Thursday, February 25, 2021

Tiger Woods

Back when TigerBlog was in the newspaper business, there was no such thing as the internet.

What there was, at least in the newsroom, was the AP wire, which constantly updated with headlines all day and all night. It was the way to keep up with breaking news, or at least different headlines.

If your assignment that night was to work inside, doing layout and writing the short wraps, then you constantly checked the wire to see if the West Coast games had ended and the stories were posted. You couldn't go home until they were, even if it was well past midnight.

Ah, those were the days. 

If you happened to be in the newsroom during the day, the wire mostly updated with stories that were of little to no interest to TB. Every now and then, someone would react to having seen something completely unexpected, usually the passing of someone famous.

TB still remembers the time when his former colleague, the late, great Tony Persichilli, almost broke down in tears upon learning that the woman who played Aunt Bea on "The Andy Griffith Show" had died.

TigerBlog was sitting in front of one of the terminals on Nov. 7, 1991, in the afternoon. As he remembers, he was talking to his friend Charlie when the news came over the AP wire that Magic Johnson had announced he had test positive for HIV.

At the time, it was an incredibly huge story. It was at a time when there were few things in the world scarier than HIV, and to have someone like Magic Johnson test positive frightened so many people.

It also started many of those same people down the path of being educated about the disease, and in many ways, his announcement and the way he would handle it moving forward was a huge turning point in the fight against the disease.

When TB saw the news Tuesday of the car accident involving Tiger Woods, he thought back to that day in 1991, which is more 29 years ago already. What the heck, as Miss TigerBlog would say. 

Back then, there was the AP wire and some TV and radio talk shows and that was it. There was no 24-hour news cycle, no social media, no endless speculation and analysis when no information was available. 

As TB said, those were the days. 

Woods' accident set off immediately commentary from people in every medium, especially Twitter. There was the news, and then off everyone went, in an effort to be "first" to "break" something or to have the "hottest take."

These are different days.

It appears that Woods suffered very serious injuries to both of his legs, with multiple open fractures. His future as a professional golfer is very much in doubt, thought it appears he will be able to recover fully over time.

As an aside, back when Woods first burst on the golf scene, a local sportswriter wanted to try to give Class of 1952 Stadium at Princeton the nickname "Tiger Woods."

It seemed to make some degree of sense. The facility then was just the field that is now Sherrerd Field, which today is the home of the men's and women's lacrosse teams. Bedford Field, next door to Sherrerd, is the home of the field hockey team.

Back then, both teams played on what is now Sherrerd Field. The two fields together are considered the Class of 1952 Stadium complex. 

The fields are bordered by trees on several sides. Woods, as it were. And the Tigers play there. Tiger Woods. It fits.

It also never caught on. It was a good try though. It can be hard to come up with good nicknames, and it can be hard to get them to stick.

For three years, from 1996-98, TB tried to come up with a great nickname for Princeton's starting attack unit of Jon Hess, Chris Massey and Jesse Hubbard. He never could do it.

Even all these years later, he still has never come up with one.

Hess, Massey and Hubbard combined for 618 points in 60 career games. They started together on attack each of their last three seasons, after Hubbard had been a midfielder as a freshman. They are as good an attack unit that has ever played the game, and they were at their best in the postseason, when they had a ridiculous 121 points between them in just 11 games.

And yet, for all that, they have no great nickname. Not then. Not now. 

Oh well. 

Those three straight NCAA championships will have do for them. 

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