Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Good Luck, Caroline

TigerBlog mentioned yesterday a picture of live tiger that was on the back cover of a football media guide.

The picture was the work of Nick Donatiello, the former Princeton sports information director who passed away last week.

TigerBlog tried to find the picture yesterday and could not. He's pretty sure it's on the back cover of the 1993 media guide, since he saw the ones from pretty much every other year during that time except for 19993, which he couldn't find.

Isn't that how it always works?

That picture has to be someplace else. In a file or something. He'll find it at some point, maybe.

If not, then there's only one obvious solution - find another live tiger and take another picture.

In addition to talking tigers yesterday, TigerBlog also mentioned that some current Tigers were very successful at the U23 World Rowing Championships. By the way, that event was held in Poznan, Poland.

Speaking of Princeton rowers who have had success on the international level, there is of course Caroline Lind, the two-time Olympic gold medalist. Lind won gold with the United States 8+ in 2008 and 2012.

Lind graduated in 2006 after helping Princeton to the NCAA championship before carrying over her success to the Olympics.

Princeton rowing won its first Olympic medal in 1964 in Tokyo, when Seymore Cromwell of the Class of 1965 won silver before his senior year. Since then, Tiger rowers have continued to do well on the biggest stage, with four gold medals, 11 silver medals and three bronze medals.

Princeton athletes have combined to win 66 Olympic medals. Of that number, there were 29 that were won prior to the 1964 Games.

That leaves 37 Olympic medals that have been won from 1964 on, which is when rowers won their first. If you're doing the math, that means that 18 of the 29 medals Princetonians have won since 1964, or 62 percent, have been won by rowers.

The four rowing golds belong to Mike Evans (1980) and Chris Ahrens (2004), both in men's 8s. And of course Lind, who is the only Princeton rower, male or female, to win two Olympic gold medals.

Actually, if you want to extend that further, Lind is also:
* the only Princeton female to win two Olympic gold medals
* the only Princeton alum to compete in what currently is a varsity sport here ever to win two Olympic gold medals
* one of three Princetonians ever to win more than one gold medal (the other two are Karl Frederick, who won three golds in shooting in Antwerp in 1920 and Herman Wilton, who won gold in sailing in 1948 in London and 1952 in Helsinki)

Interestingly, by the way, Wilton competed in the 1928 Games as well and then did not compete for 20 more years after that (there were no Olympics in 1940 or 1944 because of World War II). Also interestingly, Frederick won his three gold medals 17 years after he graduated with the Class of 1903.

TigerBlog has often asked the question of who the best Princeton woman athlete of all time is. He's also brought up the question of which Princeton athletes, male and female, have had the best careers post-Princeton.

On the women's side, he'd put Caroline Lind up there with any female athlete Princeton has ever had, on both questions. He'd also put Ashleigh Johnson on that list.

If TB had to describe Caroline Lind in one word, it would be "unassuming." Maybe "easy-going." Maybe simply "nice."

For the purposes of this conversation, he'll stick with "unassuming."

Yeah, she has two gold medals, but you'd never know that from the way she talks or carries herself. She's a very down-to-earth person who, as far as TigerBlog was able to tell, has little to no ego.

The most recent time he saw her was at the Friends of Lacrosse golf outing. Caroline was there in her role with the Athletic Friends Group.

As she was introduced to the group of lacrosse alums who were about to go play at Springdale, it was mentioned that she was a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

This was followed by a few oohs and ahhs, and then the question of "what sport?"

TigerBlog thinks that the golf outing was her last in her role with the Friends Group. She left Princeton to relocate with her husband to California, driving across the country with, among other things, her two Olympic golds.

TigerBlog would have been remiss if he didn't mention Caroline Lind now that she's leaving Princeton. He wishes her the best.

She'll be missed by many.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Global Tiger Day

Yesterday, apparently, was Global Tiger Day.

Princeton Athletics offered this tweet in celebration:

Apparently, this was the eighth Global Tiger Day, held annually on July 29. TigerBlog isn't quite sure why that's the date, but it seems that the holiday is meant to call attention to the plight of Tigers in their natural habitats. TigerBlog didn't realize this, but wild Tigers are few in numbers these days.

The Tiger, of course, has been Princeton's nickname since the 1880s, when the orange and black school colors coupled with a newspaper account of how the football team fought like Tigers led to an enduring mascot.

TigerBlog has only ever seen one picture of a live Tiger on the Princeton campus. It was on the back of a football media guide from the late 1980s or very early 1990s, before 1) it was TigerBlog's responsibility to do the media guide and 2) before Princeton stopped doing media guides.

Peter Farrell, the former women's track and field coach, stopped in the other day, talking about Nick Donatiello, the former sports information director at Princeton who passed away last week.

TigerBlog is pretty sure Nick's title at Princeton was sports information director. TigerBlog has had a bunch of different titles at Princeton (seven actually), but none of them have been sports information director.

TB's first title here was as Manager of Sports Media Relations. He doesn't think any of his immediate predecessors here - Chuck Yrigoyen, Kurt Kehl, Mark Panus - had the title of SID, so he's not sure why Nick might have.

Anyway, Peter told TigerBlog that it was actually Nick who came up with the idea of having the picture of the live tiger. The picture itself was of the tiger, in the grass, playing with a football.

The story, as Peter told it, was that the circus was in Jadwin Gym. Actually more than once. TigerBlog knew this. In fact, when he did his countdown of the top 40 moments in Jadwin Gym's first 40 years, the 34th best moment was one of the times the circus came to town - and the elephants damaged the floor just before the start of basketball practice.

Jadwin, by the way, turns 50 this coming winter, and TB will probably - almost surely - update that list to make it the top 50 in 50 years. How many things have happened in building in that last 10 years that warrant being added to the list and take the place of the things that were already on it?

You'll just have to wait a few months to find out. TigerBlog can think of a few off the bat.

You'd think, of course, that the order of the 40 events that had already occurred wouldn't change, but hey, maybe with 10 years of reflection, historical perspectives could possibly have evoled.

Again, that's a few months away.

Peter said it was Nick's idea to take the live tiger from the circus out onto the grass outside of Palmer Stadium to take its picture with a football. It was a pretty good idea, actually.

Maybe one day there'll be another chance to get a live tiger and another picture. That would be interesting.

TigerBlog would keep a safe distance, of course. Does that make him a bit pathetic?

TigerBlog would probably not be much good with a live tiger anyway. By the picture from the 1980s, the big cat seemed to be enjoying the football. TB's surmises he would have been just have happy gnawing on, say, TB's leg or so.

Speaking of tigers, there was a story on goprincetontigers.com yesterday with this headline: Five Tigers Claim Medals At U23 World Championships. That's a good way to celebrate Global Tiger Day, no?

You can read the entire story HERE.

All five medals were won by returning Princeton rowers, including four who were teammates in the Ivy League champion women's open boat. Claire Collins and Hadley Irwin won bronze with the U.S. 8+, while Hannah Scott won a silver with the British pairs and Emily Kallfelz won silver in singles sculls.

David Bewicke-Copley won silver with the British 8+.

Once again Princeton rowing has a tremendous performance on the international stage. And those are names worth remembering for future international competitions, such as the Olympics down the road.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Welcomes And Congrats

TigerBlog had a meeting earlier this week and needed to set up a follow-up for next week.

How's Wednesday, he was asked. Sure. No problem.

Then he got a calendar notice about the meeting, and he was slightly taken aback by the part that said his meeting was going to be August 1.

Wait. It's going to be August already? This is the last weekend of July?

So it is.

TigerBlog starts the last Friday in July with a welcome to Sean Letsinger, the new head coach of men's and women's diving. Sean comes to Princeton from Richmond, where he coached the last five years.

He's also a 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee, and his resume also includes two years as the head coach at South Dakota State and extensive success as a club coach.

You can read the complete release about his hire HERE.

Welcome to Princeton, Sean. And while TB is in a welcoming mood, how about a welcome back to THESE GUYS?

Didn't click on the link? Well, TigerBlog stumbled on the story of these 42,000 year old worms who were just unfrozen in Siberia.

Each day TigerBlog get a list of news stories that have some connection to Princeton from the University's Office of Communications. He likes to scan the list to see if anything leaps out at him that he would consider to be interesting.

What could be more interesting than this headline: Worms Frozen In Permafrost For 42,000 Years Come Back To Life? It's a story that appeared in the Siberian Times, of all places.

When TigerBlog clicked on the link to "sports" in the Siberian Times, the top headlines included:
* World Cup goal triggers marriage proposal by Siberian doctor
* Women's American football team in Vladivostock accused of vulgarity after daring photo shoot
* Fan killed in fight between rival football clubs in Novosibirsk
* Burning angel gets second degree burns to win $350 prize at snow festival
* Don't mess with Siberia's strongest woman as she deals with crazy driver

Those were some good stories. The "Burning Angel" set himself on fire to win a ski competition. The marriage proposal one was sweet. The strongest woman one, well, it's what you think.

You can read them all HERE.

By the way, as bad as Siberian winters are known to be, the summers can be worse, what with the worst mosquito problem in the world. 

What else does TB have for you on this Friday?

In addition to the welcomes, there are also some congratulations in order.

