Friday, September 30, 2016

Let's Go Tigers, And Pioneers

The Lambert family was big in the jewelry business on Madison Avenue in the early 1900s, as well as big college football fans.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

The name "Lambert" has long been synonymous with supremacy in Eastern college football. Victor and Henry Lambert first named a trophy in honor of their father August (again, Wikipedia) in 1935, and ever since then, the best team in the East has received the trophy.

Princeton has won it twice, in 1950 and 1951, when a certain Dick Kazmaier was the team's best player. Princeton did not lose a game in either season.

Once Division I-AA came around in 1982, the Lambert Cup began to be awarded to the top team in that division in the East. No Ivy school had ever won the Cup until last year, when Dartmouth, Penn and Harvard all shared it.

Interestingly, only one team has ever won the Lambert Cup with a perfect record. That honor belongs to Holy Cross, who went 11-0 in 1987. Four schools have won the Lambert Cup after winning the national championship - UMass in 1998, Delaware in 2003, James Madison in 2004, Villanova in 2009.

The current Lambert rankings have two Ivy teams in the top four - Dartmouth at No. 3 and Harvard at No. 4. Cornell is ranked 12th. Georgetown, whom Princeton plays next week, is ranked sixth.

It's early and all, and the Lambert rankings should change radically between now and the end of the season. But who's ranked No. 1 this week?

Is it Villanova? Nope. Stony Brook? Richmond? Fordham? Colgate? James Madison? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.
Give up?

It's the Pioneers of Sacred Heart University. Yup.

Sacred Heart is 4-0 on the season, heading into a game tomorrow against Wagner, ranked ninth in this Lambert Cup poll.

Ranking colleges in order of how much gear TigerBlog has, it goes like this: 1. Princeton, 2. Sacred Heart, 3. every place else combined. In case you don't realize it, Sacred Heart is where TigerBlog Jr. goes to college.

Sacred Heart is doing some really nice things these days. There is a great deal of construction of new buildings and an expansion of its academic offerings. It's small, but there is a really strong sense of community there.

And, through four weeks, the best FCS football team in the East.

Princeton will be playing a crucial game tomorrow as well, as it travels to Columbia to take on the Lions in the Ivy opener for both.

Only two Ivy League games have been played so far this year, as Cornell defeated Yale and Harvard defeated Brown a week ago. In addition to Princeton-Columbia this weekend, Penn is at Dartmouth tonight, on NBC SportsNetwork.

Of course, when only 28 Ivy games are played each year, then they're all huge. Especially the first one. The last time a team won the Ivy title after losing its first league game was in 2005, when Brown did so (other than when two teams met in the opener and then went on to share the championship).

Princeton and Columbia kick off at noon, on Fox College Sports (and Fox Sports Go).

If you're not going to New York for that one, there's a soccer doubleheader on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium tomorrow afternoon. It'll be Princeton and Dartmouth in two games tomorrow, with the women at 1 and the men at 4.

The women are 0-0-1 in the league after a 1-1 tie with Yale a week ago. Dartmouth lost to Brown 1-0 in its first league game last week.

Princeton still has the best overall record in the league at 7-1-1, but seven of the eight teams are at least .500. Dartmouth is 6-3 overall.

Again, each league game is big. Princeton, the defending Ivy champ, went 6-0-1 a year ago, winning its first six before tying the last one. Maybe this year will be the reverse of that, with a tie in the first one. Or maybe it's one of those years where something in the neighborhood of 4-1-2 or so wins the league.

On the men's side, this is Week 1 of Ivy play. Princeton began the year 0-2 and is 4-1 since, with its four-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 overtime loss to Villanova on a penalty kick Wednesday.

There are five Ivy men's teams over .500. The other three teams are a combined 2-12-7, including Dartmouth, who is 1-2-4. No game ever in Ivy League soccer can be overlooked, though.

There are other events this weekend, including two home matches for the defending Ivy champion women's volleyball team, who hosts the other defending champ, Harvard at 7 tonight and then Dartmouth at 5 tomorrow.

There are also four home league water polo matches.

It's a big weekend all around. Go Tigers. And Go Pioneers.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Welcome To The NWPC

Luis Nicolao will be meeting Bruce Springsteen today.

To put this in perspective for you, imagine meeting the one person who has ever lived - or maybe even was fictional - that you've wanted to meet more than any other, that you've wanted to meet your whole life, that you thought you'd never meet.

It's almost like a college application essay question. Name three people, living or dead, fiction or non-fiction, that you'd like to have lunch with and why.

Luis - oh, by the way, he's the head water polo coach at Princeton if you didn't already know that - was the lucky winner of a ticket in the lottery to meet The Boss at the Philadelphia Public Library. He said he will be giving Springsteen some Princeton water polo gear; if he gives him the longsleeve T-shirt that he recently gave TigerBlog then Springsteen will love him forever.

TigerBlog emailed Luis yesterday asking him when the last time he was this excited about something. Honestly, TigerBlog can't remember the last time anyone he knows was this excited about something.

What was Luis' response? He said he keeps thinking Springsteen will be showing up at Luis' house afterwards for a drink. 

It all got TigerBlog to thinking about the one person he'd like to meet that he's never met. If it has to be limited to someone "famous," then maybe he'd stay with the E Street Band theme and go with Stevie Van Zandt.

TB would have a lot to talk about. There's the music of course, including Van Zandt's own band, Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, had a song that is a TigerBlog favorite - "If I Give You My Heart, Will You Love Me Forever?" 

And of course, Little Steven was Sylvio Dante in "The Sopranos," which could be TB's favorite TV show of all time. And TigerBlog loved "Lilyhammer," a Netflix series in which Van Zandt played a character very similar to Sylvio.

On top of all that, TigerBlog and Van Zandt grew up 15 miles away from each other. Maybe they could hang out and get some pizza on the boardwalk one day? TigerBlog will buy.

Anyway, once Luis is done living out this dream of his, he can go back to focusing on his season.

His team defeated St. Francis (Pa.) last night at DeNunzio Pool in its first-ever Northeast Water Polo Conference game. What is the Northeast Water Polo Conference?

Well, if you've followed men's water polo here in the past, you know about the Collegiate Water Polo Association, in which Princeton has competed for years. This past off-season the CWPA did some realigning and renaming, and the result is two new conferences under the old conference's jurisdiction.

The split is a bit confusing.

There are now two separate conferences, but they are not divided with the same number of teams or along geographical lines.

If TigerBlog is getting this right, there are 47 men's water polo teams, of which 20 are in one of the two new conferences. That's a high percentage.

The two conferences are the Northeast Water Polo Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference. The Mid-Atlantic one has two divisions, the East and the West.

There are six teams in the Northeast - Princeton, Harvard, Brown, MIT, St. Francis and Iona. Princeton will play each team twice, including five straight at home beginning last night.

And the other four? There's Iona tomorrow night at 8. There's Brown Saturday at 7. There's Harvard Sunday at 10. There's MIT Sunday at 2.

That's a lot of water polo at DeNunzio Pool, all of which is free, by the way. 

There are six teams (Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Fordham, Navy, Wagner and George Washington) in the East Division and there are eight in the West Division (Connecticut College, Gannon, La Salle, Mercyhurst, Monmouth, Penn State Behrend, Salem International, Washington & Jefferson).

At the end of the season, there will be a playoff format for each conference. The winners of the two conference playoffs will then play each other in what will essentially be an NCAA play-in game, with the winner to advance to the Final Four.

Again, that's if TigerBlog has this right.

Princeton water polo got a lot of attention this past summer with Ashleigh Johnson as one of the best players on the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics. She'll be back this spring with the women.

At some point during the spring season, Nicolao figures to go over the 800-win mark for his career here between the two teams. He currently has 779 wins, which is a ton. He's won nine division championships with each team, and he has taken both to the NCAA championships. He's won 13 Coach of the Year awards.

And now he gets his reward.

He gets to meet The Boss.

He seems sort of happy about it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More On The Princeton Pioneers

If there is an alumni organization, then there will be Princetonians involved.

That's TigerBlog's profound thought for your Wednesday. He has no way of proving this, of course. It's just a hunch, and he's pretty sure it's a good one.

Until yesterday, TigerBlog didn't realize that there was an alumni organization for U.S. Olympians. Then he found out that there was. Then he found out that two of the five vice presidents for the organization are Princeton alums.

All of this started when Carol Brown, a member of the Class of 1975 and a three-time Olympic rower, emailed TB a picture of Princeton alums who are working to try to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Los Angeles.

Brown said that the group was part of the U.S. Olympian Paralympian Association, and that she was on the executive board. So too is Joe Cheek, Class of 2011 and a two-time Olympic speedskater.

There were four people in the picture. It has Brown, along with Augie Wolf, a 1984 Olympic shot-putter, and Brett Goodwin and Jennie Thompson, who work for NBC. Cheek, and USA Fencing president Donald Anthony, were not in the picture but are part of the efforts.
For Brown, this is the second TigerBlog appearance this month, after she helped put together the women's athlete symposium in Chicago earlier.

Brown, whom TB has never met, appears to be something of a force. If she is putting her efforts into bringing the 2024 Olympics to California, TB wouldn't be shocked to see it happen.

TigerBlog didn't know much about Carol Brown until she reached out to him about the symposium. Since then, he's learned all sorts of interesting things.

Perhaps the most interesting was her path to Olympic rowing. It certainly didn't begin when she was in high school in Illinois, where, in the pre-Title IX days, girls were legally forbidden from playing sports.

Miss TigerBlog takes it for granted that she's gotten to play a bunch of different sports her whole life, and field hockey and lacrosse in high school. She and her friends could never dream of what people like Carol Brown had to go through to compete.

