Friday, September 1, 2017

More Opening Days

Well, if you go back pretty much exactly 12 years to the day, you can find a picture of Miss TigerBlog and her friend Wiki on the first day of kindergarten.

They were at the same bus stop, two little wide-eyed girls getting on the school bus for the first time. In their elementary school, kindergarten kids wear a little pin on their clothes for the first few days with their name and teacher's name, in case they get lost. It's cute.

Each year since on the first day of school, MTB and Wiki stood next to each other for a picture. Every single year. Even through middle school, when they first learned to roll their eyes. And all the way through high school, even though the idea of taking yet another picture was "sooooooo embarrassing."

Yesterday was the last of those pictures. It was the first day of senior year, and the two of them stood next to each other yet again, for the last of the first day of school pictures. It was nice, and it was a tad bittersweet.

Unlike the five year olds who got on the bus all those years ago, MTB and Wiki posed for their picture and then got into their cars and drove off to school. Times change. And goes by quickly.

One day you're in kindergarten. The next you're a high school senior. At least there are all those pictures as a reminder.

So that was yesterday's opening day. Today's opening day is much more Princeton-centric.

The women's soccer team opened its season with a sweep last weekend against Monmouth and Villanova. This weekend the Tigers are at North Carolina State (tonight at 8) and at Wake Forest (Sunday at 1), both of whom are unbeaten and ranked in the top 20.

You can see both of those games, by the way, on ESPN3.

Ah, but TigerBlog is talking opening days today. And that applies to three other Princeton teams today and then another one tomorrow.

Of the four teams who are starting their seasons this weekend, three of them are doing it on the road. TB will start with them.

The men's soccer team is in Central New York this weekend for the, well, Central New York Classic. It starts today with a game at Syracuse at 3 and then concludes at Colgate Sunday at 4, if you happen to be in Central New York.

There are two things about Syracuse men's soccer that TigerBlog didn't realize before he read the story about the game. First, Syracuse is ranked eighth in the country. That's not all that stunning.

The other is. Princeton and Syracuse have never met in men's soccer before. Syracuse has been playing since 1920. Princeton has been playing since 1938. The two have never played before?

Of course it's not like Princeton and Colgate have gone at it every year either. This will be just the fourth time the Tigers and Raiders have played.

The first meeting between Princeton and Colgate was played in 2007. Where was that game played? It was played on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium, in the year when Lourie-Love Field was torn down and Roberts Stadium was built.

By the way, both Syracuse and Colgate are coming off of NCAA tournament appearances, so Princeton is really jumping into the deep end to start the season.

Speaking of jumping into pools, the men's water polo team starts the 2017 season at the Navy Invitational. The first game is tomorrow at 10:30, against Salem International.

Princeton, ranked 11th nationally in the preseason, also plays Fordham and La Salle tomorrow and then Navy Sunday.

The women's volleyball team begins its season today, four hours before the men's soccer team does, when it plays at Boston College at 11. Then it's North Texas at 5 and Bryant tomorrow at 2.

Princeton has won two straight Ivy League women's volleyball championships. The 2016 season ended with a strong showing in the opening round of the NCAA tournament against BYU, and the 2017 Tigers are among the league favorites yet again.

The other team to get started today is the field hockey team. How's this for an opening weekend: the No. 1 team in the country Friday and then the defending NCAA champion Sunday.

Princeton, who reached the Final Four a year ago, takes on North Carolina, the No. 1-ranked team in the country, this afternoon at 4 on Bedford Field. Then, right after that, it's a game at Delaware Sunday at 1:30.

Delaware, by the way, beat Princeton in the semifinals a year ago before beating North Carolina in the championship game.

And, of course, it's no longer August. Once again, another August has zoomed by.

Now it's September. The campus already has a completely different feel to it.

Very, very shortly, classes will be underway. Then it will be August again. And then MTB and Wiki will be, wait, what? College students?

What the heck?

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