Friday, January 12, 2018

Food For Thought

The business day yesterday started with an impressive breakfast spread, courtesy of Princeton Athletics' friends at the Hyatt Regency.

The occasion was the monthly staff meeting, which goes on the road every now and then. And the Hyatt was extremely welcoming, with eggs, French toast, fruit, muffins, croissants and lots of bacon.

One staff member who was not at the meeting was Gail Ramsay, the women's squash coach. Gail was back in Jadwin, getting ready for the match between her third-ranked Tigers and second-ranked Trinity. That match was starting at 1 yesterday.

To help out with attendance, Gail sent along a message that there'd be lunch available. And so there it was, on a table outside the Zanfrini Room - sandwiches, ships, cookies.

Not every day is like that, of course. Usually, there are no free meals provided at work. Yesterday? Breakfast and lunch, courtesy of the Tigers.

The food probably helped draw some of the fans in attendance. So did the fact that it was a big event in mid-day.

TigerBlog suggested to some of his coworkers that there should be a 1 p.m. event every work day. Why not? This one went really well.

Princeton, as TB said, was ranked third. The Tigers already owned a win over the No. 4 team in the country - Stanford. By the way, if you're looking for a sport that is spreading nationally, try squash.

Anyway, Princeton went into the match against No. 2 Trinity knowing that it was the start of a five-match stretch that would see the Tigers play the No. 1 (Harvard), No. 2 (Trinity), No. 5 (Penn) and No. 6 (Yale, this Sunday by the way, after a match tomorrow against Brown) teams in the country.

Wins are never easy to come by when you run a gauntlet like that. It seemed like Princeton wasn't going to come away with one yesterday either when it fell behind 4-1.

One of the great things about squash - and toughest things about squash - is that you can't run out the clock. You have to get every point in the game, you have to get every game in the match and you have to get five matches as a team.

It would be Princeton who would get to five yesterday. The Tigers rallied, winning out, and came away with a huge victory over the Bantams.  

TigerBlog and Gail Ramsay are old buddies. Gail, and the late men's coach Bob Callahan (it still hurts TB to have write "late" before Bob Callahan) got TB involved playing the game here years and years ago, and TB and Gail were next-door neighbors for awhile. Gail is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet in your life, not to mention one of the best cooks.

She also is one of the greatest squash players and greatest squash coaches of all time as well. And, with her team at 7-0, she's clearly not lost the edge in the least.

Speaking of old friends, this weekend brings back two others to town. Meg Griffith and Brian Earl will be back in Jadwin Gym.

Meg is the head coach of the Columbia women's basketball team. Brian is the head coach of the men's team at Cornell.

Princeton hosts both teams this weekend in a pair of doubleheaders. It all starts tonight at 5:30, when Meg's Lions will take on the Princeton women, followed at 8 by the men's game. Tomorrow night it's Cornell's women at 4:30 and Cornell's men at 7.

There have only been two Ivy League games played on the men's and women's sides to date, with wins by Princeton and Dartmouth on the women's side and Harvard and Penn on the men's side. Because of Princeton's academic calendar, the Tigers will be out of action for the next two weekends.

Columbia and Cornell will play each other next weekend and the weekend after. Yale and Brown will play each other this weekend and next weekend. Harvard and Dartmouth play again next weekend and then play the first Yale/Brown weekend after that, so there are a lot of games to be played before Princeton will come back to the court.

Meg and Brian were both very popular here as assistant coaches. Brian, of course, is one of the greatest players in Princeton basketball history, with a resume that includes three NCAA tournaments, the school record for career three-pointers and an Ivy League Player of the Year award.

There's no time for sentiment though.

This weekend is always an interesting one. You can't build any momentum coming out of it, no matter what, since you don't play for so long. That makes these games their own little mini-season, and it's an important one at that.

It's going to be a busy two days here at Jadwin.

And then a quiet few weeks.

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