Friday, March 13, 2020

What A Week

TigerBlog has been doing this every work day since January of 2009.

That's without fail. No matter what, every day, for more than 11 years.

He's done this on vacation. He's done this from three continents. He's done this after surgeries. He's done this when he's been sick. He's done this when he has had literally nothing to say, through summer after summer when there have been no Princeton athletic events.

Today is the closest he's come in all that time to not writing.

What can he say? TB actually wrote a piece about women's basketball history with Bella Alarie and Sandi Bittler Leland, and he was going to run it Wednesday when all this started to unfold. Then he thought about putting  it up yesterday, but it didn't seem right with with the Ivy League announcement of suspending spring events. He was going to put it up today, but again, it just doesn't feel right.

What a week this has been.

When left Sherrerd Field after Princeton defeated Rutgers in men's lacrosse last weekend, the last thing he thought was that he had seen the Tigers for the final time this season. That was six days ago. It seems like a hundred years.

For that matter, it's only been five days since he drove away from Stony Brook University after the women's lacrosse game. He never once on the ride back from Long Island considered that he'd seen his final Princeton athletic event for a long time.

That's how quickly this all moved.

That was the main takeaway for TigerBlog from the message from President Eisgruber. Look at where this situation was two weeks ago and compare it to what it is now in places like Italy and New Rochelle, and then ask yourself what it could be like anywhere else in the next two weeks.

The Ivy League was the first Division I conference to cancel its basketball tournament and its athletic competition for the spring when it made that announcement Wednesday. Since then, pretty much the rest of the college athletics world has followed suit, as the reality of trying to stop the spread of the Coronavirus sinks in.

The inevitable announcement of the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments, as well as the rest of the winter and spring NCAA championships, came around 4:15 yesterday. 

It's an awful time for college athletics, and for colleges in general, as they all struggle with what to do next, how to keep educating their students with as little additional disruption as possible, beyond the obvious fact that campuses everywhere will be turning into ghost towns for the foreseeable future.

The No. 1 question TB has been asked the last few days has been if he's ever seen anything like this before. The answer, as he wrote yesterday, is no.

Who could have imagined any of this would happen?

This is, for many, the best time of the year for college sports. March Madness is in full swing. Brackets were set to be revealed. Conference tournaments, including the Ivy League tournament, were to dominate the weekend.

Now that's all gone, in a matter of a few days.

TigerBlog as you know, loves lacrosse, but there's nothing he's even been to that compares to the first rounds of an NCAA basketball regional. It's a huge party all day.

He's been with Princeton to nearly 10 of them. Each one was great.

The NCAA tournament is a big a part of American sporting culture as anything other than the Super Bowl. It's been contested every year since 1939.

Yesterday was more of the surreal, with announcement after announcement trickling in about league's canceling tournaments, teams opting not to play, professional leagues having to suspend competitions, professional athletes who have the virus.

TigerBlog is not an alarmist. It's just that he's never seen anything like this.

He'd like to share this short video with you from Michael Sowers, who is as impressive as a human being as he is as a lacrosse player. He speaks for pretty much every college athlete and student everywhere with his words:


And that's it for this week, this crazy, unfathomable, never-to-be-forgotten week.

TigerBlog will be back next week. He'll probably even start out with the women's basketball piece.

He's not sure what else to say today.

Maybe he'll just end with how Michael ended his video.

Stay safe. 

No comments: