Office Olympics 2000: The Games from Down Under

News from the Barbie--Week 1

The II Office Olympiad of the Modern Era


Wednesday, September 13

The Interdivisional Olympic Committee (yes, the IOC) began its work just three days ago, following that old dictum of don't let a good deadline go to waste. This has not really given us the time needed to solicit bribes, but just enough to pull together some really outstanding events. We look forward to your participation!

Tuesday, September 19

Yesterday could not have been more perfect. The athletes gathered as the sun shone over the Outback Field of Dreams. Wafts of cooking burgers and dogs floated in the air, courtesy of Tom Warren at the barbie. The opening ceremony ( was complete with all the expected pageantry. Jim Watson, Special Assistant to the President for Athletics, stirred everyone's emotions with his inspirational charge to the athletes. Mark Weber, Interim Dean of Libraries & Media Services, declared the games of the II Office Olympiad of the modern era to be open. And then the moment all had been waiting for as the torch, carried by 1996 Office Olympic Pentathlete Mary Lovin, entered the Outback. The torch had wended its way over the past days through offices and libraries ( . The Olympic Flame was lit!

As Olympians did the necessary carbohydrate packing, the first event-Diskus Throw-began under the direction of Wei-Ping Zhang and Bob Gray. Many rumors had circulated through the Olympic Village prior to this event about the equipment that was to be used. Where _did_ these 5.25" disks come from? Were they bootlegged? At the Outback, the innuendoes continued with the suggestion that some very high scores were due to athletes swapping in their own disks preformatted with heavy data. Dr. Watson did test all winning disks at the close and generated some report that didn't mean anything. So a clean bill of health was given all the winners: Tom Warren (Gold), Harry Kamens (Silver), and Gary Mote (Bronze). For more details on this competition, go to .

Today promises to provide some breathtaking moments as well. If you do not manage to preregister, not to worry-just show up. Two events are scheduled (again, noon to 1 p.m.):

Crocodile Cable Coiling ( : this is the event that in 1996 was covered by Cleveland TV. It will happen in the Outback and be an opportunity for you to show your coiling prowess. Maybe that hasn't always been with cable, but it is likely you have developed this skill over the years with clothesline, electrical cords, or hose. Take the challenge…coil your cable!

Walk-About Telephone Tag ( : this is a new event drawn from the tribal office experiences of Mary Lovin (Reference) and Cindy Rasmussen (Dean's Office). This is a two-person event. So grab an office mate and come to the Reference Office (--we haven't had time to think of a snappy name for this venue yet, but it is Room 161). Join in the fun of an event that demonstrates the combination of skills needed to be on any office team!

Check your calendar against upcoming events ( …. May the flame burn! Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Wednesday, September 20

Tensions mounted with yesterday's events. Clearly, the years of training and sacrifice by the athletes brought forth unbridled determination. As teams gathered for the Walk-About Telephone Tag, some participants could be heard talking trash…yes, trash! Were these the Bad Girl Dream Teams? What could be expected of the spectators? Would the Judges (Lovin/Rasmussen) be able to contain this energy and maintain the decorum of the Tag? Quite honestly, for a while it did not look good. There was some talk that Professor Jerry Lewis anticipated getting more fodder for his hooligan research from the events of this event. Undoubtedly, this underlying furor is the very reason that NEC stayed away from underwriting the competition. It is true that lines were dropped in the phone transfer. This was not pretty. Appeals were made to the International Tag Committee that some phones did not ring-or that some nefarious soul had turned down the volume on the instruments. After due consideration, the judges awarded the gold to Balraj/Radcliff and dual silver to Bahhur/Schloman and Leavy/O'Connor. More details can be found at .

Back in the Outback, Bill Kennedy ran the Crocodile Cable Coiling. The venue alone presented challenges with the coming and going of delivery vehicles and the rather strong scent of the Dempster Dumpster. But those in attendance were clearly tough old nuts who could handle this and more. The athletes had trained at various altitudes and conditions, but always with 100 feet of coaxial cable. Who could have imagined that Kennedy would up the ante with 125 feet! But with the pressure on, the contestants simply showed their stuff. Unsolicited comments at the Loading Dock were received from the Man from the Shredder Company. Patience wore thin, and he was given an invitation to be an Olympic Cable Coiling Walk-On. His bravado soon was reduced to utter humility when his performance could not match his words. The winners were: Lovin (Gold), Radcliff (Silver), Schloman (Bronze). More at .

