Monday, July 31, 2017

New Man In LA

In almost any other week, the biggest news involving someone whose resume can include "head men's soccer coach at Princeton University" would be the big news involving the person who currently has that position.

Yes. Jim Barlow broke 80 in golf for the first time this past week.

If the Princeton University Department of Athletics decided to have some sort of decathlon of events, Barlow would be the favorite to win. Not a track and field decathlon. But he's already the department ping-pong champ, can break 80 in golf, would definitely be in the Jadwin lunchtime basketball Hall of Fame and could probably be good at just about any sport he set his mind to do.

TigerBlog first met Jim Barlow when he was a soccer player at Hightstown High School, which isn't very far from Princeton. TB was covering high school sports back then in the newspaper business.

That was more than 30 years ago. In fact, TigerBlog met Barlow before anyone else he's worked with at Princeton.

By the time Barlow was a Princeton player, TigerBlog was covering college sports. He wrote about Barlow as a Princeton player as well. And worked with him when Barlow wrote a few columns for the newspaper TB was working for at the time.

Now Barlow is about to start preparing for his 22nd season as the head coach of the Tigers. He has a record of 162-145-53, and he has won 26 more games than any other men's soccer coach in program history.

When you talk about all the things that Princeton Athletics want to be, you're talking about Jim Barlow. He's a proven coach. He takes his players' welfare seriously. He's an educator. He's a great role model for them. He's a competitor. And, on top of all that, he's the absolute last coach who would ever break an NCAA rule.

And now, to that, you can add breaking 80. Pretty impressive.

As TigerBlog said, though, it's not the biggest news of the week for a Princeton soccer coach. Nope.

Neither is the story about how Charlie Stillitano, a 1981 Princeton grad, was named one of the top 50 most influential people in soccer by ESPN. You can read all about Charlie HERE.

Bob Bradley, Barlow's predecessor, continues his worldwide tour of soccer coaching as he becomes the head coach of Los Angeles FC of Major League Soccer. Bradley, who is also a Princeton alum, has coached pretty much everywhere since leaving Princeton.

He actually left Princeton to take a change on MLS when it began, first as an assistant coach to Bruce Arena in Washington and then as the head coach in Chicago. He's coached the U.S. men's national team to the World Cup - winning the group championship in 2010 - and then the Egyptian national team when it needed a stable, steadying hand.

Neurosurgeons, by the way, don't have stabler, steadier hands than Bob Bradley.

His time in Egypt might not have ended up in the 2014 World Cup, but he came closer than anyone could have imagined. And, more than what happened on the field, he was there at a time of incredible political upheaval and general unrest, the kind that would have scared away basically anyone else.

From Egypt, Bradley went to Norway and France. Then, famously, he became the first American ever to be a head coach in the English Premier League, when he was the manager at Swansea for a short time.

TigerBlog last saw Bradley at a Princeton baseball game. His brother Scott, as you probably know, is Princeton's longtime baseball coach.

At the time, Bob Bradley seemed genuinely unsure of where his next stop would be. And now he knows. It'll be with the new MLS team in Los Angeles.

The franchise, which doesn't yet have any players, has sold 17,000 season tickets at Banc of California Stadium, which is currently being built near the Los Angeles Coliseum. Now it has a face of its franchise.

TigerBlog hasn't met too many people in his life who are more focused than Bob Bradley. It's probably why his career has been spent taking on extraordinary challenges.

And now he has his next one.

He certainly hasn't been afraid of much along the way, and TigerBlog doesn't even mean the terrifying situation he walked into in Egypt. By comparison, starting an MLS team from scratch seems sort of tame.

Bob Bradley is up for it though. He is boundless energy and passion to go along with his other qualities. You know. His ability to steer through choppy waters.

All of that will serve him well in Los Angeles.

The LAFC players are in good hands - even if there aren't any of them yet. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Winning Women

TigerBlog pulled into the parking lot at Jadwin Gym yesterday morning as the radio played "Your Smiling Face" by James Taylor.

And whose smiling face did TigerBlog see when he got out of his car? Daisy's, of course.

And who is Daisy?

She's a French bulldog, belonging to field hockey assistant coach Dina Rizzo. Dina held her phone in one hand and the leash in the other. It was pretty obvious that Daisy, in addition to having a smiling face, has a lot of energy.

A year ago, in Rizzo and head coach Carla Tagliente's first year with Princeton field hockey, Princeton reached the NCAA Final Four and was only a late Delaware goal from the finals. Delaware, if you remember, won it all.

Meanwhile, back at Daisy and her smiling face, TigerBlog, as you may recall, is a big fan of French bulldogs.

So too is former Princeton All-America lacrosse goalie Trevor Tierney, who has his own French bulldog, named Canon. If you recall, Trevor saw a video of yet another French bulldog who could skateboard and tried to get his to do the same, with somewhat hilarious results.

When TB saw Daisy in the parking lot, he wondered if she'd ever been skateboarding.

The field hockey season, like the rest of the 2017-18 athletic year, is quickly approaching. Opening kickoff for the entire year comes four weeks from today, when Princeton hosts Monmouth in women's soccer, which will be followed by a trip to Villanova two days later.

The following Friday, Sept. 1, will see women's soccer play its third game (at North Carolina State) and men's soccer, field hockey and women's volleyball all get underway.

The month of August begins Tuesday. TigerBlog is pretty sure that August is either the slowest or fastest month of the year, though he's not sure which.

On the one hand, August around here is hazy, hot and humid. There will be a late afternoon thunderstorm about half of the time. It'll be its usual sweltering. Each day will seem to last forever.

On the other hand, the last few weeks of summer, or at least those without Princeton athletic events, always see to zoom by. This year will be no different.

The final piece of any athletic year here in the Office of Athletic Communications is to put together an annual report of sorts. It's a compilation of information, records and such for an entire athletic year, something that makes for a really good point of reference over time.

You want a few facts from last year?
* Princeton won at least 60 percent of its head-to-head games against each of its seven of its Ivy League rivals
* Princeton won at least two-thirds of its head-to-head games against four of its seven Ivy League rivals
* Of the 36 Princeton teams that competed for a league championship a year ago, there were 23 who finished in the top three in the final standings

Princeton won 63 percent of its games in 2016-17. This counts only games where official stat keeping determines one winner and one loser (or a tie), not things like championship golf tournaments or large track and field meets, by the way.

That's 63 percent of every game across all sports, league and non-league. That's a pretty good number.

Want one that's even more insane?

Princeton's 18 varsity women's teams combined to have a record of 240-90-6. That's a 72.3 percent winning percentage.

That, friends, is insane.

Basically, that means that Princeton's women's teams won essentially three of every four head-to-head games. Among the best records for Princeton's women's teams: fencing at 31-2, water polo at 24-4, volleyball at 19-5, hockey at 20-10-3, lacrosse at 15-4.

This past year was an extraordinary one for standout women athletes. If you noticed the 10 finalists for the von Kienbusch Award as the top female senior athlete, you know what TigerBlog means.

You can't put together winning teams with just a handful stars, though, no matter how good they are. There needs to be depth across the board, across all of the teams, to produce this kind of overall success. It's wildly impressive.

Anyway, that's probably it for 2016-17. And almost it for July.

It's your last weekend for the only month of the year that will not have any Princeton athletic events. So enjoy it.

Game Day will be here soon enough.

In exactly four weeks, to be precise.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Keeping You Updated

There will be no trip to Williamsport for the Canton Little League baseball team in Connecticut.

If you recall from last week, Canton won its first district championship in 29 years. As an update, the team reached the sectional final before falling. If you forgot, Canton features Justin DiCarlo, whose father Vinnie is a former Office of Athletic Communications intern.

Losing stings. It's supposed to, especially if you're serious enough about playing that you got that far in the first place. On the other hand, if you were still playing into late July, then you've accomplished things to be proud of and had experiences that will stay with you forever. You know, like winning a town's first championship in 29 years.

So congrats to Justin and his teammates. You had a great summer run.

That's one update for you.

BrotherBlog checked in to thank his brother, presumably, for getting mentioned Monday. Here's what he said:
Aww, je suis très heureux d'être dans TigerBlog aujourd'hui. Merci pour le fromage!

TigerBlog had to ask Miss TigerBlog to translate. She came back with:
"Aww, I'm very happy to be in the TigerBlog today. Thank you for the cheese.

That's another update for you.

As an aside, MTB is spending the week at the shore. TB has heard from her exactly three times - that translation, a request for a short video update on her cat Jingles and then a reminder to make sure Jingles is eating enough because "he looks skinny."

For the record, he looks fine to TigerBlog.

And in another update, TigerBlog sends his congratulations to Jess Ward, his colleague in Dillon Gym.

Jess was recently named the full-time Associate Director of Athletics for Campus Recreation at Princeton. She had been doing the job on an interim basis for the last four or five months or so.

Jess has been at Princeton for nearly 10 years, so it's hard to call her an addition to the staff. She is one of those people who always seems to be in motion, always dripping with seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm. She's always up.

It's a perfect fit for her position.

There aren't too many people who interact with more of the campus community than the person who oversees Campus Rec. There are programs for intramurals, club sports, physical education, aquatics, summer camps and pretty much anything else you can think of.

TigerBlog would like to congratulate her. She certainly got off to an impressive start in her interim role. Dillon Gym, always busy, is in good hands.

What other updates can TigerBlog give you?

The U.S. U19 women's basketball team rolled into the quarterfinals of the current World Championships in Italy with a win over Puerto Rico yesterday. Princeton rising sophomore Bella Alarie continues to have a great run with the American team in the tournament, which continues with the quarterfinal game tomorrow against France.

