Category Archives: Playing & Sports

Stories that will make you say, “Let’s go out and play.”

Free at Last: Adults at Play ©

Adults play around near Malati Marlene Shinazy

adults playI was suppose to be working … sort of.  I wanted to observe TheGoGame    a unique team building game, so I was tagging along with the CEO as he played with a group of professionals.

As I donned the orange jump suit that signaled I was part of TheGoGame staff, I suddenly realized: These office workers were going to be Free at Last: Adults at Play!  And, so was I.

TheGoGame has all manner of high tech urban adventure games for different clients.  The most salient common denominator though is: FUN.

The afternoon started with each team opening a super-hero themed lunch box and giving the team a name.

Inside, were the tools needed to accomplish each “mission” of the game:

  • Web enabled cell phone
  • Initial instructions
  • Camera

Missions contained components of planning, stealth and play.  The game was two hours long and each mission garnered a certain number of points.  Each team had to decide whether to complete more missions or focus on the creative ones.

All of these elements were exactly what adults at play need:

  • Strategy
  • Luck
  • A bit of confusion to overcome

… … just like at work!  No wonder, TheGoGame’s tag line is, “Play Like It’s Your Job.”

A small sampling of the missions:

  • Driving a remote-controlled car around an obstacle course, while blindfolded and coached by teammates.
  • Videotape your team disco dancing behind an unaware stranger.
  • Trying to calm and then catch a sobbing, then dashing away bride, who had just left her fiancé at the alter.
    • After you catch her, you have to convince her to tell your team where to go next … BTW: the bride is an actress.

Video taping successful missions is where Adults at Play is really displayed. Adults at Play = Taping the company VP being eaten by a zombie!

At the end of two hours, the teams gathered, their mission video clips were downloaded, and music selected for each one.  As each team’s mission video was revealed to the entire group, the other groups used the web enabled phones to cast their votes.

The voting scale, like everything else, had an element of humor in it.  Who knows for sure, I was having too much fun to remember the details… but I think the lowest score was something like, ”That video sucked.”  The highest score, “That video rocked.”

Watching the videos, everyone laughed, applauded, and continued to play.  After the final scores were tabulated (mission accomplished scores + the video voting scores), prizes were given out:

  • Lowest Scoring Team > Rubber Chicken
  • Next Team Higher > Sigmund Freud Action Figure
  • Highest Scoring Team > Well… you can only guess  🙂

This was truly an afternoon where fun reigned and the employees were given the chance to be Free at Last: Adults at Play… me too!

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Bay To Breakers ©

A Story by Patti Isaacs

              To Protect and Serve

I lived in the Bay Area for a year and a half. The job that brought my husband and me there evaporated in the recession, so we moved back to Minnesota. But we can’t stay away. Running Bay to Breakers is a great excuse to come back, reconnect with our friends here, and revel in San Francisco’s joie de vivre.

As dawn breaks, we gather at the BART station. The train pulls up at 7:10 a.m. and we skip aboard in high spirits. A gangly young man in 1970s retro basketball shorts and a frizzy, multicolored clown wig like mine gives me the high five as we enter the train car. His pseudo-Afro is cinched in the middle with a green terrycloth sweatband to match his Celtics jersey.

I sit down with my group of friends: Suzanne in a fuchsia feather boa; Gauss in his Minnesota moose-antler hat; and Sean and Jeff, serious runners, in nondescript wicking tees. At each stop the car takes on more costumed participants, all jolly and some already a little tipsy: A cow and a milkmaid; a kitty-cat with pointed ears and leopard print tail; Superman and Wonder Woman. Several of the characters discreetly sip spirits from bottles encased in brown paper bags. Laughter fills the background as I catch up with our friends after a year away from them.

At the Civic Center stop, two San Francisco police officers board the car. I can tell they’re the real thing and not costumed runners because they’re wearing long pants. Bay to Breakers participants dressed as cops would be wearing the same blue shirts and carrying the billy clubs and handcuffs—but they would replace the regulation trousers with Speedos or buttless chaps.

The officers walk up and down the aisle, smiling and chatting amiably.

“Sorry, no drinking on the train,” the male officer says to the Devil, grinning. “Hand it over.”

The Devil shrugs his shoulders and gives up his booze.

“I’m going to have to take that from you,” the policewoman says, stretching her arm toward a glitter-dusted man in a gossamer tutu and crooking her fingers.

“Can’t blame me for trying,” Tinkerbell replies, a lilt in his voice. He’s not angry and hands her the bagged beer can.

The train stops at a station and the officers take the alcohol to the open door, pouring it out onto the tracks. They walk back down the aisle, handing the empty containers to their owners. Then they return to the door. Before stepping out, the policeman smiles and calls back, “Have a good day, and be sure to recycle!”

Only in San Francisco.

photo by patti isaacs