Take your giant rope spiderweb and shove it, Mr. Team-Builder!

Why, why in the name of all that is good, do we pay these people to torture us? I’m talking about the fuckwads that think doing dangerous physical stunts will cause “proper group dynamics”. No. It will cause fear and it will cause pain.

When the Student Senate retreat came, we were primed for the worst. Last year they made us stand on a thin log, 16 adults, some of considerable size, and decree that we could not leave this log until everyone had ended up on the opposite side of the one they started on- without touching the ground or anything around us. That particular “community reliance activity” caused the only one who got all the way across to shimmy across the thin log on her bare shins while others stepped over her. She had bruises for three weeks from ankle to knee. But this- this year’s little game has to have been invented by Satan himself.

Between two trees was suspended a giant rope spiderweb. We had to get through this seven-foot-tall spiderweb without touching the rope. But, as is always the case, there is a character-building twist, this one being that each person had to use a different hole. We had people standing on the shoulders of a 6’7" man without training in safe methods and vaulting through a top hole to be caught in basket-toss formation by people hastily instucted by one former high school cheerleader. We had people lifted through, but if they touched the rope, they and everyone holding them up on the other side had to go back and start over.

I trust my fellow Senators, really. However, due to a rope touch by the Vice President and his supporters, there were only three people of vastly differering heights on the destination side. I trusted them to lift me through feet-first. It honestly felt like they had me supported on the other side. Silly me for expecting some safety on this retreat. The people on the original side let go.

And I fell 5-6 feet to hit the ground back-first because they simply couldn’t safely catch me. The activities coordinator, Sadistic Dwight, who is supposed to be watching out for our welfare, after a brief period of many “Are you all rights” from the group, says:

"Well, they touched the rope pushing you through, so you should have to go back and try again."

Thankfully for my poor back, he found himself on the recieving end of several glares of rage that burned with the intensity of the fires of Hell, where no doubt the rules of this game originated. His one exception of the game was meted out.

Retreats are all fine and dandy, but whose fucking idea was it to endanger the people’s lives for some team-building experience? None of us had training in catching people except one cheerleader. We were jumping seven feet high and coming down near not only several tree stumps, but a large patch of poison ivy as well. And in the wishy-washy “learning experiences” chat, he asked what we learned from the activity.

You know what, Sadistic Dwight? I learned that you’re a useless fucktard who does not lift a finger even to point out how to safely catch someone. Something will happen on that course eventually. I got out with nothing more than a bruised back, but it is entirely too easy for someone to be dropped head-first on one of those stumps and break their neck. Fuck Dwight, and to the person who devised such a way to “engender trust in your fellow team members” and “develop important problem solving methods”, may you spend an eternity jumping over a flaming spiderweb in the farthest depths of Hell.

Ah, the rope spiderweb. That takes me back. When I started college, the Higher Minds decided that rather than let the new freshman get to know each other in more traditional ways (i.e., going out, getting trashed, and taking turns holding back each other’s hair while we puked), we should do a Ropes Course. We did the giant spiderweb thing. We did the Trust Fall, during which they expected me to fall backwards off a 6 foot high platform and trust that 20 people I’d never met in my life were going to catch me. My favorite, though, was when they blindfolded all of us, spun us around, and told us to find each other and form a line according to our birthdays, no talking allowed, “And be careful you don’t wander onto the highway.” :rolleyes: We did this one three different times, stumbling around this rain-rutted mole-ravaged weedy field, trying not to break our legs and/or crash into each other.

I want to know what kind of person chooses a career that involves coming up with this stuff. What little kid says, “When I grow up, I want to make people fling each other through ropes!”

Hey…I think I just figured out what happened to Rosemary’s baby…

But if you can’t talk, how do you figure out what the birthdays are? That one isn’t just standard weird activity, it’s impossible.

We did something similar to that, but we were being guided while blindfolded to find a cone and put it on a marker.

Once we found each other, we patted each other’s hands. One pat for January, two for February, etc. Picture it. A group of 18 year old co-eds blindfolded in a field playing patty-cake. There’s a porn movie in there somewhere, I’m sure of it.

Just curious here. What would happen if you just said “I’m not doing this silly nonsense”? Risking your neck (literally) does not foster trust or teaming (a word I instinctually hate) or anything else. It would make a little more sense to just say “We’re gonna set ourselves on fire and lay under a steamroller cuz chicks dig it”.

I don’t know what the consequences would be for a Student Senate group like the OP’s, but I do know that in the corporate world you’d be marked as not being “a team player”. Which, depending on your position and your ambition, could cripple your career path.

“Motivational activities” are such an incredible waste of time and energy for the purpose of LOOKING like something’s being done about morale and group cohesiveness. I have an instinctive revulsion to corporate Outward-Bound-type things, to idiocies like “Who moved my cheese?” and that damn fishmarket book, to fake enthusiasm and cheesy “awards”…bleh.

This touchy-feely shit seemed to be in vogue, back in the 1990’s. A company that I worked for hired this weird guy who had us all sitting together and holding hands! We were supposed to say things to eachother like" Tell me if there is anything I am doing to hold you back…"…blah blah blah.
This sounds incredible, but true! I told my boss I wasn’t going to do this…and he told me that was OK. I think the company paid this clown something like $50,000 for a two-day seminar.

