friendly bird, one that is constantly singing, one that has a soothing appearance. Certainly the one that TB saw yesterday fit that description.

There are any number of athletic teams nicknamed "Cardinals." Why aren't there any (or not that many) nicknamed "Robins?"

Unlike the ride around Princeton, the one at the park is a series of trips around what is a slightly more than two-mile loop. By the time TB had circled back around, the robin had gone to a different tree. He was probably still there, though, watching over TB, wondering to himself why he was struggling to keep up with the 85-year-old guy again.

The ride around the park is much more conducive to conversation than on the streets. At one point, the talk turned to the Olympic Track and Field trials, and TB told Mr. McPhee about how close Julie Ratcliffe had come to getting to Rio, after she threw 70.75 meters to set the New Zealand record but fell 0.25 meters (less than 10 inches) short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

On the other hand, the 70.75 was her personal best - and four more meters than she threw when she won the NCAA championship as a Princeton sophomore in 2014. And it was also the New Zealand record.

TB has a sense Ratcliffe's chance to get to the Olympics is just starting. In another four years - which includes her senior year at Princeton next year - she'll be back.

TB also mentioned Donn Cabral and how he rallied to reach the Olympics against in the steeplechase. Mr. McPhee said that a few years back he and Bryce Chase were riding, at a pretty good pace he said, when a runner came up next to them, ran with them for a few minutes and then sprinted away from them.

It was Donn Cabral.

It appears that all Olympic qualifying is over, and it would seem like Princeton will have 13 (or 14) representatives in Rio. They are:

women's soccer - Diana Matheson (Canada)
field hockey - Julia Reinprecht, Katie Reinprecht, Kat Sharkey
track and field - Donn Cabral, assistant cross country coach Robby Andrews (a UVa grad)
fencing - Kat Holmes
women's water polo - Ashleigh Johnson
rowing - Lauren Wilkinson (Canada), Glenn Ochal, Robin Prendes, Tyler Nase, Gevvie Stone, Kate Bertko

With the addition of those 13, Princeton's all-time total of Olympians is now 157 appearances by 112 athletes. In the last three Summer Games, the numbers are 29 athletes, 41 appearances.

Princetonians have won 18 gold medals, 22 silver medals and 23 bronze medals.

If you're a Princeton fan, you have to feel pretty good about the chances of success - and medals - in Rio. Basically everyone on the list above figures to make some noise while there.

The Summer Games start on Aug. 5 and run until the 21st. There will be pretty in-depth coverage on and here.

Hey, that's only three weeks from now?

And then when it's over, there'll be less than a week until Princeton Athetics starts up again?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On The Water

TigerBlog has no idea how many times he's driven back and forth across the Scudders Falls Bridge.

Whatever the exact number is, it's pretty high.

The Scudders Falls Bridge connects New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Interstate 95, above the Delaware River. There really aren't all falls underneath the bridge, but that's still the name.

TigerBlog learned quite a bit about the bridge he takes for granted when he looked on Wikipedia. For instance, there used to be another bridge across the Delaware in the heart of Yardley, the first town on the Pennsylvania side and a town in which TigerBlog spends a great deal of time.

The old bridge, which connected Yardley with Ewing, was destroyed in a flood in 1955. TigerBlog never knew it existed at all, even though he's been at the spot where the bridge used to be about a billion times. Apparently, this bridge touched Yardley where Afton Avenue reaches Route 32, where now there is a veterans' memorial.

Route 32 is one of TigerBlog's favorite roads. If you start out in Yardley and go up Route 32, you'll be on the shore of the Delaware the entire time.

Usually, there are ocean people, river people and lake people. TB is all three. He loves the water - especially when viewed from the shoreline.

TigerBlog loves the beach. He grew up near it, and there's something about the smell of the salt water, the wind that whips off the ocean and the sunrise or sunset over the horizon that he'll always love.

But TB also loves the Delaware.

There's a peaceful stillness about the water even as it flows downstream, easing past any observer from the shore. Unlike the beach, there are a multitude of colors, with the blue of the water, the green of the trees on both banks, the brown of the rocks.

Peaceful. Relaxing. And in many ways stunning, another example of what nature can do. It's enough to make TigerBlog lose his thought in the middle of a sentence as he just stares at the natural beauty.

