Tuesday, December 1, 2020

It's TAGD 7

Tiger Athletics Give Day Website

Among TigerBlog's absolute least favorite words to write are any variation of "Princeton lost."

As he researches any number of different things, he's often taken back to the stories he's written after games in any number of sports. In the case of a crushing loss, just reading those stories can take him back to the time he wrote them, and he can feel the sheer frustration of what it was like to have to do so in the moment.

There should be some sort of rule where if your team loses a really tough game, then the entire story can simply be "go away," and therefore the reader will know the day didn't go well.

It would be like being part of a really awful corporate meeting, maybe one where you figured you were about to be promoted only to find out that the person you dislike the most is the one who actually gets the job. And then you have to go back and write about that person for the company newsletter.


You would think that writing a story about a bad loss would be quick. Just get to the point. Get it over with. Close up your computer. 

But no. The ones after the big wins are the ones where the words just fly. The tough losses are the ones where you stare at your computer and it takes you seemingly forever to write one paragraph.

Ah, but as TB has often said, he's been lucky to be at Princeton all these years, where the good wins outnumber the bad losses by a lot. 

Writing "Princeton wins" is a lot more fun.

Anyway, to the list of words that he never wants to write again you can add "in a normal year." Oh, is he tired of writing those words.

He's tried not to do it too often since the COVID pandemic began and Princeton sports had to be put on hold. He's tried not to dwell on what would have happened on any given day, but it hasn't been easier.

It's been more difficult in real life, to be honest. There hasn't been what would have been a gameday yet where TB hasn't imagined where he would have been and what he would have been doing compared to what he was doing.

Today is TAGD, which is Tiger Athletics Give Day. It's the seventh edition of TAGD, a wildly successful and unifying event that has seen Princeton Athletics raise funds in support of its 17 Friends Groups and 37 varsity teams.

So with the understanding of just how much he hates to write those words, here he goes again: In a normal year, TAGD has a different build-up and a different feel.

This of course isn't a normal year.

Still, it doesn't diminish from all of the positives about TAGD. First, as TB said, it's a very unifying occasion, bringing together for a 24-hour period all of the alums and current athletes and reminding everyone of the common bond that is shared among those who compete and have competed for Princeton.

The theme of this year's TAGD speaks to that: Stronger Together. At a time when it's easy to feel isolation, remembering that there is something that is shared among a large group of people is important. 

As Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan said in her letter to the community (the full letter is on the TAGD webpage, linked above):

These past few months have been challenging and tested us all in ways we never expected. I have been so inspired by our student-athletes and coaches, who demonstrate day after day what it means to be part of a team that cares deeply and is committed to one another. I also want to thank our alumni and supporters, whose continued passion, dedication and support of our Tigers and our mission of Education Through Athletics demonstrate to our student-athletes and coaches how strong their “Team Around the Team” really is. In that vein, we look forward to coming together as a united Princeton Athletics team as part of TAGD, like we have for the past six years. TAGD has been a tremendous vehicle for our department, as it has become an annual tradition on National Giving Tuesday. We are humbled by and grateful for the year-over-year engagement and financial support. If there is anything that this initiative, as well as the ongoing challenges related to the pandemic have shown, it is that we are STRONGER TOGETHER.

TAGD is an investment in the education and the experience of the Princeton student-athletes. They are wonderful young men and women who give back on that investment with their own loyalty to Princeton later on but more importantly with the way they live their lives, armed with the lessons that they've been able to learn as undergrads. 

Yes, they can be a bit cliched, but words like "Education Through Athletics," "Achieve, Serve, Lead" and "Be A Tiger" have real significance. They're about values, clearly defined and articulated values, and they are the ultimate goal here is all about.

And so yes, this year is not a normal year. 

But it's still TAGD. So have some fun with it. Thank you again for all of your support.

And remember what is is that "Stronger Together" speaks to.

In this non-normal year, it's more valuable than ever.

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