This July, the Pivoteers sojourned to Tyner Pond Farm east of Greenfield. It was our first retreat. We were careful to plan for it, but not to overstuff our schedule. To have activities but not trust falls or rope courses. Then, a few days before we were leaving, I caught a segment on NPR about team-building exercises gone bad. I got a sinking feeling. What if our ounce of prevention hadn’t bought a pound of cure?
A Team-building Fail for the Ages
Picture this, dear reader: It’s another beautiful day on the farm. The sun is getting low, and the ice is melting in my solo cup quarter-full with bourbon. I’m in right field, stomach knotted, shoelaces double-knotted, trying to calm the f*@k down. One more sip of courage and set it aside. They’re counting on you, Jenn. It’s just a practice game, but they’re counting on you. Ryan’s up. Get ready.
First pitch. Connect. Dull thud off hipster kicks. Foul ball.
Second pitch. Connect! Coming fast. Right. At. Me.
Run up on it, Jenn! Don’t chicken out. You’re the boss lady. They’ll lose all respect for you if you don’t catch this.
Wait a second. Union’s running back from third base. What’d he say? He’s got it? Doesn’t got it?
And . . . smack! A red rubber direct hit. The kickball takes me square in the face. My feet fly up, Charlie Brown-style, and I’m flat on my back in the grass. Face stinging. Tears running. Can’t breathe from laughing.
Should I go home now? Surely, they’ll all quit to work for someone who can catch a kickball.
One Fail, Many Reasons to Do It Again
In spite of one kickball to the face, the retreat was actually worth every minute we spent away from our desks. In our two days on the farm, we wrote thank you letters, petted baby chicks, watched a movie outside, made s’mores, played poker late into the night, talked even later, tried headstands in an outdoor yoga session, ate entirely too many Doritos, and, of course, improved our kickball game.
We openly discussed and debated our differences, celebrated our successes, planned for the future, and bonded over our desire to do great work with a clear purpose.
As the old saying goes, a team who plays together stays together. On Monday, we returned to the office, ready for the next fly ball to right field.
P.S. Want to join our kickball team? Games start this Wednesday, July 30th. Email us!