TigerBlog watched some of the game against Puerto Rico yesterday, which was streamed in the middle of the day here. In the first 15 seconds after he turned the game on, TigerBlog saw Alarie run the floor and receive a pass to finish a fast break layup and then come down the other end and pull down a rebound.

If you watched Princeton this past year, it's nothing new for you. To see her do it in a "USA" uniform, well, it's something special.

The quarterfinal tomorrow starts a three-day sprint to the finish line, with the semifinals Saturday and then the championship game Sunday. Among those in attendance will be Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart.
You can watch the streams at You can also get updated stats, brackets, box scores and anything else you want.

It's a lot like the recently completed World Cup for women's lacrosse in England. It's amazing how easy it is these days to get really detailed information from events that not that long ago wouldn't have had a fraction of the content available that is now.

Of course, as TB said yesterday, with that comes expectations.

Are there any other updates for right now?

Well, speaking of the women's lacrosse World Cup, here's the final one of Nonie Anderson's blogs from her time there with the Irish team. She did a really good job with them.

Oh, and Julia Ratcliffe? She will be competing in London next week in the hammer throw at the World Track and Field Championships. You can read about her HERE.

And of course, there is Bob Surace's back. As of yesterday, he was questionable for his start in beach wiffleball. Was he able to take the ball?

Well, Game 7? He would be all in.

For now? TigerBlog recommends he just sit in a chair and check out the ocean.

And there are your updates for today. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bob Surace's Slider

As the dog days of August approach, the best pitchers are often the toughest ones.

It's not easy to take the ball like that and go out there with your best stuff. And as the long season wears on, the wear and tear starts to become as much of an obstacle as opposing batters.

Take, for example, the injury report one on veteran pitcher: lower back strain, not expected to miss his turn.

Actually, that's the condensed version. Here's the actual report:
"With sweat pouring down his face, Coach Surace was grinding out his 175th pitch on a blistering hot day with a stiff wind coming from the east. After throwing his seemingly unhittable slider that his son finally fouled off, he incurred a debilitating injury where only the rare man could refuse the stretcher as he gamely walked off the dirt mound, waiving off the medical staff as he watched the last few outs from a distance. After the game, Surace said he would not miss his turn on Thursday, and might be available in relief tomorrow."

Coach Surace, of course, is Bob Surace, the head football coach here at Princeton. The head coach of the defending Ivy champion Princeton Tigers, that is.

This, though, was a different kind of sporting event. This was father against son, Bob Surace against A.J. Surace, wiffle ball on a beach.

TigerBlog can picture it all. Surace, his Princeton cap pulled down low with the brim over his eyes, giving the running play-by-play as he snaps off slider after slider. Big smile on his face the whole time. Yeah. That's him in a nutshell.
Bob Surace proves that you don't need to fit the stereotype of a football coach to be a great football coach. TigerBlog has said that before, several times, and it gets truer all the time.

Your average football coach is exactly what you see on TV, in games, or in fictional accounts there or in the movies. They are in to control. They obsess. They want, as once was famously said, "a university the football team can be proud of."

Bob Surace is hardly like that. He's driven and competitive. He advocates strongly for his program and his players. He wants to win as much as anyone you'll ever see. He's a wildly creative coach, and he does the No. 1 thing a coach needs to do: He puts his players in position to be successful.

At the same time, he's, well, he's sort of normal. It's a really good combination.

Princeton is lucky it has him.

TigerBlog saw a tweet from his old friend Scott Jurgens, who at one time was the marketing director here and now is at Rice, announcing that the Owls had started football practice. That seems sort of early.

Princeton is still a few weeks away from practice. TigerBlog can tell you exactly how long it is until the first game, since there's a countdown clock in his colleague Andrew Borders' office.

The clock indicates that there are 52 days until kickoff. TigerBlog was a little confused for a little while back in May or so, when the countdown was over 100. Was it counting down to the first football game, or to the first event, the women's soccer game, which also happens to be a sport that Andrew covers.

It'll be Princeton and San Diego 52 days from today, with a noon kickoff.

The Ivy League announced its television package earlier this week. Among Princeton's TV games will be two night games, on consecutive weeks.

The first is at Harvard, on Oct. 20, followed at home against Cornell on Oct. 28. The Harvard game is a Friday night.

TigerBlog hasn't looked this up, but he's guessing this is the first Princeton-Harvard Friday night game.

The picture that accompanied the story on about the Ivy League showed five Princeton players in on one tackle. It's a really good picture. You can see for yourself HERE.

When you think of Princeton football, you think of the offense first. Princeton averaged 34.6 points per game a year ago, tops in the Ivy League, nearly seven points better than the next-highest team.

The defense, though, also led the league. Princeton allowed 16.4 points per game last year, nearly five better than the next best team.

That adds up to something of a winning formula.

Princeton went 8-2 a year ago, including 6-1 in the Ivy League. Princeton tied Penn for the league title, though the Tigers did own a 28-0 win over the Quakers in early November.

Early November? It's still July.

Late July, but July nonetheless.

Bob Surace will be back to work soon enough, bringing back to Princeton football the things that make him so successful, and so unique, and because of the two, so easy to root for.

It's not football season yet. It's beach wiffle ball season.

Today? He'll be back taking his turn in the rotation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Whatever your politics are, there is no getting around one true, undeniable, non-fake-news, non-alternative-fact fact.

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, has a son who will be playing lacrosse at Sacred Heart University this coming year. The son, also named Anthony, will be a freshman longstick midfielder.

In all of the stories that TigerBlog read about the addition to the White House staff, none of them mentioned that Sacred Heart returns its top longstick midfielder, Nick Albanese, but graduated its two best close defensemen, Ryan O'Donoghue and Chase Godfrey.

Sacred Heart led Division I in caused turnovers per game this past year. OD, as he is known, was second individually, and Godfrey was 19th. Is it possible that Sacred Heart would move Albanese to close D, the same as the Pios did a year earlier, after O'Donoghue had played LSM for three years?

Where was any of this in all of the coverage last week? You call that analysis?

By the way, Albanese is a great athlete who is tremendous at picking up ground balls and in transition. In fact, he was 34th in Division I last year in ground balls per game.

If you took the number of ground balls that Albanese had last year and added the number of ground balls that Charlie Erdmann of Vermont, who was one spot ahead of Albanese in 33rd, you get 133 ground balls. That's just three more than Zach Currier had all by himself.

Currier has always been known as a great all-around player, one who could do everything on a lacrosse field and usually would during any given game. What you don't think of him as is a feeder, but he has completely elevated that piece of his game in the last year.

Currier had 35 assists in his first three years at Princeton. Then he had 34 more this year alone, the most in Division I by a midfielder.

Now in his first season in Major League Lacrosse, Currier, with the Denver Outlaws, is currently 14th in the league in assists, with 13, in just seven games. He had four Sunday night in Denver's game against Ohio, which the Machine won 13-12.

Of the 25 goals scored in that game, nine were either scored or assisted by Princeton alums. Currier had his four assists. Tom Schreiber, who is second in the league in assists, had two goals for Ohio. Ryan Ambler, who is starting to make a mark for himself in the league, had three more for Denver.

The Machine and Outlaws are tied for first in the league at 8-4 with two weeks left in the regular season. TigerBlog would be fine with a rematch in the MLL championship game next month.

TigerBlog is sure that, just like he was, you were watching the Denver-Ohio game on Twitter Sunday night. It's the future, after all.

When it works, that is.

Major League Lacrosse ran into a nightmare scenario, as the Twitter feed froze with just over two minutes left and the Outlaws up 12-11. The telecast would never resume.

It actually started during a commercial break, buffering as someone drank a Powerade. It buffered for so long that TigerBlog can confirm it was blue Powerade.

Then it resumed just long enough to show the Machine clear it, turn it over and get it right back. Then it would go back to that clear. The color commentator said "you have to shoot it" each time it started, because of the Denver turnover . It was like hearing "I Got You Babe" in "Groundhog Day."

Then there was the clear, the bad pass and then the ground ball to get possession back.

To make matters worse for Major League Lacrosse, the live (now buffered feed) was on one side of the screen and a list of Tweets was on the other, all of which were excoriating the league for having its feed fail at the worst time.

TB is pretty sure the best one was the one that said "Pretty sure the Denver players finished the game, did the autograph session and are the way home by now."

The buffering caused viewers to miss the two late Ohio goals, the ones that gave the Machine the huge win. Had Denver won, it would have been two games up on the Machine and would have clinched at least a tie for the regular season championship.

TigerBlog could relate to the problem that MLL was having.

When people tune into the videostream, they want to see a product that rivals what they see on television. It's just how it is. People are used to watching sports that way. They've been doing it for decades.

Now the mechanism to receive the broadcast continues to evolve. As it does, the level of expectation of that quality doesn't change.

TB had been to ESPN's massive campus in Bristol, Conn. It appears they have more equipment to work with than, say, Princeton.

TigerBlog gives the MLL credit for thinking a little differently and putting some games on Twitter. Part of that is taking the hit when it doesn't go right.

Princeton finds itself in the same situation all the time. The Ivy League Network offers live streaming that ranges from multiple cameras and graphics and a large production staff to single camera, hope nothing goes wrong productions.

The expectation for all of them is the same.

TigerBlog never wants to have anything go wrong with any of these streams, but something does every now and then. About 95 percent of the time it's something small and easily fixable. The rest of the time, it becomes a bit more problematic.

