Way back in the bright and skin-meltingly hot days of mid-July I wrote about my battle against the unforgiving and merciless nature of a mechanical representation of uncontrolled bovine violence. How I took on a mechanical bull and ultimately lost and the price I paid for delaying my defeat. What I neglected to mention was that the entire thing was called off half way through due to a massive downpour finally arriving. It had been threatening to do so the entire day but finally decided to wash us out right in the middle of our “fun.” The ground quickly turned into a thick, soupy quagmire of dirt. My team were slated for a game of football, I was genuinely looking forward to the game, what with the conditions having finally made it to what I would call “proper” football weather. But Messrs Health and Safety weren’t too keen on this plan so everything was called to a stop. Naturally ten minutes later the rain had stopped, but we’d all packed up by that point. The decision was made by the powers-that-be to reschedule the entire thing and finish it off properly. So that’s I did this Wednesday afternoon, as once again me and my workmates set out for the company sports day.
The notion of a concluding part to anything puts me in mind of a two-part television episode. One where the previous episode ended on a cliff-hanger whose sole purpose was seemingly just to be cliff-hangery and serves no real narrative purpose after the first few minutes of the following episode. Sports day was a bit like that. We just sort of, got on with it. First up we had a team-slalom-dribble. All we had to do was dribble a football between some large plastic sticks, reach the end, come back and pass the ball over to the next person in our team. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it was complicated by the fact that we had to do the entire thing while ensconced in a big, heavy, fabric sumo-wrestler costume. The sort where you lose the ability to move your arms or see your feet. This was then further complicated by the fact that we only had one suit per team. So once we’d completed the course we had to strip the suit off and transfer it onto the next team member. Even the slightest cock-up could cost you team victory. We managed to get the change-over down to a highly efficient and smooth operation. It was probably what a F1 pit-stop would look like after a particularly heavy dose of the LSD. I boldly decided to go first and built up a commanding lead which the rest of my team promptly went and squandered. We didn’t just lose, we were crushed.
Next up was the football.
Over the years me and my Dad have disagreed about a lot of things. Not least of all, the best way to spend your free time. Subsequently large portions of my childhood were filled with sport, sport, sport, more sport and sport, all interspersed with interludes of, sport. Although I remain utterly bereft of any of the technical skill required to play these games to any acceptable standard I have at least been granted with an understanding of how to play them. Not just an understanding of the specific rules, (they’re easy) but an understanding of the best way to actually play them. What tactics to use, where to be and what to spend your time at least trying to do. I was quite aghast that there would be no off-sides, as much as people malign the complexity of the off-side rule it’s fairly straight forward and stops the game descending into rampant dickery. The next 16 minutes consisted of me pelting up and down the left-wing, dashing into open spaces, losing my markers, staying on the move and generally doing everything Dad taught me I should be doing. It was therefore a little disappointing that the only time the ball came my way was by accident. My team had those kind of players on it, the ball hungry glory hounds. The game left me exhausted almost to the point of vomiting with nothing to show for it. To make matters worse, we lost 2-1.
After a total of five games we had conclusively lost 3. Things weren’t looking too good.
The football was followed by the obstacle course. An obstacle course made out of bouncy-castle like inflatables. We had 10 minutes to get ourselves and an object to the other side of the course and back as many times as we could in 10 minutes. Despite our growing fatigue we managed to get 27 objects to the other side. In one fell-swoop we managed to double our points. Our success in this event was in no part down to our bending of the rules. The first stage required us to hop to the inflatable obstacles on a space-hopper. We just held it between our legs and didn’t even bother hopping. If, like me, you’re really tall, using a space-hopper is really quite difficult. So I didn’t view it as cheating, so much as evening the odds. Our performance put us in good stead for the tug-of-war that was to follow. Our truly abysmal performance on the first sports day in June had netted us a bye through the first round. Inexplicably we won the second round before losing out in the quarter finals to a bunch of blokes who could be best described as “tanks.”
The final scores put us in 10th place out of a potential 24, comfortably above average. We also beat the other 2 teams from our department which was a nice added bonus. Then we got free beer. Double bonus!