Not all waterways are so peaceful. Certainly the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake in Rio won't be peaceful in the next few weeks.

Freitas Lake is the site of the Olympic rowing when the Games begin Aug. 5. Princeton will be well represented there.

Princeton rowing already had three alums who had qualified for Rio, and that number doubled over the weekend. And a seventh Princeton alum - recent alum Martin Barakso - is currently an alternate for Canada.

Gevvie Stone, who finished seventh in the single sculls at the London Games, had already qualified in that event again. Kate Bertko, who rowed in the same boat as Stone as Princeton romped to the NCAA championship in 2006, will row in the doubles.

Glenn Ochal, who won a bronze medal in the men's fours in 2012, had already qualified as well, this time in the men's eight.

Three more Princeton alums earned their spots this past weekend.

Lauren Wilkinson won a silver medal in the Canadian women's eight in 2012 in London, and she'll be back - as the stroke - searching for a gold this time, as the Canadians challenge the Americans.

Robin Prendes and Tyler Nase will make up half of the U.S. men's lightweight men's 4 without coxswain. Prendes was in the same event in London, where the U.S. finished eighth. Nase and Prendes were teammates at Princeton before Prendes graduated in 2011 and Nase two years later.

Princeton rowing has at least six Olympians for the fifth straight time. That is one of the most impressive facts about Princeton Athletics that TigerBlog knows.

Princeton won seven medals in the 2012 Olympics, and four of them came from rowers. Again, it's hard to underestimate just how good the rowing program at Princeton is and has been for decades.

As the Summer Olympics approach, Princeton knows that it will be represented in soccer, fencing, water polo, field hockey, rowing and track and field. If TigerBlog is counting correctly, there are 13 Princetonians who have already earned their trips to Rio - and that doesn't count Robby Andrews, the volunteer assistant cross country coach, who finished second in the 1,500 at the Olympic Trials.

That also means that nearly half of Princeton's Olympians again come from rowing. It's a testament to the coaches - Greg Hughes, Lori Dauphiny, Marty Crotty, Paul Rassam - and the system that is in place there to be successful.

They work hard together. They take enormous pride in Princeton rowing. And they achieve, year after year, Olympiad after Olympiad.

This time will be no different.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Donn Cabral, Two-Time Olympian

Donn Cabral looked like he might have been in a little bit of trouble on the final lap of the 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the Olympic Trials Friday night.

He was in fifth. The top three would advance to the Olympic Games. He had to catch two of the runners in front of him - and he was running out of time to do it. And, maybe, it looked like he was running out of energy to do it too.

TigerBlog watched on television.

In full disclosure - Cabral is TigerBlog's favorite Princeton athlete (okay, non-men's lacrosse player) of the last 10 years or so. Earlier last week, TigerBlog was talking to Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux ’91, who wasn't at Princeton when Cabral was.

TB was trying to explain the dynamic presence that Cabral had, combined with his incredible athletic success. Cabral had "talent and charisma," TigerBlog told Marcoux.

In fact, TB wrote this about Cabral more than four years ago, when Cabral was a senior at Princeton:
Cabral has become a complete rock star around here, the first since men's squash player Yasser El Halaby. Anytime Cabral was around - running or just walking into the building - everyone gave him the "there he is" look. It's the rock star treatment. He's not a big man, and in TB's limited dealings with him, he's quiet. He seems polite, respectful. And driven, very, very driven. TB doesn't remember too many athletes who have competed here who drew attention to themselves simply with the sheer impressiveness of their training the way Cabral has. It's as if he's putting on a show for the people who happen to look out on the track when he goes through his workouts. TB has stood on the balcony and watched him, along with other people in the department, and muttered only "wow" as he went lap after lap, seemingly in a dead sprint the whole time.

 So yeah, he was rooting hard for Cabral.

When it started to look iffy Friday night, TigerBlog thought back to when Cabral was a Princeton junior, at the 2010 Heps cross country championships. As TB recalled, Cabral was sick that day with sort of respiratory illness, and it wasn't even clear if he was going to run at all.

TB stood near the finish line at Van Cortlandt Park in New York that day. Heps cross country, by the way, is one of TigerBlog's favorite annual events on the Princeton Athletics calendar, and he hasn't missed one in awhile.

