Ever seen a Tiger fight a Quaker?
The sports editors at The Daily Princetonian sincerely apologize. It is customary for our papers to exchange columns on the eve of the first Penn-Princeton basketball game of the season, and Tuesday we were unable to keep that tradition alive. Please accept our deepest regrets.
But when we politely said we did not have room in Tuesday’s paper for your rants on the one sport that your university still holds dear, we were not lying. Had we told you that your basketball team’s 74-63 loss to Columbia was impressive, we would have been lying.
No, we had a national title for women’s squash and an undefeated season for swimming and diving to cover, and that makes for a busy day for a sports page, doesn’t it? We would not expect you to empathize of course — your current managerial board has not had to deal with such an issue — but if you are curious, just ask the Pennsylvanian editors from 1986. They covered Penn’s last NCAA title — in women’s fencing, in case you were curious. They might understand.
So you ran your column in your own paper. No problem. And when you mentioned in your column Princeton basketball’s “hitting rock bottom” with losses from three years ago, we barely blinked. After all, it’s all in good fun.
But we felt the need to respond to the question posed at the end of your article, the one about how it was better that we did not write our own column because, “let’s face it, what would [Princeton] have to say?”
We might have written about our 22 NCAA titles, compared to your four. Or about how in competitions since the start of 2008 spring season, our Tigers are 29-13 against your Quakers. If we had space, we might even have mentioned that it has been more than 20 years since Penn had more single-season Ivy League titles than Princeton.
You claim we don’t care about tradition, but pick a sport and have our athletic tradition go 12 rounds with yours. We win championships; you throw toast. You disagree? Travel up to Princeton the next time your men’s hockey team battles our 12-player coed club team, and we can discuss it in further detail.
But instead of trash talking, we are taking the high road. We are apologizing and congratulating you for squeaking out an ugly overtime victory against our Tigers last night.
After years of Penn playing Roy Horn to Princeton’s Tigers, it’s nice to finally share the wealth (pun intended). Princeton went up 11 points early, and then it left the door open wide enough for Ben Franklin and his pet turkey to waddle through. Penn couldn’t hold its nine-point second-half lead, but the Quakers did outscore the Tigers in a sloppy overtime period. Congrats. Drink a Highball to this victory, you’ve earned it.
In your column Tuesday, you snidely called Jadwin Gymnasium a “Space Mountain,” an allusion to the aesthetically unpleasing indoor Disney World rollercoaster. We love the analogy. For 40 years, opposing Ivy League teams have been coming to “Space Mountain,” and, more often than not, the results are the same: They enter wide-eyed and excited, spend their time here getting uncomfortably pushed around and stagger home nauseated and defeated.
Last night was not one of those nights, but it did feature stomach-churning inconsistency and unnerving carelessness from both teams. Your website last night called the game an “overtime thriller.” This begs the question: Did you watch the same game we did?
Also, please stop with the tax-evasion, silver-spoon and trust-fund jabs: They are as played out as they are unoriginal. After all, do you see a safety-school joke anywhere in this column?
And if Bill Bradley ’65 is fat, as you claim, consider him the fattest man in history who was an NCAA Player of the Year, who was twice named an All-American, who was a presidential candidate, who was a captain for a gold-medal Olympic team, who was a Rhodes Scholar, who was a congressman for 18 years, who was a Truman Award winner, who was an NBA champion, who was the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, who was a distinguished Eagle Scout, who was a champion of impoverished children, who was named to basketball’s Hall of Fame. The fattest thing about Bradley is his resume.
You write that we at Princeton have a lot to be embarrassed about, but we just don’t understand why. Did you mean our constant appearances in Time’s list of “Strongest College Sports Teams?” Or the popular basketball offense named after our institution? Or how about the fact that Princeton’s football team has more national championships than any other program in the nation?
If that is what you meant by “embarrassed,” then we’re blushing. There is simply too much tradition here to keep track of. Forgive us for occasionally letting one slip.