Friday, March 19, 2021

The Great Vietta

This is the final day of winter.

This winter featured a lot of snow but then again not a lot of freezing weather. Which would you prefer? 

It never really dipped into the frigid temperature range. There were four or five major snowfalls though. 

Hmmm. TigerBlog thinks he'd take the snow without the crazy cold. 

Spring officially arrives tomorrow at 5:37 am, at least according to the Farmers Almanac. Pretty soon it will be April, and hopefully March will go out like a lamb - which hopefully means no more snow shoveling.

The spring is a great time. The weather improves. People spend more time outside. Summer isn't that far away. 

And, of course, the days are getting longer.

This past weekend saw the clocks turned ahead (spring ahead, fall back), which means it isn't getting dark out until around 7:30 these days. 

In addition to more daylight, this is a big thing for TigerBlog Jr., who never "fell back" with the clock in his car. After all these months, he finally has the right time when he gets behind the wheel.

TigerBlog has said that his book on women's athletic history will be done in the spring, and the writing part will be, actually will be prior to the end of the month. The editing part has already begun and though there is a long way to go, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with actual books in the near future.

The editing process can be overwhelming. For instance, if you want to write about what someone is doing in 2021, how do you word that? Is it "today?" Is it "in 2021," which is sort of bulky? Is it "when women's athletics turned 50?" This is actually a bigger deal than you'd think, since there will be many readers who read this book (hopefully) in years to come, so time frames aren't always as clear.

And what about maiden names versus married names. Take the great C.B. Tomasiewicz of the women's basketball team. She's been C.B. Nogay for more than 40 years now.

TigerBlog is working on the introduction for the book. How's this for starters: 

This story begins with an apology to all of the great women who have competed at Princeton who are not featured in the book. There were just too many great stories to be able to tell them all.

How's that?

It's the one thing that TB is really not happy about as it relates to the book project. There are just too many great stories out there, and he has to leave many of them out.

He's tried his best to include as many as possible. As he gets closer and closer to being finished, the more he's aware of the ones he hasn't been able to interview and write about.

He could almost delete everything he's written to date and start over and come up with an entirely new book. If anything it speaks to just how great the history of women's athletics at Princeton has been. 

The third Thursday of each month means another excerpt from the book. The one yesterday was on Vietta Johnson, a member of the Class of 1982 and a sprinter and hurdler on the women's track and field team.

You can read it HERE.

Vietta Johnson grew up in Brooklyn, just down the street from the Fort Greene housing projects. She tested into Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, and then she went from there to Princeton and then to Harvard Medical School. 

Today she's an orthopedic surgeon (see, TB can say "today" there, because you're reading this today. But if you come back in 20 or 30 years or so and she's retired, then what?). She works in Chicago, and she has spent much of her career working in underserved communities.

As stunning as it is to consider this, she was just the 10th black woman to be an orthopedic surgeon in this country. And that wasn't way, way back when. That was in the late 1980s.

Her story is a great one. The force of her personality is obvious. 

She is a very special alum of the University and one of Princeton's most impressive former athletes.

1 comment:

Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

Good question that you ask about how to approach the "year" editing issue in your
book. However, you are in a great position to deal with this since your close friend John McPhee is a writer, professor, and has even written a recent book on the writing process.