Friday, December 20, 2013

Party Time!

Thursday was the first holiday party with my new company and I was late to the office gathering. Fortunately, I had a darn good reason for my tardiness as I was staffing an interview which led me to arrive about 45 minutes after everyone had gotten to the bowling alley. That’s right, we had a bowling party. With the exception of walking around and exploring the old two lanes in the basement of my lodge a few months ago, this was the first time that I had set foot in a bowling alley in about ten years (maybe longer).

It was an interesting experience walking in the doors as the memories of grade school birthday parties flooded my mind as the familiar scent wafted across my nose. This is one of those places that while the technology and the décor may change over time, the atmosphere remains the same. Those pleasant reminiscences only added to the festive night and the great time that we all had, awkward techniques and all.  

However, when you get a group of coworkers together with any type of game or sport as the activity and there is inevitably going to be come competition. While I thought that my competitive nature had long since faded into the past, that night it had a bit of a resurgence as we split into teams of two and started watching the scores add up. What started as simply a fun time for me quickly transitioned to not wanting to finish last and then to wanting to win.

As the night progressed the fire built up as I was not hitting my spots and doing as well as I wanted to. The frustration was a little intense as most of the time I knew whether or not I made the shot as soon as the ball was about five feet down the lane. While it was by no means a great score I still managed to break a hundred in both games and ended the night of rolling having finished second overall. More importantly, my team won by 50 pins.

After a couple of games with dinner interspersed between turns and frames we all headed over to the pool tables where I played a couple of poor games. Still finished 1-1 on the night but completely unacceptable knowing how I used to run the table in a game of nine ball. However, billiards was secondary as we all continued to relax and began exchanging holiday gifts. “Secret Santa” is something that I can’t remember the last time I had the opportunity to participate and even though many of us are still getting to know one another around the office everyone gave considerable thought to the gifts they gave and appreciated the gifts they received.

I gave a gift that I took the time to think about and make sure that it would be enjoyed. Actually, because I am a firm proponent of coupons, I gave a whole bag of gifts while remaining within the predetermined $25 budget. On the flip side of things, I was given a gift that fit me perfectly and something that I have already put to good use (you’ve got to love it when someone gets you the right gift card).

At that point, the conversations continued and we all enjoyed the company of friends, not just coworkers. With hugs and holiday wishes shared by all, we set out on the road knowing that we would see one another early the next morning. Our office is a family, one where we hold one another accountable and make sure we working to our potential (clichéd but true), and that is a rare privilege that I will continue to appreciate each and every day I walk through the door. It’s amazing how a great job can make the holiday season so much better.