Because there were no athletic opportunities for her in high school, she instead was a musician. It wasn't until she came to Princeton that she found athletic opportunities, primitive as they were for women then.

If you want to read some interesting stuff on what she and her fellow athletic pioneers went through back then, you can click HERE.

TigerBlog has said this before but not in a long time, so he'll throw it out there again. Where would women's athletics be now without Title IX?

He'd like to think that there'd have been a natural evolution that brought increased opportunities to girls and women in sports. He'd like to think that the teams his daughter plays on now would have been there on their own, but it's possible that that's not the case.

Brown and her husband live in the Chicago area. Their son, Stuart Pomeroy, is a junior on the Princeton men's hockey team. His bio on says that his mother also played hockey and swam at Princeton, in addition to her rowing.

That's a lot of athletic achievement for someone who had never competed in anything before she came here. One day, TigerBlog will ask her what it was like when she was a girl.

Did she realize how athletic she was? Did she want to take her Olympic bronze medal and stick it in the face of everyone who told her girls could play sports when she was little?

The men's hockey season, by the way, starts one month from today, at Michigan State.

If you think back one month, to Aug. 28, that was the Sunday when Princeton played Villanova in women's soccer on ESPNU in the second event of the year. Today is Sept. 28, which, among other things, is Gary Walters' birthday.

The last month has certainly zipped by, and the next one will too, as it'll be hockey season in a blink. The women's team actually faces-off a week earlier, with a pair of games in Providence. The Princeton women are ranked seventh nationally in the preseason and are coming off an NCAA tournament appearance a year ago.

In an interesting schedule quirk, the team plays its first three games in Providence, with a game at Brown on the 28th, one month from today.

For now, it's the heart of the fall season.

There are two events today, with the men's soccer team at Villanova at 4 and the men's water polo team at home against St. Francis (Pa.) at 7:30. Hopefully head coach Luis Nicolao will focus on the game and not be reading Bruce Springsteen's book while the game is going on.

Between today and Sunday there are 22 Princeton athletic events. The breakdown by gender? There are 11 for men and 11 for women.

That's how it should be.

That's not how it always was.

There are athletes like Carol Brown - and some of the women's track and field athletes who were at the Peter Farrell dinner Saturday night and an army of others - who made it his way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hail To The Redskins

So the Giants lost to the Redskins?

Somewhere, MotherBlog was smiling.

The last two days have been a pretty good reminder for TigerBlog about what he misses most about his mother, who passed away nearly 22 years ago. A Giants-Redskins game Sunday and a Presidential debate Monday?

About the only thing that could have made it better for her would have been a Steve McQueen movie marathon in between, though she'd only need the scene near the end of "The Great Escape" where McQueen - without a stunt double - hops the barbed wire fences on a motorcycle.

MotherBlog died before she ever had a cell phone or email. Still, if she was still around (she'd be closing in on her 77th birthday were she alive today), TB's phone would have been buzzing every five seconds, between the Skins' rally past the Giants and the debate last night.

As a long-time resident of the D.C. area, she loved the Redskins and politics. Her favorites at the time? John Riggins and Walter Mondale. Or was it Joe Theismann and Jay Rockefeller?

MotherBlog was a huge football fan, but only the NFL. TB doesn't remember talking too much college football with her, though she did root for Georgia by the end of her life, after she'd moved from D.C. to Atlanta.

As such, TigerBlog roots for Georgia too, even if the Bulldogs always let him down.

In fact, if TigerBlog had to give you the three college football teams he roots for the most, it would be Georgia, Sacred Heart and Princeton.

TB is pretty sure you already know this, but Sacred Heart blew out 24th-ranked Stony Brook Saturday night, improving to 4-0 on the season. And that was on the road.

As for Princeton, the Tigers are 1-1, with a win over Lafayette and a loss to Lehigh.

Up next for the Tigers is Columbia, in the Ivy League opener. That game is in New York City this Saturday and kicks off at noon, on Fox College Sports and Fox Sports Go.

Columbia is 0-2 on the year, with losses to St. Francis (Pa.) and Georgetown.

There have been 53 total points scored in Columbia's first two games. Princeton's first two games have seen an average of 68.

Columbia's first two games have seen an average of 588 yards per game. Princeton's first two games have seen an average of 919.5 yards per game.

What does it mean? Princeton's games have been pretty wide open. Columbia's have been tight defensive struggles.

It's only two games, so it's hard to say that these are definitive patterns. Still, it is 20 percent of the season already.

The biggest place this yardage difference can be seen is in passing yardage. Princeton has allowed 410 yards through the air per game through two games; Columbia has thrown for 254 yards in its two games combined.

Again, a performance like the one that Lehigh quarterback Nick Shafnisky had on Saturday skews the numbers so early in a season. Still, it's certainly an intriguing matchup, a team that doesn't throw much against a team that has struggled to stop its first two opponents in the air. 

The most interesting Princeton stats through two weeks to TigerBlog involve touchdowns.

First, Princeton has scored eight touchdowns, and all eight have come on the ground. Second, Princeton is one of two teams in Division I (FBS or FCS) to have scored a touchdown on every trip into the red zone.

Princeton has made seven red zone trips and scored seven touchdowns (he's not 100% how exactly a red zone trip is defined). The only other team in Division I to do so is Delaware State, who has scored two touchdowns on two red zone trips.

The Columbia game is the only Ivy game in the first four weeks of the season for the Tigers, who are at Georgetown next week. The first goal of every season is to be 1-0 in the Ivy League. That would set up the back-to-back home games against Brown (Oct. 15) and Harvard (Oct. 22) nicely. 

Anyway, FatherBlog turned 81 yesterday. What did he do to celebrate? He went to work. That's what he does.

It dawned on TB that BrotherBlog is actually older now than MotherBlog was when she died. That's a hard concept to consider.

It's not worth contemplating why some people die young and others are still going to work in their 80s. It's just how it works.

All you can do is think about the people who aren't here anymore and remember them as they were. Some days, like the last two for TigerBlog, it's so easy to do that.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Godspeed, You Handsome Devil

“This is not some apron-wearing mother you're speaking with - I know all about your Valhalla of decadence and I shouldn't have let him go. He's not ready for your world of compromised values and diminished brain cells that you throw away like confetti. Am I speaking to you clearly? If you break his spirit, harm him in any way, keep him from his chosen profession, which is law - something you may not value, but I do - you will meet the voice on the other end of this telephone and it will not be pretty. Do we understand each other? I didn't ask for this role, but I'll play it. Now go do your best. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Goethe said that. It's not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell.” - Frances McDormand to Billy Crudup in "Almost Famous"

Suzanne Zywicki is the second of five sisters.

In order, it's Ellen, Suzanne, Carol and then the identical twins, Nancy and Patty. They grew up in the house next door to TigerBlog, back in Manalapan.

Suzanne is a year older than TigerBlog. She went from Manalapan to Princeton, where she was a high jumper for Peter Farrell on the women's track and field team.

TigerBlog hadn't seen Suzanne in decades before Saturday night, when she was one of several hundred people who turned out to honor Farrell, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 academic year after 39 years - 117 seasons - coaching Princeton in women's cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.

Suzanne and TigerBlog weren't the only two Manalapan High School alums at the event. Robby Andrews, the volunteer assistant men's cross country coach at Princeton, was also there for Peter.

Robby, of course, ran the 1,500 in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and he was the subject - victim? - of a questionable call that DQd him after the semifinal round. Had he reached the final, he would have had a real shot at a medal.

Suzanne wanted to meet Robby, so TigerBlog introduced them. They talked about where they lived in Manalapan - Robby grew up on the other side of Route 9 - and track and field, especially the Millrose Games.

This was all during the cocktail hour portion of the evening. 

TigerBlog recognized Suzanne immediately, even after all these years. He also recognized many of the other faces of the alums during his time here, even if he couldn't come up with most of the names that matched. It was like all of the old media guides had come to life, with all of the head shots in them suddenly walking, talking and reminiscing.

There were also colleagues - current and former - and friends and relatives. Even Hank Towns, the former equipment manager, was there.

They came from everywhere and anywhere, from the 1970s through the current athletes. They drove in. They flew in. They came from this country and other countries.

Heck, they even came from before Peter ever coached at Princeton, back to when he coached at Christ the King High School in Queens, before he came to Princeton as its first full-time women's track and field coach.

Why were they there? Because they love the guy, that's why. 

By now, Peter's resume is familiar to you. He and men's coach Fred Samara started at Princeton on the same day, Sept. 1, 1977. When the women’s cross country team won the Heptagonal championship a year ago, it gave Peter 27 Heps championships. In his time at Princeton, there were 117 Heps championships won in women’s cross country and track and field, and Peter Farrell’s teams won more than 20 percent of them.

Peter also coached 55 All-Americas and 182 Ivy League champions. He led the program to the Ivy League Triple Crown - winning all three Heps championships in one academic year - in both 1980-81 and 2010-11 and is the only Ivy women's coach ever to achieve this feat even once.

He always was so much more than as a coach, though. TigerBlog has known him for more than a quarter-century, and he has seen first-hand the dynamic that existed between him and many of the athletes in the room last night.

They respect him. They are humored by him. They were challenged by him.

They love him.

And that's why they were there.

It was a night of a reunions, and different from Reunions in that it wasn't primarily major years represented. Instead, as Peter said, there were former freshmen back with their captains.

There was a video. There were speeches, of course. One athlete from each decade. Two longtime former rival coaches, Mark Young of Yale and Lou Duesing of Cornell. It became something of a roast.

