Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Which I Tell the Embarrassing Story

Yesterday and half of the day before I was at my very first management offsite. This used to be a big deal where they bussed the managers and directors and vp's and a few assorted other titles up north, but over the last few years has been a more subdued event with locations like scenic downtown Eagan (e.g. the community center).

All in all, it was enjoyable. I don't get to talk to many of the managers outside my immediate area on a regular basis, and there's quite a few of them. It was good to hear them addressing some of the same concerns I have so I know my issues aren't limited only to me.

After the talking/roundtables, a presentation on new projects, a presentation on finance, and a management expert, there was a management picnic at the local park, Trapp Farm. There was food and fun (I learned to play Kubb), despite it being a bit cool and sprinkling on and off.

Later in the picnic, a volleyball game started, and despite having dressed a little too formally in Dockers and a long sleeve dress shirt, I joined in. Many of the management guys (no women were playing) are damn good volleyball players, playing in volleyball and soccer leagues a few days during the week. It wasn't my usual experience with volleyball at work which generally entails a dozen out of shape individuals pushing the ball back and forth and out of bounds over the course of sixty seconds (although this is getting to be less the norm with all the young 'uns in development - e.g. as I get older). Instead, there was setting and spiking, and setting and spiking, and blocking, and spiking and only overhand serves, and almost no out of bounds plays. I think the first point lasted five minutes. I was working up a good sweat after the first game and was wondering why I had ever bothered to grab my jacket from the car before play started.

The second game started, and we were on about the third point and the ball was slammed toward my feet. I dived. And missed. Hard. No injuries, not to my person. But there was a very quiet rustling sound. I threw the ball under the net, and pondered the sound. I reached behind myself and felt a bit of, for lack of a better word, "leg". This wasn't a small pants rip. It was big. Although I wasn't sure how big because I didn't want to go rooting around while standing there in the sand. One of the guys on the team looked at me as I started taking off my dress shirt and stripping down to my t-shirt, waiting patiently for me to finish so play could resume, assuming I was too hot. I wrapped it around my waist, held up my finger, and moseyed over to where my jacket was and repeated the maneuver. He asked if I was ok and I replied that I had to go. He said, "Why?" And I replied, with honesty, "Ripped my pants."

"That's not bad," he said, not having a line of sight to the hole. "You can still play."

"No. No, I don't think I can. You'll have to find a sub."

I skirted the court, and came up behind a few managers and a director who were finishing up a game of horseshoes, putting my back to an area of the park without visibility to my backside. I followed them up the hill, chatting cheerfully while one of them commented on my "Rambo" look in just a white t-shirt, and slowly circled to the far side of the path and the pavilion, keeping my butt to the trees. I probably looked like the moon (heh), always presenting one side. I got in my car, and went home to check out the damage and find some new pants, vowing never to go to a picnic again without a pair of shorts or jeans in the back of the car. big was this hole that another manager thought I could continue to play volleyball with at my very first management offsite/picnic with peers and bosses and bosses' bosses from several cities and India? The fact that he didn't know how bad it was and was the only one in a position to notice gives me a good feeling about how closely I avoided the title "the manager whose ass was hanging out at the 2009 picnic".

Here's the hole, in no way altered from it's picnic state.

For some perspective, I could have passed my wife's head.

I'm fortunate it was an odd year so we weren't at Blackhawk where the volleyball court is closer to the action and not on the far end next to a lake. And that it wasn't our department picnic where people gather around to watch volleyball tournament style. And that I was in the serving position with no one behind me because there were only five people on each team. I'm unfortunate in that I will no longer subject Mean Mr. Mustard to work-related volleyball jibes.


Anonymous said...

I would take them back to the store where you bought them and tell them that they were defective.

Grant said...

one of our track coaches ripped his pants in front of very very young middle school athletes while his much to old man body tried to hurdle a hurdle. he was not lucky like you were however and every 11 year old girl saw his buttocks.

Anonymous said...

Good beans then eh?

She says said...


If only you could get PTW to do that... ah, never mind. I think you know where I was going with that.