Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Chat With Courtney Banghart

The Court Report With Courtney Banghart - Jan. 24

How in the world is anyone supposed to get excited about watching the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl again?

At least anyone other than a serious Patriots fan, that is. Like Princeton women's basketball coach Courtney Banghart, for instance, who makes the interesting claim that the Patriots are good for the game.

Princeton is in the middle of first semester exams, and Courtney's team doesn't play again for more than a week. Ah, but she and TigerBlog had an episode of "The Court Report" to do yesterday, and they had to talk about something for 15 minutes.

Perhaps that's why the conversation that TB and Courtney had addressed all kinds of subjects.

Yes, they spent some time on the Princeton women's basketball team. Just not all that much.

Beyond talking about the video that TB's colleague Cody Chrusciel did on freshman guard Carlie Littlefield and the fact that Princeton is the only team in the league with a road win, there really wasn't much on-court business to discuss.

Instead, TB just let the conversation flow, and it was actually a lot of fun, sort of like blogging in the summer, right from the start. Question No. 1 - Did Courtney's uncle really give her a ride on a recruiting trip on his plane, as she had tweeted earlier this week?

Really. Seriously. Her uncle is a pilot, and he flew her to where she had to go.

That certainly makes it easier to hit the road, especially when she said which roads. These particular roads, by the way, went through New York City and New Haven and Hartford and lots of other places where bad traffic tends to gather.

Have you ever been on a small plane? TigerBlog was on one of those new smaller regional jets to Indiana, with one seat on one side and two on the other. But that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about a very small plane, the kind that your uncle flies you around in.

Does that sound like something you'd want to do? TigerBlog actually would like to try that on a trip one day.

Actually, he had a next-door neighbor once who was an airline pilot. He made flying seem like the absolutely safest way ever to get from one point to another.

You know, it does sound pretty good, Princeton to another Ivy campus in no time, with Courtney's uncle in the pilot seat, explaining how it all works. Seeing the landscape from the air. Seeing the cars stuck in traffic.

Driving just won't be the same, TB supposes.

Anyway, another part of his conversation with Courtney was about the Patriots, her beloved Patriots. Of course, she gave the disclaimer that she grew up in the area and so she was entitled to root for them and wondered how anyone could root against them. TB suggested it was easy to do so.

New England has won five Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as head coach and Tom Brady as quarterback. Together, those two will be heading to the Super Bowl for an eighth time. Eight Super Bowls for one head coach and quarterback? Insane.

If you think like TB, by the way, then you considered that the Super Bowl will match teams whose home stadiums are in the middle of a six-year run hosting every NCAA men's lacrosse championship weekend. You probably don't think like TB of course.

Each time New England has been in the Super Bowl, TigerBlog has hoped they'd lose. They actually did twice, both times to the Giants, TB's former favorite team, one that will have to do a lot to win him back now that they fired former Princeton football player Marc Ross.

Let's see. What else did TB and Courtney talk about? Oh yeah, Courtney talked about her earliest influences at Princeton, especially Bill Tierney, Chris Sailer and Guy Gadowsky. There was also, well, there was other stuff; you'll have to listen for yourself.

Like his experience with the lacrosse podcast with Matt Madalon last spring (and coming again this season TB assumes, though he hasn't talked to Madalon about it yet), TigerBlog has really enjoyed doing "The Court Report." Courtney is a natural at it, and the conversations have been really easy and really interesting, with a good mix of the on-court doings of the team along with what goes into the mind of a coach throughout a long season.

And, in this case, what keeps her busy when there's nothing on-court going on. Flying with her uncle? Very good. Rooting for New England? Eh. Not as good.

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