First, there's Margot Putukian, Princeton's team doctor. Margot was also the team doctor for the U.S. team at the World Lacrosse championships in Israel, where the Americans won the gold medal.

Did TigerBlog mention that before? He can't remember.

Anyway, being the team doctor is a lot more involved than just standing on the sideline in case someone gets hurt. With team rosters frozen at 23, health and wellness become hugely important, especially considering some of the American players were a little older and that the tournament was played in the oppressive Israeli heat.

So congratulations to Margot. And also to the members of the Princeton fencing program who had such great success at the recent World Championships in China.

Eliza Stone won bronze in the women's saber. Stone, the 2013 NCAA champions in the saber, was seeded 23rd of 101 fencers in the knockout round after going 5-1 in round-robin and then won four times to get to the semifinals.

Kat Holmes, a 2016 Olympian and the NCAA runner-up in the epee to fellow Princetonian Anna Van Brummen, was part of the U.S. epee team that won the gold medal in China. From the goprincetontigers.com story:
The U.S. then beat Russia in the semifinals, 27-25, with Holmes again turning a deficit into a lead, outscoring her match-ending foe 13-10. That set up a final against South Korea, and Holmes again was the closer, turning a two-touch deficit into an 18-17 win by outscoring her opponent 8-5.

You can read that entire story HERE.

And so congratulations to the two Princeton fencers.

And that's your last Friday in July.

Enjoy the weekend.

And keep this thought in mind: The first Princeton athletic event of the 2018-19 season is just four weeks away.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Saying Goodbye To Nick And Polly

TigerBlog never met Nick Donatiello.

When he heard that Donatiello had passed away last week, though, it still felt as if someone he knew well was gone.

Nick Donatiello was, at one time, the sports information director here at Princeton. He was a 1982 Princeton grad - the class president and the manager of the football team as an undergrad - and he stepped immediately into the role of communications director, also in 1982.

That made him a little before TigerBlog's time. Nick was here in a way, way different era of athletic communications, one that disappeared on TB's watch, actually.

Back in 1982, sports information was still most media relations. It was like that in the 1990s, when TigerBlog first started working here, when it was still a time of pitching stories and judging success by how much you could get written about you in publications local and national.

All that changed, of course, with the advent of the internet. Now Princeton Athletics is its own media outlet, one that for the most part has sidestepped the media to give information directly to those who want to consume it.

TigerBlog likes this way much better on so many levels. It forces constant creativity and the ability to adapt to changing technologies, and it allows Princeton to tell its story directly.

If there's one thing he misses about the way it used to be, though, it's the relationships he used to have, and make, with media members. TigerBlog got to meet so many great people who were sportswriters and broadcasters - and yes, some really annoying ones too.

The job then was creating information that media members could use to tell the stories. That was the job for Nick Donatiello, back in the early 1980s.

There are still old files in the Jadwin basement of former coaches and administrators, and TB looked in Nick's. There were all kinds of interesting things in there, including a story from the Daily Princetonian with this title: "Sports Information Office Enters The Computer Era."

What was the computer? A Wang OIS - 115 -2. 

TigerBlog has heard a lot of people talk about Nick with great fondness.

Nick was a civil engineering major, one whose senior thesis was entitled: "Queuing Theory Applications and Considerations in the Design of Upstream Line-Concentrator-Type Data Communications Devices." When TB saw that, it made him wonder why someone that smart would want to work in athletic communications.

Well, he very briefly thought that before he was struck by the irony anyway.

Nick left athletic communications long ago, embarking instead on a long career in business and technology after attending the Stanford School of Business, where he'd also teach. He was two days shy of his 58th birthday when he died of natural causes.

His complete obituary can be found HERE.

Nick's funeral was held last Friday. TigerBlog was at a funeral at the same time, this one for Polly Bohus.

Polly and Nick knew each other, TB would guess. Nick and Harvey Yavener definitely knew each other. TB knows that for a fact.

And, going by what TB observed for about 15 years or so, any SID who knew Yav knew Polly.

Harvey and Polly were inseparable for more than 60 years. They never got married, but they lived together from 1959 through her death a week ago. That was a rarity for those days.

Harvey was one of those sportswriters who covered Princeton back then. In fact, it's possible - actually likely - that no sportswriter ever wrote more column inches about Princeton Athletics than Harvey. TB would guarantee that no sportswriter has written more about Princeton women's athletics than Yav.

Wherever Yav went, Polly went too. If there was a game going on in Jadwin Gym, Polly was most likely in the balcony while Yav was on press row.

At her funeral, Yav gave a very emotional eulogy. He called them an "odd coupling" and started with what was obvious - she was very tall and he is very short.

He also mentioned that his prospects for lifetime happiness were slim until he met her. He also said that in 60 years together they never had one argument.

And so what if TB witnessed one or two spats between them? It didn't matter. They were in love, and they were the perfect partners for each other.

They traveled together. They rented a shore house together - in the off-season. They cooked together. They ate in the best restaurants. And mostly, more than anything else, they went to college sporting events together.

No matter what he did, she patiently waited for him. She was definitely a saint, that's for sure. TB used to joke that there was a special place in heaven for her. He thought back to that at her funeral.

He also thought about how Polly didn't eat chicken. It wasn't because she didn't like how it tasted. It was because she grew up on a poultry farm.

She loved the Jets and hated Penn State. She was generous. She was warm. When you went to their small apartment on the eighth floor of a building on West State Street in Trenton, she was going to feed you like few others would.

Her career was in the Trenton Police Department, as an administrative assistant. She had a stroke in the 1970s but came back from it to the point where you couldn't tell anything was wrong, though she'd never drive again.

A few times when Yav couldn't drive because of a surgery or eye issue, TigerBlog would drive her on her errands. Wherever they went in Trenton, everyone of every race and every background and every occupation would stop and say hello to her.

They left the apartment in Trenton a few years ago, settling in an assisted living facility in South Jersey. Her health had been failing and she was 86 when she died, but still the news that she was gone stung TB.

Polly loved to collect ceramic angels. Her house was jammed with them.

At her funeral, Yav mentioned that she was now with the very angels she used to collect.

TigerBlog smiled at that.

Then he went back to shedding a few tears for Polly Bohus, one of the most beautiful people he's ever met. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Finding Baggie

The World Cup began on June 14, if TigerBlog remembers correctly.

It ran through July 15, when France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final. There were 64 games played in all. Any guesses on the total number of goals scored?

Any guesses on how many of those games TB watched? He'd guess he saw at least some of at least 55, maybe even 60 games.

So yeah, he liked it.

The World Championships of men's lacrosse started on July 12 and ran through July 21, which was this past Saturday. There were 170 games played in the tournament, and TB watched, well, a lot of them, whether it was the top division, the Princeton players who played on other teams or just some random games that were on ESPN+.

Oh, and there were 169 goals scored in the World Cup. There were way more than that in the lacrosse tournament.

Anyway, that was a lot of soccer and lacrosse to watch - and write about - for TB.

The tournament ended a little after 5 am Saturday on a goal by Princeton's Tom Schreiber with one second to play that gave the United States a 9-8 win over Canada for the gold medal.

If you've never met Tom Schreiber and only know him as one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time, that doesn't really tell you what kind of person he is. This tweet when he got back might give you some insight:
Anyway, Schreiber's goal ended a little more than five weeks of fascination between the two tournaments. So what did TB do when it was all over?

He picked up his two kids.

More specifically, he picked up his two kids at two different airports in two different states a little more than two hours apart.

It made for a lot of driving in a short time. Hey, that's what parenting is all about.

Miss TigerBlog ’22 came in from Paris first, to Newark Airport. She was there for a week with BrotherBlog and Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog.

Her choices were a graduation party last month or the trip this month. She chose correctly.

MTB saw all the Paris sights, with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, Versailles, the museums, a river tour of the Seine. In something that is definitely a sign of the times, she posted a few pictures on social media and then was messaged by a young woman she met at the Princeton Preview. The two then met up at a cafe in Paris.

As for TigerBlog Jr., he had been in Israel for 29 days, the first 10 as a tourist and the next 19 playing and working at the tournament. His trip home was from Tel Aviv to Amman, Jordan, and then Amman to JFK.

For most of the time that TBJ was at the tournament, TigerBlog kept asking him if he could find Ravi Sitlani, an assistant coach for the English national team. For the entire time, he kept missing him.

By the way, nobody calls him "Ravi." TigerBlog has known him for 10 years, and he's never heard anyone call him anything other than "Baggie."

When TBJ came through the gate at JFK off his Royal Jordanian flight, he had two pieces of good news for his father. First, he'd brought him a present from his month in Israel - a hat from the World Championships that he'd clearly been wearing.

Second, he told him that, lo and behold, Baggie was on his flight. They'd connected in Amman as the only people at the gate wearing lacrosse stuff, in TBJ's case Sacred Heart lacrosse shorts and, for some reason, a Wales Lacrosse shirt.

TB and TBJ waited a few minutes, and then there was Baggie himself. When Baggie said he was looking for a cab, TigerBlog offered him a ride into Manhattan.

As a result, they got to spend another hour or so together. It's always great to see him, and has been since TB first met him back in Spain when the Princeton men's lacrosse team was there in 2008.

They talked about their times together in the past, and Princeton lacrosse, and how the Tigers are going to be this spring. They talked about Michael Sowers. They talked about head coach Matt Madalon.