Back on that day in 2010, Cabral did in fact run. And he ran fast. And he won by a lot.

In fact, you can see the picture on the story from that day HERE. The runner-up is nowhere to be seen.

What really stood out to TigerBlog from that race was the way Cabral finished. As TB remembers, Cabral ran the final 100 meters or so of that race so fast and so effortlessly that he looked like a jet on a runway about to take off. It looked like he could have run that fast forever if he wanted.

And so, as the race Friday night started to reach its critical moments, TigerBlog thought back to that moment. That gear, the one that Cabral trotted out at Heps in 2010, was in there somewhere.

Cabral won the 2012 NCAA steeplechase championship and then qualified for the Olympics a few weeks later at those Trials. It seemed like that was enough for him at the time.

Then he got to the London Olympics, and lo and behold, he qualified for the final. And then at the final, he finished eighth. It was an incredible accomplishment.

Now here he was, four years later, trying to get back. And it certainly wasn't a given that he would, not when he was in sixth midway through and fifth very, very late.

Still, TigerBlog was confident.

And then Cabral got some help. Stanley Kebeney clipped the final water jump and went down, and Cabral was able to dance past him.

From there, Cabral shifted into that other gear. He went from well behind Andrew Bayer to well in front of him in a blink, and Cabral took third by more than two seconds.

He was again an Olympian.

What would have happened had Kebeney not fallen? TigerBlog has no doubt that it wouldn't have mattered. Cabral would have gone into his other gear and finished third anyway. 

By the way, Cabral is not the only one with a Princeton connection to have made the U.S. Olympic track team this weekend. Princeton volunteer assistant cross country coach Robby Andrews, a UVa grad and former roommate of Cabral's, finished second in the 1,500.

TigerBlog has met Cabral twice, sort of.

The first time was on the phone, for a story for the football game program when Cabral was a senior. Cabral sent TB a nice thank-you note after the story appeared.

The second time was outside Caldwell Field House. TB introduced himself as the person who wrote the story. They shook hands. TB thought briefly about getting an autograph or asking to get his picture taken with Cabral, but that seemed like a little much.

Cabral's fitness and training are somewhat legendary. He worked hard for four years to get back to the Olympics, and now he's going.

It's not easy to get there once. To do it twice is even more remarkable.

The steeplechase has become TB's favorite event. During the Trials coverage, one of the NBC commentators mentioned how one of the runners said that the attraction of the steeplechase is that it's not just running around the track, and maybe there's something to that.

At one point over the weekend, TigerBlog flipped on the radio to hear a version of "4th of July Asbury Park" by the Hollies. You know, the group that sang "The Air That I Breathe," which is a beautiful song, one that TigerBlog has always liked a lot.

The song "4th of July Asbury Park" is one of TB's very favorite songs by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The Hollies version? It just didn't work for him.

And then he thought about Cabral and the steeplechase.

Same song, not the same without the Boss.

Same race at the Olympics, wouldn't nearly be the same without Donn Cabral.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Chemistry Lesson

TigerBlog Jr. has more in common with his father than he probably would admit.

It starts with a, how shall TigerBlog put this, a sort of geekish charm. They also laugh at the same kinds of things, have reasonably similar tastes in music, can watch the same TV show or movie 1,000 times, can eat the same thing for lunch every day and not care. TigerBlog could go on and on.

Another thing they have in common is that they both got their worst grade in high school in the same subject.


TigerBlog could never get past the fact that he couldn't visualize any of it. In biology and physics, you can see what's in front of you. In chemistry, it's different. You mix this with that, and you get something else.

TigerBlog could never really wrap his head around the idea that two moles of this plus one mole of that could equal two moles of the next thing. How does that make any sense?

For nearly 40 years, in fact, it didn't make sense to him. Then John McPhee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Princeton writing instructor and Academic Athletic Fellow for the men's lacrosse team, clarified it all for TigerBlog in nine words.

TigerBlog and Mr. McPhee were doing his 15-mile ride around Princeton last week. Not the campus. The town. 

