Friday, July 9, 2021

A Congratulations, A Videoboard And A Birthday

TigerBlog has three things for you before you go enjoy your summer weekend.

The first is a congratulation to Jeff Halpern, an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Princeton graduate (Class of 1999) won a second-straight Stanley Cup Wednesday night when the Lightning closed out Montreal in five games.

The series wasn't overly dramatic. The Lightning won the first three games before Montreal got one back in overtime to push it to a Game 5. This came as good news to, of all people, Tampa mayor Jane Castor, who said that she hoped her Lightning lost Game 4 so they could win it at home.

It was the kind of thing politicians rarely say. It opened her up to be mocked if somehow Montreal had come back to win it all. In retrospect, she said before the fifth game, it would have been better if the Lightning had swept.

All worked out well for her when Tampa Bay won the game Wednesday 1-0. The only goal was scored by rookie Ross Colton, who is from, of all places, Mercer County, about 10 miles away from Princeton, in the town of Robbinsville.

It's a pretty good run for Mayor Castor's teams. The Lightning has now won back-to-back Cups, and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl last winter. The Rays made it to the World Series, where they were knocked out by analytics, er, by the Dodgers. 

Halpern, by the way, shared the 1999 Roper Trophy as Princeton's outstanding senior male athlete with basketball player Brian Earl and football/baseball player Matt Evans.

Next up is the new videoboard at Sherrerd Field. 

It's pretty nice. It jumps out at you from the parking lot. The color is incredible. The size is impressive, at 28 feet tall and 44 feet wide, which makes it the largest at any Ivy lacrosse facility.

TB saw it in use for the first time when he did the PA for the women's lacrosse intrasquad games in the spring. It adds so much to the atmosphere at Sherrerd Field, and there is no fan who will not be awed by it.

The addition of the videoboard is just one more reason to be excited about the spring of 2022 for Princeton men's and women's lacrosse. As you know, TB doesn't really need any additional inducements to be excited for lacrosse season obviously, but he really is looking forward to seeing the board in action.

So that's two things.

The third thing is that tomorrow is Pete Carril's 91st birthday. Here is part of what TB wrote about Carril when he turned 90 a year ago:

Carril is a Princeton University icon, someone who long ago elevated himself beyond just the normal status of even the most successful coach. He was as much a sociologist as a basketball coach, someone with an innate sense of human behavior and an ability to see right through to a person's core in moments.

There haven't been too many people TB has ever met who have left a mark on him the way Carril has - and TB isn't even one of his many former players. If being a sportswriter who covered his teams and then his final sports information contact has made this sort of impact on TB, what must it be like to have played for him?

From his vantage point, TB has spent hours and hours with Carril in the office, on the bus, in a car, on airplanes, in hotel lobbies. He's laughed with him. He's shared championships with him. He's been there with him for some of his greatest moments as a coach. He's heard him give some of the most inspirational speeches he's heard.

He's also been screamed at by him. The details aren't important, but it's very, very intimidating. 

When TB first started doing this every day, he jokingly said that at the times he couldn't think of anything to write, he could simply tell funny Pete Carril stories and never run out. That remains true. 

Today is not the day for that though. Today is a day to wish him a happy birthday, a happy 91st birthday to be exact. 

Hopefully he has a great one, and many more of them. He is, as TB said, an icon around here.

1 comment:

D '82 said...

A great life is one in which, after several decades, you can start to tell captivating stories and never run out.

A good life is to know people like that.