And the World Championships. What TB thought of the games. What it was like for them to be there.

And, of course, tthe picture that Baggie and Princeton's Nikhil Ashra took together in 2008, when Baggie called them the only two Indian goalies in the world. TB told him he still had that picture:

Since then he's seen him a few times in this country at lacrosse events, and in Portugal in 2016, again when Princeton played England. That's where, by the way, the English first met up with Alistair Berven, a 2017 Princeton grad who played in the tournament for England.

He's just a really good guy, a big guy of Indian descent with a serious English accent. He told TBJ that he must have "made a lot of new mates" in Israel, for instance.

Baggie sent TB an email Monday thanking him for the ride and the beauty of friendship through lacrosse.

Anyway, it was great to see him. Traffic was pretty bad getting into Manhattan, and, as always, it took awhile to get crosstown.

This was one time TigerBlog didn't mind at all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Past Halfway

If you come off of Route 1 into Princeton up Washington Road, then the first light you come to is at Faculty Road.

If you turn right at that light, then you have about a quarter-mile drive to the entrance of the Jadwin Gym parking lot. TigerBlog has driven thousands of miles on that quarter-mile stretch.

Think about it. If it's a quarter-mile, and TB has been driving into that parking lot for nearly 30 years, then, yeah, that number is pretty high.

Whatever that number is, it's stayed frozen this summer, since there is construction currently being done on that piece of Faculty Road.

Now you'd think that closing off a quarter-mile piece of a road couldn't possibly make that big of a difference, but then you'd be wrong. If you're trying to get to Alexander Road to go to either the Princeton Pike or Route 1, you now have to take the very long way around.

You have to go to the far end of the parking lot, for starters. It's taken TigerBlog about three weeks to not instinctively go to the closed off end.

Then you have to either go to Harrison Street to get to Route 1, which takes awhile. Or you can go up to Nassau Street and then fight your way down to 206 or the Princeton Pike.

Or you can turn left out of the parking lot and then left on Ivy Lane, back to Washington Road. Then it's a left on Washington down to Faculty (or cutting through back by the lacrosse, field hockey and soccer fields, although Elm Drive was closed for awhile too).

TigerBlog was in the parking lot the other day heading out when he was flagged down by a woman and her son, who had just taken a campus tour. TB had no idea who they were, though he did find out they're from Ohio.

She thought at first she had been parked in Lot 21, the Jadwin lot, but it turned out that they were actually parked on the other side of campus.

The woman told TB that she had parked in one of three lots, none of which, TB thinks, is the actual number of a lot at Princeton, though they were pretty close to matching up with 20, 23 and 17, which are on the other side of the campus.

TigerBlog tried to give her directions to get to where her car was. He's terrible at that. He's awful at giving directions in general, since he doesn't pay all that close attention to the names of the roads he's been on so many times.

Fortunately Waze has eliminated most of those issues.

TB has walked from Jadwin to where their car was about a thousand times. He has spent a lot of time on this campus obviously, so you'd think he'd be better at directing people around it.

Instead, all he could really do was point to Jadwin and Princeton Stadium and say to walk in between them, take the road around, find the bridge and just sort of keeping going in that direction. Anyway, they were very nice, and TB hopes they enjoyed their time on campus.

The construction on Faculty Road will be done in another month, in time for the start of the new academic year and the 2018-19 athletic calendar.

Each summer, TigerBlog likes to calculate the midway point between the end of one athletic year and the start of the next. Hey, what could be more fun than that?

Anyway, the last game of the 2017-18 year was May 13, when the women's lacrosse team lost to eventual runner-up Boston College in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The last event was the NCAA track and field championships, which ended for Princeton on June 9.

The first game, and event, of 2018-19 will be August 24, when the women's soccer team plays at New Hampshire.

The halfway point, then, has already come and gone. If you go by the last game, then the halfway mark was the Fourth of July. If you go by the event, then halfway was July 17.

Today is July 23. That means the women's soccer game is a month from tomorrow.

How is that possible?

There will be seven Princeton Athletic events in August featuring four teams: both soccers, field hockey and women's volleyball.

And that's only a month away? How'd that happen?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Laxing At 3 AM

TigerBlog never really found out why the gold medal game of the FIL World Championship started at 10 am in Israel Saturday morning.

He thinks it might have something to do with the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'av, which at one time he must have learned about in Hebrew school but whose significance he long ago forgot. As it turns out, TB (TigerBlog) had to relearn that TB (Tisha B'av) is considered the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, which is really saying something.

It's a day of fasting and mourning actually. It's a day of sadness, not of celebration, and because it began sundown on Saturday, the championship game needed be done by then. 

Of course, that doesn't really explain why it had to be played at 10 am. Maybe it was because of the combination of the holiday at sundown and the a desire to keep the game out of the stifling midday Israeli heat?

Whatever the reason, it does explain why TigerBlog was watching TV at 3 am Saturday.

His options were to watch the game live or to wait until noon and watch the replay and try to get that far without finding out who won. That, of course, would never have happened, and, of course, he would have watched it live whatever time it as played.

As it turned out, it was worth getting up in the middle of the night, since the United States and Canada played what will be remembered as one of the greatest - maybe even the greatest - lacrosse game ever played (and certainly the best one that ever started at 3 am Eastern). As he thinks about, he's hard-pressed to come up with a game that can match the drama, the level of play and the prize at stake. Not even an NCAA championship game - even an overtime NCAA final, the way Princeton won four of its six - stacks up.

In the end, all that separated what are by far the two best teams in the world was a goal with one second left by Princeton great Tom Schreiber.

Final score: United States 9, Canada 8.

Schreiber's goal was his third of the day, along with an assist. It gave the USA its first lead since it had been 2-1, and it came after a controversial final five minutes that will only add to the lore of the game through the years. 

TigerBlog did decide not to put anything on goprincetontigers.com or Princeton men's lacrosse social media about the game until after the replay ended at 2 in the afternoon. Hey, if even one person managed to avoid seeing how it ended before getting to watch it, then it was worth it.

This game was played with ferocity for all 80 minutes, or more than 80 minutes, possibly. That's the best word to describe it. Ferocious.

If you wanted to see what ferocious lacrosse looks like, then watch the last few minutes of the third quarter, when Canada had the ball for an extended possession and never scored. Watch how hard the United States defended.

Ferocious had to share with controversial for the final five minutes though. And Princeton's two representatives, Schreiber and Zach Currier of Canada, were right in the middle of it all.

Canada took the lead with 5:17 to go, with the international running clock, and then Trevor Baptiste of the U.S. won the next face-off, briefly. Currier, though, attacked Baptiste's stick in a way that only Currier can, and in a blink the ball was in Currier's stick.

With the way the international game is played, it's possible that had Canada kept possession, the United States never would have gotten it back. There is no shot clock, only a stall warning that forces a team to keep it in the offensive box, which is much wider than it is in college. Canada probably would have tried to run the clock out and, with the way it could handle the ball, would likely have been successful.

Instead, just as quickly as Currier took it away from Baptiste, the officials took it away from Canada, calling an offsides infraction that by all accounts was incorrect. Now the Americans had the ball, tied it and won the face-off with three minutes left.

The closest Canada came to touching the ball again came when it was a loose behind the goal and there was a, well, ferocious chase for it. Currier at one point looked like he might have been pushed, but no call was made. Schreiber definitely was pushed down after that, giving possession back to the U.S.

TigerBlog Jr. was at the game. He also worked a lot of games at the tournament, and he would tell TB that the way the clock works, there was an official time kept by the box official and an unofficial time on the scoreboard. The scoreboard time was the time that was also on TV or the videostreams, and this explains why there always seemed to be a delay between when the clock would get to all zeroes and the play would actually stop.

This is what happened at the end of the championship game. The clock on TV kept jumping around in the final 10 seconds, as the U.S. took two shots that went high. Each time play stopped, the clock on TV - which was also on the scoreboard - added time back on.

Still, the official time in the box was correct, and it's why Schreiber's goal was legit. He made a great play, running off a screen from Ned Crotty and taking a soft feed from Rob Pannell before beating the great Dillon Ward with one second still to go.

If you're a lacrosse fan, then you had to love the game. TigerBlog was rooting for Schreiber and Currier, which made it somewhat difficult because one of them had to lose.

Of all of the great players that TigerBlog has ever seen play at Princeton, none has approached the game quite like Currier. In a game of ferocity nobody is more ferocious or competitive, yet he plays with what you could call grace at the same time. And he never, ever stops.

Forget just lacrosse. TB can't think of another athlete in any sport he's ever seen who plays harder all the time. The result is a player that you always want on your side.

And then there's Schreiber, who was named the top midfielder in the tournament and earned a spot on the All-World team. He may very well be the best player in the world right now, as both Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine have said, but that is not something that he considers.

He also is a graceful player, one who seems to glide as much as anything else. But don't think that he lacks ferocity, because he doesn't. He is the best passing midfielder TigerBlog has ever seen, and he is big and powerful as a scorer as well.

His second goal in the championship game, which tied the game at 7-7 in the fourth, was typical of him, where he caught the ball. He took a pass in the middle and, with very little time or very little arm extension, rocketed the ball into the goal. And he can do it with either hand. Most players need to step into a shot like that and have a full extension of their arms. Not Schreiber.

