After a false forecast of rain, the highly anticipated 21st of June turned out to be hot and humid. Not only was it the first day of summer, it was also the first-annual Dagger Olympics, what was quickly deemed Daglympics. The idea behind the installment of Daglympics wasn’t complicated: plan a series of team-oriented events to garner and unleash competition. But what generated went far beyond that.
60 DAYS AND COUNTING
The Dagger Culture Committee started planning the inaugural Daglympics a couple months in advance. We kicked things off at Ponce City Market by dining together and drawing names out of a brown paper bag to create four teams of five. Instead of assigning a world country to each team, we would let the teams decide their own theme. After the teams were regarded “equal” by all, the Culture Committee then went on to finalize the events and a general schedule, which we decided should take place during the latter half of the day. One hour into the Daglympics planning session, yet 60 full days to go, it was obvious competitive juices were already flowing.
7 DAYS AND COUNTING
Exactly one week before the big day, the Culture Committee officially opened the sign-up Google sheet for each event. Without hesitation, conference rooms were booked where assumedly top-secret Daglympics strategy-focused meetings were held. I couldn’t help but keep tabs on the sign-up sheet, mainly to see who would be competing head-to-head. Three out of the four teams openly shared their team’s theme. Team 4, however, kept theirs a secret, which only added to the build-up of the day.
THE BIG DAY
The clock hit noon and people started to change into their respective outfits and mentally prepared for what was to come. The team themes were too good. One team called themselves “Beans and Jeans” in which each team member was a different kind of bean—L.L. Bean included. Another team dressed up as “Camp Counselors from Way Back.” Sweat bands, tube socks, tie-dye, you know the deal. One team was simply, “Good Sports.” And the last team? Wondering where they went and why they were late, the hallway door swung, music started playing, team “80s Aerobics Instructors” filed in one by one, and our eyes couldn’t help but stare at our co-workers donning neon spandex and wind breakers, dancing in unison. Yes. Choreography. (Talk about setting the bar for the Daglympics to come.)
After the dancing, laughs and sheer awe/confusion settled, Daglympics was officially underway.
It was clear who the professional egg tossers, cornhole players, beer pong enthusiasts and flip cup masters were. And as predicted, the teams were pretty equal. Unpredictable, however, was the intensity of Team Trivia. Looking back, trivia went how most trivia scenarios go—accusations of cheating, yelling at emcees, spiked blood pressures, etc. All of this only led to a highly anticipated final event—a final event that will be remembered for years to come.
The final event, a relay race that required sheer perseverance, strength and patience, was over in less than nine minutes. Everyone’s sweaty but adrenaline-filled bodies gathered the items used for the relay race and walked back up the hill to await the final scores. Turns out, the teams were indeed equal. Two teams tied for first place with 31 points and the other two teams tied for second place with 30 points.
The inaugural Daglympics wasn’t just a half-day of friendly competition. More importantly, another ritual was established. Rituals are vital to the livelihood of the Dagger culture. While I won’t give away all of the ingredients to our secret sauce, I can reveal that rituals like Waffle Wednesdays, Dagwards, Town Halls, Zumba, book club and now Daglympics, among many others, contribute to Dagger’s positive culture. It’s because of these rituals that our employees (Dags) feel like work isn’t just work. Was Daglympics 2017 a hit? A hundred times over, yes.