Thursday, August 25, 2016

As The Summer Winds Down

When TigerBlog heard there'd been a devastating earthquake in Italy, his first thought was of the Princeton men's basketball team, who is touring the country on its international trip.

TB emailed his colleague Andrew Borders, who is with the team. The Tigers were in Rome Monday and then left for Florence, which was about 90 miles away from the epicenter.

That seems sort of close, but Andrew reported that he didn't feel it, didn't hear it, wasn't awakened by it.

The earthquake itself was awful, with nearly 160 fatalities. The mayor of one of the hardest hit locations said that the town essentially ceased to exist. That is scary, horrible stuff. TigerBlog can't imagine it, a town of people asleep one minute and the next minute everything is gone.

Safely in Florence, the Tigers toured the city yesterday, including a stop in a museum to see Michelangelo's "David." You can read about Princeton's day in Italy HERE.

As for the women, they are in Australia, where two of the players offered their thoughts on the early stages of the trip. One of them, Taylor Brown, signed her entry "TB;" TigerBlog is okay with that.

If you want to read what the other "TB" said, and what Gabrielle Rush said, click HERE.

Closer to home, yesterday was the first day of Princeton football practice. Opening day is a mere 23 days away.

TigerBlog has yet to watch one down of NFL preseason football this summer. The Olympics probably explain that.

Princeton opens Sept. 17 at home against Lafayette before heading on the road for three straight weeks, at Lehigh, at Columbia and at Georgetown. Then it's home for Brown and Harvard, at Cornell, home for Penn, at Yale and home for Dartmouth.

TigerBlog isn't quite ready for fall just yet. The weather here, though, seems to be hinting that the end of summer is approaching.

In fact, TB would say there have been about five days all summer in which the weather was absolutely perfect, and the beginning of this week accounted for three of them. The rest of the time the average temperature has been about what it takes to bake pizza, and that kind of weather returns starting today.

Because of that, TigerBlog isn't ready to talk about football just yet.

On the other hand, there is a little more than 24 hours until the first Princeton athletic event of the year, a women's soccer game against Fordham tomorrow night at 7. The second event will be women's soccer against Villanova Sunday at 7 in the first of Princeton's ESPNU's events of the 2016-17 academic year.

Every time a new year is about to start, TigerBlog thinks back to his years in the newspaper business. He was little more than a kid back then. Each year would go by, and when it came to the end, TB would tell himself the same thing - one more year, and then it's time to get a "real" job.

This year will be 33 years since his first trip around the academic calendar as a sportswriter, which was just a prelude to working here at Princeton. He's not 100 percent sure when he gave up on getting a "real" job and he's not really sure what that "real" job might have been.

He does know it wouldn't have been as much fun as the one he stuck with, and he would have missed out on so many great experiences and meeting so many great people.

TB has also told this story several times before, but when he was in the newspaper business, the president of The College of New Jersey (then Trenton State College) was a man named Harold Eickoff. Each year there was a kickoff luncheon for boosters and the local media and others, and TB would always go. And Dr. Eickoff would always make the same statement - "I predict that this year all Trenton State teams will go undefeated."

Also at this time of year, he thinks back to the summer before his first year in the Office of Athletic Communications. TB started on July 1, and it seemed like the next two months took forever, before athletic events actually began. He remembers having a conversation with then-baseball coach Tom O'Connell, who recently passed away, about how he liked his new job and all and how anxious he was for the games to start.

That's the lure of working in sports. The games. The athletes. The coaches.

Anyone can work in an office.

Working in sports is different. TigerBlog can't tell you how many times he's heard from a friend or someone he's just met who says "you get to go to games for a living?"

Yes. TB does.

And they start again tomorrow.

Summer is not quite over, but it's getting there. Let the games begin.

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