Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Heps Champs

If you've ever tried to park on a city street, then you probably have gone through what TigerBlog did the other day.

It was Friday morning. He was in the Bronx, for the Ivy League Heptagonal Cross Country championships. As you know, it is one of his favorite events on the Ivy athletic calendar.

The main drawback of having Heps at Van Cortlandt Park is that it's next to impossible to find a parking space there. The other one is that the runners spend way more time out of sight during the races themselves, but hey, that's okay.

Oh, and for this past one, the sun was so bright and the day so warm that it melted all of the cookies in the Princeton tent. Still, it Heps was what is always is - a big party, with lots of of old friends and two really competitive races.

TB will get back to the parking situation first though.

TigerBlog came down Broadway and then turned off back towards where the Fieldston School is. That's where he started to look for parking spaces.

And he found none. And then he found a few other streets with none. If you've ever driven around back there, these are pretty narrow streets, with cars just wedged in one after the other. Then, as you inch up the street, you see a space.

Ah, but it's a hydrant. Or a driveway.

When you finally find that one spot, like TB did, you start to think to yourself that "hey, this must not be a legal parking spot, or else someone else would have already taken it." In the case of the spot that TB found Friday morning, it seemed to be a little too close to a driveway and a little too close to a hydrant - but maybe it was okay.

So what do you do? Well, first you look up on your phone how close you're allowed to be to a hydrant in New York City. Turns out it's 15 feet. Then you try to estimate how far you are, possibly by stepping it off, only to conclude that you're somewhere between 14 and 16 feet away.

As TigerBlog was doing all this, a woman came out of one of the houses close to where he was considering parking and said that there is no way he'd ever get a ticket if he parked there. TigerBlog took this as gospel truth and, relying on the word of a total stranger, left his car there.

Turns out, she was right. When TB came back, there was no ticket on his car.

Also by the time he got back to his car, he'd seen two pretty interesting stories play out for Princeton.

On the women's side,  Gabi Forrest was the individual champion. On the men's side, Princeton was the winner.

Let's start with Forrest, a junior. TigerBlog went back to last year's results to see how she did, only to learn that she didn't even compete.

And now, here she was, a year later. She figured to be a point scorer. But the champion?

It led to one of the nicer moments TigerBlog has ever seen at a Princeton event.

There was Forrest, the winner after a late charge to the tape. And there was her mother, who came to watch the race - all the way from their hometown of Brisbane. The one in Australia.

And there they were, mother and daughter, hugging near the finish. You can see it right HERE. That's pretty special, right?

The women's race was at 11. Then it was time for the men to go.

TigerBlog spent most of the men's race standing near the finishing line, kibitzing, as it were. You know who is great at kibitzing? Former women's track and field coach Peter Farrell, and he's not even one of TB's people. Peter was there, of course. It wouldn't be Heps without Peter.

As the men were off on the course, Peter was giving the guide of what racing is like. He grew up running at Van Cortlandt Park, and he loves the place.

And of course, pretty much everything he says is funny.

Eventually, as the men headed for the finish, it was pretty clear that it would be either Princeton or Columbia.

First it was Columbia. Then Princeton (Noah Kauppila), Princeton (Conor Lundy), Princeton (Garrett O'Toole). Then Columbia, Yale, Columbia, Columbia.

From where TB was standing, he couldn't really see who was about to cross the line until they were really close. He did know that he needed to see two oranges before one light blue, and that's exactly what happened.

There was Gannon Willcutts in ninth. There was Viraj Deokar in 10th. Columbia needed to come in at least 13th to tie, but there would be runners from every other school before the next blue shirt, and it was clear that Princeton had won.

The Tigers picked up their 19th Ivy Heps title in program history. It was also a sweep of Heps titles in the calendar year of 2017, after winning indoor and outdoor track and field.

And for TB, it was another fun trip to Heps. And no parking ticket.

He's pretty sure his son has more than made up for that, of course.


Brett said...

We weren't as lucky back in 2001. None other than Charles Yrigoyen drove the Ivy staff up in the family minivan. We parked up the hill there, only to have the minivan disappear during the meet. This was the days before Uber, so we took the subway a few stops and walked a bit over to a sketchy tow yard. All the while, we had not posted Heps results because it was olden times.

We eventually got the minivan back and made it back to HQ in Princeton at 7 or 8 pm.

After that, I stayed HQ and had people calling in with results, quotes, notes, etc. And I'd always be home shortly after 5.

Mary said...

I remember going through similar thoughts when I had to deal with parking at the NYC Armory for Indoor Heps. Last year, I wisened up and did Uber. A lot of money to cross the GW Bridge and a 10 min ride, but it was worth it since I didn't have to worry about playing the parking game.