It just makes me angry, the whole mindset that thinks painting over workplace morale problems with cheap cosmetic “solutions” will solve those problems. Instead of spending money and productive worktime having some half-assed motivator who’s spent two days at a training seminar come in and jump around and shout and emote for eight hours, or having some “teamwork coaches” with less training than the local Boy Scout troop set up Camp Whattawasteoftime in the parking lot, how about actually doing something that works? Like pay people more, treat them like human beings, don’t make them work 80-hour weeks, don’t induce screaming ulcers in even your low-level clericals, etc. Apparently it’s just easier to throw an inordinate amount of money at someone who just got his “You can move your outward bound fishmarket!” kit in the mail yesterday…

I think you have your answer:

Bolding mine. I think it was the kid who said, “When I grow up, I want to make people look like embarrassed idiots while I rake in big bucks.”

I had to do a teams course in high school that included this activity. The whole “mandatory fun (and BTW, this is really good for you)” vibe really put me off. However, the activity described above did force me to nestle quite snugly against an extremely cute girlie from my class, so I can’t say the experience was wasted. :wink:

Sadistic Dwight: “There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team!’”
Sarcastic Me: “Yeah, but this an ‘EAT’ and ‘ME’”.

Oh, this game is really cool. Uh…RAT and TEA and MEAT.

There are a lot of lame rants about these sorts of things hidding all around the board, but I have to ask, why the fuck don’t you people tell your bosses that it’s a waste of time? (Excepting the dude who did, of course) We used to have similar meetings back at my old job and the way I got out of them was, “hey, we’re having that meeting.” “Oh, I’ve got some important stuff to do.” Never bothered me after that. Of course, I had to hold some important stuff to do for quite some time (making it important and almost late), but I got out. After some complaints, they did stop those awful meetings that caused the entire office (and all jobsites) to lose a day of productivity.

If you don’t have the balls to tell your boss you think it’s a waste of time, why not do it anonymously?

I do have to say though, I’ve never heard of one of these that involved bodily harm. That sucks. Hopefully they’ll stick to pizza parties and attendence awards from now on.

There is a student who graduated last year from the high school I teach at that just entered college. His mother just visited my wife the other day for her eye exam. She said her son had been hurt in one of these activities at Freshman Orientation or something similar. He had apparently crushed his C-3 vertebrae. My wife didn’t understand exactly what the activity was but she said it was called a spiderweb or something like that, so it sounds like the activity the OP was talking about.

I’ve done all the activities listed.

In elemenatry school.
The fact that they still use these stupid team building exercises in the workplace is very, very disturbing. Heck, even way back in elementary school I thought they were pointless. You don’t actually get to know the person any better, the activity itself isn’t fun, and the whole thing just wastes time.

Having to had to go through several of those stupid team-building activities without actually having a real job, I’m hoping and praying that that sillyness went away with the dot-com bust. And why can’t I ever get a motivational speaker that can do a dead-on Chris Farley impersonation?

Wouldn’t a well-organized round of volleyball accomplish the same goal?

That’s exactly what my company does, and the last time we had a large scale retreat it was in Cabo San Lucas, all inclusive, which the company paid for for the top 250 reps and their spouses. The managers at my office just pitched in gave the secretary, who really keeps that place humming, a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas as a thank you for her hard work. We get bonus checks based upon production ten out of the twelve months in the year, and I’ve seen bonus checks larger than 14K. Morale and production are very good here.

Our school district used to make us do crap like this. Thank Og for budget cuts!

We usually got sneaky and spent our time thinking of ways to subvert the exercise. We all have tenure, so doing so can’t effect promotions, raises (what are those?), or anything else. Eventually the district started to wise up, but by then we had so undermined any “team-building” goals that we had become a team in spite of ourselves! :smiley:

I had to do one of these courses in the sixth grade or so. I wore hiking boots, as we were going into the woods :rolleyes: … I was also the tallest (by a foot and a half) and heaviest (by 50 pounds or so) member of our class.

The group dropped me three times on the “really high log” before I finally said “I’m not doing this anymore”. I was made to sit away from the group and I wasn’t allowed to participate in the next few activities. Great team building.

I had been chastised earlier when I scratched my head during a blindfolded march and they thought I was trying to cheat. As if I wasn’t already enough of an outcast, thanks, Adventure Woods.

Another trip we made to the woods with this group involved “Orienteering” where they gave us a compass heading and we were supposed to make our way to several checkpoints and then to the clubhouse where we could eat our sack lunches. I was in the first group, and we were given the wrong compass heading. When we hit the disused railroad tracks and were over three hours late, we started to get a little freaked out. They sent out a search group and finally found us. Then we were punished for getting lost by not being allowed to eat lunch or refill our water bottles.

If I’m ever forced to do one of these exercises as an adult I will refuse, no matter how badly I need the job.

My kids have come up with the motto, “We put the ‘I’ in ‘Team’!” Meaningless, yes, but I find it rather amusing :slight_smile:

FilmGeek What a bunch of fuckers.