Mr. McPhee has been doing this ride for a few decades. TigerBlog is relatively new to it. He's done it enough times now to have a pretty good sense of where to turn and all that, but it's a pretty complex route. You can also do it clockwise or counter-clockwise, and it appears that the hills are a little worse if you go counter-clockwise.

The ride last week was on a fairly humid day. By the time TigerBlog got to the Hun School, which is about 75% of the way through going counter-clockwise, he was starting to feel weak and dizzy and was possibly having hallucinations. Then he looked up and saw the 85-year-old McPhee, who was barely breathing heavily. Yes, that will motivate a person.

One of the best parts of the ride is learning something about whatever subject comes up. In this case, it was Anorthosite.

It's a rock.

TigerBlog mentioned that he'll be going to Lake Placid next month, and Mr. McPhee said that there are 46 peaks in the Adirondacks that are over 4,000 feet and that they have a high concentration of Anorthosite. The only other places that have such high concentrations? A part of the Laramie Mountains, which are actually part of the Rocky Mountains, and the moon. Yes, the moon.

TigerBlog's question was what makes Anorthosite different than any other kind of rock, and Mr. McPhee said it was its chemical makeup. TigerBlog then asked how you can tell one chemical makeup from another, and Mr. McPhee said this:

"You just have to take their word for it."

And just like that, nearly 40 years of wondering about chemistry was settled.

That's the point. You can't figure it out logically. It just is. You have to accept it and have faith in it, since it either is or it isn't. You can't shove an extra molecule or two into something to come up with Anorthosite. It just is what it is.

People, TB presumes, are somewhat the same as rocks. When TB says someone is wired a certain way, he's talking about their chemical makeup. Shoving an extra molecule around won't change them either. Some things just are. You know, you just have to take their word for it.

This does help to explain a lot about a lot of things. Including about TigerBlog Jr.

Somewhere deep in his chemical makeup, lacrosse is to TBJ what Anorthosite is to the moon. It's just a big part of who he is.

It was one year ago today that TBJ had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He was looking at a 6-9 month recovery time, which put his freshman year of lacrosse at Sacred Heart University very much in jeopardy.

TBJ, like pretty much every athlete his age, probably figured he was invincible. He found out the hard way that he wasn't.

He was crushed when he found out about his injury. Then he became determined.

He worked really hard to get back on the field. He rehabbed five days a week with the athletic trainer at SHU. He didn't rush to play too soon. It was a fight of sorts to keep him from taking his lacrosse sticks to school, but still, he knew that he could set himself back for a long time, maybe forever, if he reinjured his shoulder by doing too much too quickly.

He missed all of fall practice, but he was ready to see shots over the winter break. He was ready for the first day of practice, and he went on to have a very strong freshman season (spoiler alert, skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to read a little parental bragging), making the Northeast Conference All-Rookie team, making the NEC All-Academic team, starting the last 11 games and finishing 41st in Division I in save percentage and 28th in Division I in saves per game.

That wasn't too much bragging, was it?

Mostly, though, he was able to live out his dream, to play college lacrosse. Looking back on it, TigerBlog thinks that the injury made his son appreciate it that much more.

Yeah, there's not a lot of Princeton athletics here today. Donn Cabral runs tonight at 8:23 in the steeplechase final at the Olympic Trials. Incoming freshman Michael Sowers scored twice as the U.S. defeated Canada 12-5 in the first game at the U-19 World Lacrosse Championships.

But it is a Friday in the summer, so history suggests that this will be among the least-read blogs anyway. And if you're reading this, thanks for the loyalty. 

TBJ's surgery was supposed to last around 90 minutes, but it ended up going more than twice that. As TB sat in the waiting room, he wondered why it was going on for so long, imagining the worst. Eventually the doctor came out, said that there had been a broken bone in there as well but that everything looked good.

About an hour later, TB was able to take his son home. He was way out of it for the drive, and he was way out of it all night.

The next day was different. His mood changed. His color came back. He wasn't in much pain. He was focused.

Now he's as close to 100% as he can get. He's seen a few thousand shots, and he's looking forward to getting back to school to see a few thousand more.

Was that really a year ago? Has an entire year gone by since then?

TigerBlog Jr. is in a much better place now than he was 12 months ago today, and his father couldn't be happier for him. He's back doing what he loves to do, what he's wired to love to do, actually.

