Thursday, December 17, 2020

Missing Doug Gildenberg

TigerBlog was a history major in college.

He even has the word "historian" in his current title at Princeton. It's no wonder he's a big fan of history, especially Princeton Athletics history.

As he writes this, he's wondering what it is about history that appeals so much to him. He's always been good about memorizing dates and all, but there has to be more to it than that.

Maybe it's because history is really about storytelling, and maybe he really enjoys that part of it. He certainly has during all of his time here. The current women's history project is just an extension of that.

He certainly likes the idea of seeing, as it were, how things used to be, whether it be the first women's athletes in the 1970s or Hobey Baker 60 years before that or the first football game 40 years before that. He loves the idea, and the challenge, of creating a record of what has happened here.

TB has a book called "Athletics At Princeton," which is about Princeton sports in the 1800s. It's an old brown dusty book of 600-plus pages, and TB has no idea of how that book came to be in his possession.

The story of the book itself would make for a great history lesson, actually. It was published 120 years ago, and somewhere along the way it made its way to Jadwin Gym.

Eventually, TB stumbled on it in the E level storage room and moved it to his desk. This was in the 1990s. It's stayed with him ever since.

How many people have read the book? How many people have owned it? How many desks has it sat on through the years? 

The book was written by Frank Bresbrey, a member of the Class of 1879 and a rower at Princeton. His book is a meticulous recap of every athletic event played by a Princeton team in the 19th century.

TB's women's history book isn't meant to be the same sort of encyclopedic memoir the way that the Bresbrey book is. What he does hope is that 120 years from now, his book is sitting on someone's desk somewhere.

Seriously, looking at the old book is extraordinary. Its own story is almost as fascinating as the stories contained inside of it.

Speaking of Princeton history, there is Doug Gildenburg.


Doug Gildenberg is not a Princeton graduate. He went to Delaware, actually.

But he in his own way is a big part of Princeton Athletic history. Gildbenberg is a long, long, long time football and basketball stats person at Princeton. He goes back way before TigerBlog showed up.

His stat career goes back to his freshman year of high school, when he was 1) cut from the basketball team and 2) offered a job keeping stats. He's been doing so for 45 straight basketball seasons since then, most of them at Princeton for the men and women.

When TB first started covering Princeton, it was Doug and Jeff McCollum, a 1966 Princeton grad. Jeff, who wrote for the Daily Princetonian as an undergrad, left once stat-keeping went from hand stats to computer stats. 

Doug, though, has soldiered on. He's worked with a lot of different people, most notably Bob Nicastro and the Yackos, Norm Sr. and Norm Jr. 

Doug has been the constant. And this fall and winter he, like everyone else, has missed being in his usual sit in the press box at Princeton Stadium or courtside in Jawin Gym.

He's a good guy, Doug. He'll talk to anyone in the press box, and he's always happy to be there. He knows every possible situation that can come up statistically and how to enter it, and you never have to worry whether or not he's going to be there on time. 

TB received a nice email from Doug the other day, talking about how much in fact he does miss his regular role. 

He also said he's looking forward to next year. He's speaking for more than just himself when he says that.

And 2020 notwithstanding, Doug Gildenberg has already carved out a spot in Princeton's history. 

Not everyone who has done so has done so on the field.

1 comment:

Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

I do not know if your readers have seen the statistics, but The New York Times on 12/12/20 had a full page article with the headline "College Sports Has Reported At Least 6,629 Virus Cases." The article comes complete with coronavirus cases listed for different colleges. It is painful that Princeton is not playing sports for so long, but after you read the article, you will see that maybe the Ivy League has taken the proper course.