Monday, October 10, 2016

Desk Top

TigerBlog really likes the desk in his office down on E level.

He had the same desk in his old office upstairs in Jadwin Gym for more than 20 years. It was an old metal one, probably from the first day that Jadwin Gym opened, back in the late 1960s.
It had a bunch of drawers, one of which had something wedged behind it that TigerBlog could never reach, meaning the drawer could never be 100 percent closed. TB banged his knee on that draw at least once a week.

Ah, but his new desk? He's not sure what kind of wood it is. He does know that it's big and sturdy and strong.

When he first got it, there was one of those pencil drawers, on which he continued to bang his knee. This time, though, that lasted about two or three days, after which he removed that drawer.

He has also succeeded in keeping his new desk fairly clean of clutter. The only things on it are a phone, a fan, a really old Princeton Lacrosse backpack and, usually, a bottle of Diet Pepsi Cherry or Diet Peach Snapple.

His old desk was covered in paper. In fact, probably only 25 percent of the desktop - the actual top of the desk, not a computer desktop - was visible.

His new one? He could lie down and take a nap on top of it. Maybe he should bring a pillow in, just in case.

The messiest desk TigerBlog ever saw was the desk of former College of New Jersey (it was Trenton State College at the time) Sports Information Director Pete Manetas. Pete's desk? TB isn't even sure there was a desk. It's possible all of the piles that were stacked up started on the floor.

The first project TigerBlog ever worked on at Princeton was a football media guide. He was constantly printing out updated pages to proofread, and all it did was make his desk a total mess.

Honestly, it never got any better.

It didn't help that he was constantly getting publications mailed to him from other schools or from media outlets. When he first started at Princeton, there was actually an Ivy League rule that each school had to mail two copies of all of its publications and football game programs to each of the other seven schools. Why?

There were also newspapers, memos, invoices, faxes, printing requests - there were lots of printing requests - all of which contributed to the deluge of paper all over the office. Any time he did try to clean it, or just throw everything out, it took about a week before it was back to its usual chaotic state.

These days? It's almost all electronic. Almost nothing comes in the mail. Almost nothing gets printed out. Almost no paper makes its way to TigerBlog, which in turn keeps his desk perfectly clutter-free.

One of the things that used to bring a lot of paper to TigerBlog was the football game program.

No task that TB has been involved with at Princeton was more arduous and time-consuming than the football game program when he first started out here, with the possible exception of the football media guide. Because of the technology at the time, it was a massively labor-intensive project, and it featured endless print outs of newer versions, which constantly needed to be read and re-read.

The current football game program will see PDFs of the pages that change from edition to edition emailed to TigerBlog from his colleague Craig Sachson, and TB will read them on his computer and then email any changes back to Craig. It's a process TB could never have dreamed of on all those Monday nights that turned into Tuesday mornings - like, 3 or 4 am Tuesdays - getting the old program done.

There will be one program this week and another next week, as Princeton will now host Brown Saturday and Harvard a week from Saturday in what will be a huge two-game stretch of this current season, which is reaches its midway point with the visit by the Bears.

Princeton defeated Georgetown 31-17 Saturday to improve to 3-1 overall. The only Ivy game to date was the win over Columbia a week before the Georgetown game.

This is the final weekend of non-Ivy games. By the end of Saturday, every team will have played two league games and its three non-league games.

And, if you've read TB before, you know that he would love to see the Ivy League have a week off after Week 5 and then finish with the five-week sprint to the finish. That's another story for another time.

Right now, Harvard is 2-0 in the league. Princeton and Penn are both 1-0. Everyone else has at least one loss, including Brown, which lost to Harvard 32-22 in its league opener. Brown lost its most recent game to Stetson, who is coached by former Princeton head coach Roger Hughes.

It's easy to look at the season in blocks. There's the first four weeks, with three out-of-conference games and Columbia, with the hopes of reaching this point of the season at 1-0 in the league. Then there's these two games, with the hopes of getting to late October and November with huge games to play.

That's where Princeton is now. The big goal is to reach November with a lot on the line.

Princeton has only played one home game to date this season. The last six weeks will see the Tigers home four times - the next two weeks, then at Cornell, home against Penn, at Yale and home against Dartmouth.

That means four more game programs to proofread.

Don't worry though. TB's desk will still be clutter-free.

Just how he likes it.

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