When it happens, though, it doesn't mean that nobody is trying to fix it or that the school/league/whoever is okay with it.

As TB watched the guy not finish the blue Powerade and then saw that 15 seconds of play repeat itself, he felt the same frustration everyone else did about missing out on the end of an exciting game.

Unlike most of them, he could also feel for the people at MLL.

Monday, July 24, 2017

World Beaters

TigerBlog was going to start today in Israel.

Instead, he'll make a stop in England first.

When TigerBlog went to Israel, he didn't go non-stop. Instead, it was overnight from JFK to Paris and then from there to Tel Aviv.

It's the only time TB has ever been in France. BrotherBlog? He loves France. He's been there a bunch of times and is planning to go back. Hey, he's even studying French these days.

It all led to a rather interesting exchange between brothers recently:

BB: "Question from French class - when did they last teach grammar in school? Did we have grammar in high school? Wasn't that the beginning of your love affair with gerunds?"
TB: "Yes. 10th grade. And to this day, still love a good gerund."
BB: "My running makes me so happy. :-) We just did that en francais. En courant, je suis heureux."
TB: "Fromage."

Gerunds, by the way, are in the category of "verbals," of which there are three: gerunds, infinitives and participles. Verbals are words that normally are verbs but are used as nouns or adjectives. Gerunds, for instance, are words that are usually verbs but are used as nouns, and they are always, always, always supposed to be preceded by possessive case, as in the example BrotherBlog used.

Oh, and fromage? It means cheese. TigerBlog uses it to represent any and all French words.

TigerBlog has been lucky in his life. He's made six trips to Europe, visiting 16 total European countries in all. He's been to Lichtenstein. He's been to Austria. Portugal. Finland. Sweden. Turkey. He's been to Belgium. Ireland. He's even been to Russia. That's half the list.

You know where he hasn't been?

England. He hasn't been to France or Italy either, unless you count his short time in the airport in Paris and Rome on layovers (the time in Rome was from Turkey to Greece). TB doesn't count them. If you do, then he's been in 18 countries.

But not even a stopover in England. Your average American who has made six trips to Europe has to have been to England at least once, right? Or, of every American who has been to 16 European countries, what percentage have not been to England, France or Rome?

Of course, TB has lived basically his entire life in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania but has never been to Pittsburgh.

TB would love to get to all four of those places at some point - England, France, Rome and Pittsburgh. And some others.

The World Cup for women's lacrosse, which is essentially the World Championship, ended this past weekend in England, in Surrey, to be exact, which is in the southern part of the country. The U.S. defeated Canada 10-5 in the final, but it Saturday morning it felt like the real winner was the home team.

England defeated Australia 11-10 in overtime in the third-place game Saturday. The Player of the Match was Princeton alum Olivia Hompe, who scored three goals, all in the second half, as England came from four goals down to force overtime. Megan Whittle, who will be a senior at Maryland, scored the game-winner in the OT.

England had not medaled in the last two World Cups. Australia? This marked the first time that the Aussies didn't finish in the top three.

A huge reason why England was back on the medal stand was Hompe, who afterwards said of the bronze medal match that “this was the game of the whole tournament.”

Hompe, who graduated last month as the all-time leading scorer in Princeton lacrosse history, led England in the tournament with 12 goals and six assists. Yeah, she certainly wasn't intimidated by playing on the international stage.

By the way, Kerrin Maurer, Princeton's new assistant women's lacrosse coach, finished second in the tournament in scoring, with 21 goals and 20 assists for Italy. 

Hompe is not the only Princeton athlete who earned a medal in a major summer international competition. Princeton also did really well at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Josh Haberman, like Hompe a member of the Class of 2017, and rising sophomore Benjamin Issroff won gold with the U.S. in men's soccer, and recent grad Claire Klausner pitched the U.S. softball team to gold as well.

Princeton assistant softball coach Nicole Arias was the head coach for the U.S. team after winning gold medals as a player in 2009 and 2013. David Goldstein, another 2017 grad, was an assistant coach for the U.S. soccer team.

Sivan Krems, who also just graduated, won two silver medals in tennis.

About 1,000 miles to the northwest from Israel, the World U23 rowing championships were held the last four days in Bulgaria. Princeton brought home four medals.

Claire Collins, who will be a junior this year, won a silver with the U.S. women's eights. The other three Princetonians all won bronze.

Emily Kallfelz, who will also be a junior, won hers by herself, in the women's singles. Matthew Benstead, who graduated this past year, and David Bewicke-Copley, a rising sophomore, won bronze together in the British eight, edging out the U.S. boat for the medal.

It's the Olivia Hompe idea all over again. It's okay to root for the non-American team if it has Princeton people on it.

Oh, and speaking of Americans winning medals in international competition, Bella Alarie is playing with the U.S. under-19 team at the current World Championships in Italy. The U.S. team is 2-0 after a 91-51 win over China yesterday in which Alarie had 10 points and eight rebounds, along with three steals, in just 15 minutes, after opening the tournament with seven points and eight rebounds against Mali.

Alarie will come back with a medal. The championship game will be this coming Sunday.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer, In Jadwin And Abroad

Given that it's another summer Friday, TigerBlog will begin where he usually does at this time of year.

Obviously, he's going to tell you how many more weeks there are until the first event of the coming academic year. The answer would be five. That means that it's getting close to feeling like that first game, a women's soccer game against Monmouth, will be here tomorrow.

On the other hand, it's still July, the only month of the year with no Princeton Athletic events scheduled. Another hot, really really hot, Friday in July, when people's thoughts are on summer things, summer fun, summer weekends.

Does TigerBlog dare skip a day? Nah. Never. There's always something to say.

Let's see. What's been going on around here? The big event in Jadwin Gym this week was basketball camp.

Uh, was that an elite prospect camp? Nope. This was way, way better. It was little kid basketball camp.

Cute? Definitely. Especially the littlest ones. 

Kids, maybe as young as 5 or so. Basketballs. A short basket to shoot on. Princeton players as counselors. If you can watch THIS VIDEO and not smile, then you probably will for Scrooge in a few months.

Basketball camp notwithstanding, things are pretty quiet right now. TigerBlog has spent much of this week rooting for every Princetonian's favorite team at the women's lacrosse World Cup.

England, of course. England? Why? Because they're the host team? Root root root for the home team? Nope, there's more to it than that.

Clearly, TigerBlog is taking his loyalty to Ravi (Baggy) Sitlani, the English men's national team assistant coach and TB's longtime friend, seriously, right? Isn't that why he's rooting for the English women? He'll get back to that in a second.

Keeping up with recent international lacrosse history, it'll be the U.S. and Canada for the women's World Cup championship tomorrow. This could be seen as a problem for the game on the highest level.

Yes, there has been tremendous growth. Princeton is represented at the World Cup by three different countries, as a matter of fact. The number of countries who field teams at these events, on the men's side and women's side, grows each time.

There are some countries who have made big jumps onto the international scene. Israel at the men's championships. New Zealand at the current women's.

In fairness, Canada needed overtime to beat Australia yesterday in the semifinals - but Canada did win. If any team will crash the party, it seems like it'll be Australia, or, on the men's side, the Iroquois.

It's just that it seems like it's going to be awhile before it's not Canada and the U.S. in the championship of a major event. It was those two a year ago in the men's U19 championships (the U.S. won, led by leading scorer Michael Sowers). It was those two in the last women's U19 championships (Canada won) and the last men's World Championship (also Canada).

Actually, it was the U.S. and Canada in the last five men's World Championship finals. Next year in Israel? It'll be the U.S. and Canada for the title.

Trust TigerBlog on this one. If you're wondering why lacrosse isn't an Olympic sport, TB would say that this might be the biggest reason.

So why has he been rooting for England? Because the English have Princeton's Olivia Hompe.

The Irish, by the way, have Princeton's Nonie Anderson. The Italians have Kerrin Maurer, a Duke alum who has joined the Princeton coaching staff.

Speaking of Princeton's coaches, Chris Sailer and Jen Cook traveled to England to watch the games this week.

Hompe has had a great tournament, leading the English in scoring and having a four-goal game in an 8-6 loss to Canada in the round-robin portion.

Following the tournament has been relatively easy, by the way, since someone is doing an incredible job of updating the website with scores, stats and such.

Anyway, it'll be Australia and England for third place tomorrow. Much like the U.S.-Canada final, it seemed highly likely that that matchup was going to be the third-place game.

Speaking of international success and Princeton athletes, it's been a really busy week.

TigerBlog will have more next week on Princeton's success at the recently concluded Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Additionally, the World U23 rowing championships conclude Sunday in Bulgaria. There are seven Princetonians represented there.

For way more information than TigerBlog could give you, CLICK HERE.

What else can TigerBlog tell you on this Friday?

Well, here's how he ended things 52 weeks ago today:
And for you? Well, it's a summer weekend. Enjoy it. Do something fun. The first Princeton athletic event is five weeks from today.
The rest of your summer will be gone in a flash. 

And 104 weeks ago today:
Thanks for sticking with TB this far.
Now go have a great summer weekend.  

It's a common theme.

What do you have this weekend? Get outside. Go to a beach. Go water skiing if you've always wanted to, or something like that. BBQ. Go to a game. Go to a concert.

TigerBlog is pretty sure he will copy and paste that paragraph 52 weeks from today.

In the meantime, have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yo Vince

Vincent DiCarlo Jr. - Vinnie to pretty much everyone; Yo Vince to Pete Carril - did not work in the Princeton Department of Athletics for very long.

