7 lessons I learnt from the USC summer party
As we established last year, there ain’t no party like an Urban Sports Club party. Whether it’s running a six kilometre obstacle course, clambering up a ten meter wall, nose diving into a tub of ice cold water or standing on the founder of your company’s head, the USC team is happy to try absolutely anything.
And, as it turns out, this year was no different. On June 28th the entire Urban Sports Club team gathered on the fresh white sands of our volleyball partner BeachMitte. Just like last year the day was full of surprises – from sprinting around an obstacle course balancing a coconut on a wooden spoon to belting out renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody on a karaoke machine. There’s no limit to what the team can do and here are seven lessons I learnt from the USC summer party 2019…
1. We tripled in size and now we’re, like, everywhere
We had to hire half of BeachMitte to fit the entire USC team in. By 10:30am it was obvious that we’d by far surpassed the size we were last year and, as everybody chattered over cups of coffee and bottles of mate, it was clear that USC has become truly international. By 11am, the time of our founders’ speech, I’d already heard six different languages. And Benjamin and Moritz’s presentation only confirmed it: now we’re operating in five different countries with a multitude of nationalities. And I was right about the numbers too. Last summer we had 100 employees – this summer we have a grand total of 336 and we’re still growing. Absolute madness.
2. Team USC never backs away from a challenge
So with 336 employees the summer party took a helluva lot of planning. Luckily we have a super-organised and creative team who prepared a hilarious day of beach games for the entire company. We divided into eight teams of various colours and were each assigned a spot on the sands of BeachMitte. I was in Team Orange, an international group of friendly USC-ers who I soon learnt would apply themselves with almighty gusto to any challenge that presented itself. The first was to slingshot some balls over a beach volleyball net and into the waiting arms of our team mates. Whoever caught the most balls over the opposing team (we were pitched against Team Pink) would be victorious. Needless to say Team Orange were sprinting along the sand like madmen, driven by a tenacious desire to win. And we did.
3. Sometimes, but not always, it’s okay to roll your colleagues around on a giant ball
It’s important to establish boundaries in any work environment but when it comes to summer parties all boundaries are abolished and only then is it okay to roll your colleagues around on a giant ball. This was another challenge in our circuit of beach games. Members of each team must surround a giant inflatable ball and hoist a team member on top of it. Said team member must then crawl backwards to push the ball across the length of sand and whoever does this fastest is the winner. We were racing against Team Ocean, I believe, members of which were atop the giant ball, furiously crawling backwards to beat our time. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t. Team Orange remains unbeaten.
4. USC and BeachMitte have fantastic imaginations
“You’re on an island,” said one of the BeachMitte games coordinators. “You’re on an island and in order to get across you need to build a bridge.” At this point Team Orange are standing next to some planks of wood and plastic milk crates on the edge of one of the beach volleyball courts. “You need to get to the other side without touching the water (sand). If you touch the water you will regret it for the rest of the evening.” This sounds like a threat and Team Orange take it seriously. Our opposition is Team Blue who we’ll be racing to the other side of the island (court).
“On your marks. Get set. Go!” Team Orange organise themselves extremely quickly. We set up a plank, balance it on a plastic crate, and drag another plank to the next crate. We get in a line and edge along the planks of wood, many of us actually quite fearful of falling off into the dangerous water (sand) below. Soon we run out of planks which means we have to squeeze shoulder to shoulder to drag the first plank up and along the line of people. We place it at the front and keep moving.
Anyone watching from the street would think we’re unhinged. A long line of adults wearing Urban Sports Club t-shirts sweating and bellowing at each other about desert islands as we balance precariously on a bit of wood. But there’s no time to think of these things. The sun beats down, someone shouts “I’m blind!” after sweat runs into their eyes but we do not stop – this is life or death and we must remain undefeated. Unfortunately, despite a wondrous amount of teamwork, logic and imagination, Team Blue beat us. Our indestructible legacy has come to an end. Our dignity is not intact.
5. Be tactical about dinner when there’s a free bar involved
Some members of the USC team may have learnt a lesson or two from the Christmas party. Not naming names but let’s just say the food : alcohol ratio was slightly off-balance. But those of us who accidentally got blind-drunk (not me) learnt an important lesson: when there’s a free bar it’s important to be tactical about dinner. This time we tucked in to a delicious buffet of burgers, hot dogs, potato wedges and salad. With a fully stocked bar and a karaoke machine on the horizon, it was vital we lined our stomachs.
6. Team France doubled up as a Queen tribute act and honestly it was epic
8pm and the karaoke machine is in full swing. Throughout the evening many members of the USC team came forward to showcase their musical talents but no performance was more impressive than Flavie (she’s basically in charge of the whole marketing of France) and Nadine (best office manager in the world) who presented a stunning duet of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I personally think that the true heroes of karaoke are not those that step up when everyone’s drunk at 11pm – but those who sing at full pelt to an empty dance floor at 8pm when everyone’s still sober. Flavie literally sang at the top of her lungs with her eyes shut while her colleagues quietly sipped on wine looking vaguely perplexed. The pair didn’t even shy away from the weird bits – and for that I am deeply impressed.
7. We thought it was all over… but we got an extra hour
The party was supposed to end at 2am but the lovely dudes at BeachMitte couldn’t bring themselves to stop the party. I don’t blame them – at 2am Ole from Partner Management was in the middle of a magnificent rendition of Ice Ice Baby and the entire company was crammed around him, trying their very best to sing into his microphone. There are many lyrics in Ice Ice Baby and for some reason the entire USC team knows all of them. Ole’s rendition was so popular that afterwards he was hoisted onto his colleagues shoulders and essentially crowd surfed for five solid seconds. So after that the nice dudes at BeachMitte decided to give us an extra hour.
I caught up with Ole a few days after his performance. “That was the first album I ever bought and I loved that song – I learnt the lyrics by heart,” he said. “And after that performance I felt amazing. Like immortal. I feel like no one will forget that. And Benjamin and Moritz even asked me to perform at the Christmas party.”
So if you’re looking for a Vanilla Ice tribute act, look no further. Just make sure it doesn’t clash with the USC Christmas party.
Does this sound like your kind of party? We’re always looking for energetic new team members and Urban Sports Club has tons of open positions. We’d love to hear from you!