December 14, 2009

The NSA Family

Last night was our annual North Shore Athletics staff Christmas party. We had an absolute blast with our very own party bus! The night started with some full contact tobogganing on the local Mt Seymour, with bodies stacked as much as three high on a single crazy carpet! The overall goal ended up being who could keep up enough momentum to shoot up the 'slow down incline' at the base of the run and also continue right on through the safety fence at the very end. Being the competitive group that we are, eventually this was accomplished by many. Tamsin and I managed to do so on a double carpet...and I only had to absorb one significant charlie horse to accomplish this.

Back on 'the party bus' and into downtown Vancouver where we were to close out our evening. However, this was not before the team had a full on chin up competition on the party bus, complete with a eventual contortion that could only be described as who could hump the ceiling of a moving bus the most times. Add to this an improv game of 'bus surfing' as people tried to see who could stay upright the longest as the vehicle meandered it's way through downtown Van and you can see the fun times were 'rolling' right along. Once at the restaurant we were treated to fabulous food and flowing drinks before we set in on our annual Secret Santa gift exchange.

After the dust had settled on this we somehow found ourselves playing a full on game of duck-duck-goose...yes the game where you tap heads till you say goose and then sprint around the group to see who can complete a lap and grab the empty seat first...yes the game you most likely have not played since you were ten years old.

Eventually owner Keith Nicoll stood up, with only minimal assistance, and gave a quick speech. It had to do with 'the North Shore Athletics Family'. This is something I have heard him talk about for years but never really thought twice about.

Coming from a Fairmont Hotels background the 'Fairmont Family' had always been jammed down our throats on an almost daily basis. The problem was that it was simply a program instituted within a massive company to create something that never existed. The Fairmont Family Fallacy was how I always thought of it. Don't get me wrong, I loved my time within Fairmont Hotels and most of my life long friends have come as a direct result of those five years of employment. However, there never was and most likely never will be a family environment within such a large organization.

North Shore Athletics on the other hand employs between ten and fifteen staff at a time. After waking up just slightly hung over this morning I couldn't help but feel like I had shared in something special last night. Quite simply we just had an absolute blast, but on a deeper level we all share so much in common that it's hard not to consider it a family like environment.

Everything was confirmed for me last night with but one glance towards our waitresses. As we were sprinting in circles around each other playing duck-duck-goose they could do nothing but stand back and laugh...even after we inadvertently knocked, what appeared to be a rather expensive piece of art work, off of the wall.

We were acting like kids. All of us. Together. From the second our evening commenced, with our crazy carpet adventures, till the moment most passed out from over indulgence, a continual laughter filled the air. Good times like those can not be faked, and laughter that comes from within is what keeps us young.

It's a pretty cool thing to love going to work everyday. To be in an environment where you know you share so much in common with those around you. Of course like anything else in life there are ups and downs, pros and cons, ebbs and flows...but in the end, I just feel very fortunate to be a small part of...dare I say it...The NSA Family!



Nicola Gildersleeve said...

I totally forgot about DUCK DUCK GOOSE...YES!!! That was hilarious...almost as hilarious as Keith ripping his shirt open the whole night.

I love tobogganing!!!!!

Dawn said...

Thanks for making me cry Gary....jeez...

Gary Robbins said...

The only thing that would have made you cry was as Gilder mentioned...seeing Keith ripping his shirt open all night long!!