This blog often covers the daily work lives of A&F staff, but rarely have we shared our colleagues’ lives outside of the office. This summer, I got a glimpse into OTS’s work hard/play hard mentality as I headed out on their annual fishing trip.
I must admit, I was nervous. I don’t work in OTS and I’ve never fished as an adult–much less gone out on a massive chartered boat on the Chesapeake Bay. But like the others on board, I had chipped in my charter fare and shown up at the docks ready to compete for the day’s top prize: a red and white kayak, to be awarded to the person who caught the two largest combined fish of the day.
While there were no professional fishermen on board (just a professional yo-yoer–Nathan Leonard has traveled as far as Ohio for competitions), the competition was fierce. I couldn’t help but laugh as I witnessed the elaborate tactics used to court an advantage over fellow fishermen. I was lucky enough to be let in on some of these practices, including “fish summoning,” wherein one attracts fish using magic powers. Summoners are typically younger OTS employees who assume various poses designed to draw the biggest fish. The older staff watched with amusement, but they aren’t exempt from antics. I’ve learned firsthand that if you bowl against them in the faculty/staff league, you should not leave your ball out of sight. Whenever I have a missing bowling ball I always find it hidden near the OTS team’s table.
The trip wasn’t all about fishing–many boaters were just as interested in talking with each other as they were concerned about winning the kayak. I walked by a group of people joking lightheartedly on one side of the boat and then listened to a conversation about theoretical physics on the other. Talk about varied conversations!
As the day went on, I realized my nervousness about the trip was for nothing. I was welcomed by each staffer there, and they took the same interest in me as they did in each other. Before I knew it, I was familiar with everyone on the boat. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the “F” in A&F stood for friendly.
In the end, I tied for first in the fishing competition (owing, of course, to my supreme summoning powers). But the laughter and camaraderie with new friends was the true prize of the day. The trip was the highlight of my summer.
By Tyler New