Sue Shea O'Connell spoke too. She is a Villanova grad, Class of 1982. And Christ the King, Class of 1978, where her coach was a young Peter Farrell. And why did she and so many of her high school teammates decide to run track in the first place?

"Because," she said, "Peter was soooooooo hot."

At one point, TigerBlog began to wonder why Peter started coaching women in the first place, and the answer was actually given to him a few seconds later by one of the speakers. It was to see if women could have the same experience from the sport that Peter and his brothers did. TigerBlog never thought of that.

Then it was Peter's turn to speak.

TigerBlog was all the way in the back of a packed room, but Peter's 30-minute talk wasn't much different than all the other ones TB has heard him give when it was just the two of them in TB's office for all these years.

Peter is the kind of person you can listen to talk for a long time, because what he's saying is so profound and how he's saying it is so entertaining. He didn't disappoint Saturday night.

He started out by saying that he had lost his notes, or someone had taken them, but it didn't matter, because every word on those notes had already been said over and over. So then, he said, he would rehash what had been said, only this time from the coach's perspective.

And so he did, asking different groups to stand up. He recognized basically everyone all over again, commenting on them from his point of view. He mentioned the pioneers of women's track and field at Princeton. He mentioned the first recruited athletes - classes that included Suzanne Zywicki. He talked about the modern era. He talked about the next generation of Princeton women's track and field coaches - Michelle Eisenreich, Brad Hunt and Reuben Jones - and the support that he knows they can count on from those in the room going forward.

More than anything else, he talked about his family, his two daughters, Virginia, who graduated from Princeton in 2013, and Susan, who is a senior now. Have you picked a thesis topic yet, Peter asked her. He said that they were good kids, the kind who never embarrassed him, even if he constantly embarrassed them.

And then there's his wife Shane, who also recently retired from Princeton. You're going to have a great retirement, Peter promised her.

Lastly, he said that for him, it wasn't about all the winning - which is something you can say when you've won as much as he has. It was about helping his athletes, either to get into Princeton, or to get through Princeton, or to give them something - the track and field program - to help them on a daily basis with the rigors of Princeton. If he'd done that, he said, then he was happy.

Of course he did that. For 39 years.

An emotional Peter ended his speech with these words: "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."

A funny Sue Shea O'Connell ended her part by saying "Godspeed, you handsome devil." That was pretty good.


He's going to end where he started today, in the movie "Almost Famous." TigerBlog and Peter have talked about that movie as much as they have any other, and the quote TB started with today is Peter's favorite.

TigerBlog has heard Peter recite it a bunch of times. Peter says it better than Frances McDormand, and she was nominated for an Academy Award for the movie.

Whenever TigerBlog thinks of Peter Farrell, he'll think of those words.

That's Peter in a nutshell. Don't try to BS me, he's saying. Be a person of substance.

Now go do your best. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

For 39 years, he was the mighty force, coming to the aid of the hundreds who were there for him Saturday night.

When Peter was finished, TigerBlog turned and walked out the door on the far side. He never said goodbye to Peter; the line would be way too long.

At some point soon, Peter will come by. He'll talk about the next great movie he wants TB to see, or the next great live performance he heard on E Street Radio.

He'll do what he always does, which is to start to say something funny, walk away, pause, and throw the punchline out there. By the time it reaches TB, Peter will be around the corner and on his way.

Gone, in the moment, but never to be forgotten. Not by TigerBlog. Not by Princeton.

And definitely not by all of the women who were there for his big night, all of the women who were so proud to call him their coach - just as TigerBlog is proud to call him his friend.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Luis Gets His Dream Ticket, And Football At Lehigh

Floyd Phox Video Can Be Seen Here.

As you know, TigerBlog's old car just went over 200,000 miles.

When you have a car with that many miles, some things will invariably no longer be working. In the case of that car, it's the radio.

With the odometer now past 200,000, TigerBlog is back to driving his "new" car, the one with 78,000 miles on it. At least it has a working radio though.

When TB turned the car on yesterday, he heard the group Player singing "Baby come back. Any kind of fool could see. There was something, in everything about you."

You know the song. TigerBlog has heard about a million times, probably beginning in 1977, when the song hit No. 1 on the charts.

In all the time TB has heard that song, it never dawned on him to wonder how it turned out. Clearly someone in the band wrote it for someone specific.

Did she come back to him? TigerBlog would like to think that if someone went to that much trouble to apologize and beg for another chance that she would have been swept away by the gesture. But maybe not.

You know the song "Roseanna," by the group Toto? It's about Roseanna Arquette, who was dating one of the band members at the time. TigerBlog once saw her on one of the late-night shows, and she basically said that she hates the song and can't stand to ever hear it.

Still, TigerBlog is going on the assumption that it worked out for the guy in Player. Love conquers all and such. TigerBlog is a romantic.

As for music in general, the big story in Princeton Athletics this week is that water polo coach Luis Nicolao has gotten one of the 300 tickets available to meet Bruce Springsteen in Philadelphia next week. TigerBlog is fairly sure that there exists no amount of money in the world for which Luis would sell that ticket.

TigerBlog hasn't seen someone this excited about anything in a long time. Luis, who has said he will be bringing some Princeton water polo gear for the Boss, is downright giddy. Hopefully he doesn't just wear a Speedo, which he has done to some more formal Princeton events.

Ah, but what if Springsteen is having a bad day and Luis is near the back of the line? What if Springsteen is a jerk to Luis? Or worse, what if he bails midway through and Luis never gets to see him?

TigerBlog would like to think that Springsteen is a good guy who remembers where he came from and appreciates his fans. Ah, but what if? TigerBlog can't imagine how crushed Luis will be.

It reminds TigerBlog of the Mario Soto story, from when he was a vendor at Philadelphia Phillies games in the early 1980s. He's written this before:
Mario Soto was the Cincinnati Reds' ace and the favorite player of Evan Weiss, then a vendor who used to drive TigerBlog from West Philadelphia to the stadium every day in his VW and today a doctor in Philadelphia. All season, Weiss waited for the Reds to arrive so he could get Soto's autograph, and then finally the day was there. Weiss waited for Soto to get off the bus and went up to him and asked for his autograph, only to have Soto walk by without stopping. Talk about being crushed.

Oh, and in other Luis news, he's closing in on 800 total wins as Princeton's water polo coach, between the men's and women's teams. He won't get there this weekend, when his men's team is in California.

A little closer to home, but not exactly at home, the Princeton football team - which has more than 800 wins - plays its second game of the season.

Princeton will be at Goodman Stadium at Lehigh to take on the Mountain Hawks, with kickoff tomorrow at 12:30. You can see the game on the Patriot League Network stream or hear it on WPRB FM 103.3.

Princeton is 1-0 after a 35-31 win over Lafayette a week ago. The Tigers defeated Lehigh 52-26 a year ago at Princeton.

Lehigh is 1-2 after three games. The first two were losses in which Lehigh scored 21 each time, falling to Monmouth and Villanova. The win a week ago saw Lehigh score more than it had in the first two games combined in a 49-28 win over Penn.

The football adage is that teams makes their greatest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. Lehigh seems to have made a big jump from Week 2 to Week 3, which would be fine with Princeton, who opens the Ivy schedule next week at Columbia.

The game tomorrow is the first of three straight away games for Princeton, who is at Georgetown on Oct. 8.

Anyway, the game tomorrow will be a great test. But before kickoff, if you view nothing else at all this week on, make sure you see the Floyd Phox video on that TB's colleague John Bullis produced. The link is at the top of the page.

Okay, if you're too lazy to go back to the top, you can see it HERE too.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sunset, Sunrise

TigerBlog was at Drexel Tuesday night for the men's soccer game.

Drexel plays soccer on Vidas Field, which is about 10 blocks west of the main part of the campus. Drexel's campus, of course, touches Penn's campus in the University City section of West Philadelphia.

If you're sitting in the stands at Vidas Field, you'll see the field, the benches and a small press box as you look out. Beyond that stand two tall apartment buildings.

As the game Tuesday night started, the sun was setting, and some forces of the universe combined to turn the sky all kinds of incredible colors as it reached those two buildings.

TigerBlog took a picture and put it on Twitter and Instagram, only to find that a few minutes later, the sky was even more picturesque. So TigerBlog took another picture and posted that one.

When he checked yesterday morning, he had nearly 200 likes on the sky pictures. Actually, as he thinks about it, he wouldn't mind going back to that moment and staring up at that sky again. There was something very intoxicating about it.

Anyway, it was complete darkness at Vidas by the time Princeton's Henry Martin scored with 4:45 to go in the half. Nicholas Badalamenti scored in the second half, and Princeton had itself a 2-0 win.

Princeton has now won three straight after dropping its first two. Princeton has also shut out Drexel six straight times and now has held the Dragons scoreless for 568:08.

Princeton now has no player on the year with more than two goals but six who have at least one. That's pretty good balance.

Next up for the Tigers is Fairleigh Dickinson, Saturday night at 7 on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. The Ivy League opener is still a week away in men's soccer.

This weekend, though, marks the start of the Ivy League season for three teams, all of whom are the defending Ivy champ.

The field hockey team plays Dartmouth Saturday at noon on Bedford Field. Princeton isn't just the defending Ivy League field hockey champ; the Tigers have owned Ivy League field hockey for more than two decades.

In fact, Princeton has won 11 straight Ivy League championships and 21 of the last 22. The only blemish in that run was in 2004, when it took a Penn goal on a penalty corner after time had expired (penalty corners are played out even if the clock reaches 0:00 in field hockey, unlike corner kicks in soccer) to keep Princeton from that championship as well.

Princeton has played a brutal schedule to date this season. Of its six games, five have been against teams ranked in the top 14 at the time they played the Tigers, who are 3-3.