It's chemistry.

TigerBlog gets it now.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Steeplechase Champ Benedict Cumberbatch, And A New Head Coach For Women's Track

The first Olympic champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase was Benedict Cumberbatch of Great Britain.

Wait. No it wasn't. Cumberbatch is an actor. He was in "The Imitation Game," which TigerBlog really liked. It's the story of how a few English scholars broke a seemingly unbreakable Nazi code and in the process essentially built the first computer.

TB had never heard of Alan Turing before that movie. He didn't know anything about that story. And he especially didn't realize that there was a Princeton connection; Turing received a Ph.D. here in 1938.

If you've never seen the movie, it's worth checking out. Cumberbatch is really good, and he in fact was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

TigerBlog checked out Cumberbatch's bio, and he's pretty sure the only other movie of his TB has seen is "Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy," which was 1) really good and 2) really confusing.

Cumberbatch has had huge success as a stage actor in his native England. He's been nominated three times for Olivier Awards, which are the English equivalent of the Tony Awards, and he won once, for Best Actor, in "Frankenstein."

It's quite an impressive resume. And if you see him in the next 10 days or so, wish him a happy birthday. He turns 40 on July 19.

One thing that is missing from his list of accomplishments, though, include anything about the 3,000-meter steeplechase. But hey, if you knew the first Olympic gold medalist in the steeplechase was in fact British - which he was - and TB told you his name was Benedict Cumberbatch, you'd believe him.

It certainly sounds like the name of a British distance runner, like someone out of "Chariots of Fire," which, by the way, was a really good movie but was one of the two biggest miscarriages of Academy Award for Best Picture justice, as it never should have beaten "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Nor, while TB is on the subject, should "Shakespeare In Love" ever be mentioned in the same universe as "Saving Private Ryan." 

As for the first steeplechase winner, it was Percy Hodge, of Great Britain. The year was 1920, and the location was Antwerp. His winning time was 10:00.4.

The next four Olympic gold medalists were all from Finland. The last eight, and 10 of the last 12, have been from Kenya.

Hodge's winning time in 1920, by the way, was about 18 seconds slower than the time Ashley Higginson, Princeton Class of 2011, ran in the Olympic Trial qualifier Monday. And Higginson wasn't running to get her best time; she was running to finish in the top three and advance, which she did easily, so she eased to the finish.

It's an interesting evolution of the best men's time in the event to a women's time that is world class but not incredible. It says a lot about where athletics have gone in nearly 100 years.

Higginson will again be looking to finish in the top three tonight, when she runs in the steeplechase final. The race starts at 7:48 Pacific Time (in Eugene, Ore.), so it'll be nearly 11 Eastern by the time she runs.

Higginson figures to be right in the mix for a top three finish, which would bring with it a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. She finished fourth in 2012, which is an excruciating place to be.

The race tonight is the first of two steeplechase finals in two days that directly impact Princeton fans. The men's final tomorrow night (8:23 Eastern time) will feature Donn Cabral, who is going for his second-straight trip to the Olympics after finishing eighth in London.

Cabral's time in the qualifier, by the way, was nearly two minutes faster than ol' Percy ran.

Princeton track and field had eight athletes qualify for the Olympic Trials. It's a program with great history and tradition, not to mention a lot of momentum in the present.

A new chapter in Princeton track and field started yesterday, when Michelle Eisenreich became the head coach of the women's program.

It's always a big deal when a new head coach starts. It's even bigger when that coach is only the second in program history, as it is in this situation, as Eisenreich replaces Peter Farrell, who retired after 39 years as the only head coach the women's program has known.

Michelle comes to Princeton from Stanford, where she has spent four years as associate head coach. She was at Brown for 12 years prior to that.

That's a pretty strong background. Stanford, plus 12 years in the Ivy League.

She was also an accomplished student-athlete in her own right. From the release:
Eisenreich was a standout student-athlete herself, having graduated from Cum Laude from Carleton College in 1996. She received All-America honors in the discus, was conference champion in the discus and indoor and outdoor shot put and twice earned Academic All-Conference honors. She was inducted into the Carleton Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

TigerBlog is looking forward to meeting her. And he wishes her luck. She's walking into a department with people eager to help her have a smooth transition and willing to do whatever they can to help her be successful.

