Friday, September 2, 2011

So Long, Steve Kanaby

While TigerBlog isn't sure how many parking spaces are in Lot 21A, he's pretty sure that there are more people with a 21A parking pass than there are spots in the lot.

For those who don't know the dynamics of parking around here, Lot 21A is the small piece of the main Jadwin Gym parking lot (which is Lot 21). When you pull into the lot by DeNunzio Pool and then turn right to head into the main parking area, 21A is the one on the right, where the rest of the spots are on the left.

Lot 21A is reserved for athletic department staff, except that at any given moment, a bunch of the spots in the lot are taken by people without athletic hang tags.

Of course, because more people have those tags than there are spots, it's possible - and often happens - that the lot is filled.

The result is that athletic department staff people have to park in the overflow area, which is the rest of Lot 21. For some reason, this seems terribly unfair and inconvenient, even though the walk from the furthest point of Lot 21 up to the building can't be more than five minutes or so.

Steve Kanaby, as far as TB knows, has never parked in Lot 21A. TB has never seen Kanaby's car there, and he's walked out of the building with Kanaby a dozens of times and never once saw him get into his car in 21A.

Instead, Kanaby prefers to park far away. And why? To leave the 21A spots for others.

Earlier this week, Kanaby sent TB an email with a subject line of "new position," and TigerBlog immediately knew what it meant.

Steve Kanaby is leaving Princeton, heading off to become the Associate Commissioner in charge of championships for the Colonial Athletic Association.

Kanaby has been at Princeton for five years, working with Karen Malec as the entire event operations staff in the department.

You've seen him at games. With an army of people wearing orange and black Nike-issued Princeton athletics gear, Steve Kanaby is the one in the suit and tie.

What you haven't seen from him is that he's often the first one here and the last to leave. Day or night. Holidays. Weekends.

For the last five years, Kanaby has been in this building and at the other venues of Princeton athletics.

During his time, there have been maybe 2,000 athletes who have competed for Princeton. Maybe, what?, 25 or so knew his name?

His efforts touched every one of them. Touched every coach for every team. Every fan who came to a game here - every single fan - was the direct recipient of something Kanaby did.

Work ethic, though, isn't what makes Kanaby special.

It's not enough to say that Kanaby is a nice guy or use another similar word. That doesn't even begin to describe him.

TB often shakes his head at Kanaby, wondering how a person can actually be that ultra-nice - and that ultra-nice all the time.

TB, in the five years that he's known him, has never once seen Kanaby get angry or upset, no matter how annoying the circumstance. He's seen him laugh, shrug his shoulders and get to work on whatever mess was created and dumped in his lap, never once letting any frustration show through.

Kanaby's current residence is near the indoor facility where TigerBlog Jr. used to play lacrosse on Sunday mornings. Each week, after the game, a few families from the team would stop by the Perkins next door and have breakfast.

Since Kanaby was so close, TB invited him to come by and watch and then join the group for breakfast. At Perkins, Kanaby sat with a group of mostly strangers, politely talking, laughing and all.

Then he picked up the check. And refused to let anyone else help him out. This after getting up on a Sunday to watch a middle school winter league lacrosse game that he had no stake in - after a weekend of working at events.

Multiply that out by the thousands of other things he's done that TB has no idea about, and you start to get an idea of what Kanaby is all about.

TB often has joked through the years that once a person leaves Princeton, he becomes "dead to us" - which TB actually means a term of great affection. Now it's Kanaby's turn to join that list.

In truth, he'd outgrown his job here and was ready for a new challenge, one that hopefully leads to greater successes down the road.

Kanaby and TB have talked movies, music, sports, education, religion, politics and everything. Probably 95% of what one has said to the other made the other laugh.

In all seriousness, though, TB will miss him, and miss him a lot.

He may be dead to TB, as TB likes to say.

That doesn't mean that TB doesn't wish him all the best.

And it doesn't mean that TB won't remember him as a very genuine, very special person, one he was fortunate to work with for as long as he did.


Anonymous said...

Well done TB! We will miss Steve very much!

Anonymous said...

Steve is one of the finest men i have had the pleasure of knowing. Dedicated, humble and honest are descriptive of Steve. Best wishes in your new job, respectfully.

Anonymous said...

Steve Kanaby is a testament to the truly fine work that God has done.My friend and brother will be missed as long as memory is with us.

M. Shone said...

Steve is one of the all-time best. Terrific at his job, but better yet an unbelievable person and friend. Was a great honor to work with such a selfless, humble, and loyal person.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I got to know Steve. It was an absolute pleasure working with him for five years. He did so much for Princeton and worked hard every single day. He was an amazing ad humble person and one we should all look up to. He was a terrific friend and I will miss him. Good luck!