In the coming months, many of us will endure the standard Florida ritual of going from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office. It's the office part that's the toughest partly because most offices are artificially climate-controlled year-round and partly because ... you're at fucking work.
Why not break the doldrums by coming up with your own office games? Most of you will have to do this during breaks because you may have a boss who wants you to spend most of your time at the office working. This is more or less the way it is at Weekly Planet, although no muckety-muck ever complained when we had full-tilt games of one-on-one Nerf basketball (even when a lot of incidental shit got knocked over or went flying).
On a recent afternoon, I devised three cool contests, set them up and played them, scores and all, in the space of an hour:
Paper-clip Darts — Most of you remember terrorizing your middle-school classmates by using a rubber band as a slingshot for twisted-in-half paper clips. Hey, you could put out an eye with that! Here's a new, less hazardous take on this old standby. Take four sheets of standard printer paper and tape them together into a larger rectangle. With a Sharpie, draw a large circle on it with three smaller circles inside and a bullseye. Assign point values for each circle. Voila! A crude dartboard. Tack it to a bulletin board. You're ready. Just pull, aim, fire. I expected the paperclips to leave easily identifiable rips in the paper. When that didn't happen, we had to eyeball the hits and agree on scores. But Paperclip Darts quickly became a newsroom fave. Be careful, though. You can still put an eye out.
Baseball Bucket Bowling — Scott Harrell graciously dumped the CD jewel cases out of a plastic bucket under his desk. I had an old baseball on a shelf. We set up the bucket sideways, mouth facing us, on one end of the room against a wall. From about 15 feet away, we got on our knees and rolled the ball. Scoring: one point if you hit the bucket, three points if the ball goes in but falls out, five points if the ball goes in and stays. Excellent game. We had some highly competitive matches. It's harder than it looks. Tip: Lay a rolled-up T-shirt behind the bucket to deaden the noise of the ball hitting the wall.
Nerf Bounceball — A chewed-up Nerf soccer ball, actual size. A small blue bin for paper recycling. Set it on the floor next to a wall about 12 feet away. Rules: Toss the ball into the bin on one bounce. Best out of 10 shots. This game sucked (mostly because I got my ass kicked by two chicks, who gleefully chided me, "You're a basketball player? Tee hee.")
There ya go. DIY Office Games. One hour. Normal office junk. Enthusiastic participation. Intense competition.
Bosses, don't get heavy about these contests. Encourage them. Hell, join in. It'll lift morale. And you might even walk away with some bragging rights.