The field hockey team is the only one of the three defending champions to open the league season at home.

The women's volleyball team will be at the Palestra Saturday night to take on Penn. If you remember women's volleyball from a year ago, Princeton went 3-4 the first time through the league (including an 0-3 start) and then 7-0 the second time through to tie Harvard for the Ivy title. It was one of the great comebacks any Ivy team has ever had, from 0-3 to a share of the championship.

Princeton is off to a 6-3 start this season. So far this year, Princeton has had two different players - Devon Peterkin and Maggie O'Connell - win Ivy League Rookie of the Week, including most recently O'Connell, after earning MVP honors at the tournament at Rutgers that saw Princeton defeat Seattle, Rutgers and Seton Hall.

Oh, and if Peterkin's name is familiar, it should be. Her older sister Kendall graduated from Princeton a year ago after being a three-time first-team All-Ivy League selection.

The final team to start its Ivy season this weekend is the women's soccer team, who opens at Yale Saturday. That game starts at 4.

Princeton went 6-0-1 in the Ivy League a year ago. The 2016 Tigers are off to a 7-1 start, with the loss to No. 2 West Virginia.

The initial RPI rankings for the year were announced this week, and Princeton came in at No. 34. The next best Ivy team? Brown at 88.

Don't get fooled by those numbers though. Of the eight Ivy League teams, six are above .500 and five are above .700 to date. Yale is 4-3-2 heading into the league season.

Playing at home in this series has been no guarantee of success. Princeton defeated Yale 3-0 a year ago at home; the visiting team had won seven straight before that.

It'll be the first three Ivy League openers for Princeton for this academic year.

Sunrise on the Ivy League schedule, as it were, after a gorgeous sunset at Drexel.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Feeling Good, Feeling Old

TigerBlog feels pretty good these days.

He knows this is important to you. After all those years of playing lunchtime basketball or squash or working out in the weight room, he's taken his exercise outside these days, on the bike. He's thinking he could keep doing that except for the coldest and snowiest winter months. Then it'll have to be back inside.

He's figured out that he needs a better bike. That's for sure.

He also needs another car. This one is tricky. Miss TigerBlog will be getting her license in February (if she passes her test, which TB senses she will). TigerBlog Jr. already claims the car that just went over 200,000 miles and wants to take it to school.

TigerBlog can't envision the massive fighting that would take place between his two kids over one car. It would be like the Wii all over again. All these years later and TB still cringes at those memories.

Having a child in college and another who will be there soon doesn't make TB feel old. Having one kid who drives and another about to get her license doesn't make him feel old either.

Like he said before, he feels pretty good. Not old at all.

You know when he'll feel old?

He's said it for a long time. He'll feel old when there's a Princeton athlete whose mother or father competed here when TB was already here.

So far, it hasn't happened. At least not that he knows.

TigerBlog first started covering Princeton Athletics in 1989. The athletes from that time are slightly younger than TB, so they probably have kids about to reach college.

What will it be like when a men's lacrosse player is the son of a former player? TB isn't sure he's ready for that. There might not be enough miles on the towpath for him to ride his bike to make him feel young after that.

All of this brings TB to Patrick McCarthy.

TB's earliest memory of Patrick McCarthy is from the 1997 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Wake Forest. Patrick's father is Tom McCarthy, who back then was the radio play-by-play man for Princeton basketball and football and who today does the Philadelphia Phillies on TV, as well as the NFL and the NCAA basketball tournament.

So yeah, Tom has made it big.

Back in 1997, Tom and his wife Meg were in Winston-Salem with their only child, Patrick. TB's biggest memory of Patrick from the trip was when Meg was trying to get him to eat french toast at breakfast and calling him "angel" every time he did.

Today, Tom and Meg have three other kids. Patrick has grown into a rather large angel, a 6-5, 220-pound angel, if his height and weight off of the baseball roster of the College of New Jersey is to be believed.

Patrick is a right-handed submarine pitcher for the Lions. He's also a communications studies major, and he, like his father, has an eye on being a broadcaster.

And there was Patrick on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium Saturday night, making his Princeton radio debut. He was the sideline reporter (including a halftime interview with Ashleigh Johnson), with Dave Giancola as the color commentator and Cody Chrusciel as the play-by-play man.

Cody is actually one of Princeton's two multimedia and video people, along with John Bullis. Cody is also a natural radio man, something that was obvious on his job interview, when TB first heard his voice.

Cody did play-by-play for men's lacrosse this past spring and a few other events. He's the new football man.

Come men's basketball season, the plan is to have Princeton's established - and very, very well-liked - team of Derek Jones and Noah Savage do the away games on radio and the home games on the ILDN alone. For those home games that Derek and Noah are on the videostream, there will be a separate radio broadcast.

And a new radio play-by-play man. And who is it? Patrick McCarthy.

Tom sent TB a video of Patrick's play-by-play work on TCNJ athletics, and TB was impressed. Like really impressed. And he figured having Patrick do a handful of games here would be a great starting point.

TigerBlog did a ton of games with Tom when he was here. Come this season, he'll probably do those games with Patrick.

Even if it will make him feel really old.

After the game the other day, TB asked Cody how Patrick did. Cody gave him high marks.

TB then ran into Patrick on the way out.

What did he say to him? Stick with him, kid.

Look what he did for your father.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tigress Athletics

The Olympic video hadn't stopped playing on the board, and TigerBlog hadn't read one word yet of his script over the PA system.

Already, though, the crowd was cheering wildly for the woman at midfield.

Ashleigh Johnson is back at Princeton after a summer in which she led the United States to a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in women's water polo. And there she was Saturday night, at halftime of the football game against Lafayette, being honored on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.

First there was a video tribute to all 13 of Princeton's Olympians, including bronze medalist Diana Matheson (women's soccer) and silver medalist Gevvie Stone (rowing). When it ended, TigerBlog had a few sentences to read about Johnson, though he's pretty sure that not a single word of it was necessary, since everyone in attendance seemed to already know who she was and what she had done.

This spring, when Johnson again takes to DeNunzio Pool to play with the Princeton women's water polo team, she will become only the second athlete in school history to win and Olympic gold medal and then return to school to compete as a Tiger.

The first? Bill Bradley, who won men's basketball gold in Tokyo in 1964. Maybe it's fitting that they are the two who share that accomplishment, because it's very likely that they are the greatest male and greatest female athletes in Princeton history.

As halftime continued Saturday night, Johnson posed for pictures and signed autographs. Lots and lots of them. TB has no idea how many people got their picture taken with her, but he does know that she didn't say no to anyone.

Yeah, she's a very, very special one.

And TB's statement about the best athletes in Princeton history? On the men's side, there's Bradley, Dick Kazmaier and Hobey Baker.

The women's side has always been much more wide open.

Women's athletics at Princeton date back less than 50 years, as opposed to more than 150 for men's athletics, but Princeton's women athletes have more than made up for the lost time. Princeton has an incredible record across the board in women's athletics, including a ridiculous 10 Ivy League championships by women's teams alone in 2015-16. That's the first time, by the way, that a school has been in double figures in Ivy titles in a single gender in one academic year.

Ashleigh Johnson is the most recent Princeton woman to win an Olympic medal. Do you know who the first was?

Her name is Carol Brown, and she won a bronze medal in rowing in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

Brown was part of a symposium last week at the Chicago Princeton Club entitled "Tigress Athletics: Princeton, Olympics and Beyond."

The moderator of the event was University of Chicago Director of Athletics Erin McDermott, who spent more than a decade on the staff here at Princeton and who during that time became an extraordinarily well-respected person on this campus. As an undergraduate, McDermott played basketball at Hofstra.

Erin was joined on the panel by Brown and more recent Tigers Meg Bowen and Cheryl Stevens from the basketball program and Jen Hoy from the soccer program.

The evening focused on the incredible success of Princeton's women's teams, with a particular focus on the success of the women athletes beyond Princeton, either in the Olympics (where there have been 34) or professionally (where there have been 16).

There was more to the conversation than just that, though. There were really good questions raised about the kinds of women's athletes who attend Princeton and how does Princeton turn out such high quality teams year after year.

Brown, a 1975 grad and one of the pioneers of women's athletics, talked about how prior to Title IX, the law in Illinois banned girls from playing high school sports. And how when she got to Princeton, women weren't permitted in the weight room.

It's nothing that the other three Princeton athletes could possibly relate to, given their experience here four decades later. Stevens was on the first women's basketball team that went to the NCAA, which means she was part of a program that went from 7-23 to 26-3.

Bowen? She was on teams that played in four NCAA tournaments in four years. Hoy? She played in the NCAA tournament and was the Ivy League Player of the Year.

The weight room? Yeah, they were all allowed in. Actually their attendance there was mandatory.

Practice facilities? Athletic training? Uniforms? Travel? Publicity? There was never even the remotest thought by anyone who works here that these are things that should be reserved only for the men.

Events like the one last week are important in many ways, not the least of which is to serve as a reminder that it wasn't always that way. It took a lot of effort from a lot of people to make it so, and TB has incredible respect for the early women athletes of Princeton, who laid the groundwork for what exists today.

Carol Brown brought her bronze medal with her to the event. Ashleigh Johnson wore her gold medal on the field Saturday night.

Without one, there never would have been the other.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Opening With A Win

The captains came out first. The team bounced in the tunnel, straining to get out on the field and finally kick of the 2016 football season.

The head coach? Well, he walked out after his captains but before the rest of his team. He didn't bounce or bound or anything like that, though he did stop to high-five a few of the band members, who stood in formation just outside the tunnel to welcome the players from the locker room.

Or maybe he just was excusing himself for having to get through their line. That's how Bob Surace is.