It was less than one full year, actually. And it was a long time ago. He was an intern, back in the 1995-96 athletic year.

TB is pretty sure it was a year.

Back then, the Office of Athletic Communications had three interns. They'd start in September, in time for the athletic year, and then, if everyone agreed, they'd come back for a second year, which started June 1 and ran to the following May 31.

It was a big pain, actually, to find people, train people, get people up and running - and then have to turn them loose, no matter what, after their second year. The internships became full-time positions at one point about 15 years ago, something that has resulted in great continuity for the OAC.
There were some people who left after a year because they got other jobs. TigerBlog is pretty sure Vinnie was a, well, one-and-done.

So why is it that he's made such a lasting impression on TigerBlog?

Well, he's one of those guys that's just hard to forget. He's a big kid, always smiling, always up, always with a laugh. And he did a lifetime's worth of endearing things in his short time here.

For instance, Vinnie went with the Princeton Athletics contingent to the 1996 NCAA men's basketball tournament in Indianapolis. Everyone on the trip came back with the never-ending memory of the Tigers' win over UCLA. Vinnie did that one better - he came back with those memories and a sign that read "This is not a public entrance to the RCA Dome." 

And then there were the times that he and Carril played lunchtime basketball in Jadwin. Vinnie, whose motto was was shoot-first and defend-never, once had this conversation with the Hall-of-Fame coach:
Vinnie: "Coach, you don't understand basketball."
Carril (gives him a dirty look)
Vinnie: "If I score 30 and the guy I'm guarding scores 28, and all five guys do that, we win by 10."

Ah, Vinnie.

He left the athletic communications field long ago, but the field never really leaves you.

Vinnie checked in this week, emailing TigerBlog about his son Justin, who is currently trying to ride his final year of Little League baseball as far as he can. The DiCarlos live in Connecticut, in a small town of 10,000 called Canton, but the 12-year-old all-stars recently won their district tournament for the first time in 29 years.

Vinnie sent TB an article from a local outlet about the team's success. He also mentioned that when they'd won, he jumped back into sports information mode, arranging interviews on the field and emailing in box scores. Perhaps this explains why Justin ended up with three pictures in the story?

TigerBlog was so proud.

Up next for Canton is a three-team sectional and then, if the team can keep it going, the four-team Connecticut state tournament. Eventually they'll be running into teams from towns with 10 times or more players to choose from, but hey, that never bothered Hickory High School.

Justin is the No. 2 pitcher on the team. He also plays third and is one of the better hitters on the team.

The No. 1 pitcher looks like he could make the jump from Little League to college, or at least he looks that way in the picture in the article Vinnie sent. Vinnie said that that kid's father is 6-8 and former college basketball player at Quinnipiac.

TigerBlog and Vinnie were talking yesterday about the similarities in being the parent of the goalie and the pitcher. There's a comparable level of stress with those positions, knowing that the natural tendency is to put so much of the outcome of the game on the ones charged most with preventing the other team from scoring.

As TB has said many times before, it seems like everyone is thinking "if you'd done a better job of raising your kid, he would have made that save." It's probably the same with the pitcher.

So what advice does he give his son to deal with those stresses? Vinnie said this:
 "I've really worked with him on 'approach, attitude, effort … not results' … can always control the first three … can't control the results, and stats can be misleading … I told him, this is from someone who kept stats for a living."

That's great.

The youth sports road can be expensive, stressful, filled with arguments with on-field officials, complaints about a kid who has to be overage, yelling parents, overbearing parents and every other horror story you read about.

TigerBlog has encountered some of this as he's watched his own kids and all of this back when he wrote about youth and high school sports when he was just starting out in the business.

For all of that, though, there's also a beauty to them. TigerBlog has seen way more of that side than he has the bad side.

They can also be the source of such great bonding experiences between parents and kids. They can create memories that will last forever, really. TigerBlog knows all about this.

So good luck to Justin DiCarlo and his Canton teammates. As TB said to another kid - one named Vinnie - hopefully they roll all the way to Williamsport.

By the way, it's always great to hear from him.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Ultimate Tiger

TigerBlog's second shot on the par-5 was in the middle of the fairway, maybe a little to the left of center.

The green was ahead and a bit to the right. It was maybe 140 yards away. TigerBlog had a seven iron.

There was a tree in the way. TigerBlog figured he could go over the top of it, though, and that's exactly what he did. Over the tree. A little to the right. It splashed onto the green, rolling to a stop about 10 feet from the hole.

It was TigerBlog's best shot of the day - which makes it his best shot in the last 18 years - as he played at Springdale Monday in the Friends of Princeton Lacrosse golf outing.

His worst shot was the one that almost killed Greg Waller.

TigerBlog had not played golf in 18 years prior to his round at Springdale. He hadn't hit a shot at all, he's pretty sure, until he went to the driving range Sunday.

When TB said he would play in the event, his email said this: "Haven't played in nearly 20 years, wasn't good before, don't own golf shoes." As it turned out, his game is still pretty much the same as it was back then.

Here's the scouting report - all drives with woods go wildly to the right, no short game at all, zero ability to get out of the bunkers, reasonably below-average putter, can hit irons pretty straight.

The shot that almost took out Waller - the face-off man on the 1992 NCAA championship team and still the school record holder in ground balls in a season and career (he had 131 ground balls in 1991; Zach Currier had 130 last year) was supposed to be a soft chip from about 50 yards off the green. Waller and Brock Sturdivant, a teammate of Waller's and the fourth in their group, Ed Calkins, were standing about 40 feet to the left of the green, seemingly out of range.

TB jokingly said "heads up" and then hit his chip shot, which instead of softly dancing off his wedge instead rocketed directly in Waller's direction. Had Waller not been paying attention, it's possible it would have nailed him right in the side of his head. As it was, he and Sturdivant dove out of the way safely.

Perhaps the fates were trying to tell TB something as well, since he managed to find basically every sand trap on the course. Hey, he found two separate ones on one hole.

Maybe something was trying to tell him that he should stick to the beach.

Oh, and it was Bryce Chase's birthday. The godfather of Princeton lacrosse turned 77 Monday. He saw TigerBlog hit one shot - an iron off a tee - and gave TB this glowing compliment: "hey, you don't suck as much as I figured you would."

If you know Bryce, you know it was meant with love. 

TigerBlog's lack of golf ability aside, there wasn't anything not to like about this day. The lacrosse group is an extremely close, tight-knit one, in many ways indicative of the very best of what Princeton Athletics hopes its athletes will have in their experience here.

More than half of the golfers, TB would guess, had at least one NCAA championship ring. Almost all were Ivy League champs at least once. They all moved on to successful careers.

And, in the most Princetonian of ways, they are the most loyal people you will ever meet. To each other. And to the school.

The golf started at 1. TigerBlog's first goal was to finish the round without having lost every ball in his bag, and, to his shock, he only lost three. So that was a win.

TB goes way back with Calkins and Waller, but this was the first time he'd ever met Sturdivant. They of course had a lot to talk about, what with Princeton lacrosse and lacrosse in general as the main subjects. Sturdivant, who grew up in north of Baltimore and who now lives in Nashville, was on campus with his son, who has been at the boy's lacrosse camp.

Of course, they had a lot of time to chat, as it took more than five hours to get around the 18 holes. It was a team competition. Each of the four golfers in each group (TB's group started on the fourth hole) would tee off. All four would then play the best tee shot (it was TB's an astonishing three times) and then play their ball from there, with the team to count its top two scores on each hole.

It was obvious from the first hole that if TB's group was going to win, well, then TB wasn't going to be able to carry them. In what he will assume is part of the politeness of golf, they invited TB to play with them again next year.

The winners were the foursome of Kevin Lowe, James Mitchell, Paul Murphy and Ben Strutt. TigerBlog is pretty sure he hit more shots than the four of them combined.

After the golf there was a cocktail hour, followed by remarks from Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan, women's coach Chris Sailer and men's coach Matt Madalon.

And then it was time for one more thing before dinner.

The invitation mentioned that Jon Hess would be honored as well. All of those thing that TB said about Princeton lacrosse player in general? Hess takes them all to another level.

Hess graduated in 1998. How's this for a lacrosse resume:

* three NCAA championships
* 43-2 record his last three years, including 18-0 in the Ivy League
* 1997 Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four
* two-time first-team All-America and one-time second-team All-America
* Ivy League Player of the Year
* third all-time at Princeton in points (215) and assists (133)

That's pretty good, no? 

Hess today is exactly how Hess was 20 years ago as a player. He was the leader. He was the hardest worker. He was the glue of everything. He was the spokesperson. He was the one who made everyone around him better.

TB has heard the story before, many times, about how Hess was the absolute last person in the Class of 1998. Not the last lacrosse player. Not the last athlete. The last one admitted.

Maybe it was that experience that made him the one who, probably more than anyone else, understood the great fortune that made him a Tiger in the first place. Either way, in a sea of loyalty, his connection to Princeton is the strongest.

In many ways, he's the Bryce of his generation, the one who keeps everyone else connected. He was honored Monday for his work as the former president of the Friends' group, a position for which he was a total natural.

When Jon spoke, he said something that perfectly speaks to who he is. "If you want to honor me," he said, "make a connection with someone here you don't already know. Shake the hand of someone here you've never met."

That's typical of him.

Jesse Hubbard, Princeton's career leader in goals and a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame, introduced Hess to the room. He's remarks were great, with his focus on all of the accomplishments and accolades as he made the case that his teammate and close friend is one of the greatest lacrosse players ever.

