Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome Jordyn

Ah, there's nothing like a good event meeting to bring out the laughs.

Actually, TigerBlog would like to talk to you about humor, in all seriousness. Does that sound funny, because he didn't mean it to be.

One of the best parts of the Princeton Department of Athletics is that its administrative staff is filled with people who like to laugh. With the constant flow from 37 varsity teams and 1,000 varsity athletes and everything that goes along with it, being able to laugh is a really, really good thing.

There's a difference between being silly and keeping the mood light. Around here, the people are pretty good at avoiding the former and focusing on the latter.

Because of that, TigerBlog hasn't seen much of what would be considered "burn out" here. Yes, the people who work here do a ton of stuff. At the same time, they feel like they're also a part of a team, like everyone is working for the same goal.

The reason for this is that it's not like working in an environment that is deadly serious at all times. Yes, there are moments when that is necessary. Just not all the time.

This of course starts with the two Ford Family Directors of Athletics with whom TB has worked, first Gary Walters and now Mollie Marcoux Samaan. And yeah, they have slightly different senses of humor, but they both have good senses of humor. There's a time to be serious, and a time to laugh. They both get that.

The event meeting yesterday reminded TigerBlog about the value of humor.

As it was ending, Brendan Van Ackeren mentioned that there wasn't much difference these days between being in his office and being at home. Pretty funny stuff, right?

Oh wait. Maybe you need a little context.

Brendan is married to Lisa Van Ackeren, the softball coach here. His office (and hers, actually) is on the Jadwin balcony, where the Office of Athletic Communications was for the first 46 years or so of the building's existence.

Lisa Van Ackeren was Lisa Sweeney when she pitched against Princeton for Lehigh in the NCAA tournament a few years ago. Brendan was a football player for the Mountain Hawks. He's also a graduate of the same high school as none other than Pete Carril, as they both went to Liberty High School in Bethlehem.

Lisa has led Princeton to the Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament each of the last two years.

Anyway, if you go upstairs these days, you'll see that the balcony has a large sheet that separates it from the construction going on in the lobby. The sheet keeps the balcony somewhat clean, but it does not keep it quiet, not with the major construction project that is going on in the lobby.

In fact, it's pretty loud up there these days.

Down in the new OAC, on E level? Peaceful quiet - unless the neighbors (the wrestling team) start blasting their music.

The construction is supposed to be finished by Nov. 1. TigerBlog has seen the plans for how the lobby will look, and it should really be spectacular. As the construction goes, you can see how it's starting to take shape. 

So that's one half of Brendan's joke. The other is that he and Lisa have someone new staying with them at home, and that would be Jordyn Van Ackeren, their newborn daughter.

Jordyn turns one week old today. If you've ever been around a one-week old, they tend to make more noise than an entire construction project, or at least close to it.

TigerBlog gave the Van Ackeren's the same advice he gives all soon-to-be first-time parents. If there's a TV in the bedroom, leave it on all night, without the sound when the baby falls asleep. Then, when the baby wakes up, the light from the TV will be enough so that you don't have to turn any lights on, which means that the baby doesn't think it's play time. Plus, with the TV on, you can watch it while you change and feed the baby.


Having your first newborn is a bit intimidating. TigerBlog remembers almost being frightened when the nights would roll around, because each one seemed to last forever. And he was so jealous of other people who had babies who were even four months or six months old, because they seemed so much easier to take care of than an infant.

Speaking of first newborns, TigerBlog called his first newborn and got no answer. Then he got a text message that said he was at dinner and would call him back when he was finished. That was nine days ago. And he was such an angelic little newborn.

As for Brendan and Lisa, TigerBlog wishes them all the best with the baby. His tip is a simple one. Pretty much everything else you have to figure out for yourself.

And they'll catch up on their sleep. It'll just take a decade or so.

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