Today offers another team, as well as individual event. Again, pre-registering is not really necessary. Participants and onlookers are welcome. Two events are scheduled (again, noon to 1 p.m.):

Outback Relay ( ) : Collection Management has organized this team competition that is designed to test coordination, teamwork, and focus. So, really, how hard could _that_ be? Form your team and show up at Room 370, Main Library.

Video Cassette Boxing ( ): well, all those nights in front of the VCR should not go to waste here. Surely we have among us a lot of expertise in getting those videos back into their boxes. The venue for this event will be the Reference Forum Conference Suite (yeah, "suite" is a bit of stretch, but if you've never been there, it sounds pretty good-come and check this event out, Room 161).

Check your calendar, or Palm Pilot, against upcoming events ( …. May the flame burn! Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Thursday, September 21

Yesterday was quite a day. The Reference Forum was packed with spectators who had come to see their sentimental favorites compete in Videocassette Boxing. The old controversies die hard, and there was still much talk of beta vs. VHS. Clearly some competitors were in the professional category, barely hiding their corporate allegiance to Blockbuster. Event Coordinator Kennedy ran a tight ship and would have no part of sound bites from upcoming fall releases. Athletes bore down, and the strength of the competition raised everyone to a higher level. When all was said and done, we had witnessed the biggest upset to date in the Games. Those with prior media experience were favored to win, but were overtaken by a strong Gold/Silver showing from the Executive Offices: Gold to Michelle Kocher and Silver to Linda Hermann. Tom Warren took Bronze. It just goes to show that at this level of competition, anything can happen. You can glimpse the action at: .

Meanwhile, Collection Management hosted the Outback Relay. Event Coordinators Anita Martin and Margaret Maurer ran this event like one well-oiled machine. This was a 4-person team relay. The relay legs took members through the mailroom, laminating, labeling, and packing. The teams-Dream Team, Crazed Catalogers, The Undecided, and the Reference Wallabees-may have shared aspirations, but not talent. This is not to be pejorative, but, really, where did the Wallabees get their laminating athlete? What a sorry performance that was. The Rumor Mill suggests that possibly drugs impeded that "athlete's" performance-surely it could not be that bad under normal conditions. I think we did all learn that the material used by Collection Management for lamination would qualify for binding tire tread to a steel belt. That stuff is unrelenting! Overall, the performances were outstanding and the winning times incredible….Gold to the Dream Team (Deb Lyons, Brian Giffin, Erin Smith, Catie Gairing); Silver to the Crazed Catalogers (oh, yeah!-Amey Park, Melissa Spohn, Sandy Smith, Rhenee Harris); Bronze to the Undecided (Laura Salmon, Jeni, Amanda Sprochi, Connie Reinhart). Our thanks to the event organizers for the very nice training table with its many tasty treats. Check the event out at .

So the medal counts are starting to build. What is next? Today is a big day with three events:

1. LC Shuffle: LC stands for Library of Congress, the Mother House for librarians and creators of our classification system. So this event takes all library staff _and_ users back to their roots. If you have ever found a book on the shelf or shelved one there, then this event screams for your participation. Present yourself at the Circulation desk, and you will be directed to that place with the foreign-sounding name "1st floor sorting range."

2. Origami Regatta: You've been waiting for the water events to begin, we know you have. Brawn is not enough here. First you will fold a regulation origami boat (following our directions, not yours) and then race it down a lane in the bay (okay, okay, not so much a lane in the bay as a wallpaper tray). This is a timed event. Location: Boat Bay (the 3rd floor staff lounge in Room 370). There are bound to be stories coming out of this one….

3. Periodical Ping Pong: We've heard you practicing against the wall in your office. Time to come out into the light and enter a competition with your peers. This one appeals to all of us who have ever wanted to take our frustration out on journal publishers-for failing to send the library all issues we paid for, for raising prices beyond the library's ability to pay, for turning down really good manuscripts of people we know and care about, and so on (I think you get the idea of that riff). Anyway, this is bound to be both fun and cathartic. Return to the Reference Forum Conference Suite (Room 161) and marvel at its transformation into a Ping Pong Pit!

Check your print calendar, Netscape Calendar, or Palm Pilot, against upcoming events ( ….