He also told the story of the 1998 NCAA quarterfinals, most of which TB knew and one part of which TB had never heard before.

Princeton's 1996-98 championship run, and the legacy of those who fueled it, would be somewhat different had the Tigers not won in 1998, when Hubbard and Hess led a great senior class. It would have been a mark against their careers, and it would still have bothered them to this day.

Princeton and Maryland were tied 3-3 at halftime on Memorial Day in 1998, but Hess would have an assist and a goal in the first five minutes of the third quarter to start the Tigers to what became a 15-5 romp. TB knew that.

He also knew that, two rounds earlier, Princeton trailed Duke 8-4 in the second quarter in the quarterfinals at Hofstra. What TB lacks in golf skill he makes up for in his ability to see how games will unfold and which team will win. Usually, as a game is going along, TigerBlog can feel if it's going to be close, going to be a rout, if the team that is down will come back. He's right a lot more than he's wrong.

That day was one of the days he was wrong. Watching that game, TigerBlog had a sinking feeling that this just wasn't going to be Princeton's day. He remembers it vividly. He was on the sideline for a part of the second quarter, and something just didn't feel right.

Princeton pulled with two at the half at 8-6, but Duke was still playing well. And worse, was playing with visible confidence. They were not awed by the moment.

What TigerBlog didn't know, and never heard until Jesse said it Monday, was that Jon Hess went off on his team in the lockerroom. As Jesse said Monday at Springdale, Jon challenged everyone, yelling "who's going to step up? Who's going to step up?" When nobody responded, he yelled "I'm going to step up."

Hess then scored twice in the first 1:21 of third quarter. Princeton would win 11-9. Hess was much more of a feeder in his career. His two goals actually came 23 seconds apart. It might be the fastest he ever bunched two goals in his entire career, and he did it at the time Princeton needed him most.

Jesse wrapped up his remarks by describing Jon Hess in three words. He called him "the ultimate Tiger."

It's such a great description of him.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Half Over Or Half To Go?

As TigerBlog said last week, today is the midway point between the last event of the 2016-17 academic year and the first event of the 2017-18 academic year.

Does it seem like it's been nearly six weeks since the NCAA track and field championships? Or more than eight weeks since the last game of the year, the NCAA women's lacrosse quarterfinal game against Penn State?

Time either flies by or drags. Or, at times, both. Ponder that if you will. Perhaps one day, if TigerBlog teaches a philosophy class, he'll make that the lone question on the final exam: Time either flies by or drags. Or, at times, both. Discuss.

There are, of course, some questions that may never be answered. Or maybe they already have been, and it's just a matter of accepting the outcomes? But which outcome?

Today is a philosophical day, after all. It's the midway point. Is the summer half over, or is half the summer left? Glass half-full, half-empty thing.

This is deep stuff. Maybe too deep for the middle of summer. Maybe the summer isn't meant for these kinds of in-depth philosophical issues. TigerBlog will have to wait for that.

One thing everyone can agree on is that it is, in fact, the middle of summer. At least using the Princeton Athletics calendar, if such a unit of measure exists.

On this campus, that means one thing more than any other. Summer camps.

TigerBlog has always loved the summer sports camps that Princeton offers. There's an army of kids, from little kids to high school kids, marching all around the campus, playing games, practicing, working with college coaches and athletes and, best of all, staying in the dorms and eating in the dining halls.

Both TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog had their intro to dorm life at Princeton summer camps. For TBJ, that meant lacrosse camp, and it meant it from maybe fourth grade, when Bill Tierney first let him jump in the goal at some games.

There was nothing that TigerBlog Jr. loved more as a kid than the days he'd spend at Princeton lacrosse camp. They were the best of times for him, the best of everything.

Where is TBJ today? He's back at the Princeton boys' lacrosse camp, this time as a counselor. It's not his first stint there. It does make TigerBlog wonder how long the list is of people who have been campers and counselors at one of Princeton's camps.
Also, narrowing that list further, TB wonders how many people have lost their meal card as both campers and counselors. Yeah, TigerBlog Jr. has accomplished that.

It's obviously different being a counselor versus being a camper, but TigerBlog was taken back to those camper days Sunday when he watched TBJ pack up. Unlike when he was a kid, TBJ simply got in his car and drove himself there.

Of course, it wouldn't be the a first day at camp without his having forgotten something. In the case this year, it was the fan he needed for his dorm room. Miss TigerBlog, of course, swore she'd looked all over the house and couldn't find it. TigerBlog wanted to bet his daughter that he could find it in less than 60 seconds. She didn't take the bet, which is good for her, because it took TB exactly 18 to locate it.

One of the first coaches TBJ ever worked with at Princeton's camp was an assistant coach at Hartford named Jon Basti. He was one of TBJ's favorite coaches from Day 1, and the coach clearly felt the same about the enthusiasm the young goalie showed. In fact, TigerBlog still has an old, old email from Basti, talking about TBJ to that effect.

Today, Basti is the head coach at Sacred Heart University and TBJ's college coach. Their experience together at those Princeton camps from a long time ago definitely helped in the recruiting process.

Of course, that's something of a coincidence. That's not the point of the camp for a little kid. It jsut sort of worked out that way.

Still, those camps are awesome experiences for the campers. TigerBlog has seen so many of these kids, who come from all over, in genuine awe of their chance to be at a place like Princeton. And to play the sports that they love.

Maybe they're all thinking that they're going to grow up and play for the Tigers one day. And that's great. They should think that way, even if maybe none of them actually well.

It's part of what summer camp gives to these kids. If you're on Princeton's campus every day, like TigerBlog is, you lose the thrill of what it can be like to be there. Look in the eyes of a kid at one of the camps and it comes right back to you.

And that's where things are now. Camp season. Lots of camps, lots of kids.

It's what the middle of summer is all about.

Come tomorrow, of course, it'll be closer to the start of 2017-18 than the end of 2016-17.

But will it still be the middle of summer?


Monday, July 17, 2017

A Cat, A Dog And A Guy Named Mike

Jingles is the official cat of Miss TigerBlog.

He's a nice enough cat. A tuxedo cat. He's definitely a good looking cat.

TigerBlog isn't a cat person. He's a dog person. As he's told you many times before, the perfect retirement scenario includes a dog, whom TB would walk a few times a day while the other people in the neighborhood - preferably one by the beach - say "there goes that nice old man and his dog again."

The reality of his present does not include a dog, however. In that respect, he's stuck with Jingles the cat.

Jingles has a few spots around the house that he loves. Most of them involve sitting in a window sill, basking in the sun, looking at the views outside, something that MTB calls "cat TV."

That's what Jingles was doing yesterday when he pushed too hard against the screen or something, because the next thing he knew, he was no longer on the window sill. He was outside, on the ground below.

It's TigerBlog's contention that Jingles would never make a run for it, since he knows how soft he has it inside the house. This was his chance, though, and all he did was stand on the driveway and look back up at the window, wondering how he was going to get back inside.

Fortunately for Jingles, TigerBlog Jr. saw the whole thing. And so he went outside and got the cat, even though the cat doesn't give TBJ the time of day.

Dogs. That's where it's at. The perfect retirement awaits.

Speaking of dogs, TigerBlog watched the ESPN "30 For 30" released last week on "Mike and The Made Dog," the longtime sports talk radio duo on WFAN in New York City who dominated ratings and established a model that has been mirrored endlessly today, largely for the worse, by the way.

Here's TigerBlog's review of it: "Eh."

It could have been much, much better. For starters, it was a quick one, only an hour. And it was pretty superficial, like a simple recap of the story of how they were thrown together, the way they rose to the top quickly, the highs and lows of their relationship and lastly how they broke up.

There was very little insight into their backgrounds, where they came from, how that molded them. There was next to no behind the scenes stuff, which is what sets most of the "30 For 30" series apart. It was, well, superficial.

And, lastly, it was very regional. Yes, the show was simulcast on the YES Network for many years, which made it available nationally. But still, it's a New York thing.

If you lived in, say, Washington, D.C., or Atlanta or Seattle, what do you know about "Mike and The Mad Dog?" Where's the appeal?

TigerBlog, on the other hand, has no idea how many hours he spent listening to the two of them, but it's a lot. They were certainly entertaining. They were like nothing that had come before them.

Mike (Francesa) was always pompous. Mad Dog (Chris Russo) had the most unique voice in radio. They were just fans, often of opposing teams, and they were always battling each other, in a way that would have been painful to listen to had it not been so entertaining.

Mike loves the Yankees. Mad Dog hates them. This was in New York City. That alone made it great. TB remembers one day, when Mad Dog was there by himself after the Yankees won another World Series. One of the callers called him out on his anti-Yankee views and said that it was his job to support New York's teams.

"My job?" Russo screamed. "My job is to sit here five days a week and talk to the fat guy." Classic.

Francesa still occupies their 1-6 time slot every weekday, at least until he leaves the station at the end of the year. TigerBlog hasn't listened as much since Mad Dog left. It's just not as good. But hey, there's still something special about that time on that station.

As far as TigerBlog can remember, Princeton was represented on their show a few times. Not surprisingly, all of them were related to men's basketball.

The first was Pete Carril, in 1996, after he announced his retirement and before Princeton's game against UCLA.

The next was a year later, with Bill Carmody, before and after Princeton's loss to Cal in the NCAA tournament. Carmody was on again a year later, when Princeton had its 27-2 season and top 10 national ranking.

The other time was when Gary Walters was the chair of the NCAA men's basketball committee. Gary was on with Mike and the Dog the day after the selection show, back in 2007.

