Monday, September 13, 2010

My "Effing" Staff Retreat

My office just had its staff retreat, and decided to mark the occasion with a "Team Building Ropes Course." I am one of the most competetive people in the world, so I decided to climb the 30 feet to the high course first. I made it to the top and crossed the first path with ease. I essentially had to walk a tight rope while going around large boards in my way. HA! That was EASY! I knew I would have no problem with the rest of the course.

While I was crossing, a few more staff members climbed on up. Others climbed halfway up, looked down, then hastily climbed down. There were three of us up by the time I crossed the first path. One, our executive director crossed to the middle while the other crossed to the far side. I decided to impress the ED by crossing the tire swing portion to get to the middle with her.

The paths of the ropes course had several degrees of difficulty. Unfortunately for me, they were named after ski slopes - Blue, green, black diamond, and double black diamond. This is unfortunate because I had never skied before, so I was just going by what sounded nice, "Oooh, two black diamonds? That sounds fun!"

Double black diamond is the hardest skii difficulty, and many of our skii staff said they wouldn't attempt it. Now mind you, we weren't skiing, we were playing on ropes! And these ones had tires! They looked fun!

I stepped into the first tire and swung out. I quickly grabbed the second tire. Oh wait. My harness was wrapped around the first tire. I had to go back. I pulled on my harness with one hand and the tire with the other and untwisted myself. I soon made it to the third tire. My coworkers were cheering me on.

By the fifth tire, I was exhausted. My legs shook as I reached for the next tire. My abs were screaming in agony, and my arms were holding on for dear life, but they were quickly giving up hope. My coworkers continued to cheer.

I finally reached the last tire. My body was failing. I was using muscles I didn't know I had. But wait. I didn't know how to get from my flimsy, swaying tire swing to the steady, but high up platform. My coworkers' cheers became mixed with helpful suggestions. This, mixed with my competetive nature made me self conscious. I put on the happiest voice I could muster and called, "Hey! Thank's everyone, but could you please stop cheering for me?"

My Executive Director was standing at the platform. I looked up at her in misery and asked for a hand. She pulled me up to the platform and said, "That was the nicest way I have ever heard anyone say 'shut the fuck up.'" ... ah well, at least I impressed her with that, if not with my incredible athletic ability.

I was thrilled to make it to the middle, but then realized the fastest way down (to relieve my achy muscles) would be to cross over TWO more courses. I tried not to whimper as I went over a green and a blue course. One was simple, only using leg stretches to reach widespread platforms. The other required my shaky arms to hold on to a series of ropes dangling from a wire above to cross. The cute guys running the course didn't even ask me to climb down, they just lowered me on a rope until I could lay in the sawdust below.

After all staff members returned safely to the ground and stopped for Starbucks in the ski lodge, we were handed a few starburst and told to give them to people we thought were "stars." I handed mine to the ED and said with a huge smile, "This is for dropping 'F' bombs with me on that middle platform, AND for getting me off those effing tires. For that, you are a star."

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