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Competitive Sports ... at the Office!

Who knew that a workshop functions the same way as a competitive sport? I am writing this while sitting through (I mean, in) a workshop with six others, including the presenter. What is happening in this room can only be characterized as hilarious, but while I watch this comedy I cannot help but notice how similar it is to a sport.

The workshop presenter is the coach. She’s responsible for keeping order and executing her plan for what will happen in this room, around this table. She obviously has thought this thing through well in advance, because she has a PowerPoint Presentation that looks very professional, and her demeanor is calm and relaxed. Basically, she is in charge, and is quite comfortable in this role.

The Competitors:

  • Old Dude has a permanent scowl that is so ever-present that I am wondering if he had it placed by a plastic surgeon. Complete with dark, rimmed glasses that he somehow balances at the very end of his (rather large) nose, this guy’s face seriously looks like he wants to fight someone.
  • Crochet Lady had the nerve to bring her knitting bag with a pair of gigantic crochet needles and a ball of the ugliest blue yarn I have ever had the misfortune to see. I decided that she must have an anxiety disorder, because she crocheted as if her very life depended upon it for the first forty-five minutes of the workshop.
  • Miss Expert has read every book that has ever been written on the workshop topic, and she is not shy about letting all of us know that she thinks she should be the coach.
  • Miss Cali is a racially ambiguous woman from California, and I know where she’s from because she keeps telling us how things are done there, and how much more awesome it is. You know what I’m thinking … yeah, when is your flight? I am fascinated by the fact that I cannot figure out her ethnicity, because I consider myself to be pretty adept at this.
  • Red Sweatshirt is called this because I am blinded by her bright, red sweatshirt (and I can’t stop staring at her tiny little head). She got here about an hour late, and she won’t shut up. If I was late, I think I would sit quietly and listen for a while, but that’s me.
  • Let’s call me Quiet and Observant Woman. No, Completely Unfocused and Distracted Woman. Oh, I know … I’m SportsFanLunatic. (Haha.) I do have a pretty short attention span, so I’m texting my friends, updating my Facebook status and writing this … simultaneously. Hey, it’s what I do, so don’t judge me.

I realized that I really was involved in a competitive sport when the participants in the workshop began to get a little restless … almost as if they wanted to be more “involved” and spend less time using their listening skills. Things were going well at first, and the coach was able to stick to the playbook, which is her PowerPoint slideshow. It soon became obvious that the participants, who are now competitors, were getting used to interacting with each other, and the competition officially began. Since we have such a great coach, she noticed right away, and, I’ll give her credit … she tried the not-so-obvious throat clearing, talking over them, and even the very obvious “Okay, everyone!” but it was too late … we’ve been on the same slide for about ten minutes, and our coach is not happy. Here’s what happened next:

Miss Expert was giving a lecture about how smart she is, and Crochet Lady interrupted her. I watched in shock as Miss Expert gave her the finger! Okay, no, not the finger, but she pointed her index finger at Crochet Lady in a way that spoke volumes, and never stopped talking. Old Dude got really bold and told Miss Expert that she cut him off before he could make his point. He scored major points for this because Miss Expert actually looked embarrassed, and after listening to her tell everyone that she had read (and remembered the ISBN number for) every book on the workshop topic, I didn’t think this woman could be shut down. In spite of how annoying she was, Miss Expert gained a few points for taking on Old Dude and Crochet Lady at the same time.

Red Sweatshirt is the clear loser in this group. She was late, and then proceeded to ask a question every five minutes. It wouldn’t have been so bad if her questions had even remotely been related to the workshop topic! If I could give her negative points to the power of infinity, I would. Miss Cali spent another fifteen minutes telling us about the sheer awesomeness of being in California. First of all, I used to live in San Diego, so I already know how awesome it is, and second, we DON’T CARE. I think that the only reason that we listened to her is because we’re all probably secretly trying to figure out her ethnicity. (Yes, I’m still fascinated by my inability to do this.)

Crochet Lady earned a bunch of points for putting down the needles. She’s sitting right across the table from me, and her crocheting was really making it difficult for me to concentrate on texting, Facebook, and writing. I’m just sayin’ …

At this point, the coach has completely lost control of the room. Miss Expert and Old Dude are about to come to blows because she is recommending books to help ease his negativity. Miss Cali got involved in their disagreement, and that’s not good because she talks with her hands. She is sitting to the right of me, and if she hits me, this whole competition will come to a screeching halt. Side note: Red Sweatshirt is sitting to my left with her mouth hanging open … literally. I’m distracted by wondering if her tiny little head has a tiny little brain in it.

How does it end? I have to warn you … it’s not what you think. The coach realized that she needed a new strategy, so she used a tried and true method. It’s called, “Bathroom Break.” This is the end of the competition for me, because I waited until everyone left the room for the ten-minute break, gathered my belongings, and LEFT. I have gained sweet freedom, and I have declared myself the winner of this competition because, most likely, I will never have to see any of these people again. And yes, I am aware that they might be thinking the same thing about me!