That was the year that Syracuse didn't get in the tournament. The two went after Gary pretty hard on the subject, asking him point blank if he didn't believe that Syracuse was one of the 30-whatever best teams in the country without an automatic bid. Gary, to his credit, said simply "yes."

Their breakup would come a year later. It came after a 20-year run, one that can accurately be called "historic."

The "30 For 30" is worth watching, especially if you were a fan of the show.

It's just that, as TB said, it could have been better.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Another July Friday

TigerBlog feels like the coming athletic year starts to get real with four weeks to go until the first event.

That day is two weeks away. If you are good at math, or even if you aren't, that makes today six weeks short of the first event of 2017-18, which would be a home women's soccer game against Monmouth on Aug. 25.

Today? It's a Friday in July. It's about as quiet as it gets around here.

It's right around the midway point from last year to next year. Actually, let's figure that out.

If the last event from last year was the NCAA track and field championships on June 9 and the first event from next year is Aug. 25, then that's a 77-day gap, right? The last 21 days of June, all 31 days of July (which makes 52), and then 25 more in August, taking you to 77.

The halfway point of 77 would be Day 39. The means that the exact halfway point would be July 18, if TB's math is on.

Today is July 14. That means this coming Tuesday would be the exact halfway point. Either way, it's right around the middle.

And that means TigerBlog has very little to say right now. Well, actually, he has a lot of things he could talk to you about, and hey, you're obviously reading this, so maybe you actually want to hear some of them?

Princeton Athletics? Not a lot of that for today.

The English team, which features Olivia Hompe, won its first game at the World Cup for women's lacrosse, defeating Wales 12-6. Tom Schreiber advanced past the first cut to the final 49 players for the U.S. team for the 2018 World Championships, which will be held in Israel. That list of 49 will eventually have to be cut in half, but it would shocking if Schreiber wasn't on the team.

Speaking of women's lacrosse, there's a new assistant coach in town. Her name is Kerrin Maurer, who happens to be one of the best players Duke women's lacrosse has ever had. She's actually second all-time at Duke with 280 points, which left her exactly two short of the number that Hompe put up to set the Princeton career record before graduating this year.

If you want to read the entire story about Maurer, it's right HERE.

The women's hockey team released its schedule, for Season 1 under head coach Cara Morey. Perhaps more ridiculous than the fact that the 2017-18 season begins in six weeks, the women's hockey season begins in little more than three months, with a pair of games against Providence on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.

That's a winter sport, people. Time churns along.

What else can he tell you today? Hopefully you're not expecting something serious right now. It's a Friday in July. How serious do you expect TB to be?

In fact, he'll leave you with three stories that have nothing to do with anything. 

The women's volleyball team also released its schedule. The Tigers, who've won two straight Ivy titles, open Sept. 1. That's seven weeks away.

TigerBlog was at one of Miss TigeBlog's lacrosse events a few weeks ago when he saw the women's lacrosse coach from Vassar. Or at least, he saw a coach wearing a "Vassar" shirt and figured it was her, though he's never met her.

It dawned on TigerBlog that he was wearing a "Princeton Volley" shirt at the time. It could be his most comfortable shirt, a bright orange dri-fit with long sleeves. He loves those shirts.

Anyway, it dawned on him that Sam Shweisky, the head men's volleyball coach, is a Vassar grad. When TB texted Sam to see if her knew the women's lacrosse coach, he replied that he had taken a class she had taught a long time ago. TigerBlog thought about introducing himself and trying to convince her that he was Sam and that he had taken her class at Vassar a long time ago. As he thought it through, he realized that there were a lot of holes in that plan, not the least of which was he didn't know her name, so he said nothing.

That's one. Here's the next:

For TigerBlog, Fridays in July for six years of his youth meant being at a sleepaway camp in the Catskills in New York. For the first five years, it was a camp called Camp Toledo. After a one-year non-camp summer, he then went to a different camp, called Camp Echo, because Toledo had closed down.

He'd spend eight weeks per summer away at sleepaway camp. His first year away was when he was six years old.

As he remembers being told, he and BrotherBlog (who was two years older; actually, he still is) went to camp that summer because their parents were going on a three-week trip the following summer to Japan and Hong Kong and they wanted to see if TB and BB would be okay at the camp without them.  The logic was that if they weren't okay, then their parents would be about three hours away that summer, as opposed to a whole world away the next.

In that respect, it was a very nice thing for them to do. Told another way, though, it's possible that they were simply abandoning their kids.

Lastly, TigerBlog was talking to someone yesterday who mentioned that he had heard that U.S. Lacrosse had considered building Tierney Field right in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore before cost estimates and such moved it to its actual location, outside the city. The Inner Harbor would have been a pretty cool location for the facility.

That got TB thinking about the time he stayed in one of the hotels right on the harbor. He was coming up in the elevator holding a bunch of stuff, including a drink in a cup with a lid on it. Before he got to his floor, he bobbled everything and ended up squeezing the cup, which flew out of his hands and spilled everywhere.

TigerBlog felt badly, so he wanted to at least clean up some of the mess. To do so, he went to his room and got a towel. Then he went back to the elevator. Except there were a bunch of elevators, and the one that came to the floor wasn't the one that he'd dropped the drink in. So he tried again, but again the wrong elevator came. TB took that as a sign that he had tried his best, and he got on that elevator and downstairs. You should always follow the signs. And he's pretty sure someone cleaned it up by now.

Why tell those stories now? Because it's a Friday in July and they're just lighthearted stories.

It's the summer. There's not a game in sight just yet. Why be serious today?

Have a great summer weekend everyone. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Unstoppable Force

TigerBlog forgot to include one thing in his story about "Sweeney Todd" the other day.

The other four musical couples whom TigerBlog referenced all had the kind of love that most people can only dream about, the kind that endures for all eternity.

Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett? They had the kind of love that endured right up until the part where, after killing a whole bunch of people and baking them into meat pies, Sweeney killed her too.

There's love, and then there's love.

TigerBlog was a bit bummed that he forgot to mention that part the other day, though not as bummed as he was a high school sophomore, when he realized that he'd forgotten to include one page from a chemistry lab in his report, which ended up dropping his grade significantly. It worked out okay, since he still got into Penn.

Another update is from the District 12 Little League baseball tournament. The winner for 2017? Huh-TER-buh. That's HTRBA, who won for the first time in 13 years.

This is from local sportswriter Rich Fisher, who may have the record for most stories written about sporting events that happened in Mercer County:
For those who assumed HTRBA stood for Hamilton Township Recreational Baseball Association, you were seemingly mistaken.
After Mercerville’s 12-year-old All-Stars won their first District 12 title in 13 years with a 7-1 win over West Windsor at Sayen Park Sunday, catcher Joe Lemly put those five letters in proper perspective to describe how the title was won.
“It was about using teamwork,” said Lemly, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored. “We have a motto for HTRBA — hustle, teamwork, respect, balance and attitude.”

That's pretty good stuff. TigerBlog forwarded that on to David Rosenfeld, the one who all those years ago asked the immortal question of "what's huh-TER-buh?" If anyone can appreciate District 12 Little League baseball, it's David.

TigerBlog texted David yesterday and asked him this question: Who would be the best two or three best Princeton men's basketball players since you started watching? Not the ones who had the best careers. The guys you would take over anyone else for one game when they were at their best.

On the women's side, by the way, TigerBlog would take Niveen Rasheed, though he reserves the right to take Bella Alarie in another three years. Bella is currently training with the U.S. U19 team, and she will be keeping a journal for You can see entry No. 1 HERE.

As for the men? David went with Brian Earl, Chris Young and Spencer Gloger, with the caveat that he hasn't watched the team as much since 2008 and that he's a huge fan of Devin Cannady.

TigerBlog thought of this question when he saw another story on the website about Mason Rocca. The story, which talks about how Rocca has received a Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship, can be seen HERE.

From the story:
Following his pro career, Rocca returned to his hometown of Evanston, Ill., to pursue his master's degree in secondary education at Northwestern with a concentration in math, completing it this year. The Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship is a five-year program intended to provide new math and science teachers with professional development, resources and support. Rocca was an electrical engineering major at Princeton.

Mason Rocca, on his best day, is the most unstoppable force TigerBlog has seen in a Princeton men's basketball uniform. The problem he had was that he didn't have too many best days, since the majority of his career was hampered by injuries.

TigerBlog has written about Mason before. In fact, he went back to look what he had said about him previously, and TB wrote this in September 2015, nearly two years ago:
Mason Rocca is the single most unstoppable force TigerBlog has seen play for Princeton - when healthy.

For the record, TigerBlog wrote this year's sentence before he went back and checked what he had said before. Clearly, there's a consistency to what TB thinks about Rocca as a player at Princeton.

That's sort of weird also. To describe someone twice in a span of nearly 24 months with the exact same phrase?

Mason played 14 professional seasons in Europe as he outgrew the nagging injuries. Had he never gotten hurt at Princeton, Rocca would have been in an NBA uniform at some point. TigerBlog is certain of that.

And, as he also said two years ago, he might have been the missing piece for Princeton to defeat Michigan State in the 1998 NCAA tournament second round, which would have bumped Princeton to the Sweet 16 that year. Rocca was out injured for the end of the year.

David's choices for the best players at Princeton in the last 25 years or so is a great one. There are other names that could be considered, starting from Kit Mueller and going through the present, with Cannady and Myles Stephens, who might be the second most unstoppable force TB has seen here.