The game-winner was as much instinct as anything else. It was a great cut, and Pannell, with little time to spare, put it in a small window. Catch. Finish.

Gold medal. In epic fashion.

And so what if it was at 3 am? This game figured to be a great one, and it exceeded expectations.

In fact, it could be the greatest lacrosse game ever played.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Setting The Alarm

TigerBlog recently set up an account with ESPN+, which will be the new home for Ivy League live video content beginning with this academic year.

TB set it up last week to coincide with the start of the FIL World Lacrosse championships, which have been going on since July 12 in Netanya, Israel.
ESPN has made a very strong commitment to covering the tournament. It has sent its top four men's lacrosse announcers there for two weeks, along with everyone else related to the production.

It has put a lot of games on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, and not just the U.S. and Canada. The broadcasts have also tried to give a sense of Israel and the culture there, and Merav Savir, the Israeli sideline reporter has been great at that.

Savir also did some play-by-play, in Hebrew, during the U.S. win over England. It reminded TigerBlog of a time that a European history professor of his did part of a lecture in French. TB didn't know what he was saying then or what Savir was saying this time, but both were mesmerizing in their delivery.

It's sort of, TB presumes, the point of going to an opera that's in a different language.

TigerBlog has watched most of the games that have been televised. He's also watched a ton of the games on ESPN+.

It's a very good product. It's also inexpensive - $50 for a year gets you all of the Ivy League content and everything else that's on ESPN+, which will be a lot of options.

It's also very easy to navigate. And you have the ability to rewind the video.

There are 46 teams who have been competing in Israel, and after today, places three through 46 will have been decided.

TigerBlog has been particularly interested in the five Princetonians who have been playing in the tournament, though he has watched some pretty random games, you know, like Greece-New Zealand and Wales-Latvia.

Andrew Song, a rising sophomore longstick midfielder, has been great for China, with a goal, two assists and 32 ground balls, including10 ground balls yesterday in a win over Croatia. Song and China will play Chinese Taipei at 3:15 Israel time (8:15 am Eastern) for 41st place.

Austin deButts has been one of Argentina's best players. The Argentines had an early morning date with Belgium for 29th place.

Alistair Berven has been a starter on defense for England, and he has had a good tournament. England will play Japan tonight in Israel and this afternoon (at 2) in the Eastern time zone for fifth place.

The top six teams in the tournament qualify for the top division in 2022, when the tournament will be outside of Vancouver, and England and Japan have both qualified. So have Australia and the Iroquois, who will play today for third place.

The championship game, of course, will match the U.S. and Canada. There was never any doubt that these two teams would play for the title, and this will be the sixth straight time that the championship game will match the Americans and Canadians.

If there is one downside to the sport on the international level, it's that these two are so far ahead of everyone else so that there isn't much drama when it comes to who will be the last two standing.

On the other hand, the championship game figures to be a great one, especially if it can match what happened when the two met during pool play, when the U.S. got a late goal from Johns Hopkins alum Paul Rabil - who once scored in OT to beat Princeton - to win 11-10.

Canada was the champion four years ago, by the way.

The game matches Princeton grad against Princeton grad, with Tom Schreiber of the U.S. and Zach Currier of Canada. Schreiber defeated Currier last summer in the Major League Lacrosse championship game with his Ohio Machine against Currier's Denver Outlaws.

TigerBlog is pumped for the final, way more so than he would be for, say, any NBA playoff game. Or the World Series. Or even the Super Bowl.

There's one problem, though. The game starts at 10 am tomorrow in Israel. That would make it 3 am in the Eastern time zone.

Honestly, TB isn't sure why they're playing the game at 10 am in Israel. It doesn't really make much sense, after all the time put in to promoting and televising the tournament, to have the championship game be at 3 am where most of the people who would want to see it live.

Oh well.

TB will just have to set his alarm for this one. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Year In Review

Princeton Athletics rolled out the newest version of a Year In Review yesterday.

It's an Adobe Spark production that you can see by clicking HERE. If you're a Princeton fan, you're really going to like it.

The Year In Review was mostly the work of Brendan Van Ackeren, TigerBlog's colleague from the Princeton Varsity Club. It's a chronicle of the 2017-18 academic year, on the field and off, including initiatives in the science of performance, some new facility enhancements and the ongoing commitment to community service.

In reality the Year In Review could have been twice as long as the finished product was. There are a lot of stories to tell here each year, and this past academic year was no different.

Princeton won 11 Ivy League championships a year ago and finished 40th in Division I in the NACDA Directors' Cup, which is all about determining the best overall athletic departments based on how they do in NCAA championships.

Princeton, in fact, was the highest finishing team from a non-Power Five Conference. That by itself is extraordinary. Consider how much money the other 39 schools in the Top 40 spend on athletics each year.

The Office of Athletic Communications tracks a bunch of information each summer regarding the previous year, including the overall record of all of Princeton's teams combined. This only counts games where there are two teams, so not like huge golf tournaments or cross country races.

Princeton had 628 of those games in the 2017-18 academic year. Of those 628 games, there were 13 ties - four each for men's soccer, men's hockey and women's hockey and one for women's soccer. TigerBlog will get back to the women's soccer tie in a few seconds.

First, there is the matter of Princeton's overall record.

How many of those 628 games were wins? How about 373.

That's a winning percentage of just over 60 percent. That means that Princeton teams won six of every 10 games they played this past year, across all of its teams.

That's pretty impressive, no?

It's even more impressive when you consider the women's teams by themselves. Princeton's women's teams were 206-103-5, and you can do the math yourself.

But think about it. Princeton's women's teams won two of every three games they played a year ago. And eight Ivy League championships.

As for the women's soccer tie, that game came against North Carolina State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Princeton advanced on penalty kicks, but the game officially counts as a tie.

The next game doesn't. That's when Princeton beat North Carolina in overtime to reach the quarterfinals.

North Carolina, as you probably know, is the gold standard when it comes to women's soccer in the history of the sport on the collegiate level, with 21 NCAA championships. Princeton's win over the Tar Heels was extraordinary.

To get an even better idea of how great the year was, you could possibly make a case that the win over UNC and the women's soccer run to the NCAA quarterfinals wasn't the No. 1 moment by a Princeton team. There were other achievements that are in the conversation.

The triple crown in men's track and field, for instance. That was the eighth for the program, which is eight more than the other seven schools in the league combined have ever won. That's men's and women's combined, by the way, since the only other Ivy program ever to do it was Princeton's women, who did it twice.

There was a fifth-straight Ivy title in women's lacrosse. There was the great women's basketball season. There were other Ivy titles to choose from - and none of that includes what very well could be the No. 1 story for Princeton Athletics from the last academic year.

That would be the extraordinary run to the ECAC championship and NCAA tournament by the men's hockey team. That's going from last place to champions in two years.

Anyway, you can debate all you want which one you think is the biggest story. And in the meantime, enjoy the Year In Review. Brendan did a great job on it.

It won't be long before there's the start of a new academic year. For that matter, it won't be long until that academic year will have its own Year In Review and debate over what the top story of 2018-19 will be.

It's one of TB's favorite parts of working here. There's always going to be a big story that comes up, and there's no way of knowing which team is going to be the one to provide it in any given year.

A win over North Carolina in women's soccer in the NCAA Sweet 16? An ECAC title and NCAA appearance in men's hockey?

Would you have believed TigerBlog if he told you last year that the new year would feature both of those?

What about this coming year? Who knows, but it'll be exciting to find out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

18 More At Springdale

TigerBlog came away from last year's Friends of Princeton Lacrosse golf outing thinking that he was the worst golfer of all time.

He came away from this year's thinking that he was much less terrible than he'd been a year earlier. That's progress.

In fact, no less a golf expert than longtime men's lacrosse program member Bryce Chase told TigerBlog that TB's golf game, and TB quotes directly here, "isn't hopeless." Brycie, who turned 78 yesterday, is recovering nicely from his broken leg after a bike mishap, by the way.

TigerBlog hit way more good shots in Monday's event than he did last year. A year ago, his only good shots were irons, which he can fairly consistently hit straight and with reasonable distance.

This time around, TB had definite improvement in a few areas. This surprised him, since he hadn't swung a club in 52 weeks. In fact, the two water bottles he put in the bag last year were still there.

Despite that, he actually was okay at chipping with a wedge. And getting out of the sand traps, after a little advice from Bryce. He hit a few good fairway woods. He read the greens well on his putts.

Oh, don't think for a minute that he was actually good. Far from it.

He didn't win longest drive. In fact, he hit one shot with a three-wood all day, and it was a little dribbler off the tee. He didn't win closest to the pin, though on the hole with the closest to the pin contest, he was definitely closest to the tree closest to the pin.

It's just that he was, well, not hopeless.

Maybe he'd improve if he played more than once a year?

His playing partners this year were Bob Clark and Bill Prager, fathers of three former Princeton men's lacrosse players between them. Dan Clark and B.J. Prager graduated in 2002, while Matthew Prager graduated in 2005.

Bob and Bill are good golfers. They can actually hit woods off of tees, and hit the ball far and straight. They have a lot of experience, and they know how to approach shots and not just hit it and hope for the best.

