Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Fish Named TigerBlog

The heavy rain - and a small mechanical problem with a boat - kept TigerBlog from fulfilling a lifetime dream Sunday afternoon.

TigerBlog has never caught a fish. Ever. He's been fishing; he's just never got a fish.

You already know this if you've been reading TB for awhile. He's lamented his fate before.

He's told you the story about how Miss TigerBlog, when she was about four, caught a trout in the Schuykill River with her mother's father, an avid fisherman. She hooked the fish on her line and got so scared that she turned and ran. Rather than reeling the fish in, she dragged it out of the river and across the rocks as she sprinted the other way.

Eventually she stopped running. By then, he grandfather had simply picked the fish up off of the rocks and showed it her.

MTB wore a great hat while she fished. TB still has a picture of it.

TigerBlog does not have a picture of the fish MTB caught. He does have one of the fish TigerBlog Jr. caught that same day.
Their maternal grandfather, by the way, was named John Joseph Schauder, who among other things was a United States Marine and a nearly 40-year employee for the Philadelphia Electric Company. He passed away several years ago after fighting cancer the same way MotherBlog did - hard, but with humor and grace.

TBJ has caught a bunch of fish in his life. MTB hasn't been fishing again. To get her to go at the age of 16 would probably require a majority vote of her friends, via group text.

TigerBlog has also told you about his own experiences, including that one time, when he had a fish on the line, out of the water. He could see it. In another five seconds, the fish would be in the boat, and TB would finally have that picture of himself with the first fish he ever reeled in - only to have the fish wriggle off the line and dive back into the water, though not before he gave TB his middle fin on the way down.
Okay, TB made the last part up. But he did see the fish. There he was. And then he was gone.

He was pretty sure he was going to catch one Sunday. He was going with John McPhee, and between the two of them, they've caught a million fish in their lives (TigerBlog 0, Mr. McPhee 1,000,000).

In fact, McPhee had assured TigerBlog that he would be catching one, no problem, and that they were not coming back from the Delaware River until he had.

Instead, they never made it out of the starting gate. The pouring rain didn't help. Neither did the problem with the boat.

TigerBlog was looking forward to the fishing trip since McPhee agreed to take him, back in the spring or summer. That sort of made it a disappointing weekend.

On the other hand, it wasn't as bad as it must have been to be a Rutgers football fan.

TigerBlog and TigerBlog Jr. listened to the Rutgers-Michigan game on the radio Saturday night on the way back from Sacred Heart, for TBJ's lacrosse-practice-abbreviated fall break, which ended yesterday.

By now you know that Michigan defeated Rutgers 78-0 and that RU got one first down in the game. It didn't help the Rutgers cause that Ohio State defeated Rutgers 58-0 a week earlier, and you know Jim Harbaugh wanted to send a message to the Buckeyes with his team's performance.

Not that Michigan ran the score up. It was basically all running plays in the second half.

The Rutgers radio announcers, Chris Carlin and Ray Lucas, definitely wear their scarlet hearts on their sleeves. They actually were very impressive in this game, as they really did manage to keep things focused on positives while accepting the complete one-sided nature of the game.

The highlight of the broadcast, of course, was the commercial for the Battle of the Birthplace, an outdoor wrestling match at High Point Solutions Stadium between Rutgers and Princeton on Nov. 19. The commercial mentioned that you can meet Princeton head wrestling coach Chris Ayres and RU head coach Scott Goodale at a meet-and-greet at Moore's Tavern and Sports Bar in Freehold tonight in advance of the match.

The idea of having traditionally indoor events held outdoors in massive stadiums is not new. It's been happening with hockey for years.

TigerBlog isn't sure it's been done with college wrestling to this point. It'll be mid-November, which could mean weather anywhere from days like today (sunny, 60s) to snow.

TB's take on events like this is that they're great.

College athletics are about winning championships and competing and trying to be the best, but they're also about the experience. Things that are unique are things that really enhance that experience, and wrestling outdoors in a football stadium in November is certainly unique.

Rutgers wrestling has become a national power in recent years. Princeton wrestling isn't quite where Rutgers is, but it's still a factor on the national map.

A year ago, Princeton finished second in the Ivy League, losing only to Cornell. The Big Red have now won 14 straight Ivy League championships in wrestling, but Princeton will be aiming to end that streak again this year.

Ayres has built something really special here with the wrestling program. TigerBlog can see Ayres anytime, since the wrestling office is next to his on E level of Jadwin. You can meet him tonight, in Freehold, as the Battle of the Birthplace approaches.

Oh, and the fish? It'll have to wait. Maybe until the spring. Maybe longer.

But it doesn't matter.

There'll be another time.

Somewhere out there is a fish named TigerBlog. One day, TB will meet him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post today. We learned that TB is 0-for-lifetime against fish. But like Brown men's basketball playing at Princeton (0-for-52 until 2003) and Columbia women's swimming against Princeton (0-for-forever until 2012), perseverance and commitment are usually rewarded by nature and the athletic gods. Keep the rod and reel handy and, like Earl Hunt hitting free throws to ice the game for Brown in 2003, someday you will bring home the fish on ice in your cooler.

I love your lines that, "College athletics are about winning championships and competing and trying to be the best, but they're also about the experience. Things that are unique are things that really enhance that experience."

That attitude eloquently sums up why Princeton should play Rutgers in football to kick off the 2019 sesquicentennial season of college football. Instead of another game against Lafayette or Lehigh in front of 8000 or 9000 fans, we can provide our players, administrators and fans the once-in-forever experience of planning, preparing for, and finally playing a nationally telecast and celebrated game in front of 52,454 fans and maybe a President and Heisman Trophy winner or two at Rutgers' High Point Stadium. Maybe the Big Ten Network will produce a series chronicling the two teams' two-a-day practices in advance of the historic occasion.

Two or three decades later, how many of those players and coaches will remember that game as one of the highlights of their Princeton careers? Probably every single one of them. This would be one of the peak milestones of their football lives.

A kick-off game on August 31, 2019 under the bright lights of summer sun and national media attention will be incalculable fun for everybody -- Princeton, Rutgers and general college football fans alike. Let's create that "unique experience" for all concerned and, like you will feel driving home with a fish in your cooler, it will be a memory to savor forever.