PayLease is known to host an array of rowdy events throughout the year. Our young and vibrant mix of personalities can turn a simple golf tournament for charity into a loud and boisterous costume contest/dance party. This team can honestly make anything fun; i.e. our day at the horse races, the company Padres game, our March Madness happy hour, the epic boat cruise holiday party, etc. However, the event we all look forward to most is, hands down – the PayLease Olympics. You see, we are as equally competitive as we are fun, and this event has it all – action, adventure, outrageousness, teamwork, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. Every summer, the games get more and more challenging, making the fight for the gold increasingly intense.
Let me tell you, this summer was one for the books. Unlike previous years, there was an incorporated “Beach Boys” theme throughout the games. The “Olympic Committee” consisted solely of our honorable CEO, Dave Dutch, who reigned supreme over the games in both our Chicago and San Diego offices. Each office is divided equally into four teams (green, black, orange, and blue), and each team is assigned a captain to courageously and strategically lead their team into battle in hopes of emerging from the games victorious. Prior to the day, you can catch glimpses of secret team huddles, and find hints of orange noisemakers, green face-paint, black bandanas, and blue sweatbands scattered around the cubicles as the competitors prepare. This is when the smack talk begins; last year’s victors claiming a repeat, PayLease Olympic veterans vowing to take the other teams down once and for all, and rookies eager to prove their strength and agility to their new PayLeaser peers. When the day finally arrives, before the madness starts, the four teams meet in our largest break room chanting and cheering, while the four captains step forward. The PayLease Olympics commence with the ceremonial lighting of the revered Lady of Guadalupe Torch (one of those tall, cylindrical Mexican prayer candles), and so it begins!
It started off with a BANG as seven players from each team had two minutes to scramble around the entire office scooping up ping pong balls, and dropping them into their respective team-colored buckets. The chaos of almost 1,000 ping pong balls in play had PayLeasers running, crawling, and diving to capture as many as they could hold in their arms. Coincidentally, the San Diego Green team and the Chicago Green team secured the first gold medals for this event, with the Orange team in both cities not far behind, taking the silver.
Meanwhile, secluded back in the team’s dedicated hubs, four members of each team began working on the longest and arguably the most tedious event of the day, Beach Boy Vista. Each group of artists was given a 3’ by 4’ blank canvas, paint brushes, white paint, and their team’s color paint. Their mission was to create a masterpiece comparable to a Picasso, Monet, or Van Gogh, in which there must be references to the beach, the PayLease product suite, and the PayLease logo. The artists got to work, mixing their team color paint with the white paint to create an array of different shades, while their teammates started sketching out palm trees, waves, and sunsets. They had most of the day to work on their pieces, so we’ll come back to this one later.
Next up, Body Surfin’ USA! (Are you starting to pick up on the Beach Boys theme yet?) This game was basically… a freaking life-size version of Hungry Hungry Hippos! One PayLeaser lays face down on a dolly, holding a basket out in front of them while their partner holds their ankles (wheelbarrow-race style). Those brave souls with a basket are wheeled into the center of the room to capture as many colorful balls under their basket as they can, and sweep them over to their team’s corner where a third teammate drops the balls into a bucket. This game was absolute mania, and had all the spectators biting their nails with anxious excitement. After counting the acquired balls, the Green team was victorious in San Diego, and the Black team got the gold in Chicago. Onto the next event…
Historically, PayLeasers really get in the zone with the Roll Me a Bone office chair relay race. It’s a PayLease Olympics classic. A man sits blindfolded in an office chair on wheels, as two women push the chair frantically through the halls until they run into the next group of three, and pass the baton (a plastic dog bone, hence the name). In year’s past, different strategies have been played out, and ruled out because of the dangerous nature of the game. Megan will never live down the year she hit a lip in the floor, and the chair went tumbling to the ground with poor Henrique blindly taking worst of the fall. Fortunately, no one got hurt this year, except for the losers’ egos. In San Diego, the Black team took the gold, while the Orange team won it in Chicago.
The next event, Good Vibrations, gathers everyone together for complete and utter ridiculousness, it’s the best. All members of each team must compete in a karaoke/dance/air-band performance in front of the judges and the three other teams. Some people dread this and hang out in the back, some take their moment in the spotlight and really go for it. This year, each team was assigned a Beach Boys song, which (take it from a singer) aren’t the easiest harmonies for the average person to nail. However, the performance is judged more so on its energy and spirit, than on vocal pitch and tone. The SD Orange team won second place with their well-choreographed rendition of “Kokomo,” that had the audience swaying and swooning with all the feels. Team Blue’s captain (the founder of our company), clad only in a blonde wig and patriotic bikini, stole the show and the win for the Blue team with the most memorable rendition of “Barbara Ann” in recent years. In Chicago, the Blue team also secured the win with their energetic performance, and unforgettable shirtless male dancers. The Black team belted out “Surfin’ USA” with enough gusto to earn them the silver. It was pretty apparent that props and apparel made an impact with the judges this year. The bar has now been set pretty darn high… it will be interesting to see the teams try to top these performances next year!
After all the hootin’ and hollerin’ from Good Vibrations, we had to bring it on down to a dull roar for the final judging of the art pieces, aka the Beach Boy Vista event. The creative juices were flowing as the talented painters from each team had been working on these babies all day. They proudly placed their completed canvases on their easels for the judges to admire and critique. The Green teams in both cities dominated this challenge! No other team could hold a candle (or should we say paintbrush?) to their gloriously green masterpieces. It also didn’t hurt that the San Diego Green team had a couple of professional artists in their midst. All of the teams’ original artwork will be proudly displayed on the walls of PayLease for all to see. Alright, five events down, one to go…
Every year, it all comes down to… golf. The grand finale, folks. It’s a serious game-changer. For this event, I Putt Around, neon tape is laid on the floor, outlining the fairway, the sand traps, and the putting green. The spectators watch from the “rough” as the tension builds in the room. Hopefully no one ‘pulls-an-Elardo’ this year, a phrase that was coined after Chris Elardo missed the hole on the final putt after several tries, two years in a row. Surprisingly though, there was no three-peat for Elardo, as he held his own this year and sunk it under par. Those who opt in for the final showdown must first make it through a qualifying round where the pressure is on. They must hit their ball closest to the tape without rolling past it. All five of the San Diego Orange team players were out right away. The Black team had three players make it through, which had the Green team nervous for their one and only golfer who passed the qualifying round. The green team, at that point in the lead in San Diego, was praying for par to secure their win. Jason Canale was up. His confidence, grace, and skill overwhelmed the room, no other team stood a chance. This meant victory for the San Diego Green team! Back in Chicago, Neil Pichan stole the show for the Orange team, and his stellar performance on the putting green will be remembered for years!
CONGRATULATIONS to the Chicago Orange Team, and the San Diego Green Team! You now have bragging rights for the whole year, until you must once again compete for the gold at the 2018 Olympics. To sum up this year’s games, our CEO Dave Dutch put it perfectly when he said, “show me a team, organization, country, business, institution or family that you consider to be “Great” and I guarantee you that they will have traditions, ceremonies and history that celebrate their greatness. The PayLease Olympics embodies all that is great about our Company, our Culture and our PayLeasers. We love to compete. We love to have fun. And – YES. WE. WIN. It’s great to be a PayLeaser!” Now we will all take a moment to reflect on the memories that have been made, the new friendships that have formed, and the skills and talents that have been discovered as we douse Lady of Guadalupe Torch… Until next year!