Posted by: krittikae | February 26, 2010

Argentina does the Luge

Yesterday was our company-wide staff retreat. I admit, I feared the worst.

When I got there, I noticed some of the staffers were wearing silver sequined hats from the 1970s, a la Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd in their SNL “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” sketch.

Yep. It was a Disco Fever theme.

They were playing 70s music, and had 70s rings and, oddly enough, paper clips and rubber bands as part of the centerpieces. As well as a smiley face balloon, being weighed down by a can of Tab.

I could see this staff retreat going to a very sad and lonely place.

Begin the Team Building Exercises. (I can NOT hear that without thinking of Flight of the Conchords now.) I’m not typically a joiner, but I figured I might as well. Some of our highlights:

a 30 second commercial for our charity, NAM

building unique sculptures out of the random items on our tables, as well as borrowing from other tables (ahhh, the paper clips)

Name That Tune

Musical Chairs (oh yes we did.)

We also had a speaker. Olympian Rubén González, who competes in Luge for Argentina. Turns out, he was born in Argentina, moved to the US at age 6, and decided he wanted to become an Olympic athlete. He claims to only be of average athleticism, but above-average endurance. So he picked the toughest, most ridiculous event he could find, figuring that so many people would quit that he’d rise to the top. The training facility wouldn’t let him learn at the age of 21, until he told them he was born in Argentina. If he competes for Argentina, they’d train him.

How odd is that story? This guy was obviously nuts, in all the best ways. He seems to be the kind of guy for which “No” is never an answer. He is retiring after this Olympics, due to changed priorities after knowing Mr. Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge slider who lost his life this year. Mr. González spoke to us about enduring, about working together, and about trying vs. regret.

All in all, it was a surprisingly amazing staff retreat. You quickly forgot about the potentially cheesiness of the games and decorations, and just enjoyed it. My favorite part was seeing my boss freak out as she tried to remember who sang “Do the Hustle.”

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