Friday, May 11, 2012

So Long To Another Teammate

The Ivy League released a statement yesterday that said that the league's athletic directors had voted against putting forth a proposal for conference tournaments in basketball for men and women.

TigerBlog, as even the most casual reader knows, is completely 100% against basketball tournaments not only in the Ivy League but also in almost any Division I league.

What else do you want him to say on the subject?

The other big news out of the Ivy League was the television agreement.

TB has been asked this a lot since that announcement, and yes, Princeton's existing ESPN contract is still in force and supersedes Princeton's involvement with the Ivy League deal, though TB anticipates cooperation between the two when it comes to scheduling the Tigers for both.

What else do you want him to say on that subject? Well, in this case, maybe he'll have a little more next week.

Today, though, he wants to talk about Dan Joyce.

Just like so many others, Joyce is entering "dead to us" territory, having committed the egregious sin of leaving the Department of Athletics, where he's been the OIT guy.

Of course, "dead to us" is a compliment. It's sort of bestowing emeritus status to people who used to work here and who have left to pursue whatever it is they want to pursue.

And so it is with Dan Joyce.

The athletic department is an interesting place in terms of the wildly different backgrounds of the people who work here, with one added dynamic. TB isn't talking about coaches, who are essentially all former athletes.

He's talking about the staff people.

Some are huge sports fans. Others are not and just happen to work in athletics.

They've come here in much the same way, TB presumes, that other people come to their professions, except for that added dynamic.

To work in the athletic department - any athletic department - is to embrace the idea that you're not just keeping to yourself, doing your stuff and moving on. Your job is part of a larger machine, all of which blends into putting teams into competition, and so you have the extra sense of being part of a team.

And that makes the people you work with your teammates as much as your coworkers.

And now Princeton is losing one of its teammates.

And who is Dan Joyce?

Well, he's an interesting guy. He's an OIT guy, which mostly means that he likes to take things apart and put them back together. He sees the world in a logical way, where this piece fits into that piece and then ultimately the whole unit works.

When TB thinks about Dan Joyce, the first memory he has is the time he walked out to Lot 21 and saw Dan as he took apart a car engine. In fact, TB is pretty sure that Dan did that just for the fun of it.

That's the nature of being in OIT.  And it's not easy.

TB would guess that 95% of the questions that Dan has been asked through the years here have been simplistic, ones that could easily be solved with a little effort on the part of the asker. Anytime TB has asked Dan something, he's been pretty sure that the first thought Dan had was along the lines of "that's so easy."

Dan Joyce is a tremendous person. He's tall, skinny, never gets flustered, laughs easily, makes fun of himself at all the right times, never passes in lunchtime basketball and is generally the kind of person you love to work with in a place like this.

He's also a great family man, and ultimately it was that aspect of his life that has taken him from Princeton to Michigan.

Today is his last day at Princeton. In the lobby of Jadwin there's a gathering to say goodbye to him, complete with breakfast sandwiches and M&Ms.

It's not the first farewell event TB has been to for a co-worker he's liked a lot here. And it won't be the last.

Like the rest of them, TB wishes Dan and his family all the best. And he'd like him to know that it's people like Dan Joyce that have made and continue to make the Princeton Department of Athletics a great place to come to everyday.

And now he's dead to us.

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