Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Some Good News

TigerBlog wants to start today, again, with the reminder that the men's basketball game against Yale Friday has been moved to a 6:00 start.

He also wants to start with another story, a non-Princeton story, one that he hopes has a happy ending to it.

TigerBlog was a big fan of the series "A Season With Navy Football," one that aired this past fall on Showtime. In fact, he's been a big fan of Navy football for a long time, with a great deal of respect for the offense the team runs (he's likened it to the football equivalent of what used to be the Princeton basketball offense) and the people at the Academy itself.

The series followed the Midshipmen through their season, one that included a heartbreaking loss to Army in the snow in Philadelphia, followed by a 49-7 destruction of Virginia in the Military Bowl. 

Of course, when you use the terms "heartbreaking" and "destruction" when you talk about the 2017 Navy football team, you have to keep in the mind the story that carried over throughout the entire season. Jarren Jasper, the 14-year-old son of Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, was waiting for a heart transplant.

Like all of those who are waiting, Jarren's future was very much uncertain throughout the fall. His own heart was failing him, something that escalated after he had a procedure in the summer. Now all he and his family could do was wait.

If you watched the show, you saw how it affected every member of the program, in a very, very emotional way. Jarren Jasper was what you'd think a 14-year-old would be in that situation - annoyed that he was missing out on what he wanted to be doing, like going to Navy's away games and playing his own games.

For his part, Ivin Jasper carried on in his position as OC, all the while waiting for one of two phone calls to come.

The phone finally rang for the Jasper family Monday night, and it was the news they'd waited for - a heart had come available. Jarren had the transplant surgery, and it appears to have gone well, from early indications. His parents tweeted that the heart was beating on its own, a good sign, and they also sent along their condolences to the donor family, keeping in mind exactly what it takes to have a donor heart become available.

The next 24 hours are huge for Jarren. TigerBlog, of course, wishes him and his family the best. As you probably know, TB has two kids. When they were 14, such a situation would have been unimaginable to him. He's never met Ivin Jasper or his family, but he can't help but marvel at how they have handled what they were dealt. They deserve nothing but the best.

Transitioning back to Princeton Athletics from that isn't easy, so TB will just get right to it.

This week's edition of "Hard Cuts" features the Arirguzoh brothers, Franklin of the men's track and field team and Richmond of the men's basketball team. TB thinks it's his favorite episode yet, and not just because he did the voiceover in the beginning and the end.

It's a great family story, about how they ended up in Mercer County in the first place and how both brothers now compete at Princeton. That part alone would be great, and it only gets better when you factor in the back-and-forth ragging on each other that the two brothers do as they're being interviewed.

It's really good. You can see it HERE.

Another video was released yesterday on, this one about women's squash player Oliver Fiechter. You can see that one HERE.

It's been a great squash season so far for Princeton, both the men and women.

Fiechter's team is currently ranked No. 1 in the country, and the next two matches will be absolutely huge, beginning tonight at Penn and then continuing Saturday at Harvard. If you don't follow squash that closely, those are the two teams who played in the national championship match a year ago, one that Harvard won 7-2.

Princeton is ranked No. 1 largely because of its win over No. 2 Trinity, a team that has not yet played Harvard. The Crimson remain the team to beat in the Ivy League and nationally, though, especially when you toss in the team's current 46-match winning streak, which dates to a 2015 mid-season loss to Penn.

The men are also at Penn tonight. That match pits the sixth-ranked Tigers against the fifth-ranked Quakers. Individually, Princeton is led by freshman Youseff Ibrahim, who is unbeaten at the No. 1 spot so far and is a favorite to win the individual national title even as a rookie.

It's been a great resurgence in squash at Princeton, one that hopefully continues as the season goes along.

And as for Jarren Jasper? Hopefully his news continues to get better as well. His resilience is amazing for someone his age.

Every now and then, the news can be good.

No comments: