Office Olympics 2000: The Games from Down Under

News from the Barbie--Week 2

The II Office Olympiad of the Modern Era


Monday, September 25

Well, let's hope the athletes rested over the weekend and were able to chill out. The intensity of last week would be hard to sustain. All the advance media hype and attention over the Pennant Stair Sprint started to wear on the competitors. The designation of the Fastest Human in the Library is a title worth fighting for, but a heavy one to bear. The field was limited to the premier athletes in this event who had met many times before on the stairs. There was good-natured trash talk about who "owned" this event and "leveling the opposition with a library fine." This only made the competitors strive for that higher level. Event Coordinators Kay Dennis and Michelle Kocher obviously were used to dealing with volatile temperaments and managed to keep the lid on, ensuring a smooth start to the race. Gold went to Connie Reinhart--the crowd cheered wildly as she took her victory lap around the Reference Center. Also on the medal stand this Thursday will be: Silver--Deb Lyons; Bronze--Leela Balraj. A closer look at this event can be found at: (

Meanwhile, at the Serial Black Hole, the Periodical Ping Pong playoffs were concluding. The Event Coordinators (Raida Bahhur and Cindy Kristof) had convinced the IOC to hire Security Aides to control members of the crowd who were passionate in support of their favorite athletes. Banners could be seen in the stands. The one for POTTS (Ping Pong's Tenacious Tough Server) was so huge as to repeatedly block the TV camera. The interruption in coverage was credited with inciting unrest and boredom in at least three offices in the building. The final matches were fast-paced and loaded with skillful plays by all. The crowd realized it was watching an Office Olympic Moment when Balraj played through to Gold despite battling a bug. Her trainer had advised against her taking the field, but four years of thinking about this moment drove her to participate and to show what she is made of. This is what separates the Olympians from the Talkers. The results: Gold-Leela (Lethal Leela) Balraj, Silver-Diane May; Bronze-Tom Warren. Pong highlights at .

The Runaround was the first event held in the Gold Coast. Coordinators Gray and Radcliff had kept event details well under wraps. As the teams gathered, they could but wonder at the phalanx of book trucks that had been pulled into position on the track. The athletes soon learned they would become one with their designated book truck as they proceeded to scavenge through the building. The elevators provided the handicap extraordinaire, of course. In sizing up the competition, one should have known that the Mailroom Mafia (Catie Gairing & Brian Giffin) would be up to no good. Strong-arm Man Giffin and Accomplice Gairing humped their truck down the stairs! On hearing this, a fellow competitor muttered something about "sleeping with the fishes."

After the event, athletes spilled their guts. Here's a sample:

"When we were in the elevator and no one else was in there, we took our hands off the truck and waved them around like, 'yeah, you can't see us now!'"

"Harry wouldn't tell us what we needed!"

"We got in the elevator with this patron and we were so, like, 'come on!!!!' and pushing the buttons, and the patron started looking at us and then almost decided to get off the elevator. He just stayed in the corner."

Observers weren't always kind either: "I just saw _________ and __________ upstairs. It was so funny, with _________ in front going really fast with her long legs, and short ________ in back trying to keep up without running." (Names omitted to protect identities).

There was the usual moaning and harping by the losers at the end of the event, but those who were smiling included: Gold: Mailroom Mafia (Catie Gairing & Brian Giffin); Silver: The Oscars (Deb Lyons & Jeph Remley); Bronze: Wallabee Wannabees (Barbara Schloman & Leela Balraj). Pics at: .

*********Today is HUGE.

1. Rubberband Archery: This is the second Triathlon event! It will be held in the Emeriti Range (Room 122). Contestants will shoot rubberbands at CD-ROM jewel cases. Test your eye/hand coordination. You will be asked to sign a waiver to release the IOC from any liability in case there are any r-bands that go astray. Of course, if you are not the one being hit, it makes for some good, old-fashioned excitement. Hope to see you there!

2. Tae Kwan Do Klick is a new event in the Office Olympics. The Serial Black Hole has inverted on itself and become the Mat Room (Reference Conference Room). It is expected that those who have trained under Office Max will have the edge. His obsession with thumb strength conditioning may make the difference. Let's see how this turns out.

Check upcoming events ( …. May the flame burn!

Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Tuesday, September 26

The rumor mill continues to work with whispers that recent drug tests could result in some athletes being sent home for doping with Sudafed. We are all listening for the tell-tale coughing and sniffling. One can only hope that nothing comes of this and that we do not have to witness athletes being stripped of their medals.

Large crowds turned out for the second Triathlon event-Rubberband Archery. Event Coordinators Lynn Papenfus and Diane May had set up a challenging set of CD-ROM targets, including -Crime in the USA. As you will see from the highlights at, there were many different shooting styles tried. Media Man Bob Minno was an imposing presence. Having been to the Big Show before, he knew the drill and was all business. Some of the female athletes worked with their manicurists right up to the event, preparing their nails to take the beating that shooting multiple rounds can inflict. I am happy to report that there were no broken or chipped nails reported. Another veteran in this event, Kara Robinson, seemed to be shooting with some inner guidance system--what might that be? One sorry athlete, possibly from a Developing Department without a shooting range of its own, really just did not get it and released several rubber bands to a pathetic distance of inches. The world-class athletes, however, showed their stuff. The play-off round resulted in: Gold-Jeph Remley; Silver-Bob Minno; and Bronze-Kara Robinson.

Event Coordinator Michelle Kocher moved Tae Kwan Do Klick to the archery venue, with the result that athletes from each event inspired the others (or were these all the same athletes?). Well, it was neat nonetheless. The Klick, a first-time entry in this Olympics, is a timed event requiring the athlete to click a mechanical pencil to empty the lead. Sounds easy? I don't think so. All of those workouts with weights, unless they targeted the thumb, were not going to payoff here. Nor could the athletes believe how long the two-minute period seemed. The high scorers would not divulge their training secrets. One is left to imagine just what goes on in their offices. Action relived at: On the medal stand: Gold-Linda Hermann; Silver-Connie Reinhart; and Bronze-Brian Giffin.

Today is a must-see set of events too:

1. Book Balance Beam: Journey to the Gymnasium on Ayers Rock (12th floor, Special Collections) for this one. I hope you saw yesterday's Dialog to Athletes from Event Coordinator Medicus advising that you _can_ bring your own musical accompaniment. We've seen many of you practicing with the new campus phone directory on your heads-this may not be adequate if you hope to medal….we understand the regulation book (once again 'borrowed' from the library sale table) will offer heavier fare. I wouldn't miss this one!

2. Bowling-Ball Build-o-Rama: Okay, hope you saw the message from the Systems Meister Klingler about this event that the 'guys in the shop' have conjured up featuring the classic Bowling Ball. Tony Comeriato told me that in his opinion this event is way too easy. Yeah, easy for him to say-or was he just blowing smoke to lull those of us with Everyman computer knowledge into a false sense of confidence? It's got me worried. I suspect that those of us who recognize CATV only because it is yellow are in for trouble. So you gotta get to this one too….More details on this event at .

Check upcoming events ( …. May the flame burn!

Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Wednesday, September 27

So much has gone smoothly over the course of the Games that we were due for some bumps in the road. Yesterday's events stressed the transportation system beyond its limits, showing beyond a doubt that the IOC is obviously powerless when it comes to meaningful solutions. Athletes and spectators alike were on their own moving between the third floor and twelfth floor venues. There were reports that a few souls actually hoofed it up to Ayers Rock to ensure they didn't miss the competition.

Ayers Rock (aka Special Collections) had never been decked out to this degree for any other function. Culture mixed with sport. The Event Coordinators (Kate Medicus, Jeanne Somers, Nancy Birk, Maggie Castllani) seized on what they hoped could be a Teachable Moment and created exhibit cases highlighting athletes of old (no, not old athletes, but those from long ago). Also, one must comment on the case devoted to the Office Olympics-very nice indeed. Now for the competition. It was obvious that those who had been in training since they were 6 years old and had managed to squeeze in a sizable amount of ballet lessons were going to have an edge in this one. Athletes were judged on technical performance as well as artistic interpretation. The judges used their quantifiable subjective rating system to great effect in creating their own brand of suspense. Some relative unknowns to world competition provided some particularly memorable moments. People will talk for a long time about the performance of Gloria Tronge who came mighty close to getting a "10." Cindy Kristof, although knocked out of medal contention, stole the hearts of the spectators with her outright spunky routine. The results: Gold-Gloria Tronge; Silver-Sandy Smith; Bronze-Linda Hermann. Some of the sights available at: .

The Systems Shop with Lead Event Coordinator Klingler ran one mean event, fittingly called Bowling Ball Build-o-Rama. It is pretty clear that the inspiration and execution of this event was the result of what we like to call Group Process. Given the Group working on it, we all had just reason to give pause. Sounds simple enough-go get your pieces/parts and carry to assembly area and then assemble. Except there were more of those pieces/parts than were needed and some had non-standard fittings (as if this technology is rife with standards). The experience at this level of competition varied widely. Interestingly, two systems librarians came out of retirement to compete. Gatten and Maurer demonstrated that their grounding in DOS and 8088s stood them very well indeed in this near-Pentium competition. It was, however, a relative upstart from the Mail Room, Maruf Hussain, who walked with the Gold. The final results: Gold-Maruf Hussain; Silver-Jeff Gatten; Bronze-Margaret Maurer. Klingler reports "Penalty flags were few; injuries were minor; and the entrants each competed with the spirit of Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards." This is a side note-I don't know who did their decorating, but the room simply looked fab-u-lous….check it out at: .

Today is the _last_ day of competition! You are going to have to plan your time very well to take all of these in

1. Paperwad Basketball: a quadrennial fav…this is a TRIATHLON event. Event Coordinator Robinson has run this competition before. Show up in Room 122 (I forget what name this venue has today, but you know the place) and shoot some hoops. If the amount of wads flying about the office this week is any gauge, this is bound to be a tough one to medal in. I mean to tell you, our cans run over.

2. Jackaroo Jiggler Relay: no casual preparation by the Event Coordinators (Balraj/Leavy) has gone into this one. Are you ready? Form up your 3-person teams and represent. The venue is the Outback Field of Dreams-our Doppler says we are going to be okay for this. Will send a note if we need to relocate. This is a recasting of the very memorable 1996 Donut Relay. You may want to check out the game plan once again:

3. Wrestling from Thunderdome: Event Coordinator Warren is running this arm wrestling event based on weight classes, but he will not (I repeat, will not) have a scale. He will rely on the 'honor' system. I hate to be the one to tell you, but there is trash talking going on already. Is Athlete A getting into the mind of Athlete B? Show up and see. Venue: Thunderdome (Reference Conference Room).

Hard to believe that this will end the Games. Tomorrow is the Closing Medal Ceremony (venue TBA)-so you will want to plan on that. The Post-mortem/Drug-testing/Glories-revisited Session will take place Friday night (September 29) at Ray's (down under--1st floor). Bound to be fun too, so mark your calendar for that …. May the flame burn!

Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Thursday, September 28

Well, the final games of this Olympiad did not disappoint. The three offerings yesterday were as different as one could imagine, yet there were many, many athletes who had cross-trained and were ready to compete in multiple events. Paperwad basketball is always a favorite, probably due to all the amateur league play going on in various offices. Event Coordinator Robinson knows how to run a world-class event though and had the wads flying. Who would have imagined the inventive approach of throwing multiple wads at one time? Now known as the Lovin Throw, it was adopted by many of the competitors-with mixed results, I'm sorry to say. Athletes managed the low-point throws quite well, but only a few were able to handle the higher levels. The added pressure of this being a Triathlon event was there throughout. Results: Gold--Dorothy Potts; Silver--Linda Hermann; Bronze--Maruf Hussain.

It was a beautiful day on the Outback Field of Dreams for the Jackaroo Jiggler Relay. The Event Coordinators (Leela Balraj and Joy Leavy) had pulled out the stops by providing competitors their choice of flavors of Jell-o ™ jigglers. For some teams (and again, I think you know who you are), it hardly mattered as the egg jigglers were to end up on the grass anyway. Surviving the obstacle course only meant that a team member had to try to eat the jiggler-which, by the way, the Event Coordinator first squirted with a dose of whipped cream (there was no forewarning of that in the rules). I think your mind is probably conjuring up a pretty good picture of how this went down. One team in particular had an avid cheering squad from some 2nd floor office that overlooks the Outback. If you can believe this (and, dear readers, it is hard), there was actually a tie for Gold in this event---I mean, down to the seconds. So here are the results: Gold: The 'Girls' (Patty Scheffhauer, Michelle Kocher, Linda Hermann) AND Mailroom Mayhem (Maruf Hussain, Catie Gairing, Jen Erdelyi); Bronze: PILS Pushers (Deb Lyons, Raida Bahhur, Cindy Kristof).

The final event of the Games was a demonstration of sheer brawn. Wrestling from Thunderdome was as raw an event as the name suggests. It started with Event Coordinator Tom Warren determining the weight classes. No scale, so there was the whole Disclosure thing and the ethical dilemma of being Honest and so on. Once the classes were determined, the matches were on. So it turns out there really are a lot of people-staff AND students-who work here who _can_ totally focus on the task at hand. I think we were all taken aback by that, but very impressed. And the results were: Lite-Weight: Gold-Maruf Hussain; Silver-Jen Erdelyi; Bronze-Ann Watson Middle Weight: Gold-Lisa O'Connor; Silver-Barbara Schloman; Bronze-Joy Leavy Heavier Weight: Gold-Tom Warren; Silver-Kara Robinson; Bronze-Brian Giffin

[Images on the Web site from yesterday's events will be posted in the next day or so].

Well, the competition is over and time for the 2nd Olympiad to end. It has been a lot of fun, and I think we have all enjoyed being able to play a bit with folks we don't regularly get to work with. A special thanks to the Event Coordinators who made the extra investment to carry off their event and to the Special Support team who worked on medals, etc.

Yes, medals! The Closing Medal Ceremony will be today at noon in the Electronic Outback (Electronic Classroom, Room 333, inside Audio Visual Services). We'll learn too which of our Olympians earned the title of Triathlete. Hope to see you there! May the flame burn just a bit longer….

Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Friday, September 29

The 2000 Office Olympics have officially ended. Yesterday's closing ceremony offered high spirits and the beginning of what is bound to be the endless retelling of stories from the Games. One suspects that those in attendance at the Electronic Outback were mighty anxious to get their medals, not that this last moment of fellowship didn't rank high on their list too. The scene was set with a perfect backdrop provided by Systems, complete with the Olympic theme. The OO book truck overflowed with medals. Interim Dean of Libraries & Media Services Mark Weber congratulated the athletes on their performances and sportsmanship. In quite a surprise move, he awarded your Roving Reporter the Office Olympics Pulitzer Prize. I don't want to brag, but it does herald my "sensational journalism" and "unmatched enthusiasm for rumor mongering, scandal-hinting and all-around insinuation." Well, needless to say, I am humbled and actually quite touched. It was lovely. Thanks.

The IOC representative (aka Roving Reporter) reported that over 50 athletes had competed over the eight days of the games in the 17 different events. Recognition must go to all the Event Coordinators ( who, along with those they enlisted in their departments, put on creative and fun events. Thanks to managers and LMS administration for their support and willingness for this frivolity to take place. We also need to acknowledge all the would-be athletes who could not participate on any given day because they were keeping the real ship afloat during these noon hours. Special thanks to the OO Support Team for all the special touches, including but not limited to: Joy Leavy (the symbol, medals), Tom Warren (the opening ceremony food), Mary Lovin (who by unpacking the torch spurred us on to try to bring this off and for myriad other efforts).

The medals were awarded. This took rather a long time because there really were a lot of medals. Those who could not be present should watch their mail. The 2000 Games also had a Triathlon competition based on the combined performances in the Diskus Throw, Rubberband Archery, and Paperwad Basketball. With great anticipation, the 2000 Triathlete of the Office Olympics was announced to be Tom Warren. Tom received a commemorative plate from ancient Greece AND the prototype box of a Major Cereal That You All Know with his very own picture on it!

All that was left was the group picture. You'll find these last memories at: . When winter sets in and you are all alone in your office staring at your medals and reliving the memories, click on the caption below the lead picture on this Web page for the Closing. It will take you to another OO page with a "Play" button in the upper left-hand corner. Click there and the sound of the Olympic theme will make your mental picture near perfect. (Thanks to Todd Ryan for this added touch).

We're near the end now. I do want to mention that the real President (like of the University) did stop in during the medal ceremony. We did not bring her into the action, but allowed her a private moment to take this in. Let's hope she saw what we felt. And, the real Press was present too (like the _Stater_). So you might want to check today's edition for their take on any of this.

It's been great. We're putting the torch back in its box and hanging our medals. Guess we'll all have to find something else to do for the next four years during those lunch hours. Well done….all the best to you from Down Under!

Signed, Your Roving Reporter

Interdivisional Olympic Committee (IOC)