Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Worth A Thousand Words

Back in April, the Princeton men's and women's lacrosse teams played a Saturday doubleheader up at Harvard. 

The night before, both teams stayed in the same hotel. Among the other guests that night were all of the following:

* Syracuse women's lacrosse, who played that Friday night at Boston College
* the Virginia Tech baseball team, who played a three-game weekend series at BC as well, with one game at Fenway Park
* three weddings
* a ballroom dance competition, complete with a youth division, which meant lot of very overdressed pre-teens

In other words, it was a pretty crowded place to be. TigerBlog remembers being in the lobby of the hotel with some of the men's staff when the Virginia Tech team arrived from winning Game 1 of its series. He looked up on his phone to see what kind of team the Hokies had, and he didn't realize that they were in fact ranked in the top five nationally.

What he did know what that they were really big, and also really polite. Going back to the big part, he wondered who would have won a football game between that team and the Princeton men's team, or how many of the Virginia Tech players would have made better lacrosse players had they started out playing that sport instead.

TB thought back to that as he saw Columbia's baseball team compete against Virginia Tech in the NCAA regional this past weekend. The Lions defeated Gonzaga, a top 20 team, twice, but lost both times to the Hokies, who advanced to the Super Regional this weekend to host Oklahoma. 

TB can get on board the Virginia Tech baseball bandwagon. 

The hope of every college athlete is to make it to the postseason. Not all do, of course. At Princeton, there is a long, long history of sending a lot of teams and athletes to the postseason and doing well.

TB thought of that when he saw this picture:

That might look like four friends at a Baltimore Orioles game. TB's first thought was "nine league title and nine NCAA appearances."

If those four faces look familiar, they're all recent Princeton grads. That's Niko Gjaja of the men's volleyball team, with women's lacrosse alums Gaby Hamburger and Marge Donovan and women's basketball's Abby Meyers.

With that last two, that's also two Ivy League Players of the Year, with Meyers and Donovan (Ivy Defensive Player of the Year this spring). Hamburger, whose senior pregame speech made for a guest blog earlier this spring, is in the women's lacrosse record book for a five-assist game that is one off the school record. Gjaja? He was a finalist for the Art Lane Award for service to sport and society, and he put together a long resume at Princeton that included being the president of the Varsity Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

In so many ways, that picture speaks volumes about what Princeton Athletics strives for and wants for those who compete here. Meet people with different backgrounds and different perspectives. Learn from each other. Respect each other. Make lifelong friendships and relationships. Challenge yourself academically and in the community (these four certainly did so). Unite under the single orange and black banner.

What more could you ask for out of being a college athlete? Oh yeah. Winning.

The four athletes in the picture all won multiple league championships and reached multiple NCAA tournaments, for that matter. All four were part of teams that won in the NCAA tournament, for that matter. Not all Princeton athletes do. But the goal is always the same, and the teamwork required to achieve that is vital.

Maybe TB is reading too much into one picture. Nah, he doesn't think so.

A photo is usually good for a thousand words, so it's said. In the case of TB today, it's not quite 1,000 words, but there is a lot to be seen from looking within the shot of four alums at an Orioles game. 

Or maybe two words are enough. Go Tigers. 

1 comment:

Tad La Fountain '72 said...

You might be reading too much into this picture - I thought it was just a typical group of recent Cannon Club members (some of whom were officers) who realized that a silly thing like graduation shouldn't get in the way of hanging out!