Monday, August 22, 2011

Some Assembly Required

As anyone who has kids knows, getting the present to go from the pile of parts inside the box to the picture outside the box isn't always easy.

TigerBlog's best skill isn't putting stuff together. He can iron. He can fold clothes. He can do the dishes. He can type fast.

Putting stuff together? Not his best thing.

Not that he hasn't tried, somewhat successfully in fact, to assemble all kinds of items through the years.

Of course, there were some nightmares along the way, such as the "8 in 1" climbing thing where two of the plastic pieces simply would not fit together. This was back when TigerBlog Jr. was maybe a year or two at most, and finally it was up to three OAC interns to figure it out, a process that ended when Jenn Garrett slammed the pieces together so hard that they simply stuck to whatever it was that was holding them in place.

As an aside, TBJ eventually used the climber as his first lacrosse goal, pelting the plastic with tennis balls.

Matt Ciciarelli, one of the interns in the "8 in 1" nightmare, volunteered to take the lead in assembling the driveway basketball hoop, something that took roughly an entire day. As Matt got most of the way through, the project stopped because the package was missing two of the pieces necessary.

As Matt kept working, TB went back to the store to get the missing pieces, which were replaced by having the kid who worked in the stockroom take them out of an unopened basketball hoop package. TigerBlog was left to wonder if every person who bought the hoop was missing the same two pieces, as each successive box was opened to fill in the missing ones for the previous person.

As an aside, the hoop is still there and working just fine.

TigerBlog had flashbacks to all of that when the OAC futon arrived late last week.

TB carried the two packages from the lobby to his office and unpacked the one that had the frame in it. This would prove to be his greatest contribution to assembly.

Realizing that this was going to be something of a challenge, TB went to the business office to enlist help, with the basic question of "do either of you have 15 minutes and the ability put stuff together" posed to Jon Kurian and Ryan Yurko.

Kurian barely looked up from his computer while saying he had plenty of the first and none of the second. Yurko, on the other hand, seemed somewhat excited to be involved.

TigerBlog, by the way, would have bet everything he owns that he would have gotten those two responses.

Anyway, it took about a half-hour before Yurko had the entire futon up and running. This included the time it took to take about half of it apart when he realized that he'd used the wrong bolts in the wrong place earlier on, something he did without a single curse.

Having a new futon sitting in an office after at least two decades without a single decorative change certainly creates a buzz for those who walk by. A few came in to sit down, and most liked it, though one suggested it was too low to the ground.

Eventually, women's volleyball coach Sabrina King walked by on her way to a meeting down the hall, only to find that the person she was waiting to see had stepped away.

So, Sabrina came in and sat down on the futon. Unlike people who used to come in and sit down on the old maroon chairs, the futon people actually seem to be taking a break from what they're doing and relaxing.

In Sabrina's case, it was the opportunity to slow down for a minute before the start of her first practice as the head coach of the Tiger program, which she has been part of for 11 of the last 14 years.

She was a player for four years, and her teams won three Ivy League titles in that time. She graduated in 2001 after being named Ivy League Player of the Year.

She also was an assistant coach for seven years, winning two more Ivy titles, giving her five with the program.

After living in California for two years, King is back now, this time as the head coach for a Princeton team that got off to a strong start in the league last year before finishing in a tie for third.

TigerBlog can't think of too many examples of someone who made the progression from Princeton player to Princeton assistant coach to Princeton head coach.

Joe Scott and John Thompson did it in men's basketball. Charlie Caldwell did so in football, although it was awhile ago. Of those three, only Thompson did so without ever coaching anywhere else in between, and he left to go to Georgetown after coaching at Princeton. Former men's hockey coach Len Quesnelle did so as well.

Current head men's rowing coaches Greg Hughes (heavyweight) and Marty Crotty (lightweights) are part of the club. There are probably others, though TB can't think of them off the top of his head.

King's first season begins Sept. 2 with a tournament at Hofstra; the Ivy season opens at home Sept. 23 against Penn.

In the meantime, King is now in her first preseason as the Tiger head coach, trying to assemble a championship program of her own - without printed directions or pictures to guide her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice job taking the narrative from assembling stuff to the futon to Sabrina King to her career arc to Princeton athlete-coaches back to assembling stuff.