TB predicts that she probably won't stay as long as the previous head coach, but that's okay.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Wayback Machine

The easiest way to get Miss TigerBlog to roll her eyes is for her father to ask to take a picture of her.

It's one of the great joys of parenthood, up there with "you can drive me and my friends to the movies but you can't seriously think that I'd let you watch the movie with us" and of course "I need fill-in-the-blank for a project that's due tomorrow and I've known about this for weeks."

Ah, but the pictures. That's a special source of glee for TigerBlog.

TigerBlog loves to chronicle life's moments in pictures. It's the best part of the invention of the smart phone, the ability to create instant memories.

Of course, he needs a little buy-in, especially from his daughter. She can't just walk away every time he wants to take her picture. 

A few weeks ago, MTB high school lacrosse banquet was held on a beautiful night at a golf club. MTB was dressed nicely, and TigerBlog suggested that the two of them get their picture taken together. That led to a nice eye roll, and no picture.

The other night, MTB and Wiki, her best bud from basically Day 1, sat across the table from TigerBlog. Could TB take their picture and add it to the ones he'd taken through the years?

Again, eye roll. Thankfully, Wiki wanted to do it, so MTB agreed.

This is the first picture of the two of them that TB has:

And this is the two of them the other night:
The elapsed time between the two pictures is probably 12 or 13 years.

TigerBlog said last week that he wished he'd taken pictures 12 or 13 years (or 17 years) ago, through the years of The website can do a lot of things, but it cannot roll its eyes.

As it turns out, TigerBlog didn't have to take pictures. He could go back and do it.

He never knew there was a website sort of called the "Wayback Machine." You can find it HERE.

Anyway, the website says that it has "491 billion web pages saved over time." TigerBlog only needed one.

And he was able to find it. And so here are the previous iterations of the website:

And here is the new site:
The new site went live on July 1, at midnight. There was a switch necessary from the servers of Princeton's old provider, NeuLion, to the new provider, Sidearm Sports.

TigerBlog is pretty sure he did it wrong. Fortunately, Princeton Athletics IT dude Bryan Fitzwater fixed it. This happened, of course, before TB messed it up again, forcing Fitz to fix it again. After that, TB left it alone.

TB learned a lot about how websites work in the hour or so after midnight, as Fitz stayed up very late - while on his vacation in Florida, TB believes.

TigerBlog expected the old site to vanish and the new site to magically appear in a span of seconds. Of course, it didn't quite work like that.

TB stayed up later and later, waiting for something to happen. Finally it did - on his computer, not on his phone or iPad.

It wasn't until the sun came up, actually, that it began to change over in earnest across most platforms.

The reaction to the new site has been overwhelmingly positive, though there are those who are dissenters. In fact, two of them commented on this very blog that they aren't fans.

TigerBlog welcomes dissenting opinions. In fact, he'd love to know what it is that the commenters don't like about the new site.

As for TB, he likes it. He likes the big pictures. He likes the easy navigation. He likes the bright background.

He's really going to like it when the new academic year rolls around and there are actual events, which will showcase the real capabilities of the new site.

On the other hand, it was a pretty good coincidence that the new site launched at the start of 4th of July weekend, which might be the slowest time of the entire year for Copying over an old site to a new one is not the smoothest process in the world. Even now, a few days later, there are still bugs being worked out.

They'll get fixed. TigerBlog isn't concerned.

In the meantime, he's pretty psyched that a few people - notably Greg Paczkowski - introduced him to the Wayback Machine.

It was good to catch up on the old websites through the years. TB didn't remember at all what they looked like, but it all came rushing back - building them, designing a new one, being happy with each new step.

In some ways, it's along the same lines as the pictures of MTB and Wiki. Along the lines, but not nearly as personal.

It's TigerBlog's hope that he'll be able to take a picture of the two of them in another 12 or 13 years. And the 12 or 13 years after that.

Maybe by then, MTB won't roll her eyes anymore. Knowing her, though, the odds of that aren't great.

Still, having those pictures to look back on means a lot to TB. He thinks of himself as a combination of many things, including historian and storyteller.

And those pictures trace a history and tell a story.

One day, MTB will be glad her father made her smile for them.