Friday, March 27, 2020


A few weeks ago, which seems a lot longer than a few weeks ago, TigerBlog stumbled upon a team picture of the 1953 men's hockey team.

His first thought on seeing it was of John McPhee, a member of the Class of 1953 and someone who has often talked about his friendship with George Hackl, the captain of the 1955 men's hockey team and a sophomore in 1952-53. TB thought he'd like it.

He also sent him another picture he found of John's cousin Frank McPhee, an All-American end on the football team in the early 1950s.

Yesterday, TB and McPhee (John, not Frank) ventured out to for a bike ride. TB has been out most days, but this was the first time he rode with Mr. McPhee in awhile.

John, by the way, was featured on the website yesterday as he continues to teach his sophomore writing seminar, albeit using Zoom these days. It went fairly seamlessly, the story said and he concurred, as everyone seems to be becoming a Zoom expert these days.

You can read that story HERE.

During the ride, the two got to talking about the 1953 hockey picture. John pointed out that the picture included a lot of his friends and even two of his roommates, and he also mentioned how George could identify every single player in the picture.

This got TB to thinking about whether or not that would be expected or was something impressive. He thinks he'll go with expected (for impressive, consider that John McPhee, age 89, rode his bike more than 11 miles yesterday).

In fact, TB would go so far as to say that he'd guess that a high majority of Princeton athletes could go through a team photo decades later and correctly recall the name of everyone in it. That, TB would suggest, speaks to the bond that is created by being a Princeton athlete.

In addition to his pretty much daily bike rides, TB has been doing a lot of writing and a lot of updating of things on the webpage. He's guessing he's not the only person who works in athletic communications who is doing those things.

TB would have gotten on the men's lacrosse bus today for the trip to Brown that had been scheduled. He's going to say that the Tigers, who were 5-0 when the season was suspended, would be 7-0 now, and hey, he acknowledges that anyone from Penn (his friend Quaker Meeting House for instance) or Yale would definitely say otherwise.

Another person on the bus would have been Derek Griesdorn, the equipment manager for men's lacrosse and other Princeton teams.

TB has know Derek since he came to Princeton three years ago, and he can vouch for the fact that Derek means every word of this quote on his bio on the webpage: "I will bend over backwards to help anyone achieve what they need done. If there is anything I can do in the line of equipment, I will do whatever I possibly can to make it happen. Always looking to better myself and the people around me."

Also, from that bio, TB sees that Derek is a graduate of the University of Dayton. That's rough, since he's left to wonder not only about how Princeton men's lacrosse would have done the rest of the way but also how Dayton men's basketball would have as well.

In typical Derek fashion, he shrugged it off by saying it was a fun year and he loves the school and the arena.

By the way, last night and tonight would have been the men's Sweet 16.

Derek is spending his time these days doing what he can to help the fight against the coronavirus, or at least to help those who are fighting it. An expert at sewing, Derek has been working to convert fabric, mostly cotton, into masks that can be used in this time of a shortage. Cotton works the best because it is breathable but can also catch the particles.

At least that's what Derek said.

"It's a great cause," he says. "There's a shortage, and if I can help out, I'm happy to do it."

It takes him about 30 minutes to convert an old t-shirt to a mask. He's been supplied fabric by local organizations and by some others at Princeton, and he has been making 10 masks a day.

For more information, including how to donate fabric, click HERE.

And, you know, TB doesn't expect Tiger fans to know who Derek is. And yes, Derek would rather be getting on the bus to Providence than sewing masks.

But that's what he's doing, sewing masks. And making a difference.

And so now you know who he is. And you can be glad people like that are a part of Princeton Athletics.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great job, once again, TB at highlighting the unsung heroes! Derek is the best and yes, I am a little biased!!