Tag Archives: events

Our “Axe-llent” Holiday Party

In recent years, to put a fun spin on our team’s holiday parties, we have added an after-dinner activity. A few years ago we went to a karaoke bar. Last year we attended a stand-up comedy show. This year we thought, what could be more natural for a holiday party than throwing axes with your work colleagues?

I admit that I was a little nervous when the idea was first proposed. I am not a champion by any stretch of the imagination in any game that involves aiming a projectile at a target. Frankly I was less nervous about myself and more nervous for everyone else around me.

But my curiosity did indeed reign supreme in terms of what was involved in throwing axes for the sport of it. What drove me to say yes was the thought that at a minimum, it could be a very bloggable once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After our lovely team dinner, it was time to head over to the venue. Along the way, I noticed that the butterflies in my stomach felt more like a fleet of commuter jets, not really knowing what was lay ahead for us.

The moment we walked in, my senses went into overdrive, but in a good way. Between participants cheering at the top of their lungs, the sound of axes hitting (or missing) their targets with a loud thud, and the strong but pleasant aroma of the wooden targets that filled the air, I knew that I had stepped way out of my comfort zone.

For a brief moment, the “what was I thinking when I said yes?” thoughts flew by, but just the same, I remained committed.

The check-in process started with being handed a tablet through which I signed a waiver essentially saying that I wouldn’t hold them responsible for an accident. I knew that this was a necessary part of any dangerous activity. In having done my homework, in checking out their web site and in reading every word in their FAQs ahead of time, I felt like I was in good hands.

As we walked over to the area where we would be playing, the intensity in the venue was unmistakable. That familiar mix of competition and determination could be seen in face after face.

Some people were holding and aiming their axes with such amazing form, looking at their targets with laser sharp focus, it was obvious that they had done this before. I was instantly impressed with the beauty of the sport.

Moments later, our axe throwing coach joined us and explained in detail the mandatory safety rules. Once everyone was clear on the ground rules, she proceeded to explain the technique involved in properly throwing an axe toward the target.

During our first throws, to get warmed up and get individual advice on our technique, I was able to hit the target a few times, but most of my shots were too high, too low or bounced off the target.

I did shock the heck out of myself a couple of times when my throws hit the bull’s eye, earning me five points each time.

That was when I started understanding that hitting the target wasn’t about just luck. The checklist of things to remember was considerable to ensure good form, good grip, and that the axe is projecting toward the centre of the target. But when I focused too much on my grip, my aim was off. When I focused too much on my aim, the axe would wobble. There were so many things to remember.

However, in those moments of deep concentration, when I was standing with one foot forward, with the axe firmly in hand in my outstretched arms, aiming carefully for my target, it was a very empowering position. In my mind I felt like I looked like an Olympian… or an Avenger about to go into battle. But I’m sure that to random strangers, I probably looked more like a fifty year old man thinking he was hot stuff.

Either way, I didn’t care. I was having fun.

During the trial round, I scored what I considered to be a respectable number of points for a first-timer, but relative to my collagues’ scores, was validation that I still suck at sports where aim is involved.

When we embarked upon our team tournament, despite approaching it with strong motivation, good energy and good form, I was eliminated in the first round of semi-finals.

For the rest of the tournament, it seemed that my teammates had found their stride, hitting the target time after time. We were now the ones cheering loudly, as we were totally in the vibe and in the game.

A little later, we crowned the winner of our finals and high-fived each other for not only a good game, but for a fun evening.

While I think it is fair to say that there may have been apprehension going into it, there is something to be said for learning a new skill together, with a side order of friendly competition.

I don’t think anyone wants to look bad in front of others, but when an activity is with a group with whom we feel safe and comfortable, doing something that’s a little out of our office wheelhouse can indeed be a fun idea for a team get together.

In the long run, it really won’t matter how many times we hit the bull’s eye. But the overall experience will be etched in our collective memories, and will likely form part of the “Remember when…” stories we will all fondly remember for years to come.