And with that, another season of Princeton football was ready to begin.

Princeton opened its season with a 35-31 win over Lafayette Saturday night on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. Before TigerBlog says anything else about the game, he will say that the stadium continues to look great for night games.

It's always good to win the opener, especially when you're playing a team that is playing its third game. The big question, though, is what does the opener tell you about the rest of the year. TB will get back to that.

When TigerBlog first started covering Princeton football, the season-opener meant an Ivy League game, either Dartmouth or Cornell. In an effort to keep Princeton and Penn from having to go to Hanover and Ithaca in November, the teams alternated year-by-year, opening at either Dartmouth or Cornell and then ending the season at home against the other.

Actually, from 1954 through 1975, the first game of every Princeton football season was against Rutgers. The Dartmouth/Cornell thing lasted from then until 1990, when Princeton simply started opening the year against Cornell and finishing it against Dartmouth.

It was in 1991 that Princeton finally played at Dartmouth to end the season. The weather that day? Cloudy, some rain, temperature in the 50s.

By 2000, the idea of opening the season with an Ivy League game vanished. Since then, the first game has almost always been against either Lafayette or Lehigh.

It's probably the best way to do it. You don't want to be 0-1 in the league three hours into the season and then have to climb out the whole way.

For TigerBlog, the 2016 season is his 12th as the public address announcer for Princeton football. This time, the PA booth has an addition - a guy named Jordan, whose job it is to play music.

In the past, it's almost always been just TB, without a spotter. He'd look at the play, figure out who carried it, who made the tackle and announce it - and hope he got the numbers right. With Jordan there to do the music, he was also able to help TB with identifying numbers.

Of course, there's a lot of down time, which leads to plenty of time to talk.

Among other topics of conversation, Jordan asked TB if Triumph is a good place to eat, and TB replied in the affirmative, suggesting it is his favorite place in Princeton for lunch. Oh, and Jordan will be going with his wife to Australia soon.

What else? The best subject had to do with Lafayette wide receiver Rocco Palumbo. The question was this: If Jordan was going to write a movie with a main character named Rocco Palumbo, would he be a good guy or a bad guy and what would his profession be? Jordan said "good guy, probably detective." TB agreed, but said maybe one of those financial geniuses who figures out the bad guy's evil plot.

So yeah, that's what goes on in the PA booth.

As for the game and where Princeton is after Week 1?

There were a lot of positives. First and foremost, there was the win. Princeton has now won back-to-back openers, the first time it has done so since 2005 and 2006. Between then and last year? Princeton was 0-8 in openers.

And Princeton had to come from behind to do so. Lafayette had three leads in the game (14-7 21-14, 24-21), and Princeton erased all of them. When you're in Week 1 and the other team is in Week 3, that's not always easy to do, especially on a warm night.

Among Princeton's standouts were Joe Rhattigan, who had a career-high 137 yards rushing while scoring three touchdowns. Rhattigan was incredibly consistent, with a long run of 23 yards. He also paired well with Charlie Volker, the Ivy League sprint champion, who carried eight times for 38 yards (Volker will break a long one at some point this year).

Princeton rushed for 182 yards and five touchdowns, with three from Rhattigan and two from John Lovett. If you're looking for a player who's just fun to watch, it's Lovett, the first-team All-Ivy League selection a year ago who does a little of everything.

His line against Lafayette? How about: nine carries, 26 yards, two touchdowns rushing; four receptions for 23 yards; 1 for 3 passing. Whatever Princeton needs, Lovett can do.

Chad Kanoff made some excellent throws. Isiah Barnes caught five passes for 102 yards. And Princeton had great balance, with those 182 rushing yards joined by 178 passing yards.

Defensively, Rohan Hylton put up 11 tackles on the night he was on the cover of the game program, second-best on the team behind Luke Catarius. There were eight players who had at least five tackles, though, as Princeton showed great depth on defense.

Added up, it came to 35-31, and a record of 1-0. And then a really good fireworks show.

The Ivy League went 5-3 in its first week of non-league games. Are there any big takeaways? Not really. There's no way to tell what will come next.

Princeton is at Lehigh Saturday (12:30 kickoff). Lehigh topped Penn 49-28 Saturday night. TigerBlog would say that comparative scores in the first two weeks won't mean much either.

For now, it's about figuring out what's what, where improvement is needed, what is looking good.

The next nine weeks will sort themselves out. The goals? Win the Ivy opener and play meaningful games as deep into November as possible.

Week 1? It won't matter much at that point.

But, hey, it went pretty well for the Tigers.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pigskin And Bones

As game shows go, TigerBlog's favorite is "Jeopardy."

When he was a kid, he liked a show called "Split Second," though honestly he can't remember much about it, other than it required contestants to answer a series of trivia questions in a short time. Like a split second, TB supposes.

TB doesn't really spend much time watching game shows. There are some that are funny. There are some that are pure luck. He prefers the ones, like "Jeopardy," that require thought.

And "Split Second," actually.

He couldn't remember the rules of the game, so he looked it up online and actually found videos of the game on YouTube. It's not exactly high tech stuff.

It is, though, a fast-paced game and does require some general knowledge. TigerBlog does remember the part at the end, where the winner chose the key to one of five cars on the stage, and if it started, then the winner got to keep it. If not, then the champion came back the next day, and if that same person won again, this time there'd only be four keys left to choose.

When TB watched the video yesterday, he noticed that the brand-new shiny cars on stage where 1975 cars. His first was a 1977 Dodge Diplomat.

TigerBlog also liked "Password," even more so because of the hilarious episode of "The Odd Couple" where Oscar and Felix are on the show. If you're a fan, you know what Felix said after Oscar sneered "Aristophanes" as a clue. The answer? "Ridiculous."

Another game show that was okay for TB was the "$100,000 Pyramid," which he's pretty sure started as the "$10,000 Pyramid."

TB once heard a pretty good stand-up bit from Robert Klein, who said he had just been on the "Pyramid" and was having trouble adjusting after taping so many shows in a week. "I walked into the restaurant and they asked me 'table for how many,' and I said 'things the Maitre D' would say.' "

There has been a remake of the "$100,000 Pyramid" this summer, hosted by Michael Strahan. And who should show up as a contestant this week but Sean Gregory, a former Princeton men's basketball player in the great men's basketball Class of 1998 (which included current head coach Mitch Henderson).

TB didn't watch. He would have if he knew the man they called "Bones" as an undergrad would be on it. "Bones" is one of TB's all-time favorites from Princeton Athletics, and he was the source of a pretty funny conversation between Pete Carril and Trenton Times sportswriter Mark Eckel in 1996, when another player was out:
Mark: What are you going to do for those minutes?
Carril: Not sure. May use a couple of guys. May use Bones.
Mark: What's Bones?

Anyway, Bones is now a very successful writer for Time Magazine (his Olympics stuff is always great), so TB thinks he should have been the celebrity and not the contestant. At what point do you become the celebrity anyway? Who decides?

As it turned out, Bones won $50,000. And wrote about it. You can read it HERE. It's definitely worth reading.

So that's basketball. It'll be here soon enough.

What's here tomorrow is the opening day for Princeton football.

TigerBlog was walking on the driveway between the football stadium and the practice fields a few days ago when he heard a player yell "Game Week." Tomorrow is Game Day, as Princeton hosts Lafayette at 5.

The day begins with Community and Staff Day at 3:30 and ends with fireworks after the game ends. There's information about it HERE.

TB has said this before, but he would suggest moving opening day of Ivy League football up a week and then having all eight schools have an off week in Week 6. At this point, each team will have played three non-league games and two league games, have a week off and then finish with five straight league games.

As it is, Ivy League football is 10-week sprint, with a season that starts a little later than it does basically anywhere else.

TigerBlog remembers going to visit BrotherBlog at Penn when TB was still in high school and seeing not the football game but the visiting team (Dartmouth) at a postgame tailgate. That was his introduction to Ivy League football.

He went to many games as a Penn undergrad at Franklin Field, and his first college class (you should know what it was if you've been paying attention) and last college final exam were both in rooms that faced the stadium (from opposite sides).

The first time he was at Palmer Stadium was for a Princeton-Penn game as a student broadcaster. It was the first of many games he'd see in the old horseshoe stadium, into which he could look from his desk when he first started working here.

The days before the first home game at Palmer Stadium were always busy for TB and the rest of the Office of Athletic Communications in the 1990s, before the stadium was torn down in 1997. Among other tasks, the OAC staff had to carry a copy machine up to the press box through the stands (no elevator existed) and then bring it down at the end of the year.

Powers Field at Princeton Stadium continues to be a great place to see a football game. TigerBlog has seen almost every game played there since the stadium opened in 1998, and he has been the PA announcer since 2005.

He'll be in the PA booth again tomorrow for the game against Lafayette.

For everything else that is great about Ivy League athletics, there's nothing that draws people to campuses like a football game. It's an event as much as a game.

TigerBlog loves the feel of the stadium before the game starts, with all of the activity that goes on around the game itself.

He's ready for kickoff tomorrow night. And that's what he wanted to say today.

Sean Gregory and football.

Or, as his title said, pigskin and Bones.

That's not too bad.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Barlow 3, Inverso 1

Charlie Inverso inherited a Rider men's soccer team that went 2-15-1 the year before he got here.

Now in his fifth year, he's already taken them to one NCAA tournament and into the national rankings. This was after he won five national junior college championships and had a 434-46-14 record as the head coach at Mercer County Community College.

It was during his time with the Vikings when TigerBlog first met Inverso. Every now and then when TigerBlog was working at the newspaper, he covered MCCC events, usually either men's basketball or men's soccer.

