Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Office Carousel

TigerBlog was talking to Director of Track and Field Operations Mike Henderson the other day about when Henderson came for his interview.

He's a Minnesota guy, so he had to fly in. His trip started out in Minneapolis and ended at Newark, and he had a long layover in between.

And where was the layover? Philadelphia.

Henderson had no idea that he was basically as close to Princeton when he was in Philly as he would be when he got to Newark. Just about, anyway.

Newark Airport is actually 34 miles from TigerBlog's desk. Philadelphia Airport is 45 miles.

So, to save 11 miles, he spent a few hours in Philadelphia.

Henderson laughed when he told TB the story. That's what he always does. He laughs when he tells a story.

Maybe it's a Midwestern thing.

For awhile, Henderson's desk was the closest one to TigerBlog's in Jadwin, though they were separated by a wall. At one point, Henderson was actually part of the three offices that are interconnected without having to go into the hallway and are collectively called Room 9 of Jadwin.

These days, TigerBlog and the Office of Athletic Communications is in the Jadwin basement, happily enjoying the new space. And it is a great space. It's the former doubles squash court, and it's a great, brand-new environment.

Maybe it was just time for a bit of a change. TigerBlog had been in Room 9 for nearly 30 years, and he had been in his former office on the balcony since 2002.

The external relations/Princeton Varsity Club/marketing group has moved into the newly refurbished Room 9. The offices have had the closets in the back of them removed, and it makes them seem much, much larger.

Meanwhile, back at Henderson - Mike, not Mitch - he has been here since 2012, and he has had a revolving door of office mates.

This is no way is reflective of Mike, of course. In fact, TigerBlog is one of the people who used to share an office - or at least an office suite - with Henderson, and then for the last few months upstairs he was the TB's next-door neighbor.

TB can't think of anything bad to say about him. Perhaps the closest he can come is that Henderson likes to eat cereal all day at his desk but hey, what's wrong with that?

Anyway, Henderson sent around a pretty good email last week.

As TB said, Henderson has been here since 2012. That's barely more than three years.

In that time, he's had 13 different office mates, including his current one, women's basketball assistant coach Chessie Jackson. Her response to the email was simple: "I'll never leave you Mike."

Ah, but that's what they all said and thought. Including TigerBlog.

TB does have to say, Henderson's email was one of the funniest ones anyone has sent in all the time he's worked here. He asked if his 13 office mates in 3.5 years might be a Princeton record.

TigerBlog went back and totaled up the number of office mates he's had and came up with 27. So that's basically twice as many in Henderson in about seven times as long.

One of the names on Henderson's list was Ben Badua. Ben has been a member of the OAC for the last year and a half, or at least waas a member.

Ben's last official day here was Saturday, when he traveled for the final time with the women's basketball team. In addition to working with women's basketball, Ben also covered field hockey, men's and women's water polo, baseball and some indoor track and field.

Ben happened to show up at Princeton at the perfect time to be the women's basketball contact, just in time for the team to go 31-1, 30-0 in the regular season, and win an NCAA tournament game while climbing to 13th in the national rankings.

The result was a media flood, and Ben was right in the middle of it. Every one, it seemed, wanted to talk to the Princeton women's basketball team, and they all had to go through Ben.

TigerBlog can relate to it. He was the men's basketball contact in 1997-98, and that's the only media deluge that TigerBlog can compare to what happened with the women a year ago.

Ben is leaving Princeton to go to work at Rutgers, but not in athletics. TigerBlog wishes him well.

Ben did a great job in his time here, and brought a calm demeanor, team-oriented attitude and understated humor to the OAC proceedings.

All the best, Ben. And thanks for everything. 

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