TigerBlog was at every game that Clark and B.J. Prager played at Princeton and all but one that Matthew Prager played. It was pretty odd to hear Bill Prager talking about B.J.'s three kids, but then again, it's been 16 years since he graduated from college.

B.J. Prager scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the 2001 final, a 10-9 win over Syracuse for the sixth  NCAA title in program history. TigerBlog off the top of his head could tell you about a million things he remembers from that game, from the way the Tigers got out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter after Syracuse had pushed Princeton around in three games (2000 and 2001 regular season and 2000 NCAA final) by a combined 43-19 all the way through Bill Tierney's emotional kneel on the field after winning a championship with his sons Trevor and Brendan.

Princeton led 3-0 after one and then 5-3 at the half. It grew to 8-4 after the third quarter and then, boom, Syracuse tied it at 8-8 in a blink of the fourth quarter. Princeton went ahead 9-8, but Syracuse would tie it with 16 seconds left.

Both teams had chances in the OT, but it was Prager who ended it with 41 seconds left, off a feed from Ryan Boyle.

For everything he remembered from that day at Rutgers, there's one thing he either never realized or forgot at some point: Prager scored the last four Princeton goals in the game.

Bill Prager certainly knew that. TB actually went back and looked it up, and it was true. One of those four, by the way, was assisted by Dan Clark.

The conversation over 18 holes included a lot of topics. Bill grew up on Long Island and was in the Air Force. Bob is a Philly guy originally who rowed and never played lacrosse.

They talked about kids. Golf. Usual stuff.

And of course the 2001 championship game came up. They talked about how nervous they were when Syracuse tied it. TigerBlog was confident that Princeton would figure out a way to win.

After their 18 holes were over, there was a reception and then dinner. Head coaches Chris Sailer and Matt Madalon and Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan spoke. The Academic-Athletic Fellows for the men's and women's teams were honored, and there was a special goodbye for Pat Moran, the men's Fellow who is leaving Princeton for Columbia.

These events, multiplied by 37 varsity teams and then by the entire University, are a huge part of what makes Princeton so special. It's the loyalty that is bred here and that lasts forever.

That level of loyalty is something that is unique to this school. And when you see it from the perspective that TigerBlog has at events like Mondays, you're able to appreciate it even more.

As for the golf? On TB's last hole, he found himself off the side of the green. He hit a soft wedge, and the ball looked all the world like it was headed into the hole. Instead, it rolled just past the cup, settling at that uncomfortable distance where it's just a little too far to pick up your ball. Plus, it was the 18th.

TigerBlog sized up his putt and, looking for a nice way to end the round, left it just short. Two putts.

But still, he'll take it. All in all, it was a great day at Springdale.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Let The Celebration Begin

So you're boarding a plane and you get to your row and nobody else is sitting there.

As an aside, this only applies if you're flying by yourself.

Anyway, you get to your row and nobody is there. Your first thought is that maybe, just maybe, you're going to have some unexpected roominess.

You sit and you keep an eye out. Is that person coming to sit here? No, not the mother and baby. Noooooo - yesssss, they're a few rows ahead.

Eventually, almost every time, someone ends up sitting next to you. And you're forced to nod hello and be polite, when all you wanted was for them to be anywhere else.

Ah, but those rare times when it's clear that the door is closed, the plane is pushing back and you're all by yourself for that flight. That's what happened for Miss TigerBlog ’22 Sunday evening on her flight to Paris.

She texted TigerBlog from the plane saying that nobody was sitting next to her, and this on an overnight flight to Paris. How lucky is that?

One possible explanation, of course, is that maybe the person who was supposed to be in Row 37 on the flight to Paris Sunday changed plans and went earlier, to be there in time for the World Cup final between France and Croatia.

BrotherBlog and Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog, got to Paris Thursday, in advance of their week-long role as tour guides. They've been to Paris often.

TigerBlog has been to 16 European countries, but never to England, France or Italy. Try to find someone else who can say that.

BrotherBlog originally suggested that MTB not go to France on July 14, which would be Bastille Day. Instead, she should wait and come Sunday, when things presumably would be calmer. Little did anyone suspect that the next day would turn out to be the day that France won its second World Cup, defeating Croatia 4-2.

As it was, she took a flight that got her there yesterday morning local time, so she missed the game and the party that followed. BB and Joe watched the first half of the game from the apartment they've rented and then went outside to be part of it during the second half. Here is BB's video from the streets:

It's quite a scene, no? As TigerBlog has said, there's nothing in American sports that can match the fan obsession that international soccer has.

TigerBlog watched BB's video and other videos he saw of the celebrating, and it got him wondering what the biggest celebrations on Princeton's campus have been after an athletic success.

He's not talking about bonfires or anything that's planned. He's talking about an impromptu party that broke out after someone had a really, really big win.

He's heard that it got pretty celebratory after Princeton's win over UCLA in 1996 in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, but he was in Indianapolis, not Princeton, for that one. Still, he heard from a few people who were on campus then that it got pretty wild.

In addition he's also seen pictures after the men's basketball team defeated Providence to advance to the 1965 NCAA Final Four. There were players, including future Director of Athletics Gary Walters, on top of the bus with a huge crowd of students around it.

Are there others? There certainly has been no shortage of huge wins here.

Does anyone have any examples?

Maybe there were big parties after some of the bigger football wins. There are many who remember the great teams of the 1960s and others who go back to the 1950s and the Dick Kazmaier days.

How about the 1933 or 1935 national championship teams? Both of those seasons ended with huge wins at Yale, by scores of 27-2 in 1933 and 38-7 in 1935. What happened when the team got back to Princeton after those games?

TigerBlog has seen a lot of teams who have celebrated, in locker rooms and on fields and in buses on the way back. But something that galvanized the entire campus?

In the meantime, MTB walked into the tail end of the celebrations in Paris.

Hopefully she'll have a great week over there, and hopefully her tour guides won't lose her or anything.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Channel Flipping

Talk about genius television programming.

Put the Sylvester Stallone/Michael Caine epic "Victory" against the World Cup third-place game. Which is better? Sly and Michael Caine as Allied POWs who use a soccer game to escape from the Nazis or an actual soccer game that means nothing?

That was Saturday, when the movie was on opposite Belgium's 2-0 win over England in a game that TigerBlog still can't imagine was played in the first place.

He went with the movie instead of the game. Hey, Pele was great in it. 

As for Sunday, well, the TV choice was much tougher. The World Cup final on at the same time as the United States against Canada in the World Lacrosse championships?

What do you think TigerBlog did?

In all seriousness, did nobody at the lacrosse tournament realize that the marquee game of the round-robin stage was being played opposite the second half of the World Cup final? For that matter, he's still not sure why the final is being played at 10 am in Israel, which means 3 am in the Eastern time zone. 

Meanwhile, back at the World Cup, there are very few things in all of sports anywhere in the world like the World Cup final. The intensity of every minute of it is obvious, for the players and their fans. It's like the Super Bowl taken to another level.

TigerBlog's prediction of 2-0 Croatia didn't quite come to pass, though he had the Croatia with two part correct. He just wasn't counting on a 4-2 final, but that's how it turned out, as France outscored Croatia 2-1 in each half to win a second World Cup.

He'd give you more of his take on the game, but hey, he was watching lacrosse for most of the second half of the soccer game. Actually, he did a lot of flipping back and forth, though with way more time spent on lacrosse than soccer.

There are two tournaments within the World Championships. The first one consists of the teams that are playing for the championship or at least to get to the quarterfinals, a group that includes the main group plus teams like the hosts, Israel.

Then other tournament is the one where teams are playing for the experience. Those would be the majority of the 46 countries who are there.

TigerBlog didn't realize that Princeton actually had five players in Israel. He thought it was four - Zach Currier of Canada, Tom Schreiber of the U.S., Alistair Berven of England and Andrew Song of China.

Then, during one of the games on TV, the camera panned throughout the crowd to the other teams, many of whom were watching. And there, in with the Argentina team, was a familiar face, former Tiger captain Austin deButts.

As it turns out, Austin - a 2016 Princeton grad and a shortstick defensive middie - was playing with Argentina. He coached with the team in Denver in 2014, and now he's playing with them in Israel.

In fact, he's having a better summer internationally than Lionel Messi did. Argentina lost its opener to Sweden but then defeated Hungary and the Czech Republic, and deButts has scored four goals, including three yesterday against the Czechs in a 12-8 win.

TigerBlog watched that game on ESPN+ on his computer, by the way, while he flipped between the soccer and US-Canada games. The stick skills aren't quite there in the lower division games, but the effort certainly is.

Andrew Song, a rising sophomore longstick midfielder who has exceptional stick skills, had his first goal for China in Israel, as well as six ground balls, in a 13-12 loss to Turkey earlier yesterday.

The United States defeated Canada 11-10 in the first meeting between the two in what was a great, and very physical, game. They're almost surely headed to a rematch in the finals, and if you remember back to four years ago, the U.S. won the round robin game and then lost to Canada in the championship game.

Currier, by the way, did a lot of everything for Canada, including a big goal in transition and a lot of relentlessness everywhere on the field. Currier did as much as anyone to contribute to the intensity and physicality of the game.

Paul Carcaterra on the ESPN2 broadcast mentioned how it still bothers him that Currier wasn't first-team All-America in 2017; if Carcaterra thinks he's annoyed by that, he ought to ask TB how he feels.

