Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Loves Brussels Sprouts?

TigerBlog was walking into the Campus Life holiday party yesterday at Chancellor Green when he was asked to write his name on a name tag while also writing an interesting fact about himself.

And so TB complied. His name was easy. The interesting fact? Not as easy.

Please don't take that to mean that TB finds himself to be filled with so many fascinating possibilities that he couldn't settle on just one.

Eventually, TB settled on something that he assumes is a rare skill: He can recite the entire book "The Cat In The Hat" from memory.

As TB went into the party, he naturally checked out the other interesting facts. One person wrote that she used to live in Hawaii. Another wrote that he had been a state record holder in track. Another was born in Iowa. Another was the Easter Bunny at the mall one year.

One woman wrote on her name tag that she loves Brussells sprouts. Of course, the response was the same from everyone - nobody loves Brussells sprouts.

If any vegetable has ever gotten a bad name, its Brussells sprouts. TB isn't sure why, since if nothing else the vegetable contains the same anti-cancer ability as broccoli, which everyone eats.

Still, who doesn't have horrible nightmares about being forced to eat Brussells sprouts as a child? TB certainly does.

Anyway, a few hours after the party, TB found himself in the supermarket looking to get something for dinner for him, TigerBlog Jr. and Little Miss TigerBlog. As always, he went to get broccoli, and what did he see right next to it? Right, Brussells sprouts.

So, after not having eaten Brussells sprouts for decades, TB decided to try it again. And so he got the broccoli and the sprouts and put them out along with the rest of the dinner.

TB ate a few of the Brussells sprouts and thought they were pretty good. Not great. But good enough that he'd eat them again.

And Little Miss TigerBlog? She said she'd eat one for $5 and two for $8.

The renaissance of Brussels sprouts wasn't the only thing that TB took from the party.

Campus Life consists of seven separate units: Religious Life, Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Outdoor Action, Career Services, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, University Health Services and of course the Department of Athletics and Campus Recreation.

Here in the Department of Athletics, the goal is obviously to win games, to win championships, to have overall success.

In reality, though, those aren't ends unto themselves. No, they're a by-product of a departmental commitment to providing the absolute best undergraduate experience for Princeton's 1,000 athletes that is possible.

Obviously, not every athlete is going to win a national championship or even an Ivy championship. Still others will win multiple championships.

All of them benefit from being part of a department that places the experience of each athlete first and foremost.

This philosophy is shared by all of the components of Campus Life, even if the individuals who comprise those components who were drawn to the University for such diverse reasons and whose primary focus on a day-to-day basis varies so greatly.

What does the athletic department have in common with, say, religious life? Or career services? On the surface, maybe not much. In what the people who work in these departments spend their time doing every day maybe not much.

But ultimately, it's the same basic idea. Student experience. Providing the best possible undergraduate experience.

TB thinks that schools get in trouble - maybe not the kind of trouble that Penn State finds itself in now, but trouble in general - when their athletic departments become completely isolated from the rest of the school and become their own entities.

At Princeton, TB has never found that to be the case. He spends enough of his time working with other campus groups, whether through Campus Life or through the many different communications offices.

In doing this, TB - and the rest of the department - are served constant reminders that athletics is integrated within a larger University setting. It gives what is done in athletics greater context, and it leads to a much greater shared sense of community, which is one of TB's favorite things about Princeton.

It's a University that really does have great diversity in its workforce, and by diversity, TB is not talking only about race or religion or any other demographic.

He's talking about diversity of personality, diversity of experience, diversity of interests, diversity of thought.

It's been great for TB to have the opportunity to meet these diverse people, to talk to them about what they do, to get a better understanding of what they think.

After all, the small area that encompasses the Princeton University campus takes in all comers.

Even those who love Brussells sprouts.


Anonymous said...

I love the fact that Little Miss Tiger Blog offered a substantial price discount for eating the second Brussels sprout. This is a girl who has an innate understanding of marginal utility (or disutility, as the case may be).

Anonymous said...

The trick is never boil them. Cut them in half, drizzle with olive oil, spprinkle with salt and roast at 450 until a little brown and crunchy. They taste like healthy French fries. Almost lovable.