Any list for one game, though, has to include Mason Rocca. He had great touch around the basket. He could pass. Any loose ball was his, whether a rebound or on the floor. Looking back, that was probably the reason he kept getting hurt.

With his pro basketball career over, Mason is back in Illinois, where he grew up, ready to start the next phase of his life as a teacher. The fellowship that he received will help him get started down the path in the classroom.

HERE's more on Mason's fellowship. That story includes this:
On the court, Rocca was a proven leader who was known for his creativity and collaboration. Now he’ll take those skills into the classroom, where he will teach high school math and look for ways to reform the system.

That's pretty flattering stuff.

Of course, it leaves out the "unstoppable force" part, but TigerBlog will keep reminding you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Laxing

TigerBlog got a picture taken with his daughter Sunday afternoon.

In the moment, though, his focus was divided. Oh, it was on the same spot, and it was on photography and it was on Miss TigerBlog. There was just an 11 year divide to deal with as well.

The occasion this past Sunday was the final summer club lacrosse tournament MTB would ever have. These club teams run through the end of the summer after a player's junior year of high school, and so this was it for MTB and her Ultimate teammates.

Much like TigerBlog Jr. back when it was his turn, MTB has spent a large chunk of her summers playing lacrosse. And it all ended Sunday, on a sweltering field in Malvern, outside of Philadelphia.

TigerBlog has been to summer lacrosse tournaments basically everywhere from Massachusetts to Virginia. There was one earlier this summer in Richmond, on TB's birthday, actually. That's okay. It was a great birthday.

Some tournaments, like the one this past weekend, have been close enough to drive to, though her first game both Saturday and Sunday was at 8:50. You can do the math as to what time you have to get up to be there in plenty of time.

These tournaments follow a familiar script. There are multiple games, usually two or three per day, against teams with creative names and colorful uniforms. Many, but not all, tournaments then have a playoff round, which extends the weekend out should your team make it that far.

There are teams from all over, so it's a chance to see how good the competition is from surrounding states and regions or even from all the country. These club teams are for the more serious players, and they have to be players whose parents are okay with the idea of spending their summer weekends on these fields, with the same families year after year, instead of at a beach or a picnic or something.

They also have to be players whose parents are okay spending vacation money on summer lacrosse, between club fees, travel expenses and everything else. 

Both of TigerBlog's children have benefited considerably from their summer lacrosse experience. It made them better players, yes, but it also has helped them learn so many of the lessons that sports can teach - about teamwork, hard work, what it takes to improve, dealing with successes and failures.

TigerBlog Jr.'s first lacrosse tournament actually predated his club experience. It was back when he had finished third grade - yes, that's young - and he was playing rec lacrosse with an organization called Lower Bucks Lacrosse. It was his second year playing, and the first time he was on a team in a tournament.

It dawned on TB in the middle of last week that that tournament, the first for TBJ, was played on the same exact hot, sweltering dusty fields as the one MTB would be playing on this past weekend, in the last one for her. That tournament had been 11 years earlier.

That's a full circle, no?

MTB got dragged to that first tournament for TigerBlog Jr., but she was always a good sport about things like that. In fact, one of the best pictures of MTB that TigerBlog has was taken at that tournament. She was wrapped up in a blanket and lying on the grass, oblivious to the lacrosse being played around her.

Here it is:

That spot of grass is about 10 feet away from where TB and MTB got their picture taken this past Sunday.

With four or five tournaments per summer, and probably 16 summers worth for the two of them combined, that would be, let's see, 16, times, say, 4.5, equals ... well it equals a lot of lacrosse. And that doesn't include winter and fall tournaments, camps and everything else.

The world of club lacrosse is not the only one that is busy this time of year.

The three-day tryouts for the U.S. men's national team for the 2018 World Championships - to be held in Israel - conclude today on Tierney Field outside of Baltimore. Princeton is represented by Tom Schreiber and Tyler Fiorito, and those two plus Zach Currier played in the Major League Lacrosse all-star game last weekend in California.

Currier, a Canadian, has a strong international future ahead of him, though TB isn't sure what the selection process for the Canadian team is. 

The Women's World Cup begins today in England. If you're a Princeton fan, you can root for the home team if you like. Olivia Hompe, the all-time leading scorer in Princeton lacrosse history, will be playing for the English team.

If the men's World Championship final next year in Israel figures to be pretty much a lock to feature the U.S. and Canada, the Women's World Cup is a bit more wide open. A bit, at least.

The Americans are the huge favorites, but the Canadians, English and Australians are all thinking about playing in the championship game as well.

If you want to read more about the English team, click HERE and HERE. Both stories have quotes from Hompe.

The second one, by the way, is from the BBC, and it provides an interesting perspective on lacrosse. For an even better one, read THIS story from the BBC, which looks to teach the game to a British audience that might not know much about it. 

Lacrosse in England is actually very big, though it obviously is nowhere near what soccer is. TigerBlog has seen the English lacrosse team play Princeton on international trips in 2008 and 2016, and he's been impressed by the stick skills and lacrosse IQ of the English.

There are 25 countries who will compete in England in the Women's World Cup. The top six are the four TB already mentioned, plus Scotland and Wales.

The English play the first game of the tournament, this evening against Wales (that's a 6 pm start there, so that's 1 in the afternoon here, TB believes). The U.S. and England will play in the round-robin phase Saturday.

There will be eight teams in the quarterfinal round, with play-ins from the second division to help set that field. The championship game will be played on Saturday the 22nd, so the tournament moves relatively quickly.

You know. Like the last 11 years.

There is still plenty of lacrosse to be played for both of TB's kids. Just not in the summer club tournament format.

To some, it's everything that's wrong with youth sports and college recruiting. There are some arguments that can be made in that direction.

To TigerBlog?

It's been a really special 11 years, and it's been the source of an amazing connection for him with some great people he's met along the way - but especially with his kids.

And now it's over. He'll be able to sleep late on his June and July weekends from now on.

It's just that they just won't be the same.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Swoosh

Sweeney Todd - you remember the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, right?  - and Mrs. Lovett had a nice little going way back when.

Okay, okay, in musical theater romantic history, they weren't quite Tony and Maria ("there's a place for us, somewhere a place for us"), Lt. Cable and Liat ("angel and lover, heaven and Earth am I with you"), Curly and Laurey ("sweetheart, they're suspecting things - people will say we're in love") or even Tevye and Golde ("do you love me? I suppose I do").

Still, Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett were in love. At least she was in love with him, as you can tell when she sang this to him: "Me eyelids'll flutter, I'll turn into butter, the moment I mutter I do."

By the way, can you identify the four musicals that TB quoted?

TigerBlog saw the original version of "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway back in 1979, on its way to the Tony Award for Best Musical. Mrs. Lovett was played by Angela Lansbury. Sweeney Todd was played by the guy walking into the restaurant last night as TigerBlog walked out.

Len Cariou, who was the original "Sweeney," lives in FatherBlog's building and hangs in FatherBlog's circle of friends there. TigerBlog found himself at dinner with FB last night, and as they left the restaurant, in walked three of the gentlemen from that circle.

The one in the middle was Cariou. If you didn't see him in "Sweeney Todd," perhaps you know him better as Tom Selleck's father on "Blue Bloods."

FatherBlog introduced TB to the three men, all three of whom TigerBlog has met about 20 times before. Each time, FatherBlog acts as if he's never introduced his son to them before, so he does it again.

TigerBlog had this conversation with Cariou:
TB: "Saw you in 'Sweeney Todd.' "
Cariou: "Yeah? Wow. What'd you think?"
TB: "You were pretty good."

By the way, the musicals TB mentioned were: "West Side Story," "South Pacific," "Oklahoma" and "Fiddler on the Roof." You should hear TigerBlog sing them.

Anyway, FatherBlog is coming up on the 40th anniversary of living in that building, which is right on the Hudson River. TB was in Hoboken earlier, and he made the short drive from there to FatherBlog's place.

The thing is that, after those 40 years, TigerBlog found a new way to get from where he was near the Lincoln Tunnel to his dad's building. He never knew it was there before. It was right along the river. Who knew?

It was actually the second time in a few days that he found himself in that situation.

Clif Perry, the head equipment manager, called TB the other day and asked him to come by and see just how much space the delivery of the new Nike gear for the coming year takes up on arrival. Okay, TB though. Why not?

So he walked down to Clif's office, and Clif then took him to the rooms where the gear was stored. It was down a hallway that TB never knew was there.

TigerBlog is pretty sure his first time in Jadwin Gym was in the 1983-84 range, either for Princeton-Penn basketball (as a Quaker) or the New Jersey high school wrestling championships (as a sportswriter). Since then, he's spent decades in the building, and he was pretty sure he knew every corner of it and Caldwell Field House.

He didn't. There was a hallway there that he never knew existed. Who knew?

Meanwhile, back at the Nike stuff, it was in two different locker rooms, one for the women's stuff, one for the men's stuff. Both rooms were essentially packed from floor to ceiling with boxes.

And these were just the items for the coaches and teams, not the department staff.

TigerBlog has said this before, but it's worth mentioning again. Princeton's partnership with Nike has been among the very best things that he's seen in all his time here.

Before the Nike deal, it seemed like each team went in its own direction, with different shades of orange, different logos, different everything. It made for a lack of consistency in the overall athletic look, which made for a somewhat fractured department. That's not really an overstatement.

Back then, TigerBlog would often see Princeton's athletes on campus wearing different kinds of apparel, and, way worse than that, t-shirts and sweatshirts of other colleges. That was a huge pet peeve of TB's.

