Thursday, May 31, 2018

Here's To The 219 Of Them

On pretty much any other day, TigerBlog would have written about the return of Addie Micir to Princeton women's basketball and/or the announcement of the 2018-19 Princeton men's hockey schedule.

Those will have to wait until next week, though TB would like to point out that opening day of the men's hockey season is less than five months away. Freaky.

And he'll also say that Micir is a fairly obvious choice to replace Milena Flores on Courtney Banghart's staff. Here's a pretty good quote from the former Dartmouth assistant: ""That being said, my heart has been with Princeton since I was in elementary school, and coming home is such an unbelievable joy."

Also, TB didn't realize this, but Micir was the first Princeton women's basketball player ever to be named Ivy League Player of the Year.

And that's it for those two stories, for now. He'll revisit them later on. 

He'll start today by reminding everyone who is attending the Gary Walters ’67 Princeton Varsity Club Awards Banquet that due to the possibility of inclement weather the event has been moved from the Graduate College into Jadwin Gym.

This isn't the first time the banquet will be held in Jadwin. The first one, back in 1998, was also held in Jadwin.

There were also a few held at the boathouse before it moved to the Grad College. TB isn't sure what year it was when thunderstorms interrupted the banquet, forcing most of it to be done the next afternoon in Jadwin. He's guessing that was in the 2006 range.

Anyway, the 2018 banquet will be held in its entirety inside Jadwin. The schedule will be the same, with the cocktail hour at 5 and then the program at 6:15.

There is something very special about this banquet each year. It's a chance for all of these athletes to be together one more time before they scatter for the next chapters of their lives.

There are 219 Princeton senior athletes. They were babies when the first banquet was held.

That's 219 different Princeton experiences. It's fascinating.

One first-team All-Ivy selection? He/she had a different experience than all the others.

They all came here four years ago, wide-eyed, excited and unsure of what to expect. They came from all over to attend this school and compete for it, and they get only four years to do both.

If you asked all 219, at least 200 would start out by saying "it flew by."

What did they learn? What will stick with them forever? What was the defining moment of their athletic experiences here?

They all have to figure it out for themselves. Again you'd get 219 different answers.

And there they'll all be, in Jadwin as opposed to out at the Grad College, but still in the same partying mood as every other banquet. And why wouldn't they be?

This is the start of a big push for them, with the banquet, Reunions, Class Day and then graduation. They've all worked extremely hard to get to this point, and they all deserve to spend this time with each other.

There are 11 of the 219 senior athletes who are nominees for the two top senior athlete awards. You can read about the women's nominees HERE and the men's nominees HERE.

There will also be the Art Lane Award, given to outstanding contribution to sport and society by an undergraduate, and the Class of 1916 Cup, given to the senior athlete who has the highest academic standing.

There will be a few videos, one of which is pretty funny and others of which are meant to give insight into the experience and its lasting effects, just as TB was talking about a few paragraphs ago.

Others will be honored and recognized as well. Most who are will not be getting awards, but they will be getting a brief acknowledgement for all that they do to make Princeton Athletics what it is.

Two who will be getting awards are Denna Laing and Dov Weinryb Grohsgal. It's possible that all 219 athletes know Dov, and it's likely that he has a near-100 percent approval rating.

As for Denna Laing, she suffered a spinal cord injury in the Women's Winter Classic on New Year's Even 2015. Since then she has worked tirelessly in her rehab and has continued to live an active life, including completing the Boston Marathon last year, pushed in her wheelchair by a former NHL player.

TigerBlog is looking forward to hearing what both have to say.

And he's interested in the celebration of the Class of 2018. After all, that's really what this is all about. 

He'll report back on it all tomorrow.

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