It was an “axe-llent” evening!

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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Filed under Christmas, Humour

The Morning Newspaper Hurdles

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I have been enjoying the experience of reading a print version of the newspaper again, as a more relaxing way to enjoy the news.

But each time I start reading one, I cannot help but remember some of the less-than-relaxing mishaps I have encountered over the years while trying to get a copy of the daily paper.

I was a subscriber for many years and home delivery was so punctual you could set your VCR to it. There may have been the rare production issue, vehicle issue or weather issue when the newspaper might not show up exactly on time. Things like that sometimes happened and we understood.

Just the same, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the person at the telephone switchboard. I’m sure some people would get pretty huffy about a postponed periodical or a tardy tabloid especially in the pre-Internet age.

I mean today, we lose our… ahem… we lose our marbles when the news page takes longer than 6 seconds to fully download. I think patience was in greater supply back then.

In my first apartment, there were days when I’d open my front door to find that my newspaper wasn’t there. A gentle call to the newspaper confirmed that it wasn’t due to a production issue, a weather issue nor a delivery issue in my area. It was likely a neighbour, especially when the disappearing newspaper trick would happen in cycles. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs

The Writers’ Olympics

I don’t think I am different from other writers. My mind can sometimes wander between paragraphs.

As I tossed a crumpled piece of paper in the wastebasket across the room, I cheered to myself, arms in the air, “Two points!”

But even though writing isn’t much of a spectator sport, I started daydreaming about what other sporting events could form part of an Olympic-level game for writers of all backgrounds.

The opening ceremonies would begin with poets, writers, editors, screenwriters, proofreaders and translators entering the arena, smiling and waving to a cheering crowd of spectators with an appreciation for the written word.

The athletes would gather on the field, in the centre of the arena, behind their national flags, taking care not to drop their notepads and laptop computers as they capture their thoughts on this momentous occasion.

The judges then enter the arena and gather by a symbolic pedestal of reference books, to take the oath to officiate with complete impartiality and to uphold the principles of good grammar and spelling.

Oprah Winfrey, the queen of book clubs around the world, would declare the games officially open with an enthusiastic, “Le-e-et the ga-a-ames be-e-egi-i-i-n!” Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, Humour

Does Size Really Matter?

TVWe hear men boasting about the size of theirs all the time and how bigger is better. We also hear from some women who say it is not really the size that matters, but it’s more about the quality of the experience that counts.

Of course I am referring to… televisions.

About 3 years ago, I called one of those junk disposal services to come over and haul away my 27 inch tube-style TV. The beast, as I called it, was still a perfectly good TV but was not keeping up with technology that was going digital and HD. Watching HD programs on an old standard TV was like watching shows from another planet as it never fully filled out the screen and would sometimes go wonky on me. Sometimes the image was zoomed in, sometimes it was zoomed out. It made me dizzy. It was time to step it up… technologically speaking.

Let’s not forget as well the beast of a stand it took to support a TV of that weight. The two guys from the junk disposal service were grunting pretty hard as they were dragging it out.
The shiny new TV I bought to replace it was a 40 inch flat screen LED smart TV, weighing considerably less. The new TV was actually more awkward to carry than it was heavy, but still, bringing it and its stand home was a one-man job which I handled easily enough. I felt like Superman carrying a 40 inch TV over the threshold, all on my own.

Given the size and layout of my living room, 40 inches was plenty big to view from any seat in the room, from any angle, even with the eyesight of an almost quinquagenarian.

At that time, of course, there were larger televisions out there, but 40 inches was probably on the cusp between medium and large size at that time. In any case, I have never regretted that choice.

Even though that was just 3 years ago, if you walk into any television dealer, the 40 inch TVs are looking puny when compared to other TVs seemingly up to twice their size now.

The next question is why? Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Humour, TV