May the flame burn! Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Friday, September 22

Well, yesterday was a beaut! Three events went on in the short period of one hour. Your Roving Reporter was one of the Event Coordinators (along with M.Lovin) of the Origami Regatta. So for coverage of the other two events-Periodical Ping Pong and LC Shuffle-I am grateful for the reports from those Coordinators, which are included below. Origami Regatta Sailors of all stripes showed up for this one. This was a two-phase, timed event: build your boat, float your boat. Well, what we saw were a lot of different building styles and interpretation of the Official Origami Boat Plans. One competitor (and I think you'll know of whom I speak if you take a look at the Web page- ) really took a very unusual approach by creating some unexpected folds with her foot. She lost design points unfortunately, as a flat boat model was not really acceptable. The winners were: Gold: Erin Smith; Silver: Margaret Maurer; Bronze: Kate Medicus.


Periodical Ping Pong ( Competition was fierce! Wrists were sore!! The periodicals took a beating!! The foreshortened length of the Periodical Pong table makes the ball closer sooner than you might expect....Here's what happened in Day One of the competition: Jeph Remley and Dorothy Potts started the series of matches, with Dorothy revealing the power and control of her stroke. Dorothy 10, Jeph 0 Next, it was Leela Balraj (aka Lethal Leela) facing off against Marty Sharp, with Leela the victor. As always, Leela showed her fierce, go-for-it side, giving it her all and more! Leela 10, Marty 3 The Tom Warren/Linda Herman match was by far the most breathtaking set of the day, with Tom capturing the victory and the breath of the spectators as well! We weren't certain we were going to live through this one....Tom 10, Linda 9 Diane May and Bob Gray (hey, those names rhyme!) gave us another thrilling fight, with Diane the winner. Diane 10, Bob 7 Finally, it was Chrissy Higgins versus Connie Reinhart. Followers of this sport had long expected the ex-coordinator of ping pong in Japan, Chrissy, to edge out the competition. However, Chrissy's reverence for the bound periodical seemed to have overwhelmed her. This was not her day, and Connie took great advantage of that. Connie 10, Chrissy 0 Friday the winners will face off in what will undoubtedly become the most memorable (if not the only) Periodical Ping Pong Playoffs in history!

Respectfully submitted, Cindy Kristof and Raida Bahhur, Periodical Ping Pong Coordinators ================================================

LC Shuffle ( It was a beautiful day for the Shuffle. Finding participants was hard at first. What was going through their minds...Is this some kind of trap? If I do well, will I have to shelve at the end of the semester? If I do poorly, will I have to go to or back to Library School? Of course the answer is "Yes" to both of those questions. Those who did well will receive their shelving assignments later and those who did poorly, your Library School application is in campus mail. Now with the results- Bob Opper took an early lead with 1 min 16.93 seconds 100% correct score. Jeph Remley later surpased that Olympic Record with a 51.13 seconds 100% correct score. Participants were doing well when a quiteness fell upon the room. Out of stacks retirement and current ILLville resident Deb Lyons appeared. Going against her principles of working with wood blocks she scores a perfect 100% in a record breaking time of 43.06 seconds. After the fire department left, wood blocks smoldering from the friction fire Deb created with her incredible speed, the scores were tallied up and Deb Lyons won the Gold, Jeph Remley won the Silver, and out of no where, winning the Bronze with a 1 minute 6.60 seconds 100% correct, the Queen of ILL, the Mayor of Illville, Cindy "Yeah, I got your book right here" Kristof! It was an emotional time for all.

Disclaimer: No books where injured in this event, nor where any bribes (although solicited) where given.

From the Field, Bob Gray LC Shuffle Coordinator


Today's events continue the pace:

1. Periodical Ping Pong: Day Two and the playoffs! Once again in the Serial Black Hole (Reference Conference Room).

2. Pennant Stair Sprint: Okay, this is where those with their memberships at the Wellness Center get to show their stuff. Off your treadmills and onto the stairs! Show up at the Olympic Stairdome (the back northeast stairway next to the May 4th room)

3. The Run-Around: Action begins at the Gold Coast (Circulation Desk). So you think you are good (okay, darn good) at finding things. Eat your Wheaties and show up with a colleague for the Run-Around. This two-person team event is a scavenger hunt for 'valuable items.' Boy, think we all wonder what those might be.

Let the games roll on and the flame burn! Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Interdivisional Olympic Committee (IOC)