Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Here Comes Field Hockey Season

TigerBlog is now one of the cool field hockey moms from Miss TigerBlog's high school team.

Or something like that. Or maybe it's TigerBlog and the Cool Field Hockey Moms. Like a musical group.

The whole thing started when TB volunteered to be a driver for the team-bonding event - rope climbing and zip lining - in the Poconos last week. To take all of the girls from the varsity and jayvee, there was a need for six volunteers.

Their names were Jean, Mandy, Kathleen, Dara, Sue and TigerBlog.

In order to make sure everyone knew where to be and when, a group text-message chain was started. Mostly, the group message focused on what the best way to go from the starting point to Camelback Mountain would be.

It actually made TigerBlog laugh a bit. There were a bunch of ways to go, and the discussion got fairly in-depth: routes, possible traffic patterns based on the time of the day, what each specific app suggested the best way to go would be.

None of these issues were ever really resolved.

TigerBlog went up 29 past Lambertville to 31, until it ended at 46. Then it was a left turn, past the Delaware Water Gap onto 80 and then to Camelback. From about two minutes outside the parking lot where they started, TigerBlog didn't see anyone else in the group - until he got to I-80, when suddenly he noticed Jean ahead of him and Dara directly behind him.

TB's car featured Miss TigerBlog and her teammates Amy, Alexa and Gianna. Amy made a playlist for her iPhone, and they all sang basically the whole way up. They're actually pretty good singers.

As for the team activities, TB and the CFHMs sat out the rope climbing, opting instead for breakfast. It was a nice place and a nice morning, and the group sat outside - and two-thirds of them actually got what they ordered.

When it came time to zip line, TB sat that out too. He chose to skip zip lining in Costa Rica with the men's lacrosse team in 2012, and he saw no reason to change his position on the activity this time.

TigerBlog played his music on the way back, causing Miss TigerBlog to recoil in fear that her friends would actually hear the songs that her dad likes. Interestingly, they were able to sing along to almost all of them.

Oh, and the local newspaper had its high school field hockey preview yesterday, and TB told MTB that her name was in it. He bought an actual copy of the paper and gave it to her, and it dawned on him that she has almost never held an actual newspaper in her hands.

TB, on the other hand, grew up reading newspapers, and his interest in writing started with the newspapers he used to read each day. He loved to read newspapers, and he loved working in the newspaper business. The writing piece was great, but just as much he loved to watch the production of an actual newspaper night after night after night.

And now it was dawning on him that his daughter has barely been exposed something he always assumed would be around forever. He wasn't sure if he should laugh or cry about that.
With the team-bonding trip behind them, MTB's team is heading towards its season opener. Her team had its final preseason scrimmage yesterday, and the first game is against local power Mount St. Joseph's. Perhaps you've heard that name before? It's the school that sent the Reinprecht sisters to Princeton.

Speaking of Princeton, the Tigers open their field hockey season this week too, with a strong non-league schedule and then the chase for the 21st Ivy League championship in 22 years this season.

The Tigers enter the 2016 season ranked 15th nationally. Opening day is Friday, when Princeton hosts North Carolina at 4. That would be No. 1-ranked North Carolina, by the way.

By the time three more weeks roll around, Princeton will have played seven games, including six at home. In fact, the season starts with four home games in nine days, including Game 2, which is Sunday at 1 against Bucknell.

The only road game in that stretch is Sept. 16 at Virginia, who is ranked fifth. Of those first seven games, five of them are against ranked teams.

The 2016 season starts with a new head coach and top assistant, as Carla Tagliente has come from UMass as the head coach and brought Dina Rizzo from Maryland to be her top assistant.

If you want to get to know them, you can watch the video HERE. It's really good.

It actually dawns on TB that videos like the one introducing the new field hockey staff speaks to why newspapers aren't anything like what they used to be. But hey, it's 2016.

If you've never seen Princeton play field hockey, then you're missing out. It's quite a bit faster than high school field hockey on grass.

Field hockey is a very fast game. It has quick restarts and no offsides, and the ball gets hit very, very hard.

Princeton has just three seniors on its team this year, including All-Ivy and All-Mid-Atlantic Region selection Cat Caro. There are 21 players on the team, 13 of whom are either freshmen or sophomores. Included in that group are the dynamic sophomores Sophia Tornetta and Elise Wong, who were both first-team All-Ivy and first-team all-region a year ago. Tornetta added Ivy Rookie of the Year.

Add to that the facility itself. There are very few places better for field hockey than Bedford Field, one of Princeton's best athletic venues.

And it'll be a busy venue, beginning Friday, when the No. 1 team in the country visits.

New coaches. Long history of success. Fast-paced game. Lots of home games. No admission fee.

It's definitely worth the visit. 

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