Thursday, April 13, 2017

Staying Knechted

TigerBlog's office is still pretty barren, even after he's been down on E level for nearly a year and a half.

There are no pictures on the walls, just white paint on the ones in front of him and orange on the one behind him. There's a bookcase - mostly it has old binders from Princeton's lacrosse seasons of long ago, along with an industrial size bottle of hand sanitizer - as well as a desk and a table with three chairs around it. Nothing is fancy.

There is one item that is completely out of place, and that's one of Miss TigerBlog's old field hockey sticks. It's been sitting here for a few weeks now, and TB has noticed one curious thing about it.

Pretty much anyone who walks in here walks over to the stick, picks it up and continues talking while now swinging the stick. Or pretending to shoot an imaginary field hockey ball. Or swinging it like a baseball bat.

Eventually, someone is going to swing and put a hole in the nice white wall without realizing it. Those sticks can do some serious damage.

For a time yesterday, field hockey was the lead story on, with the naming of Sophia Tornetta and Ryan McCarthy as captains. The field hockey team, you might recall, reached the NCAA Final Four last fall, in Year 1 under head coach Carla Tagliente.

Also on the field hockey page is a pretty good video catching up with Julia Reinprecht, who helped Princeton to the 2012 NCAA championship and who played in two Olympic Games with the U.S. national team.

You can see that video HERE.

Speaking of Olympians, TigerBlog was standing in the outer office by the door when someone turned the corner and walked by. This happens all day, as athletes, coaches, staff and others stroll by on their way from the locker rooms to the Princeton Varsity Club weight room and then back.

This time, it was Katharine Holmes, the Princeton senior who was an Olympic fencer last summer and the NCAA epee runner-up this year to her teammate Anna van Brummen. There's something pretty cool about having undergraduates who were Olympians in the building.

A little further down the front page of the webpage yesterday, past the field hockey story, there was a headline that caught TB's eye: No. 4 Heavies Seek To Break 80-Year Drought In Historic Compton Cup Rivalry Vs. No. 6 Harvard.

Hmmm. That's a long time, 80 years. If nothing else, the headline got TigerBlog to check it out. Here's what it said:
He may be the senior captain today, but Nick Mead was a sophomore when he felt a real turning point for this program — a turning point in the direction of 1V medals at both Sprints and IRAs the last two years.
"Two years ago, when we swept Harvard for the Compton Cup on Carnegie, that was a really special moment for the team," Mead said. "In my mind, that represented a turning point when we realized we could contend with the top teams in the country. To win it again last year and go back-to-back for the first time in a half century was really important. It's always on our minds how special it is to get a win against Harvard."
If they broke a half-century of tradition last year, why not raise the stakes and go for more than 80 years this weekend? Princeton has not won three straight Compton Cups since the mid-1930s, when the Tigers won the first four meetings between the two tradition-rich programs.

You can read the whole story HERE.

Speaking of rowing, the women's lightweights finished third last weekend at the Knecht Cup on Mercer Lake. Princeton will be home Saturday on Lake Carnegie against Georgetown for the Class of 2006 Cup.

The Tigers are rowing with a young boat, with three freshmen in the first varsity 8. A year ago, Princeton didn't reach the final at the Knecht Cup, while this year the team came in third.

TigerBlog went to two collegiate sporting events last weekend, the men's lacrosse game at Stony Brook and the first day of the Knecht Cup. Why? He went to see TigerBlog Jr.'s girlfriend Lauren row with the Sacred Heart open team in the first varsity 8 heats. She was the fifth seat for the Pioneers.

TigerBlog has been to rowing events before. He was at the IRA national championships in 1998, for instance, when Princeton won the lightweight and heavyweight men's championships in a matter of a few minutes. If you go to the Shea Rowing Center, you'll see a huge picture as you go up the stairs of the celebration; TigerBlog was standing about three feet out of frame (on purpose).

The Knecht Cup was a mix of party and sporting event. Everywhere you looked near the lake, there were boats, trailers that carried boats, rowers who were carrying boats to a from the water and tents with food, lots and lots of food.

It was a sea of colors, as much as anything else. There were schools from all over the country, all in their bright school colors, spread throughout the entire area.

As for the racing, there was a little watch area at about the halfway point, near where the boats went in and out of the water, from which TB could see the boats as they started and then after the finish when they rowed back.

The actual time of the races was a small part of the event. TigerBlog was really glad he went, and not just to offer support for Sacred Heart rowing. No, there was something bigger going on there for him.

Princeton has 37 varsity teams.

Each sport has its own uniqueness, all wrapped up in the orange and black, with the common thread of how important the competition and the experience are to those who represent Princeton. It's fun to see how different they can be in the specifics of how they operate, such as the difference between a basketball game and a large rowing regatta, while at the same time how similar they can be in terms of what they mean to the athletes themselves.

To those who think college sports are just what you see when you watch football and men's basketball on TV, you're really missing out.

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