Monday, April 13, 2020

Jimmy Darmody ’20

TigerBlog saw a funny Easter-centric meme yesterday.

It was a take-off of the famous "Last Supper" painting by da Vinci, though it had Jesus in a larger portion of the picture and then six disciples in their own boxes across the top. The line was: "We'll give the others another a few minutes to join us."

Clearly, it was a take-off on the Zoom phenomenon.

TB would guess that maybe 90 percent of his readers have been on a Zoom video call at some point in the last four weeks. He'd also guess that maybe 75 percent of them had never been on one prior to that. TB, for one, had not.

As the holidays of Easter and Passover have overlapped again, TB is also guessing that a lot of families who couldn't physically be together used Zoom to connect virtually. It's a great way to keep families close, and in some ways it allows the time that families (or friends) are spending together to be more valued.

The weather for your Easter Sunday was nearly perfect in the Princeton area. In fact, it has not been lost on TigerBlog that the weather has been extremely cooperative this late winter and spring, especially on the weekends.

In fact, going back further, this is one of the most mild winters that has ever happened around here. Best of all, there was almost nothing in the way of snow. As winters go, you can't ask for more.

TB has said a few times that he has been following the simulated men's lacrosse games that a website is doing - and getting annoyed by the fact that he is (and even more annoyed if Princeton isn't doing well). To that you can add that he also has been checking the weather for the locations where games were to have been played as well.

It's all part of the surreal world of the spring of ’20.

That's 2020, by the way.

The spring of 1920 was surreal in its own way, what with prohibition having just become the law of the land.

TigerBlog has been watching "Boardwalk Empire" again, and he forgot just how great a show it is. Perhaps it was overshadowed by "The Sopranos," but the show set in the 1920s in Atlantic City is in the top tier of series that TB has ever seen.

Princeton University features prominently in the show since one of the main characters, Jimmy Darmody, attended the University before dropping out to enlist in World War I. It never really clarifies what his class year was, but the suggestion is made that he was only there for a year.

Since the United States got into the war in 1917, perhaps Darmody would have been a member of the Class of 1920? Also, he dropped out just before he was expelled for punching out the professor who made a pass at his mother, but TB doesn't want to give too much of the plot away.

There is one flashback episode to Darmody's Princeton days, one that includes scenes of a campus that has very few buildings and a train that runs directly through the campus. That train line used to add extra cars on football game days to pack Palmer Stadium, which would have been in its infancy whenever Darmody was there, as it was built in 1914.

Also, in one episode, one of the characters is reading a Philadelphia newspaper that has a headline that says "Penn 5 To Face Lafayette." Because of where the story was at the time, the season had to be the 1920-21 season.

Clearly this referred to basketball. Most people probably didn't notice the headline. TB did. And what did he do?

He went straight to Penn's website to see if there was a 1920-21 game between Penn and Lafayette. The answer?

Yes, the Quakers did. In fact, Penn claimed the 1921 Helms National Championship, something that TB had never heard of before. And en route to a 21-2 record that year, Penn defeated Lafayette 37-12 on Jan. 29.

TB will forgive the fact that he doesn't think the scene was set in January, but hey, close enough. Had there not been a Penn-Lafayette game that year, TB would have really wondered how in the world they picked that for their fictional headline.

Also, in the 1920-21 season, Penn defeated Princeton 33-22 and 27-20, which are more like contemporary football scores. A year earlier, by the way, Penn also claimed the national championship with a 22-1 record that included a 20-0 start. The 20th win came over Princeton 26-23 - in four overtimes.

Penn finished that season with three games against Chicago, the first a loss in Chicago and then wins at home and on a neutral court in Princeton of all places.

Somewhat fascinating is that the Princeton records have the same scores for all of those games. Also, the 1921-22 Tigers played Penn three times, losing the first 20-18. That put Princeton a game back of Penn heading into the last two games of the regular season, both against the Quakers.

Princeton won the second game 34-24 to set up a one-game playoff for the league championship. Back then, the league was the Eastern Intercollegiate League, and there was no co-champion back then, as Ivy League rules today are written.

As a result, the teams played on March 28, 1922, for the championship, and Princeton won that game 28-23. Arthur Loeb had 20 of the 34 in the game to set up the tie and then 12 of the 28 in the playoff game, not to mention 325 of Princeton's 700 points for the season.

So what was TB saying?

Oh yeah. Watch "Boardwalk Empire." It's awesome.

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