It's an oddity in the human condition, but nothing brings us closer than competition. The rush of excitement, the release of strong emotions, learning what to do better and from whom you can learn, it's almost Fight Club-like, isn't it? Except the boss told us specifically that we had to stop punching each other at work, so this year, we've got to do something different.
That's not from our podcast team, it's a little video from Zach, one of our return techs, and he made it in his own free time. When's the last time YOU felt like giving up your day off to do some unrequested video editing work? That alone should help you understand the level of excitement tied to the 2011 Woot Monkey Games, an August-long company-wide competition.
Under the watchful eye of our mascot/cardboard CEO, staff has divided into six teams who'll be going head-to-head for about fifteen minutes during each lunch hour. Each Friday we'll sum up the week on our blog, telling you a bit about the events and the behind-the-scenes drama. We'll also give you a chance to participate at home each week, via video submissions, to win a special one-time-only Woot Monkey that we're never going to sell. Watch for the rules and your chance to enter the first contest a little later today! (EDIT: By later today we apparently meant the top of next week. Watch for our announcement once the lawyers give us the okay!) But for now, relax and get ready to enjoy some friendly competition, because here comes this week in... The 2011 Woot Monkey Games!
...and you can read all about them inside. Sorry if we weren't clear.
The Woot Monkey Games were designed to be a fun way to help our employees enjoy the scorching month of August, and so far, response has been huge. Every department has gotten involved in the attempt to win glory for the team and a gold-painted Sansa medal for themselves.
This week, office athletes were fresh and full of energy, and so ready to play hard. The Monkey Game Committee chose five solid events to start things off right.
DAY ONE: OFFICE CHAIR RACES
Like the first day of that other popular multi-day sports event with lawyers who protect their trademark constantly, the opening of the Woot Games was slightly under-attended. But that didn't stop a few departmental cheerleaders from coming out to beautiful Upstairs Arena to support their players.
Chair athletes started from the back wall and had to race to the other side of the room. Kicking was freestyle and the winner was determined by who touched the wall first. However the athletes apparently had mixed ideas about if they were going between the cones dash-style or around the cones slalom-style.
That grey area led to a controversy which threatened to pull the judges apart until they kinda accepted it didn't really matter and called the whole thing fair. And anyway, what's a contest without controversy? The drama's part of the fun!
DAY ONE WINNERS:
1st: Dennis Kam (The Scarlet Sansas)
2nd: Dustin Sayre (The Assets)
3rd: Todd Davenport (Money Talks)
DAY TWO: POPSICLE EATING CONTEST
On Tuesday each team sent their very strongest eaters to Upstairs Arena, the willful men and women most likely to push through an ice-pop headache. This event was seven minutes long, although athletes were allowed a little extra time to lie down and recover after the competition ended. Top honors were given to the athlete who ate the most without crying. Not everyone made it through unscarred.
Turnout on this day was heavy, possibly because people like to see their co-workers in pain. Lax security meant non-competitors were able to approach the table and begin to warm ice pops with their hands, a decision that changed the game almost immediately. Innovation or cheating? Let us know your opinions in the comments below.
In total a whopping 78 popsicles were consumed, and spectators witnessed a historic moment in the Woot Monkey Games... our very first tie for the gold between two titans of dessert, each sucking down 19 popsicles in the seven minutes allotted. Pretty sweet, right?
DAY TWO WINNERS:
1st: Mark Hare (The Zookeepers)
1st: Robert Baron (Money Talks)
3rd: Tyler Buschman (The Scarlet Sansas)
DAY THREE: MONKEY TOSS
This was the view from the stairs at our first Lobby event on Wednesday. Spectators were kept at a safe distance so as not to disrupt the concentration of the archers. This game was point-based, and even included customer service legend Kristy Tye as a moving target with the highest point value.
Archers had the option of playing it safe and building up small point totals or going for the huge shots and risking it all. Tragically most of the archers were also really bad at shooting, and it took a full five rounds before anyone got some points.
But when all was said and done, it was gold for the Team Ware-A-Shirt, putting a combination of shirt workers and our loyal warehouse team on the board at last. Could this be the beginning of a trend?
DAY THREE WINNERS
1st: Elena Torres (Ware-A-Shirt)
2nd: Bob Miller (The Scarlet Sansas)
3rd: Sallyann Alicea (The Zookeepers)
DAY FOUR: PAPER AIRPLANE TOSS
Here it was. The first real A-level challenge. Tensions ran high around this event as the competitors spent days searching for the design that might give them the edge. Cross-team espionage was rampant and teams began meeting in secret to research prototype planes. In the final hour before the competition, our halls were littered with folded paper. Clearly, the plane toss was going to be an event that would challenge even the most supple of wrists.
Athletes were given regulation printer paper and allowed five minutes to fold their plane, though the long training period meant everyone finished folding in three. These pilots knew the designs inside and out! But the real test lay head. It wasn't just engineering that would win the day. It would be the human element.
Athletes stood behind the tiny cones and tossed their plane forward toward the wall. Judging was on distance and distance alone. Each athlete had the option of three throws, but only their final throw would count for the scoring. It took a steady hand to guide each winners into medal position, and yes, there was heartbreak from those who missed the podium by inches.
DAY FOUR WINNERS
1st: Chris Pray (The Assets)
2nd: Keegan Carson (The Zookeepers)
3rd: Laura Storm (Money Talks)
At the end of the first week, The Zookeepers and The Scarlet Sansas are both tied for first among the teams with six points and three medals each. The Assets and Money Talks are tied for second with five points and two to three medals, Ware-A-Shirt are at three points, and The Leakfrogs have yet to score. Today's events, Simon Says and the Coffee Mug Triathlon, will be occurring after press time and we'll be covering them in next week's update. It's still anybody's Monkey Games, and who knows what upsets are coming? Can't you feel the excitement building?
The Woot Monkey Games run every weekday through all of August. Check back in this space every Friday for the rest of summer to see how the teams are doing. And watch for your chance to win a special Woot Games monkey next week, as soon as we get the rules back from Legal. Remember, everyone's a winner, but only a few people can be champions!