Mercer County Community College connects with Mercer County Park in a huge, spacious, in some ways beautiful piece of land in West Windsor, about 15 minutes from the Princeton campus. The park includes a rowing center that has been the home for NCAA championships and U.S. national teams, as well as walking/biking paths, a ton of baseball and soccer fields, an ice rink and tennis courts.

If you walk through the park, eventually you end up at the college. For a junior college, it has great facilities.

One of TB's all-time favorite stories from his newspaper days involves covering a men's basketball game at Mercer. During a particularly heated game, the Mercer coach (an excitable type, and not Howard Levy), argued a call, stormed down the end of the bench, kicked open the door - and found himself locked outside when it closed behind him.

This was while the game was going on. Mercer kept playing. Eventually the coach, who had to run around the side of the building, past the tennis courts, over to the front door and then back into the gym, came flying around the corner and back to the bench, just in time to get T'd up by the ref. It was the only time TB can remember a ref laughing as he issued a technical foul.

Anyway, TB would cover a few games there a year. And in soccer. From the first time TB covered Inverso's teams, he could tell he was dealing with a special coach. And a personable one.

And, as it turned out, a talented one. TB wrote this about Inverso in 2010:
TB remembers being at a Rider men's basketball event that included the top sports-talk duo of all time, Mike and Mad Dog, back at their absolute peak in the early '90s. The night at Rider (it wasn't a game; it might have been a Midnight Madness type of thing) included a Mad Dog sound-alike contest, and Inverso stunned the whole crowd and the two radio big shots with his imitation of a conversation that the two would have had about how Judas betrayed Jesus (TB's people don't have a great working knowledge of this situation, but he has a basic understanding of what happened). Inverso, as the Mad Dog, went on and on about how appalled he was by Judas, and finally interrupted himself as Mike and said: "hey, Judas was a bad guy; what do you want?"

TigerBlog didn't realize until he read Inverso's bio on Rider's webpage yesterday that he had been an assistant coach at Princeton from 1980-85, which means he finished his career here under Bob Bradley and started it under the coach who preceded Bradley.

Jim Barlow, the current head coach, followed Bradley. The one who came before Bradley was Bill Muse, who coached here for 11 years and won more than 60 percent of his games.

Barlow, by the way, has won 156 games in his Princeton career, the most of any Princeton coach. His most recent win came against Inverso, with whom Barlow goes way back.

Princeton defeated Rider 3-1 Tuesday night. The game was scoreless for 60 minutes and then had four goals in a stretch of 22:04. Luckily for the Tigers, three of them were by Princeton, including the first two in the career of Greg Seifert, a senior defender.

For that matter, Princeton scored one goal in the first 240 minutes of the season and then had three in those 22 minutes (and four seconds).

And, for that matter, Princeton is now 0-2 against unranked teams and 1-0 against ranked teams. Rider, who had been 4-0-0, is ranked 22nd this week. It's a testament to the job that Charlie has done at the school, which is about eight miles from Princeton, in Lawrenceville.

Actually, now that TigerBlog thinks about it, Inverso is probably the only person with a connection to all five schools he used to cover in the newspaper business: coaching at Princeton, Mercer, Rider and Rutgers and graduating from the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College).

Next up for Princeton is Boston University, tomorrow at 5:30 on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium. Can't be there? It's on ESPNU.

BU isn't ranked, which might be a negative for Princeton.

The Tigers have three more games after that one before the Ivy League season starts. Only one is at home, but both are easily attendable, with games Tuesday at Drexel and Wednesday the 28th at Villanova. In between Princeton hosts FDU, on Saturday the 24th.

After that, it's Dartmouth at home on Saturday, Oct. 1.

As for Barlow, TB was talking to one of his colleagues, Andrew Borders, about how he actually covered Barlow as a high school player at Hightstown High School, which isn't far from Mercer County Community College and the park. Barlow's high school team was loaded.
Now Barlow is in Year 21 as Tiger head coach.

Princeton opened the season with losses to West Virginia and St. John's. The win over Rider is a really good sign that Princeton is now rounded into game shape and ready for the next set of challenges.

The next one is on national TV, tomorrow at 5:30.

A few members of the team filmed a funny video in advance of that game. You can see it HERE.

It's funny, right?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

School Is In Session

Today is the first day of classes at Princeton University.

Of TigerBlog's eight semesters at Penn, he can remember the very first class of only one of them, the very first one, not surprisingly. It was a political science class, in the University Museum building, which is across South Street from Franklin Field.

For that matter, TB can remember his entire first semester schedule - political science, economics, calculus and German.

As an aside, TigerBlog Jr. now has a politics class this semester. His class consists of him, one other male student, 20 female students and a female teacher.

TigerBlog's favorite classes at Penn were Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy, History of the American South, astronomy and a labor history class. His least favorite were a philosophy class, the second semester of econ and an introductory sociology class.

A few notes about the last paragraph:

* Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy was taught not on campus but at the American Philosophical Society, which was located on 5th Street, near Independence Mall. TigerBlog, his roommate Charlie (a Wharton student who was fulfilling a requirement) and the rest of the class used to have to make their way from campus to where the class was, and the group often walked the 30 or so blocks together when the weather cooperated

* History of the American South was a two-semester class taught by Drew Gilpin Faust, who is now the president of Harvard

* the astronomy class was just fun. It was TigerBlog's best-ever experience with learning for learning's sake

* the labor history class was taught by Walter Licht. TigerBlog would pay him back for the good grade he gave by giving him Princeton-Penn basketball tickets several decades later

* The reason he didn't like the other classes was as much a reflection on the professors as the subjects themselves

So that was TigerBlog's academic career in a nutshell.

TB went to Penn figuring he'd become a lawyer. BrotherBlog went there figuring he'd become an engineer.

So what happened? BrotherBlog is a lawyer. TigerBlog found a job in the newspaper business at the start of his junior year and never really looked back.

Every now and then, TB wonders what life as a lawyer would have been like for him. You know, after he graduated from Yale Law and clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and worked his way up to the Supreme Court himself.

But would he be happy?

Anyway, as TB said, today is Day 1 of classes at Princeton. Prior to that first day, Princeton's fall teams combined to have 35 different competitions.

Now that school has started, there are some really big ones in the very near future.

Let's see.

This Friday alone, Princeton will be at No. 2 West Virginia in women's soccer, No. 14 Virginia in field hockey and home against unranked Boston University in men's soccer. That game might not match ranked teams, but 1) Princeton will come in having just beaten a ranked team and 2) it will be televised on ESPNU.

Princeton is 6-0-0 in women's soccer, but that has not impressed the coaches who vote in the national poll. The Tigers are receiving votes, but not even that many of them.

West Virginia? The Mountaineers are 6-0-1, with three wins (Ohio State, Clemson, Duke) against Top 20 teams and the tie against another Top 20 team (Penn State, who also happens to be the defending NCAA champion).

West Virginia has allowed four goals in those seven games. Princeton's Tyler Lussi, the top scorer in program history, has seven by herself in six games, tying her for third in Division I in goals per game.

On the field hockey side, Princeton was ranked 16th last week and then beat the No. 12 (Albany) and No. 10 (Delaware) teams in the country to vault to No. 10.

Princeton is 3-1 on the season, with its only loss to No. 3 North Carolina. After the trip to Charlottesville, Princeton will be back on Bedford Field for a game against No. 7 Maryland.

You can't accuse Princeton of ducking anyone.

As for the men's soccer team, the Tigers defeated previously unbeaten Rider 3-1 last night in a game that was scoreless at the half. The Broncs came into the game ranked 22nd nationally and having allowed just one goal in four games.

The game against BU will be the second this year to be broadcast live on ESPNU, after the women's win over Villanova.

And of course, after those Friday events comes the opening kickoff for Princeton football season. The Tigers will host Lafayette at 5 Saturday, after Community and Staff Day and before the evening ends with fireworks.

Classes starting. Huge games. Perfect weather.

It's a pretty good week around here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Getting Oriented

Liz Colagiuri is Princeton's Deputy Dean of the College Faculty Athletics Rep.

TigerBlog, who has never met her, did know that. What he didn't know was that she had done ROTC in college (undergrad at Cornell) and that she spent five years on active duty in the U.S. Navy.

That impresses TigerBlog. He has incredible respect for anyone in the military.

He's always been amazed by the young men and women he sees at the service academies. They're giving up a lot of what most people would never dream of giving up for a college experience, and they're doing so because they wouldn't have it any other way.

TB would have benefited greatly from a time in the military when he was a kid. He knew it at the time, even though he never considered attending an academy or doing ROTC or enlisting on his own.

FatherBlog was in the army in the 1950s, between Korea and Vietnam. His uncles - Larry in Korea and Herbie in World War II - were war veterans.

TB saw first hand from MotherBlog the toll that the military can take from her time with the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Many of the people that MB introduced to TB were in wheelchairs, and they were there from their time in Vietnam. Or from other incidents in the military, where life-changing injury - or worse - is a part of every day life.

TigerBlog heard Colagiuri speak yesterday for the first time and learned about her time in the Navy when her bio was read. So first and foremost, a thank you to her for her service.

Colagiuri was speaking at Freshman Athlete Orientation, an annual event that welcomes the incoming class to Princeton Athletics. If you've been reading TigerBlog for awhile, you know what TigerBlog thinks of that event.

Apparently, Colagiuri is basically on the same page as TB.

During her talk, she mentioned her hope that perhaps there was a future Rhodes Scholar in the audience. Certainly it's a possibility: Princeton Athletics most recently produced a Rhodes Scholar last year.

What does TB think at that meeting each year?

Who will win the von Kienbusch Award and the Roper Trophy? Come a little less than four years from now, there will be winners of those awards - and they were sitting in the room with TB yesterday.