Flipping back to soccer for a second, that game was actually outscoring the lacrosse game for awhile.

You have to give Croatia a lot of credit for not folding when France got up big, but the hole was just too deep. TB made sure he watched the last few minutes of soccer, which was during the second quarter of the lacrosse game.

The French seemed happy, though Croatia had an extraordinary run.

And with that, the World Cup is over.

TigerBlog loved the World Cup, even if he didn't watch much of the second half of the final. He'll miss having a bunch of games on every day during the group stage and then the drama of the knockout round.

He's also very glad that the final didn't come down to PKs.

In the meantime there is still most of a week left of the lacrosse tournament. TB will be surprised if it's not a Currier vs. Schreiber rematch in the final.

In fact, the U.S.-Canada has been the final each of the last five times, and it'll probably stay that way for awhile.

TigerBlog still thinks he'll be watching it live.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Happy Friday The 13th

Have you ever heard this word before: paraskevidekatriaphobia?

It looks like a random collection of letters. Apparently it's a real word.

It means a a fear of Friday the 13th. TigerBlog would more fear having to pronounce it than anything to do with Friday the 13th itself.

Today is Friday the 13th. It's the second and last one of 2018 (if you forgot, the other one was in April). If you're petrified, or even mildly uneasy, about Friday the 13th, then when you get through this one, you won't have to worry about another one until September of 2019.

Of course, not all Friday the 13ths are equal. This one is for a July weekend, and how can anyone get that uptight about a Friday in the summer?

We're just six weeks away from the start of the 2018-19 athletic year here. The first event, women's soccer at New Hampshire, is 42 days from today.

Opening kickoff for football is three weeks later, in Indiana against Butler. The home opener is 10 weeks from tomorrow, when Monmouth is on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium.

There are six home games for the Princeton football team in 2019. After the trip to Indiana, there are just three more away games - at Columbia, at Harvard and at Yale. Remember, this is the year the schedule has changed, so the season ends against Penn now.

That's all for later on though.

For this weekend you have the World Cup third-place game (England vs. Belgium) tomorrow and then the final Sunday (France vs. Croatia).

TigerBlog is predicting a 2-0 Croatia victory. He's actually fascinated by the third-place game and why they still have it, for one thing. Also, how hard will the teams play? Do they care?

They have to be crushed that they're not playing Sunday. The game itself means nothing. Will it just be going through the motions?

TigerBlog, as you know, is also interested in the World Championships of lacrosse, which are currently going on in Israel.

There were a ton of games yesterday, including the Ireland-China game TigerBlog was interested in that one because of Princeton rising sophomore Andrew Song, a longstick midfielder for the Tigers.

Ireland won 18-3, but Song and China get right back at it again today, against Denmark at 5:30 this afternoon in Israel or 10:30 this morning in the Eastern time zone. You can see that game on ESPN+,  which is also the new home for livestreaming of Ivy League events starting this fall, so you might as well get your subscription now.

TigerBlog Jr. worked at two games yesterday - Germany vs. South Korea and Mexico vs. Latvia. Germany won its game 19-5, with two goals and an assist from TBJ's Sacred Heart teammate Alex Weiss.

TB watched the Israel-Jamaica game on ESPNU and then the United States-Iroquois game on ESPN2 yesterday.

The first game was close for a quarter, though there was a sense that Israel was just better, which proved to be the case in an 11-3 win. As for the second game, there was a lot to that one.

The Iroquois had passport issues that caused the team to miss the 2010 event in England. This time around, the Iroquois were able to get there, but not until a few hours before the opening face-off against the U.S.

Despite sitting on a plane for 11 hours and then getting off and playing, the Iroquois had a 7-5 lead at the half. The U.S. team rallied, finally winning 17-9, and Princeton alum Tom Schreiber had a big goal during the 5-0 run that turned the game around in the third quarter. Schreiber finished with two goals and two assists.

Schreiber hasn't been his usual best-player-in-the-world self since he injured his knee during the indoor National Lacrosse League season, but he looked pretty good yesterday in terms of movement.

The U.S. pulled away against the Iroquois, who finished third four years ago. You have to give the team credit for the effort yesterday, and they'll be tough once they're full acclimated. Having said that, TigerBlog doesn't think they could beat either the U.S. or Canada in a semifinal game. 

The other two Princeton alums in Israel play today against each other, as Alistair Berven and England take on Zach Currier and Canada. That game is at 9 pm in Israel or 2 pm here.

There are a lot of chances to see Schreiber and Currier this weekend, including head-to-head Sunday at noon (Eastern) on ESPNU. The U.S. also is on ESPNU tomorrow at 7:30 am against Australia, followed by Canada-Scotland at 11 am Eastern on ESPNU.

At the same time, don't just spend your weekend watching soccer and lacrosse on TV.

Make sure you get outside too and do some summer weekend things.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Main Event

So the World Cup final will be France against Croatia.

Somewhat shockingly, England has still only made it to one championship game, back in 1966. TigerBlog would have guessed that the English would have been there a bunch of times in the early days at least.

The latest loss, 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals, has to really sting the English. They scored early and seemed on the verge of adding two or three more, only to have the Croats tie it in the second half and win it in extra time. 

As for France, it is 1-1 in the finals, with a win over Brazil in 1998 and a loss to Italy in 2006. France won in 1998 in Paris, and England won in 1966 in London. France is the only team to win at home since 1978, and of course that won't happen this year, since the game will be in Russia.

TigerBlog was in Ireland in 2008 for the European championships. Ireland wasn't even in it that year and Dublin was nuts.

Can you imagine being in France or Croatia Sunday, or Monday if they win? Well, TB actually knows someone - three someones - who will be in Paris this weekend.

BrotherBlog and Joe, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog, are headed there today. They'll be in Paris for the World Cup final.

Even BrotherBlog will have to be aware that some major sporting event is in progress.

They'll be joined there early Monday morning by Miss TigerBlog ’22, who will be spending a week in Paris with them. If France wins, the party will still be going when her flight touches down shortly after dawn. If France loses, well, there'll be a lot of hungover people anyway, TB presumes.

It's an international summer for TB's children. MTB was offered a graduation party or the trip to France; she chose very wisely.

As for TigerBlog Jr., he is in Israel. He's been there since June 24, and he'll be there until the end of the World Lacrosse Championships, which began yesterday with a game between Hong Kong and Luxembourg.

From the World Cup to the World Championships. If you're like TigerBlog, then you're glad the main event is finally here. 

TBJ is playing in a league separate from the World Championships but at the same site, in the Tel Aviv surburb/beach town of Netanya. He is also working at the championships, doing stats and helping out the ESPN people.

His first 10 days were spent touring, from Haifa in the north of the country, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and then south to the Negev Desert. He's sent a bunch of pictures, including his "selfie" on a mountain with Syria behind him and one of him and his group covered in mud from the Dead Sea.

Somewhat surprisingly, he's texted more from Israel than he does in an entire school year in Connecticut.

It's a great opportunity for him, of course. Travel. Night life. Lacrosse.

Princeton has four players who are competing in Israel, and they're on four different teams.

Andrew Song, a rising sophomore, is playing for China. The longstick midfielder had a dynamic freshman season for Princeton and is one of the main reasons for the optimism that surrounds the program.

Princeton, if you forgot, will enter the 2019 season with the longest winning streak in Division I, and it will do so with a deep corps of players who are rising sophomores and juniors who already have a ton of experience.

Song played his first game at 9:30 Israeli time this morning, which means 2:30 am Eastern time. TBJ has promised to get some pictures; TB will see if he follows through.

The other three Princeton players are all alums, and they're all in the top division. TBJ is supposed to get pictures of them too.

The final almost surely will be the U.S. and Canada, which would mean Tom Schreiber against Zach Currier. Alistair Berven, who graduated in 2017 with Currier, plays defense for England.

TigerBlog put a story on goprincetontigers.com that has the schedule broken down by each player. You can see it HERE.

There will be a lot of television coverage of this tournament, including this afternoon at 1:30 Eastern when the U.S. opens against the Iroquois, who solved their passport issues to get to Israel.

The championship game is a week from Saturday at 10 am Israel time. That's 3 am Eastern time.

TigerBlog will be awake.

Why wouldn't he be? The final of the biggest world championship event in sports this summer?

Okay, okay. He'll admit it. The World Cup is bigger.

And hey, he can love both.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Court Reporting

For TigerBlog, a normal "Court Report" has to do with Princeton women's basketball, not the United States Supreme Court.

Today, it'll be the latter.

Forget politics though. As you know, TigerBlog avoids all subjects political here.

He wants to talk law schools.

The eight current Supreme Court justices all attended either, egads, Harvard or Yale for law school. Brett Kavanaugh, nominated Monday night, went to Yale Law School.

If you're keeping score, that's five from Harvard law and three Yale law grads for right now. Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, then that would be 5-4 Harvard.

You'll notice TigerBlog had to be very specific about the language there, since Ruth Bader Ginsburg never graduated from Harvard law. Instead, she transferred to Columbia when her husband got a job in New York City, leaving her as a rare person to make law review at both Harvard and Columbia. 

Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement, went to Harvard Law School, as did Antonin Scalia, who passed away in 2016. You have to go back to before Scalia, to Justices William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor, to find attendees of law schools other than Harvard and Yale who were named to the Supreme Court.

Those two, by the way, went to the same law school - Stanford.

John Paul Stevens is the third-longest tenured Justice in the history of the Court. Stevens, who was a justice for more than 34 years, went to Northwestern law school - which produced one-day Supreme Court Justice John Mack as well - and he retired in 2010 after Rehnquist died and O'Connor retired. That means that since 2010, every member of the Supreme Court, whether they are to the left or the right, has attended of either Harvard or Yale law.

Warren Burger was the Chief Justice when he retired in 1986. That's the last time someone was on the court who didn't graduate from Harvard, Yale, Columbia or Stanford. That includes 16 justices, and it would be 17 if Kavanaugh is confirmed.

Princeton, of course, does not have a law school; otherwise, the entire court would be made up of its grads.

As you probably know, three current Supreme Court Justices went to Princeton as undergrads - Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Samuel Alito. That's two Yalies (Alito and Sotomayor) and one Cantab (Kagan).

Going back a bit further, Alito is a graduate of Steinert High School, which is about 15 minutes from the Princeton campus in Hamilton.

Back in 2011, when Princeton played Kentucky in the NCAA men's basketball tournament in Orlando, the local paper asked each school for one non-basketball or athletic fact about the school. This request came to TigerBlog, who said that Princeton had three alums who were Supreme Court Justices. Kentucky's fact was that it had just set the world record for the largest tug-o'-war.

When it was printed, TigerBlog remembers some stereotyping that resulted, but that wasn't his intention. He just thought it was a great fact.

Back when the women's basketball team was unbeaten in the 2014-15 regular season, Justices Sotomayor and Kagan attended the team's NCAA loss at Maryland, after Barack Obama, himself a Harvard law grad, saw the NCAA win over Green Bay two days earlier.

Princeton played in the Cancun Challenge in that unbeaten season, defeating Wake Forest, Montana and Charlotte.

The 2018-19 Princeton women's basketball schedule has not yet been fully announced, but it's shaping up as another very challenging one. It's also shaping up as a team that's up to that challenge.

What was announced was Princeton's schedule for the next Cancun Challenge, which will be Thanksgiving weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Princeton will play three games in Mexico, beginning on Thanksgiving Day itself against DePaul, with games the following two days against Syracuse and Kansas State. Those are four schools used to playing in the NCAA tournament.

There will be a "Court Report" podcast that week. Perhaps TigerBlog should record it on site.

The tournament in Mexico will be a week after the end of the Ivy League football season. 

All of this Supreme Court stuff makes TB wonder if the Harvard-Yale game is a big one to the Justices. Only one of them - Chief Justice John Roberts (Harvard) - went undergrad at either of the schools. Kavanaugh went to Yale undergrad and law school.

Do the athletic teams matter to people who have graduate degrees, or do you only care about your undergraduate alma mater?

Or are most people like TigerBlog, who hopes his alma mater loses its season-ending football game this season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Consolation Prize

TigerBlog read the story about Amir Bell's signing with an Italian professional team.

He especially liked two parts of the quote from the team's coach, Franco Ciani.

The first was this:
"Princeton has a very important program of both studies and athletics."

It's great that the athletic and educational reputation of Princeton extends around the world.

The other part of the quote was this:
"Princeton? Let's not forget that it was also Mason Rocca's college, not just any one."

Mason Rocca is on the short list of Princeton athletes who through no fault of their own never were able to fully realize their complete greatness here, though they certainly gave glimpses of it. On his best - healthiest - night, Rocca was the most physically dominant men's basketball player TigerBlog has seen here.

Unfortunately, as TigerBlog has said many times, Rocca didn't have enough of those healthy nights.

If Rocca is on that short list, by the way, so is Chris Young, the second most physically dominant men's basketball player TB has seen here. Young only got to play for two years because of the random fact that his 21st birthday came six days before June 1 after his sophomore year, which made him eligible for the Major League Baseball draft that year.

As a result, when he signed his baseball contract, he was then ineligible for basketball too in the Ivy League, cutting short a career that, had it lasted four full years, would have left him as clearly the second-best player in program history.

As for the best player in program history? That of course is Bill Bradley.

So remember yesterday when TigerBlog mentioned that Princeton fans were okay with a consolation game from 53 years ago? He was talking about the 1965 men's basketball third-place game, between Princeton and Wichita State.

After the teams lost their semifinal games to Michigan and UCLA, Princeton beat Wichita State 118-82 to finish third. Bradley scored 58 points, which remains the most ever scored in an NCAA Final Four game and the most ever scored by a Princeton player.

Bradley shot 22 for 29 from the field (there was no three-point line back then) and 14 for 15 from the line. He also had 17 rebounds and four assists.

Actually, the assist totals are sort of interesting. For one thing, assists weren't official kept until more than 10 years later. For another thing, in a game that featured exactly 200 points, there were 11 assists credited - only one by Wichita State.

Here's a good trivia question for you:

There have been 13 men's basketball games in Princeton history in which a player has had at least 15 made field goals in a game. The first time was back in 1932, when John Seibert did so against Ursinus.

Bradley himself did it eight times. That leaves four more. Geoff Petrie did it twice. Brian Taylor did it once.

That means only one player since 1972 has done so. Can you name him? Hint - TigerBlog was at Dartmouth the night he did it.

The 58 points, also obviously Bradley's career high, is a number that most Princeton fans know about. What's fascinated TigerBlog even more through the years is Bradley's career low.

In three years of varsity basketball at Princeton, as the focal point of every defense he faced, as the person around whom every opponent's practice centered for three years, Bradley never scored fewer than 16 points in a game.

That's just ridiculous.

Think about that. His worst night ever was 16 points.

Anyway, TigerBlog was thinking about the greatest individual performances in Princeton history, across any sport, and that 58-point game has to be up there. It's summer, so TB does have some time to think about something that can compare.

Kazmaier against Cornell in 1951?

And what about performances TB has actually seen since he's been at Princeton? The first name that popped into his mind wasn't one you might have guessed.

It was actually Donn Cabral, at Heps cross country or at the NCAA steeplechase finals.

Off the top of his head, he also comes up with Thomas Pauley's 10-strikeout performance in Game 3 of the 2003 Ivy League baseball championship series.

And, you know, about 10 different games from Zach Currier. Yeah, he'll spend a little more time on this one.

In the meantime, there's the trivia answer - Rick Hielscher, who was 16 for 20 against Dartmouth in 1995.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Leap To Leipzig

TigerBlog cannot remember a world-class athlete who humiliated himself or herself more on the international stage than Neymar just did at the World Cup.

The Brazilian, one of the best players in the world, went to Russia hoping to lead his nation to a World Cup with a team that had as good a chance as any other. He left knowing that he could go on the internet or social media and see literally millions of videos that were mocking him after his team's failure.

If you haven't been watching, Neymar became the greatest flopper of all time. If you were anywhere near him contesting a ball, he went down in a heap, writhing in agony. Or supposed agony at least.

In the end, it definitely caught up to him, and not just for his reputation. Several times near the end of Brazil's 2-1 loss to Belgium in the quarterfinals, there were plays that might have been actual fouls - including one in the penalty area - that went uncalled, quite likely influenced by the fact that Neymar had spent so much of the tournament clearly faking contact.

It's easy to tell when a player is actually hurt and when there is simple flopping going on. The player's reaction tells the whole story.

How much American football have you watched? A lot. How many injuries have you seen? A lot.

How many times have you seen a player roll around three or four times, as if the momentum of the hit was just too much to be stopped? Never is the answer.

As you know, TigerBlog hates the flopping. He also hates PKs as a tiebreaker, which is how Croatia defeated Russia to get the final spot in the semifinals.

The semifinal matchups are Croatia against England and France against Belgium. That's four European countries.

For all of the geography represented in the tournament, one semifinal matches two bordering countries whose capitals are 194 miles - a little more than three hours - apart. The distance between the capitals of England and Croatia is roughly the same as the distance between New York and St. Louis.

One fascinating part to TigerBlog is that of those four teams, only one - France - was a semifinalist two years ago in the European tournament, which was won by Portugal.

TigerBlog, as you know, has watched a ton of the World Cup. He can't remember which game it was the other day, but during the broadcast he heard a rather familiar name come from one of the British announcers.

Jesse Marsch.

To fans of Princeton soccer, the name Jesse Marsch is a very familiar one. Jesse was an All-American under Bob Bradley at Princeton, and he spent 14 years as a player in Major League Soccer. During that time he played in 358 games and won four MLS championships.

Since then he has been a coach, including the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Princeton under Jim Barlow. Princeton went 8-0-1 in its final nine games in 2014, by the way.

Marsch has seen his career take him to the U.S. men's national team (as a player and a coach) and also as a coach in MLS, first with the Montreal Impact and most recently with the Red Bulls. That time ended when he stepped aside last week, and that's why his name became part of a World Cup telecast.

Why did Jesse leave the Red Bulls, who play in a stadium about 45 minutes from Princeton? Apparently, he's looking to make his mark in Europe.

Marsch had been rumored to be moving to RB Leipzig, a franchise in the German Bundesliga that comes from the same ownership group as the Red Bulls. This would be a much different challenge, of course.

