Friday, September 29, 2017

Ivy Kickoff

TigerBlog's favorite professional sports team for basically his entire life has been the Giants.

The ones who play football, that is.

Last weekend, TB watched as Odell Beckham Jr., the team's best player, caught a touchdown pass and then got down on all fours, pretending to be a dog. Then he lifted his leg, pantomiming a dog as it urinated on the grass of Lincoln Financial Field.

What in the world is TB to make of this?

It obviously cost the Giants 15 yards on the kickoff. In a game that ultimately was decided on a 61-yard field goal on the final play, every yard in the game figured to be important.

To make it worse, TigerBlog couldn't figure out what was the most appalling part - that Beckham seemed oblivious to the fact that he had hurt his team, that he wouldn't promise not to do it again or that he decided to fake urinate on an NFL field in the first place.

It reminded TB of what the late, great Marvin Bressler used to say about rooting for professional teams. Marvin was a sociologist, not to mention the inspiration for the very successful Princeton Academic Athletic Fellows program.

Marvin was talking about how fascinating the connection is between fans and their teams, even though the members of those teams usually have no connection to the area. Put on your team's uniform, and all of the sudden you love them.

Marvin was talking specifically about how Philadelphia fell in love with the Flyers when they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in the 1970s. Marv's words: "Why should I care that our Canadians are better than their Canadians."

So that's something of an oversimplification. Still, rooting for the Giants is really hard these days. Beckham is the best player, and if the Giants are going to be good, then he will have to be the main reason why. At the same time, the better he does, the more insufferable he'll be.

Oh well. TB can still root for Marc Ross, the Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation. He's the same Marc Ross who is one of TigerBlog's all-time favorite Princeton football players, a record-setting receiver and kick returner who graduated in 1995.

He's also a former student worker. Much like the great Maggie Langlas, Ross would answer the phones in Jadwin Gym during basketball games after football season. That was back when the media section was on the bench side of Jadwin, in a separate section at midcourt, rather than in tables at courtside.

The current Princeton football team will be on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium tomorrow at 12:30 against Columbia.

Right now, there are five teams in the Ivy League who are 2-0, including Princeton and Columbia. Come tomorrow night, one of them will be 3-0, 1-0 in the league, heading into the final non-league game of the season. For Columbia, that would be Marist next weekend. For Princeton, that would be Georgetown back on Powers Field.

Yale is the only one of the 2-0 teams who has played a league game. The other two 2-0 teams are Penn and Dartmouth, who also play, tonight, in their league openers.

Harvard is 1-1, but the Crimson are also 1-0 in the league after beating Brown a week ago. Harvard and Yale, as well as Brown and Cornell, play non-league games this week.

What all this means is that there will be four 1-0 teams in the league after this weekend. There's no guarantee that the eventual champ or champs will be in that group of 1-0 teams, it's a huge advantage to win the first league game.

Trust TigerBlog on this one. He looked it up once, and it's true.

He looked this up yesterday, and it's also true: Princeton has won 11 Ivy League football championships, and it won its Ivy opener in every one of those 11 seasons.

As for this opener, it'll be the 18th straight year that Princeton opens its Ivy season with Columbia, and it'll be only the third time that both are 2-0 heading in.

The weather will be perfect. Princeton-Columbia will even be the perfect place to atone for your sins, if you're one of TigerBlog's people.


Anonymous said...

Actually, the most appalling part is acting like such an ass when so many of his colleagues are taking a knee during the Anthem. The juxtaposition of his self-indulgence and others' social awareness couldn't be more stark.

Anonymous said...

Eager for the opener. Regarding your loyalty to the Giants: I would suggest trading Beckham for Landon Collins, a no frills joy to watch.