Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Year In Review

TigerBlog has a lot of songs on his iTunes.

When he hit the button to randomly play them yesterday when he sat down to work, the first one that came up was "Manic Monday," by the Bangles. That seemed a bit eerie, since it was, you know, Monday.

So what was the second song to come up?

"Monday, Monday," by the Mamas and the Papas. Now that was downright freaky.

He only has three other songs with the word "Monday" in the title: "Come Monday," by Jimmy Buffett, and "I Don't Like Mondays," though he has two versions of that one, by the Boomtown Rats and another one by Bon Jovi, and then lastly "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters.

The song after "Monday, Monday" was "Jersey Girl," the version by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. None of the other "Monday" songs played all day.

As far as the rest of the week goes, he has no songs with Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in the title (though one, "Voices Carry," by a group called Til Tuesday). He has one Friday, four Saturday and two Sunday.

Someone should write a great song about Wednesdays. They'd make a fortune.

Anyway, that was the random start to TB's Monday.

The planned start included putting up the 2019-20 Princeton Athletics Year in Review. You can see it here:
Tiger Athletics 2019-20

For the third straight year, the Year in Review has been done in an Adobe Spark format. Before that, there have been any number of different ways of retracing the previous academic year's achievements.

As TB wrote in the first sentence of this year's review: The 2019-20 athletic year was unlike any that had ever come before it at Princeton University – and Princeton Athletics goes all the way back to 1864.

That is for sure.

Princeton was on the verge of having one of the most amazing years it has had in a long time. Instead, it ended up with having a year that nobody wanted or could have foreseen, a year that left Princeton to wonder what might have been.

At the same time, out of that hurt came a new kind of resolve, and Princeton can be very proud of the way it handled things. It wasn't the end of the year that anyone wanted, but the lessons that were learned and the way Princeton's athletic values played into that were as inspirational as any on-field achievements would have been.

The COVID-19 pandemic marked the end of the athletic year in mid-March.

By that point, Princeton had won a league-best six championships (field hockey, women's volleyball, wrestling, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving). The wrestling title was the 500th in Princeton history, a number only one other league school is even within 250 of matching.

Princeton's fall, which included a field hockey run to the NCAA championship game, left the Tigers in 28th place in the NACDA Directors' Cup. When the shutdown came on that surreal Wednesday in March, Princeton had 18 nationally ranked teams that were still competing between winter teams that were ready for the postseason and spring teams that were priming themselves for their own championship runs.

You will never be able to convince TigerBlog that had the pandemic not come along, there would be a team, or multiple teams, who would have won national championships in 2019-20. The women's hockey team certainly had as good a shot as anyone, having just knocked off No. 1 Cornell in the ECAC championship game. There were multiple wrestlers who also could have gotten to the top of the podium.

The men's lacrosse team was flying high. The men's and women's lightweight rowers were as well. All three of them were ranked in the top three nationally.

Even teams that had no realistic chance at a national championship were in great positions.

The men's basketball team was playing its best heading into the Ivy League tournament. The men's hockey team had struggled all year and the won an ECAC playoff series at Dartmouth in overtime in Game 3.

And then there was the women's basketball team. The Tigers had rolled to a 26-1 regular season. Were they Sweet 16 bound? Better than that?

In the end, these are all unanswerable questions. The Spark document has a whole section devoted to them.

And yes, that will always sting.

Then again, the way everyone handled the situation was, as TB said before, inspirational.

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