Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Office Rowing Team

I worked for a company in London that had a half American, half British, and half international staff. Yes, there were 150% of us working there. We needed that number of people because one third of the company was slacking off in the pub most of the time.

During the summer months we'd play softball in Hyde Park against other companies with whom we had business relationships. Because softball is not taught in British schools, nobody is very co-ordinated at the sport and it is much like watching the special Olympics - except we weren't that good.

When I saw this video clip of the Office Rowing Team I suddenly realized that we should never have been playing softball against each other. This must be the ultimate inter-company sport.

When arranging a team to play softball it was often difficult to find enough players and one had to wander around the office cajoling and threatening your colleagues to play. If that didn't work you had to go down to the homeless shelter and pay some of them to be on your team.

One week, one of our American colleagues was visiting our office and I tried to get him to play with us. He was very reluctant because at school in California he was never very good at sports and especially not softball he told me. He really didn't want to play. I forget what I bribed him with but eventually I got him to come and play with us.

To our surprise, and his, he was remarkably good at the game and easily one of the top scorers. What he hadn't realized was that he was coming from an environment where everyone can swing a baseball bat to the land of spastics. As they say, in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. In this case, in the land of mal-co-ordinated... (I couldn't think of an appropriate ending for that).

Having discovered how good he was (relative to our gang) he started planning all his UK visits around our softball games. He had to make frequent trips to the UK office and would insist that we email him the softball schedule so he could get in at least 2 games while there.

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