Then, along came Nike. Suddenly, everyone matched. Everyone had the same colors. Everyone's Princeton shield or striped "P" was identical.

If you think that something so seemingly small can't have a huge impact, you're underestimating things. The Nike partnership has brought to Princeton Athletics an increased sense of pride. TigerBlog isn't overstating that.

And there was the next generation of Nike gear, ready to be organized and distributed for the 2017-18 season.

With it will again come that sense of pride.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Birthday "Coach"

Today will be the eighth time in TigerBlog history that he shares this story with you:

Back on Dec. 28, 1994, TigerBlog found himself in New Orleans, at the UNO Holiday Tournament championship game. It was Princeton against the host team, the Privateers, at the Lakefront Arena.

Before the game, TigerBlog had gumbo and jambalaya. Both were great. Seriously. He did. He remembers that clearly.

New Orleans won, 50-43. As TB looked back at the box score, he couldn't help but notice that no Tiger was in double figures. Three scored nine. Who were they? He'll even give you their initials: JM, RH, SG.

That should make it really easy. He'll give you the answer shortly, though sometimes he forgets to do that. He'll try not to this time.

The night before, Princeton had beaten Texas A&M in the first round of the event. That game went three overtimes before Princeton won 71-66.

Two Princeton players went all 55 minutes - JM and CD.

After that game, Princeton head coach Pete Carril was asked about having to play New Orleans in the final. They're going to be tough, he said. They have big guys.

When a reporter told him that his team also had big guys, Carril answered without flinching this way:

"Yeah, but I didn't go down to the docks to get them."

How did he think of those kinds of things so easily? He was so good at it. TigerBlog should have written down every great line he ever heard from Carril, in actual interviews and then in every day situations. Even without benefit of that, TB can still remember a lot of them, and they are all classics.

Why mention this today?

It's because today is Pete Carril's 87th birthday. That's why.

Happy birthday Coach.

There are a lot of people who played for him at Princeton who call him only "Coach." They wouldn't dream of calling him anything different. No matter how old he gets, he's never "Pete" or "Coach Carril" or anything. He's just "Coach."

Oh, and the initials? You have: James Mastaglio, Steve Goodrich, Rick Hielscher and Chris Doyal.

TigerBlog has written more about Pete Carril than any other subject, he's pretty sure. There's a reason for that.

There has never been anyone on this campus quite like Pete Carril. TigerBlog has often referred to him as the "conscience" of Princeton University, and he thinks it's a great description.

If you're reading this, then you're probably a Princeton fan. If you're a Princeton fan, then you know well his backstory.

He's from Bethlehem, the Pennsylvania steel town. His father, a Spanish immigrant, worked in the mills for 40 years, and it was from him that Carril developed a sense for the work ethic, his own and the one he demanded of those around him.

After playing at Lafayette, including for Butch van Breda Kolff, he started his career as a high school teacher (American government) and basketball coach, first at Easton High School and then at Reading High School, where he had a point guard at Reading named Gary Walters.

From there it was to Lehigh for a year and then to Princeton for 29. He'd win 511 games at Princeton and 523 overall, and he coached the Tigers to 13 Ivy titles, 11 NCAA appearances, the 1975 NIT championship and some of the greatest games college basketball has seen.

His Princeton career ended in 1996, first with the epic Ivy League playoff win over Penn and then the even more epic win over defending NCAA champion UCLA in the NCAA tournament.

When he left Princeton, he was an assistant coach in the NBA for more than a decade. Now he's retired, and he's a frequent visitor to Jadwin Gym.

Back to the "conscience" idea, Carril brought a sense of accountability to Princeton. His players all started out equally, regardless of where they came from, what their high school was, how much money they had or didn't have.

In his nearly 30 years at Princeton, Carril was unconnable, if such a word exists (it doesn't). He couldn't be less impressed by things other than effort, teamwork, hard work, dedication. These weren't just words to him. These were the required, necessary tenets of his world, his team.

Maybe the best thing he said, and he said it a lot, was this: "you can't separate the player from the person." What he was saying was that character is as much a part of the game as talent. He's right.

The conscience.

TigerBlog connected with Carril in the 1980s, first as a sportswriter and later as the last athletic communications contact he had as the basketball coach here. TB was once on the wrong end of a shouting match with Carril, but that was it. And being the basketball contact had its perks; one of Carril's rituals was to buy the basketball contact soup for lunch.

The other perks? They were related to watching one of the game's greatest from a front row seat. TigerBlog hasn't met too many other people who have made an impact on him the way Carril has - and he wasn't even one of his players.

Pete moves slower these days. His body, that is. His mind is still sharp.
There are fewer and fewer people left in the department who were here when he was the basketball coach. He was here for 29 years. In the 21 years since he left, Princeton has had five basketball coaches: Bill Carmody, John Thompson III, Joe Scott, Sydney Johnson and the current one, Mitch Henderson, a player on Carril's last team.

Pete is a Princeton legend. Talk like that always ran contrary to what he was about. Do your job every day. Don't worry about things like talk of legends and that sort of thing. You can't coach to have people be impressed by you. No. You have to believe in something and stay faithful to it.

Carril is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. TigerBlog is the one who nominated him, and, in the program the night Carril was inducted, there was a four-page feature on him written by TB. 

It's one of the two really long features TB has written about Carril, in addition to the millions of smaller pieces. Carril never said one word to TigerBlog about either. Nothing. No feedback at all.

TigerBlog likes it that way. It says a lot about the man himself.

Do your job. Do it the best you can. Your reward is knowing that you didn't cut any corners. If that's not good enough, then you're missing the point of why you did it in the first place.

That's also the lesson. That's Pete's lesson.

And today is his birthday.

Happy birthday to the conscience.

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Little More Summer Hoops

Peter Farrell stopped by TigerBlog's office yesterday.

The former women's track and field coach has literally seen the world since his retirement a little more than a year ago. TB doesn't see him as much as he used to, back when his office was a few feet away.

Still, whenever Peter is around, there are always some good stories to follow. And when TB has little motivation to write something for a summer Friday, Peter always gives him a spark.

Yesterday was no different.

TigerBlog hadn't heard the one, for instance, about the time that Peter's car broke down right at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, on the Manhattan side. He said he seemed to make a lot of friends that day.

Or the one about Lew Alcindor's first high school basketball game. Surely you know who Lew Alcindor is, right?

TigerBlog is guessing you do. Here are three hints if you don't: 1) he hasn't gone by that name in decades, 2) he scored 6,000 more points in the NBA than Michael Jordan did and 3) he recently received an honorary degree from none other than Princeton University.

Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971 and then went on to become the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, with the completely unstoppable sky hook as his main weapon. Jordan, by the way, is fourth. Who are 2 and 3? And what active player has the most?

Anyway, before he was Kareem and before he played at UCLA, where he helped the Bruins to the NCAA title each of his three varsity seasons, he was a New York City legend at Power Memorial High School.

Farrell was another New York City legend. Well, maybe not legend. But he was a year ahead of Alcindor in high school, at Archbishop Molloy, and he was in the gym when Power Memorial and Alcindor opened his sophomore season (Peter's junior season) at Molloy. It would be Alcindor's first varsity season.

Peter also sat next to Alcindor at a banquet when both were still in high school. He saw the name tag for Alcindor next to his at the table and asked his father if he thought he was going to be there. Pointing straight up at the 7-2 Alcindor, Peter's father said simply "yes."

The answer to the question above? No. 2 is Karl Malone. No. 3 is Kobe Bryant. The active player with the most points is Dirk Nowitski (he's sixth all-time; Jordan is four and Wilt Chamberlain is five), with LeBron James not all that far behind. 

Since TB is on the subject of basketball, he needs to point out that since the release of the men's basketball schedule two days ago, the dates of two of the games have been changed. That's how it works.

The Cornell-Columbia home weekend has been moved from the end of January to the weekend of Jan. 12-13, before exams start. Also, you may have noticed that there are no Penn games listed yet, but not to worry. TB has been assured that his alma mater will be fielding a team in 2017-18 and will show up twice on the Princeton schedule, as always.

Speaking of basketball, Bella Alarie will be spending the next two weeks of her summer in Colorado Springs, where she and her U.S. U-19 teammates will be preparing for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

Alarie made the U.S. team in a tryout this spring. If you look at the USA Basketball website, you'll see that a lot of big-time players are alums of the U.S. U19 team and the World Cup.

The event features a 16-country field. Opening tip for the championships is Saturday, July 22. The U.S. is in a four-team group with China, Mali and Italy, who is also the host nation.

Each of the 16 teams will advance to the knockout rounds. The championship game will be Sunday, July 30.

Alarie launched herself on the women's basketball scene this past year, when she was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Ivy League selection. She's a 6-4 guard, something that Princeton has never really had before, and she is a complete mismatch on the offensive end while being a total stopper at the other end. Among her freshman year accomplishments: She set the school single-season blocked shots record.

Courtney Banghart, Alarie's coach at Princeton, has finished 10 seasons as head coach of the Tigers. In case you don't know off the top of your head, her career record is 208-87, and her Ivy career record is 113-27.

Those are ridiculous numbers.

Banghart, of course, hasn't done it by herself. She has, through fortune, foresight and both, had great assistant coaches here, especially the one constant from Day 1, Milena Flores.

As she looks back on her first 10 seasons, Courtney will be doing some reflecting over the next few weeks. The first installment in the series is about all of the people who have coached with here here, and it's definitely worth reading, which you can do HERE.

And then when you're done, have yourself a great summer weekend. Only seven more to go before the first event of 2017-18.