Game #9-144: Princeton at Wagner SeahawksNovember 28, 2012 7:00 pm
Spiro Sports Center
It was over a month ago, but it seemed like yesterday...I sat in bed watching television... warm, cozy. Flipping across the channels I came across a marathon of the reality series Doomsday Preppers. I watched a few episodes out of morbid curiosity easily poking holes in my head at the rationale of some of the people they followed who felt that Doomsday was eminent. "They've got it wrong" I thought aloud. There won't be roving bands armed with weapons fighting over scarce resources as many on the show implored. What is far more likely and often easily overlooked by the people with a predisposition toward manic behavior is the goodness of strangers.
How could I be so confident? I saw it happen already in New York City in days and weeks following 9/11/01....and I saw it again in the days and weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the New York Metro area. There are so many directly affected by this storm it is hard to accurately comprehend. Gasoline, electricity and heat have been in short supply but kindness hasn't. I have talked to many in more dire situations than myself and if they could say one thing it would be thank you.
For my part life has been grinding along for the past month because "normal" hasn't returned yet. Normal for me attending many sporting events in my spare time and that is a ritual I haven't been able to perform since the hurricane struck. This "hobby" often causes me to sleep on floors and not eat right, so lack of many coveniences doesn't affect me as much as the people around me.
My seaside community was inundated with a tidal surge of six to seven feet of sea water. I had evacuated a day early in a matter of fifteen minutes as the high tide began to flood streets which was very unusual. From this point on I was not able to return for a few weeks. When I did return to get assess the damage and get a few items, I could see from my window that some houses were not just damaged but completely missing, neighbors I had maybe said hi to in passing but never really knew. Even more frightening to me was the fact that there always seemed to be young children playing around some of the structures that were the most heavily damaged.
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In the days after the storm, as things began to stabilize I began to think about how the schools in the hardest hit areas were faring. If basketball would even be able to proceed with the season starting only a week away. Hofstra which is located in central Nassau County was reporting that they had lost power but their facilities were not damaged. Stony Brook which is located on the north shore of Long Island in Suffolk County is located fairly close to ocean water, but sits on an elevated piece of land and had made it thru without structural damage but also had power loss.
The New York City schools St. Francis, LIU-Brooklyn, St. John's, Columbia, Manhattan and Fordham all were located in areas that never flooded or lost power. Monmouth appeared to be located just far enough away from the Jersey shore to escape damage.
Two schools were very difficult for me to reach or get information on. St. Peter's was located in an area that remained in a state of emergency well after the hurricane due to flooding. Their website had ceased functioning during this period. Reports also began to come in about the devastation in Staten Island. I will never forget the phone call I had with a representative from Wagner who just kept catatonically repeating "I have never seen anything like this" as though he had just emerged from a horror movie...and in a way, maybe he had.
I was assured that the season would continue on as scheduled. In the case of Wagner their season home opener was four weeks away and I had made it a point in my mind after speaking with the nice fellow from the athletics department who took the time to speak with me, to be there in a show of solidarity.
Wagner University is located on a rather high piece of land overlooking much of the Staten Island coastline. Earlier in the day I had taken the short ride on the Staten Island Ferry from lower Manhattan and had more or less walked uphill from the ferry terminal to the university. From the vantage point of the university I could look down and see areas that the President of the United States had felt the need to personally visit near Father Capodanno Boulevard.
In my community the advance and retreat of the water was a slow tortuous affair taking days to truly finish. In Staten Island I was told everything was fine, then it seemed as though a dam had broke during the height of the storm. A torrent of high, fast moving sea water came rushing into neighorhoods that had never flooded before catching many unprepared and causing incredible damage. Houses were knocked clear off their foundations, cars were hurled like flotsam. Within a matter of forty minutes the oceans retreated away, lives changed forever.
I arrived early and began to wonder what student life must have been like for the past month. Tonight there was a very unusual promotion taking place, every ticket holder was given a different color piece of paper. At the time I wasn't exactly sure why. My piece of paper was Wagner green.
The game soon began and Princeton quickly ran up a nine point lead by halftime. Though I had been aware of the Princeton Offense, after I had read Peter Feldman's excellent essay
on the topic I was hyper-aware of it. Early on Princeton seemed to be hitting on all cylinders, the game well in control. Though it wasn't the outcome I was hoping for, I was enjoying entertaining basketball. Several Princeton alums had made the short drive over from New Jersey and had no qualms openly cheering for the opposition or wearing bright orange.
It was sometime during the second half of the game that everything changed. The colored pieces of paper were revealed to be a ticket to a prize. Some colors won different levels of discount at a local jeweler. A green piece of paper won you a pair of ear rings. There were maybe 30 winners of ear rings. All the ear rings were cubic zirconia except one pair of real diamond ear rings. The local jeweler recommended you get them appraised down at the shop to see if they were real.
The crowd which was largely disinterested all night became white hot during the promotion and never cooled down. This translated to Wagner defense feeding off the noise and making great defensive stands from about the fifteen minute mark on. The Seahawks clawed their way back from a game they never had a lead in to tie the contest with 2:17 left in regulation. Niether team was able to score until the game went into overtime as Princeton had began to dig in and play tough defense. In overtime Wagner broke the game open with unanswered points to seal the game and the crowd was able to collect thier prizes. The crowd left in as festive a mood as I have seen in a long time at a basketball game.
Sometimes early in the season I look for a trend or pattern that will define the season in some way. I think perseverance is this seasons mantra. at WAGNER 48, PRINCETON 42
PRINCETON 2-4 (0-0) -- T. Bray 2-8 0-1 4; D. Koon 2-7 0-0 4; I. Hummer 5-20 1-4 11; B. Connolly 4-10 0-0 8; C. Wilson 2-4 0-0 5; W. Barrett 0-2 1-4 1; H. Brase 0-1 2-2 2; M. Darrow 2-5 2-2 7; C. Clement 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-57 6-13 42.
WAGNER 2-3 (0-0) -- J. Williams 7-11 6-7 20; K. Ortiz 2-8 1-4 5; J. Thompson 0-2 0-0 0; D. Anderson 0-5 0-0 0; M. Burton 3-9 0-0 6; E. Fanning 1-3 2-2 5; O. Parker 1-3 5-6 7; N. Folahan 0-0 0-0 0; M. Moody 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 16-44 15-21 48.
Three-point goals: PRIN 2-14 (W. Barrett 0-1; I. Hummer 0-2; M. Darrow 1-2; T. Bray 0-5; D. Koon 0-2; C. Wilson 1-2), WAG 1-8 (J. Thompson 0-2; M. Burton 0-2; D. Anderson 0-2; E. Fanning 1-2); Rebounds: PRIN 35 (B. Connolly 8), WAG 36 (J. Williams 9); Assists: PRIN 7 (I. Hummer 2), WAG 7 (J. Thompson 3); Total Fouls -- PRIN 16, WAG 15; Fouled Out: PRIN-None; WAG-None.
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