Classes start tomorrow at Princeton, which means that orientation is ending. TigerBlog was not an athlete at Penn, and he can state definitely that he remembers nothing about orientation. For that matter, he cannot even remember attending orientation.

Again, TigerBlog can tell you that Princeton does a much better job than his alma mater in establishing from Day 1 the loyalty to the institution that will last forever. Trust TB. There is nothing close to it at Penn.

And, also in the interest of fairness, TB had a really good experience in his years at Penn. It's just not the same as Princeton.

Yesterday was a big day of meetings from TB. By his count, there were five of them.

One of them was new staff orientation. Again, it was a big day for getting oriented.

This meeting was for new athletic staff, in this case the new assistant coaches primarily. It's mostly a time to go over policies and procedures from the various offices in the department - including the business office, the event management staff, the PVC, compliance and of course athletic communications.

TB has spoken at a lot of new staff orientations. He always says the same things - be careful about public statements, use great caution on social media, get to know your OAC contact, wear the Nike gear, stuff like that.

He also ad-libbed a little piece in the beginning.

Princeton, he told the room, is a place that has had incredible athletic success. In the history of the Ivy League, Princeton has won nearly 25 percent of all championships won. In the last 20 years, that number is 30 percent.

Princeton won 14 Ivy titles last year, marking the third time that Princeton has done so. Princeton also won 15, the all-time record, and has reached double figures 23 times, compared to nine for Harvard and none for any other school. For that matter, Princeton won 10 Ivy titles last year by women's teams alone, marking the first time a school had reached double figures in one gender.

TB went on, talking about Princeton's Directors' Cup finishes and other measures of athletic success. TB knows it all by heart. The people who have been at Princeton already know it. The new people should know it.

They should know what kind of history their new employer has. And, TB said, it's the work of everyone together throughout the department that makes it happen.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success. TB cautioned the new coaches that the other schools in the league are not content to watch Princeton win year after year after year, and they are doing everything they can to change things.

Then he used the phrase he heard former Syracuse men's lacrosse coach Roy Simmons Jr. use basically every time he heard him speak: Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

TB is pretty sure it was Shakespeare, not Simmons, originally.

He should have used the line that he likes better - All glory is fleeting. TB isn't sure who said it first, but it's from the end of "Patton."

It's hard to say which is better, the end of "Patton" or the beginning of "Saturday Night Fever." You be the judge HERE and HERE. They're both great. It's a really, really tough choice.

Anyway, welcome to Princeton to the freshman athletes and the new coaches.

All glory may be fleeting, but it doesn't have to be fleeting any time soon.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fifteen Years Later

TigerBlog was standing directly behind the Myslik Field goal Friday night as Tyler Lussi sliced between a pair of Temple defenders and redirected a bouncing ball into the back of the net.

It was a goal-scorers goal if ever there was one. It's the kind of goal that a player like Lussi can score when 99% of the players who have ever played soccer cannot.

It was a great weekend for the Princeton women. They came home and beat Temple 3-0 Friday, as Lussi scored twice, making her only the fifth player in the history of Ivy League women's soccer to reach the 50-goal mark for a career.

Her second goal, by the way, gave her 113 points for her career, giving her the two biggest records in Princeton soccer history - career goals (now 50) and career points (now 115 after two assists yesterday against Monmouth).

Princeton won yesterday too, defeating Monmouth 2-1 on sophomore Mimi Asom's goal with two minutes to go in the second OT. Asom, like Lussi, is a natural born scorer, and her game-winner saw her stop, change feet and rip it home for the win.

For Asom, the game-winner gave her 15 for her career, leaving two questions: 1) can Lussi make a run at 68 goals, which is the Ivy record, and 2) can Asom make a run at whatever number Lussi finishes with?

Next up, Princeton, with a perfect 6-0-0 record, heads to Morgantown to take on West Virginia, ranked fourth nationally in a game Friday night. This should be a great one.

Women's soccer wasn't the only big winner this weekend. The field hockey team, for instance, won a pair of games at home against ranked teams, taking out No. 12 Albany 3-2 and No. 10 Delaware 4-2.

There were others. The men's water polo team, for instance, played four straight ranked opponents and went 2-2, and even an 18-9 loss to No. 1 UCLA came on a day when ESPNU televised again from DeNunzio Pool and showcased the Tiger program and campus.

Just as he did last Friday, though, TigerBlog doesn't want to dwell on Princeton Athletics today per se.

Last Friday, he wanted to write instead about the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert. You can read it HERE if you haven't already.

Today, he wants to write about something different. Something important.

The 15th anniversary of 9/11. 

With the exception of 2010, when 9/11 fell on a Saturday, TigerBlog has written about the events of that awful day every September 11 since 2009. This year, 9/11 fell on a Sunday, yesterday, and now today is 9/12.

And that's what TB wants to write about.

TigerBlog can remember every detail of Sept. 11, 2001.

Miss TigerBlog was still at daycare at a babysitter on Route 27, a little north of town. TigerBlog Jr. was in nursery school, at the U-League Nursery School, across the parking lot from Jadwin Gym.

TigerBlog's routine was to head up to the babysitter and drop off MTB and then come back to campus, taking TBJ to his first school. That Tuesday in 2001 was the most crystal clear perfect sunny morning ever.

When TB was leaving the nursery school, the woman administrator there remarked that she had just heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. How, TB wondered, could that be possible?

He assumed it was a small plane that got lost or disoriented, but how was this possible on such a clear day?

By the time he got to Jadwin, he'd started to figure it out. It seemed impossible. A commercial plane had flown into the World Trade Center?

The first person he saw in the building was John Mack, who hadn't yet heard the news. Back then, the only TV around was in Caldwell Field House, and for the rest of the day, everyone basically crowded in there to see the news.

Princeton was supposed to play Lafayette in football that coming weekend, and the football game program was due to the printer. At that moment, there had been no conversation about cancelling the game, and so the program had to be finished, even if nobody's heart was in it.

TB's two most vivid memories of 9/11 are these. First, it was when he went back to pick up the kids. They were innocents, playing on swings and running around outside, oblivious to the fact that their world had forever changed.

Even more so, though, TB remembers walking outside, down to the end of the driveway, somewhere long after dark. He stood there, alone, in total silence, and looked up at the night sky. He saw stars, lots of them, but no airplanes. They'd all been grounded.

As he looked up, he was struck by the total serenity and peacefulness of the moment - and the utter uncertainty of what was going to come next. It had to be like the night of Dec. 7, 1941, wondering if there was another wave of an attack imminent, wondering what would come next.

TB has never in his life had a moment like that at any other time, under any other circumstance.

Then there was the next day. In contrast to the events of 9/11, TB has very little memory of exactly what happened on 9/12 of that year.

He knows he went to work, because he knows there was a football media luncheon. Roger Hughes was the Princeton coach back then, and he and two players spoke about how the day had unfolded for them, including an attempt to get word from the many Princeton football players who worked at or near Ground Zero.

TigerBlog also caught up on the phone with former captain Dan Swingos, who was in the second tower when the planes hit. His story was harrowing.

There was also the news that John Schroeder, a member of the 1992 NCAA champion men's lacrosse team, was one of the 3,000 who was killed that day.

Other than that, TB doesn't remember much about that day.

Was he scared? Angry? Confused? Probably all of those.
The entire country was. More than any time of TB's life, the time following 9/11 was the most unifying moment this country has had.

Now, it's 15 years later. You don't need TigerBlog to tell you how splintered the country is, and you also don't need him to tell you that it doesn't look like it's going to get any more unified in the near future.

Maybe that's because the one major attack on this country hasn't happened again, not to the scale of 9/11. That is a testament, by the way, to thousands of military and law enforcement personnel, from both political parties and from all kinds of religions and backgrounds.

Most people, like you and TigerBlog, have no idea how close this country came to having another 9/11, only to have it stopped in time.

They are owed a lot, by everyone.

As TigerBlog writes this, as he does every year, he goes back to that moment at the end of the driveway, that incredibly emotional moment when he looked up at the nighttime sky.

He looked up and saw a new world, or at least that the one he had known was forever changed. Would it ever change back? In five years? Ten?

Now it's been 15 years. Living under the constant threat of terrorism has become normal. Life has gone on. People have gone on with their lives. TBJ and MTB are no longer little kids, or kids at all, for that matter.

So 15 years later, here's remembering John Schroeder. And Eamon McEneaney, one of the greatest lacrosse players ever, who was part of Cornell's legendary teams in the 1970s, who also was killed that day.

And remembering everyone who died that day.

And marveling again at the first responders and their astonishing bravery.

And the country today? Yes. It's splintered, as much as it has ever been in TB's lifetime.

It's TigerBlog's fervent prayer that if it ever turns back around to one of unity, it's not because of another massive terrorist attack.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Best There's Ever Been

It's a busy weekend for Princeton Athletics.

There are six events today, six events tomorrow and four more on Sunday, including an ESPNU-televised men's water polo match against defending NCAA champ UCLA.

There's actually home water polo all weekend. There's also home field hockey today between Princeton and No. 12 Albany (at 4) and home women's soccer between unbeaten Princeton and Temple (at 7). You can watch field hockey, go get a nosh and come back for soccer.

In addition to water polo Sunday, there's also another home field hockey game against another ranked team, this time No. 10 Delaware. The head coach of the Blue Hens, by the way, is Rolf van de Kerkhof, the brother-in-law of TigerBlog's physical therapist Theresa.

Princeton and the rest of the Ivy League are a week away from opening day for football. The Tigers begin their season at home next Saturday at 5 against Lafayette. There will be fireworks after the game, which everyone loves.

