Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Congrats To Fitz And Good Luck To The Tigers

TigerBlog sat between Chris Sailer and Bryan Fitzwater at last week's Princeton Department of Athletics staff meeting.

It turned out to be a fortuitous choice. 

Sailer, the head women's lacrosse coach, was honored, as all of Princeton's championship coaches are, with a replica gargoyle. She must have a drawer full of them somewhere. As this is her final season after 36 at Princeton, she received a long, loud standing ovation from the rest of the department.

Fitzwater, too, received an ovation of his own, and his was also well-deserved. 

Fitzwater, or Fitz, as he's known to everyone (or Fitzy, as TB calls him), is the department's information technology person. He's a one-man staff, for that matter. His office and TB's office share a wall between them, and about 85 percent of the people who come into the outer office are looking for Fitzy, often with a troubled look of desperation about the computer or phone issue that has come up.

What does he do? He calmly fixes the problem. That's what he does. He never seems to be stressed out. He just goes about his job, which is to keep the department connected to whatever it needs. 

The requests range include hardware and software and range from the most complex to the "try unplugging it and plugging it back in again." It doesn't matter. He gets to everyone and everything.

At the meeting last week, Fitzwater received the 2022 Lorin Maurer Award, which is given each year to a member of the department for exceptional performance. As TB reminds you every year, Lorin was the head of the Friends' Groups here at Princeton when she was killed in a plane crash in 2009 at the age of 30.

He's an incredibly deserving winner, given everything he does and how he does it.

TB thinks that the most shocked person that Fitzy won was Fitzy himself. He seemed almost confused about why his name was being called. That too is how he is. He wants no limelight, no accolades. He just wants to do the best job he can while being the best person he can be.

TB wanted to make sure he congratulated Bryan Fitzwater here, even if it is a week later. He is the exact guy you want on your side, and TB cannot think of one bad thing he could ever say about him.

Now that TB has embarrassed Fitzy enough, he can move on to this weekend, which will see the last Ivy League championships of the year crowned, in men's heavyweight and lightweight rowing and in women's open rowing. 

The men will be rowing in Worcester, Mass., on Lake Quinsigamond. The women will be rowing on the Cooper River in Pennsauken, in South Jersey.

If you've never been to a regatta like this, you should definitely circle it on your athletic to-do list. It's a day-long party essentially with boats and races and crews and fans everywhere. It's hard to watch all 2,000 meters of a race unless you're on the water too, but none of that matters. It's definitely worth it for the atmosphere and competition, much like Heps cross country. 

The Princeton women have won four straight Ivy titles and six of the last seven. This is the first Ivy League rowing championship since 2019. 

This weekend at Princeton will be the NCAA lacrosse tournaments, with the women against UMass in the first round Friday at 7 (after Syracuse-Fairfield at 4) and the winners to meet Sunday at noon. The men host Boston University Saturday at noon.

There will also be a trip to the NCAA tournament decided at Princeton this weekend, when the Tigers host Harvard in the Ivy softball playoff series. Game 1 is Friday at noon, followed by Game 2 at noon Saturday and then the deciding Game 3 if necessary after that.

There were times this year when it seemed like getting every Ivy softball team to 21 games played would never happen, but that's how it played out. When it did, Princeton was the league champion at 17-4, followed by Harvard at 15-6, just ahead of Dartmouth at 14-7. 

The Tigers are the league champion no matter what happens this weekend. The playoff series determines only the NCAA representative. 

Princeton took two of three from Harvard back on the last weekend of March, losing Game 1 2-1 and then winning 5-4 and 5-1.

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