Sunday, August 14, 2005

Office Picnics

Summer is also the time for the office picnic. It's the same annual ritual: the assistants get together with the other nearby offices and plan out a picnic for everyone. Coworkers get to bring their kids and spouses, we eat the latest potluck creations, and the office managers all stand together talking by themselves while grilling burgers and dogs. Our latest picnic was this weekend.

As usual, a few of the guys decide that the rest of us should all participate in a softball game. I played sports in school, but it's been a long time since I grabbed a bat or tossed a softball. Even though I can shoot around 80 on the golf course, I complained about a back problem so I wouldn't have to play this year. I was the smart one.

Everyone splits off into teams and the game is on. In case your company is about to hold a picnic with a softball game soon, here are some things to consider based on what I saw this weekend:

First, the kiddies are cute and fun to watch, but they shouldn't be playing in the game. This was a lesson learned by one dad when his 9-year old son played in his spot. The boy was out on a routine play to first, and was not allowed to stay on base, since rules are rules with adults. Next time he batted, same result. On his third at-bat, he bounced the ball back to the pitcher, saw that he was going to be out again and threw the bat AT the pitcher. What do you get when you let kids play against adults? Bruised shins if you are the pitcher.

Second, there's always going to be one younger guy-- usually the new guy in the office--that wants to show off for the girlfriend and see how far he can blast the ball to prove what a stud he is. We had that guy too. He hit a high shot over the left fielder and circled the bases. After touching the plate, he began his "Big Hitter" routine of Tarzan yells and high-fiving everyone on his team. I don't know if it was a case of him showing off for everyone, or the fact that he had too many beers before coming to the picnic. Next year we are sending this fool to the store for more chips and drinks right as the game starts. Don't be that guy, and don't have him on your team.

Third, it's probably best to let the team with the boss win. For the third consecutive year the boss has lost, and he's none too happy. This guy is the kind of guy that thinks he excels at all sports since he played sports in college. After watching him swing a bat, I'm wondering what sport he truly played, if any. We hate to remind him that his college is nowhere close to a national powerhouse in any sport. He stomped off all dejected after the game, which didn't match his usual "rah-rah" personality that he uses to fire up the troops. He will be in a miserable mood on Monday, and God protect the newbie that has to go to him with a trade correction first thing.

Next year, maybe we can plan a picnic trip to an amusement park. These picnics are OK, but we need a change. The kids get to play and the spouses get to see each other, and the guys all have a good time joking away an afternoon. However, I'm tired of hearing the boss talk about running out of food and the heat, and for the third consecutive year, losing at softball.

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