The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the best work day of the year.
Most of the people in your office have taken a vacation day, and the ones who are left are mentally gone. Your boss is definitely not working. None of your clients, vendors, or regular contacts are working. It’s a good day to get caught up on some filing, catch up on your emails, but it’s also the best day of the year for another reason.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the day that the Office Olympics are held.
For me, the tradition started in 2004. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the office was a ghost town. I had cleaned off my desk, cleaned out my email inbox, and done every bit of work I could possibly have done with the skeleton crew that was working on that day by about 10:00 am. I had surfed most of the internet by 10:30 am. The Office Olympics were born by 11:00 am.
All you need for the Office Olympics are a ball (or something to serve as a ball, like a wadded up expense report, or newspaper, or invoice), something to serve as a hoop (a trash can, a vase, an ice bucket), some other office supplies, and a couple other poor saps that are either short on vacation days, or who also like working on the client/vendor/boss free day that is the day before Thanksgiving.
There really is no limit to the amount of events that can be held in an Office Olympics, but here are some classics.
Horse: Horse can be played with two things. Something to serve as a ball, and something to serve as a hoop. The obvious choice for these two items in an office is a piece of paper, and a trash can, but a resourceful Office Olympian can make use of all kids of items. You could also sneak over to Dollar General and buy a nerf hoop of some kind. Probably.
Horse (or your company name, or your bosses name, or any other word you feel like spelling) is then played as normal. Off the wall shots, bounce shots, and off the ceiling shots will help you eliminate your competition.
Best of Ten: This one is also easy, and also involves some type of ball, some type of hoop, and a relatively difficult shot of some sort. Whoever makes the most out of ten is the champion of this event.
Solitaire Tourney: This event allows you to stay at your desk, and appear to be working. It’s a good game for before noon, or before the the second-in-command heads “to a meeting” (ie, home). Everyone starts at the same time, and whoever finishes first is the champion. Smack talk is encouraged.
Any internet-based game can be substituted for solitaire. Do PC’s still have solitaire? Probably.
Office Chair Race: This game requires four items: office chairs with wheels, some kind of wheelable surface, a well-mapped course, and some idiots who want to race around the office in office chairs.
There are several ways to hold this event. You can do self-powered chair races (racer is dragging themselves around), or you can have teams (a chair pusher, and a chair “driver”). You’ll figure it out.
Rubber Band Javelin: For this one, all you need are some rubber bands, some regular old Bic pens, and some space. Choose a line on the floor for a starting point, participants use any method they can to fling the Bic as far as possible using the rubber band. This one’s all about distance. Farthest fling wins.
Bouncy-Ball Ping-Pong: You ought to be able to find a bouncy ball somewhere nearby. Try a gas station in one of those quarter machines. Or, I suppose you could find a ping-pong ball somewhere. Stack some paper, or books, or something in the middle of a table as a net, and have a ping pong tournament.
Paddles? You don’t need paddles. Use your hands.
Arm Wrestling Tourney: This one needs no explanation. But try and tell me you’ve never wanted to see Thelma from accounting take down Laura from the sales team in an arm wrestling death match?
Pay attention to the faces of the people arm wrestling. They will be hilarious.
There was an episode of NBC’s The Office where someone made medals out of metallic yogurt lids. A bowling trophy with someone named Bobby’s name on it would work nicely. You could play for beer.
The main prize, though, is getting through a really lame day at the office without dying of boredom. And for that, doesn’t everybody win?