Those rumors were confirmed early this morning, when Marsch became the assistant coach for RP Leipzig.

There haven't been many American coaches who have been able to coach at the highest levels of European professional soccer. Bradley, Marsch's coach at Princeton, did so with Swansea in the English Premiere League, though it didn't last.

THIS story from ESPN.com tells much more about the situation and is worth reading. Don't try to comment on it, though - ESPN.com got rid of its comments section. 

By the way, when you talk to Jesse Marsch, it takes you about two seconds to be impressed. He's very much like Bradley and Barlow - cerebral and competitive at the same time.

It would be great to see him get the opportunity on that level.

As for the World Cup, it's down to the final four games, with the two semifinal games and then a consolation and championship game.

Ordinarily, TB is not a fan of consolation games, though there was that one time 53 years ago where it was fine with Princeton fans.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Guest TigerBlog - The Most American Thing

The Princeton University Department of Athletics fields 37 varsity teams.

Competitive eating is not one of them. In fact, TigerBlog is hard-pressed to figure out why anyone would consider this a sport, as opposed to, say, simply disgusting. What must it feel like after you've eaten that many hot dogs in a short time?

Macall Martin, TigerBlog's colleague here at Princeton, was in Coney Island for the Nathan's hot dog eating contest Wednesday. TB found this out from a tweet she put out, one that she references at the end of her Guest TigerBlog on her experience in Brooklyn:

The 4th of July is easily one of my favorite holidays. Well… my favorite summer holiday I guess. And who might I be? My name is Macall Martin, and I am a colleague of TigerBlog's. On America’s birthday, I received a text from TB asking if I would write a guest blog sharing my unique 4th of July adventure… so here we go.

What exactly did I do on 4th of July that sparked TB’s interest? Well… I attended the 2018 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. If you haven’t heard of this American tradition, let me fill you in.

Each year thousands of people flock to Coney Island in Brooklyn for a day filled with sun, fun, rides and of course a hot dog eating contest. The tradition dates back 102 years and takes place on the corner of Surf and Stillwell street, outside of the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.

In recent history, the event, which brings crowds of 20,000+, has been aired live on ESPN for all of America to see. So, for the last six years or so, my sports enthusiast husband (we are talking BIG time sports fan… who also works in college athletics) has posted up in front of the TV to watch this one-of-a-kind event. It has sort of become an unofficial tradition in our household. So… as we found ourselves relocating to the East Coast last fall, attending this event in person made its way to the upper part of our bucket list.

Fast forward to now. This 4th of July morning we woke early, lathered ourselves in sunscreen, and made our way to Brooklyn. Surprisingly, the traffic was very light, and we cruised right into a nearby parking lot. We walked the few blocks to Surf and Stillwell streets, and our eyes widened as we saw the masses. The line to enter the “viewing area” was already 300 plus people long and it was still and hour until the first event. We opted to find some space on the outside fencing instead of going into the “pit” of people. As we settled, some of the pre-event entertainment started. We saw performances from local bands, jammed out to a DJ and enjoyed a few dance routines courtesy of the “Bun Bros” and the “Bun-ettes.”

Eventually, it was time for the women’s competition. The “Eaters,” as the contestants were called, hailed from all over. Many held titles in other MLE (Major League Eating) Contests. One held the “Kale Eating Champion of the World,” while another was the “Hard Boiled Egg Champion of the World.”

Once they finally got through their accolades, it was time to start! Just like on New Year’s Eve, the announcer had the crowd counting down from 10 to start the race. As we hit zero, the ladies began guzzling down hot dogs and buns. The goal is to take down as many hot dogs and buns as they can in 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes flew by and soon we were counting down from 10 again to signal the end of the contest. Who won? Had a record been broken?

The winner was five-time champion Miki Sudo. However, she ate nine fewer hot dogs and buns than she had in her best year and didn’t break the all-time record held by MLE champion Sonya Thomas. But she still smiled over the crowd excitedly has they handed her another pink championship belt.

Next up was the men’s competition.

Year round there is an enormous countdown clock on the upper part of the Nathan’s building that counts down to the event. As it dwindled down to noon, the fans started to get anxious. Finally, it was time.

The announcer started the show with the swearing in of the judges by the Brooklyn district attorney (yep… that’s how the Brooklyn DA spends his 4th of July), and then finally into the Eater introductions. Backwards from 10 the crowd yelled. Three, two, one, go! Again, the 10 minutes seemed to fly by as the announcer updated us along the way.

The fan favorite was Joey Chestnut, now an 11-time winner, who was far ahead of his competitors. But as the time ticked down it didn’t look like Joey was going to break his own world record. He was 10 dogs and buns behind! Finally, the time wound down and it was clear Joey didn’t break it. But… what was this? A dispute?

Joey and the next closest competitor were pulling hot dogs from two different plates at two different times!? The judges had missed this. The announcer quickly informed the crowd of the error and then they decided to bring the Brooklyn DA back up to settle things. After what seemed like an eternity, they had determined the judges had indeed missed plates of hot dogs and buns.

What was the actual total!? Seventy-four hot dogs and buns! Joey Chestnut had done it! He had broken his own record of 72 hot dogs and buns and… consumed roughly 22,000 calories!

The crowd roared and chanted Joey’s name as they handed him his 11th“Mustard Belt.” After a few words about his success, and one more loud roar from the crowd, the event concluded. Fans poured out of the street and went on to enjoy their 4th of July afternoon. My husband I were spent as well, after hours in the sun, but we had one more mission before we left. We had to get a photo with the mascot “Frankster.” And yes, you guessed right, he is a giant hot dog mascot.

Why did we have to get a photo with the mascot you ask? Because my huge sports fan husband has made a tradition of taking photos with mascots at all types of events where mascots frolic. Check him out at @mascotguy1 if you’re looking for a laugh.

But all in all, the event was quite an experience and I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something truly American to do on the 4th of July.

I think my post-event tweet summed it up well… “I have never been so proud/disgusted to be an American.”

Cheers to a fun and safe summer filled with hot dogs and buns… but maybe not as many as Joey Chestnut.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Yankee Doodle Dandy

TigerBlog didn't even need to check out the guide on his TV to know what would be on Turner Classic Movies at 8 last night.

Of course it was "Yankee Doodle Dandy." What else could possibly be on come 8:00 on the Fourth of July?

TB could easily list 10 movies, even 20 movies, that he would say he likes more than "Yankee Doodle Dandy," except on the Fourth of July. Then it's the only movie he really wants to see.

James Cagney made 61 movies in his long career. He is up there with the greatest gangsters of the golden age, and he was tremendous as Rhinelander Waldo, the police commissioner in "Ragtime," his second-to-last movie, back in 1981, when he was 82.

For all of that, he won exactly one Academy Award - for "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

If you're looking for some low-stress, old-fashioned, fun entertainment, this is about as good a choice as you can make. Actually, TigerBlog wrote this back in 2010.

Last year he wrote this: It's hard to beat Cagney as he sings and dances his way through one breezy show tune after another, all while reaffirming his patriotism and love of country in a time of World War.

Hey, the movie is a pretty common Fourth of July theme for him.

TigerBlog also mentioned last year that the World Cup would be past the halfway point by the time the next Fourth of July rolled around. And of course, that's where the World Cup stands.

Imagine how much TB would be writing about the World Cup if Princeton was in it, no?

Actually, TB thinks it's been a better TV World Cup without the Americans, because the storyline would have been all about the U.S., instead of simply the event. The current World Cup coverage is somewhat like what the Olympics coverage could be.

Anyway, Grant Wahl, a Princeton alum and former Office of Athletic Communication student worker at one point, is one of the foremost soccer writers in the world. He's certainly the No. 1 American in that group.

Grant has been doing work with Fox, including on-air pieces that have lent some additional flavor to the event. At one point yesterday he tweeted asking people what their favorite moment of the World Cup has been.

TB has a few of them, but it's possible that this one is his favorite:

Did you see that game? Japan was up 2-0 on Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favorites, only to have Belgium come back and win the game 3-2 on a goal as time expired. It has to be up there with the most heartbreaking losses the World Cup has ever seen.
And that's how the Japanese left their locker room? It was cleaner when they left it than it was when they first came into it. Think about that next time you see a story about a team that trashes its locker room.

TigerBlog has been in a few locker rooms where visiting coaches have said they want the place to be spotless when they left it, but they just meant to pick up the cups and put them in the garbage. This was immaculate.

There was no World Cup yesterday, and there aren't any games until tomorrow. This isn't quite like the NCAA men's basketball tournament, which gets worse round-by-round. It's just that TB got used to having two or three games per day on.

Meanwhile, back at the Fourth of July, the Princeton lightweight men's rowing team won its opening race at the Henley Royal Regatta, being held in England.

The Tigers won their first race yesterday, defeating Glasgow in its opener of the 32-crew tournament. Next up is the University of London this morning at 10:30 Eastern time, which would be 3:30 if you're in England.

You can watch the race HERE.

By the way, do you know when the Royal Henley Regatta was first contested? If you had 1839, you would be correct.

Princeton crews have won 10 Henley titles. The format is great - two boats go head-to-head, and the winner advances.

It has to be a pretty cool way to spend the Fourth of July.

Hey, do you think "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was on in England yesterday?