Monday, June 20, 2022

It Makes A Difference To This One

Mary Sutton got married this weekend.

Perhaps you remember Mary as the longtime ballgirl for Princeton women's basketball (and some men's basketball). She's another of the legion of kids whose parents have worked in the athletic department and who grew up in and around all things Princeton.

Mary would go from being a ballgirl for the Tigers to playing basketball at Princeton High School. Running would be her best sport, and she'd compete in track and cross country at Loyola in Baltimore.

As with pretty much everything these days, it all seems to be moving along in a blink. Mary was always a staple at Jadwin Gym, even working on drills with Pete Carril at times, who used to set up chairs on a Jadwin Gym side court and have Mary work on dribbling, especially with her left hand on the right side of the court.

Mary was always a friendly, happy little girl. And now, well, now she's married, the "Mrs." part of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Porth. TB wishes them all the very best.

TB isn't sure which is more amazing to contemplate, that Mary is 25 or that Mary is married.

Mary's mother is Stephanie Sutton, who has been working in the ticket office at Princeton since before TigerBlog arrived, which puts her in a small group of people who have worked here long than TB.

When TB asked Stephanie how the wedding went, she responded by saying "second-best day of my life." She didn't say which one was the best day, but TB will assume it was the day Mary was born — or possibly the day Princeton beat UCLA in men's basketball.

There are two stats that are unknowable: how many words about Princeton TB has written and how many tickets to Princeton events Stephanie has sold. Whatever the actual numbers are, they both can be summed up as "a lot."

Stephanie goes back to the 1980s, and her time at Princeton has included selling tickets to football games when the Tiger quarterback was Jason Garrett. 

It's been a while since Jason played at Princeton, but he's never left. Even as he's gone on to play in the NFL or become and NFL coach (including the NFL Coach of the Year with Dallas) and now as he prepares to work on Sunday Night Football broadcasts, he's always been extraordinarily close to Princeton. 

There aren't many people who have been more engaged in trying to help as many young people as they can as Garrett and his wife Brill. Their Starfish Charities have done incredible work in so many different places, making a real impact wherever the two of them have been.

Through it all, Garrett has brought his Starfish Charities Football Camp to Princeton each summer. This year's edition was held this past Saturday.

Why Starfish? It's better when you hear Jason tell the story himself, but the premise is this:

While walking on the beach, an older woman noticed a young man picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, she asked him why he was doing so. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left to the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish,” countered the woman. “How can your effort make any difference?” ​ The young man looked at the starfish in his hands and threw it to safety in the waves. He said, “It makes a difference to this one.”

The camp brings in football players primarily from the inner cities, and it is more than just about football. It's about learning life lessons, about the value of education, about leadership. TB has seen it first hand, and the energy that Garrett exudes is always incredible. 

Garrett always brings with him some big names in football, and sometimes in other sports. This weekend was no different.

The event is a great one each year. It brings back a large group of Princeton football alums and coaches, and it has some intense on-the-field competition as well. It is a staple of the Princeton football calendar. 

Jason and Brill Garrett wouldn't have it any other way.

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