Thursday, July 11, 2019

More Summer Travels

TigerBlog received this comment earlier this week:

TB, four years ago, I left a comment suggesting a few topics for your summer columns. (Left comment on 6/12/15; your last response on 8/28/15.) You predictably knocked those pitches out of the park, so here are some more ideas that you might consider to be in your strike zone:

Greatest games or events you've witnessed, considering their historical context (last time, you answered exclusive of historical context)
Most improbable team or individual achievements (other than comebacks, which we covered)
Saddest or most bitter you've been due to Princeton sports
Most nervous moments you've had, in-game or otherwise
Most extreme emotions other than happy, sad or nervous (For instance, I think that arguably your best column ever was describing what went through your mind when you inputted the official scorer's entry for your daughter's ground ball. As another example, when I attended Princeton Stadium's 1998 inaugural game against Cornell, the pre-game festivities included football alumni marching onto the field beneath their class banners. Watching the history unfold in front of me, I started to tear up. My girlfriend at the time, a gritty street-smart New Yorker, saw me getting choked up and looked at me quizzically. I felt the need to explain myself and quietly said, "This makes me feel part of something bigger than myself." Within a month, we broke up. I think she literally thought to herself, "Any man who would come close to crying at a football game is not a good long-term match for me.") 

Yes, this is great. TigerBlog will get to all of them before the end of the summer.

As for today, it's always good to see Ashleigh Johnson on the front page of

Johnson, a 2017 Princeton grad, has twice been named the top women's water polo player. Not in the league or in the collegiate ranks. Nope. The best in the world.

If you ever saw her play, you can understand why. A goalie, she seems not so much to float on the water as she does to use the water as if it was her own launching pad, reaching shots in the upper corners that seem impossible.

Think about it. You're treading water. The pool is deep. You can't touch the bottom. And then you have to explode out of the pool to try to stop a shot that is rocketing at you.

Johnson won an Olympic gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and then came back to Princeton to compete as a senior. Only Bill Bradley had ever done that before - competed as a Princeton athlete after having won Olympic gold.

TigerBlog thought that Johnson's international career was over until he saw the story yesterday that said she'll be competing at the World Championships this weekend in South Korea. You can read it HERE.

The story refers to Johnson as "one of the greatest athletes in Princeton history," and that is a 100 percent true statement.

There are six stories that scroll across the front page of the website, and three of those yesterday involved Princeton athletes involved in major international competitions.

One of them was Johnson.

Another was George Humann, the men's volleyball player who is the only collegiate player on the U.S. team for the FIVB Volleyball Nation's League Finals.

You can read about this one HERE.

Humann will be with the U.S. team in Chicago for the six-team tournament. He'll be back at Princeton next season, hoping to equal what happened last year, when he was the EIVB Player of the Year and then tournament MVP as Princeton won to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998.

The other story about Tigers on the international stage was about the upcoming field hockey tournament at the Pan Am Games. That one is HERE.

There will be two Princeton alums there, playing for different countries. The first is recent grad Elise Wong, a von Kienbusch finalist this past year. She'll be playing for Canada.

The other is Kathleen Sharkey, who is a longtime member of the U.S. National Team and a former Olympian. Sharkey is the team captain for the U.S.

Here are two numbers for you about Sharkey: she scored 107 goals at Princeton (and helped the team to the 2012 NCAA title) and she has made 166 appearances with the national team.

The Pan Am Games will be held in Peru beginning July 29. The winner of the field hockey tournament advances to the Olympic Games.

Oh, and Bella Alarie will be at the Pan Am Games as well, with the U.S. women's basketball team.

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