Here at Big Apple Buckets I like to think we do a good job capturing the fan’s perspective. Sometimes though you need a reminder about what exactly that means. Thus on Friday night you could find me sitting in Balcony 3 with my parents watching Rutgers beat Princeton, 58-52.
The view (which you can see below) was a little bit different from press row, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can see things develop from that level that you just can’t when you’re down on the court. The way the Princeton offense spaces the court. How everyone drifts naturally to the wing. The deft passing of Ian Hummer. It was just easier to see with the bird’s eye perspective.
There are also no stats coming to you as you sit in the stands. In Jadwin Gymnasium there’s a scoreboard at center court (you can see it there), but all it lists is the most basic information – score, foul situation, timeouts remaining and who committed the most recent foul. If you want to keep any stats, you do it in the program. I’ve been doing that since I was eight years old. Here are my Princeton stats from last night.
All I knew is who scored and how (and the foul situation). I still found some interesting factoids, like Rutgers scored its first 18 points with an even distribution of six points from three, six points from two and six points from the free throw line, but it’s not like I was calculating per-possession statistics.
Instead I got to actually watch the game. I watched as a Princeton, which starts a front line that’s 6’7″, 6’10″ and 6’11″, got out-rebounded (40 to 23!) and out-hustled. I watched as Clay Wilson dribbled tepidly and T.J. Bray picked up four fouls. I got frustrated as Ian Hummer picked up his fourth foul and the offense, formerly smoldering, was completely doused.
I watched as a frustrated fan.
That’s how it felt to walk into a game I expected my team to win and watch them fall short. Wonder why they could never quite rally and get over their first half deficit. Irrationally hope for that one last desperate surge.
I’ve left Jadwin many times and felt every type of emotion. I’ve been there for last-second victories and defeats. I’ve seen Princeton get beaten by nationally ranked opponents and be nationally ranked. Friday night I left feeling more emotions than I could count. I was happy to get to watch a game with my parents. I was frustrated that Rutgers had been the tougher team and that Princeton had let another winnable game get away. I was hung up on the fact that the Tigers basically have three guards, and Wilson doesn’t seem ready for his starring role.
I was a fan. And on Friday night that was good enough for me.