TigerBlog is still getting used to the new composite schedule format on, but he's starting to like it. He definitely likes the dots that tell you how many events there are on any given day. 

So that's your Princeton Athletics update for now.  

And so, for the rest of today, please indulge TigerBlog on a slightly different subject.

TB works in a department loaded with Bruce Springsteen fans. Any concert tour by the Boss has been well-attended by the Princeton athletic department, and tickets, setlists and concert memories are a constant source of conversation and have been for years. TB was at the show Wednesday and files this report:

It was already past midnight when the man with the mic exhorted his audience to "shout," and so shout they did. All 50,000 or so of them.

"You know you make me want to shout..." Over and over.

From TigerBlog's perch high above Citizens Bank Park, all he could do was shake his head and marvel at the scene below. How could he not? He was watching the best there's ever been.

If Bruce Springsteen had let them, they would have stayed there dancing, singing, laughing, partying until dawn.

Nobody - nobody anywhere ever - has put on a show quite like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was true the first time TigerBlog saw them, back in the summer of 1981, and it was true Wednesday night, when Springsteen, two weeks shy of his 67th birthday, rocked the home of the Philadelphia Phillies for the amazing total of 34 songs, in a show that lasted for 4:10.

That's four hours and 10 minutes. By a man almost sixty-seven.

Like any other time TB has seen The Boss, the energy in the building was obvious from the time the house lights dimmed and the members of the band walked onto the stage. And then, there he was, center stage, to a huge crescendo of "BRUUUUUUUUUUCE."

Interestingly, the concert Wednesday night started a little slowly, and some of that energy faded a bit from the crowd. The band played some older songs, some that were pretty obscure older songs at that.

And then, on a dime, it all turned.

To TigerBlog, it was like watching an ace pitcher give up two in the first, one in the second and then not allow a hit the rest of the way. Or like watching Michael Jordan score two points in the first quarter, have eight at the half and then finish with 36.

When midnight struck, nobody remembered what the beginning was like. The band, and especially Springsteen, got stronger all night, and did so in incredible fashion.

Springsteen would finish a song, trade one guitar for another, and start on the next one. And the crowd screamed along with him on all of them.

TigerBlog's favorite songs from the night? "Incident On 57th Street," which runs into "Rosalita." "My Love Will Not Let You Down." "Thundercrack," a obscure song that Princeton water polo coach Luis Nicolao introduced to TigerBlog a few years ago. "No Surrender."

And there was the three-song sprint of "Because The Night," "The Rising" and "Badlands." This was as the hour got later and later and the band got better and better.

Had the show ended there, it would have been great. It was the subsequent seven-song encore that turned the concert into the epic that it became.

In fact, had that seven-song encore been the entire concert, it still might have been the best concert TB has ever seen.

In order, it went:
Streets of Philadelphia
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Bobby Jean

"Jungleland" was the best, especially the sax solo by Jake Cleamons, Clarence's nephew. It's hard to think of Clarence without thinking about the sax solo in "Jungleand," and TB would have to think that 1) it's the first big sax solo Jake ever learned and 2) it has to be emotional for him to play.

Maybe the best moment of the night was when Clarence and Dan Federici, the other original E Street Band member who has passed away, flashed on the video screens while Bruce sprinted around the outside of the floor seats, mingling with fans along the way, as he sang about the Big Man in "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."

And then there was "Shout," which isn't even Bruce's song. It went on and on and on, and the crowd couldn't have loved it more. And just when it seemed like there was nothing left, the band went to "Bobby Jean" to end the night.

Why was this so special? There are a few reasons.

Springsteen doesn't have a soothing voice like Sinatra or an operatic voice like Freddie Mercury. He doesn't have a rhythmic voice like Bruno Mars or a frenzied voice like Steven Tyler.

The word TigerBlog would use to describe Springsteen's voice is "powerful." It overwhelms the stadium and it never lets up, hour after hour, show after show, year after year.

And nobody has the stage presence that The Boss does. He is the host of his concert and you are his guest. He is not a detached performer. He is talking directly to everyone in his audience.

Yeah. That's it. He's talking directly to you. And this is not just with his lyrics and their classic themes.

You know what TB means. Of blue-collar America. Of restlessness. Of faith. Of loyalty.

"Someday girl I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we'll walk in the sun, but til then tramps like us, baby we were born to run."

Or "we made a promise, we swore we'd always remember, no retreat baby, no surrender."

Or "I see you standing across the room watching me without a sound. I'm gonna push my way through that crowd and tear all your walls down. My love, love, love, love, will not let you down."

But it's more than that.

Most concerts have songs you like and songs you don't know and songs that have been popular.

For Bruce and the E Street Band, they're playing songs that are important to the people in the audience. They take those fans back to different times in their lives, reminding them of how these lyrics and melodies and the powerful voice who is singing helped them through those times.

It becomes less of a concert and more of a life experience. And that brings TigerBlog to one last point.

Like TigerBlog, there were many there last night who have been watching Bruce and the band in concert for decades.

Bruce will be 67 in two weeks. Gary W. Tallent is 66. Steven Van Zandt, Max Weinberg and Nils Lofgren are all 65.

The band began the current tour in January. It has taken them throughout the country and then to Europe before coming back here to finish up.

How many tours like this does this band have left? Any?

That's why nobody wanted the party to end the other night. Not the band. Not the audience.

This might just be the last chance, to entertain and to be entertained. To be taken back through the years, through the decades. To hear, once again, the songs that have mattered so much.

It's really possible that Wednesday night was the last time TigerBlog will see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in concert. It's also likely that it was the best concert TB has ever seen.

Those things are not unrelated.

Bruce walked onto the stage at 8 pm and said simply "Good Evening Philadelphia."

He walked at 12:10 am, having left no doubt, once again, that he is the best there has ever been.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

That'll Be $116.42

So here's a story that TigerBlog is pretty sure his former boss Gary Walters will like.

TigerBlog Jr. has been driving his father's old car for a few years now. As you read this, that car has right around 199,300 miles on it.

As you can guess, it's somewhat beaten up.

Oh, and it's also a mess. That's what you get when you add together a college guy and lacrosse equipment and Wawa hoagie wrappers and empty water bottles.

The car itself still runs really well. Before this car, the most miles TB had ever put on a car was 155,000, on his old minivan, which he traded in for this car. As he understands it, his old minivan ended up as a taxi somewhere in the Caribbean. There are worse retirements for a minivan.

Meanwhile, back at this car, TB is pretty sure it'll get the remaining 700 miles to get to 200,000.

Then it'll be the fight coming between TBJ and Miss TigerBlog over who will get to drive it. MTB is three weeks into having her permit, and she's actually a pretty good driver already. In fact, she drove TB to the field hockey game Sunday, for her first drive from her house to Princeton.

One thing that concerns TB about his daughter as a driver, though, is that her sense of direction is, in a word, horrific. As she and TB drive around, he is constantly stunned by how little she has paid attention to her surroundings, leading to these kinds of conversations:
TB: Why are you turning left?
MTB: I'm going home.
TB: It's to the right.
MTB: It is?
TB: You've lived here your entire life.

Her sense of direction is so bad, TigerBlog half expects her to shoot the ball at the wrong goal in one of her field hockey or lacrosse games.

What does this have to do with Gary Walters? TB is getting to that.

TigerBlog Jr. worked this past summer as a counselor at the Campus Rec day camp at Dillon Gym, a camp he and his sister spent a lot of summers at as campers way back when. In fact, there can't be too many people who have gone to that camp more than TBJ, who was there for five summers as a camper, two or three as a senior camper, one as a CIT and now one as a counselor.

Anyway, one day TBJ returned from work to say that he'd been cut off on the Alexander Road bridge and that his sideview mirror had hit the guardrail. It cracked a little, he said.

Yes, a little. And by a little, he meant, into about 10 separate little mirrors, all of which faced into the car itself, as opposed to, oh, the lane on the right.

Anyway, TigerBlog took the car to Ron, the official car-fixer of the Office of Athletic Communications, to get it fixed. And while it was there, Ron changed the oil and did some other minor maintenance.

TigerBlog told Ron there was no rush on the car, since he was driving his other one and TBJ is at school. Eventually, a few days later, Ron called to say the car was done.

How much was the bill? This is the part that Gary will like.

Ron said it was "$116.42."

Now, do you ever find yourself in a situation where you hear some numbers and they immediately spark some memory? That's what happened when Ron told TB the price.

Was it someone's phone number? A zip code? As it turns out, it's neither.

Then it dawned on TigerBlog.

Princeton defeated Dartmouth 116-42 in the 1967 regular season, when Gary was the senior point guard. It was the first meeting between the teams that year. The second one had a much different score, one that, as TB thinks, would have been a better bill for the car.

In fact, Princeton would score 86 fewer points in the second game - which actually was at Dillon Gym, while the first was in Hanover. Oh, don't worry. Princeton still won fairly easily.

In fact, Dartmouth sat on the ball in that game to keep the score down. Back then, there was no shot clock.

So even though Princeton would score only 30 points in the game, the Tigers still won 30-16. Yeah, it would have been better to pay $30.16.

The 116 points Princeton scored in the first game are the second most Princeton has ever scored in a basketball game, behind the 118 against Wichita State in the 1965 NCAA consolation game.

In all, Princeton has reached 100 points in a men's basketball game 14 times, two of which came last year, after not having done so since 1971. TigerBlog would hardly be shocked to see the team get there again this year.

Anyway, TB has to go get the car. And leave a check.

Oh, and there are two home men's events tonight.

There's water polo against Wagner at 6:30 and there a men's soccer game against St. John's at 7.

And they're both free.