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A poem in the media guide.

At some point during the 1988-89 season I noticed an extra copy of Princeton's most recent media guide lying in the stands at Jadwin Gym after a game. As a 15 year old kid eager to absorb everything I could find relating to Ivy League basketball (and punk rock, but that's a separate discussion) I took it home and studied it cover-to-cover, trying to learn details of the program's history.

Towards the back of the guide, after 94 pages of photographs, statistics and historical records, taking up one column - just to the right of Chief of Athletic Training and Physical Therapy Dick Malacrea's biography - is a poem by Rudyard Kipling chosen by head coach Pete Carril.

The use of this piece has always stayed with me. It is so incongruous for a media guide and I've often wondered why Carril opted to include it for this particular season, especially in hindsight as the Tigers would go on to win their first Ivy League title in five years.

Here's what he wrote and the poem that he selected:

This spot is reserved for some comments that the head coach might want to add to the statistical data of this book. I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to put in one of my favorite poems of all time. I first learned it in sixth grade. It had such relevance for me as a young boy growing up in Bethlehem, PA, and here 50 years later it still has the same relevance. It affects the way I coach my team. I hope it affects the way they play, and I hope it has some impact on the way they will live and understand life. - Pete Carril

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph with Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

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