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As I Was Rolling Over The Cork And Kerry Mountains: Funny But True

by CMKC 

Posted: 08 October 2012
Word Count: 1101
Summary: Corporate team building days can be great fun when either giving them or participating in them but especially if the backdrop is the beautiful surrounds of the the Kerry mountains on a hiking trip.

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Corporate team building days can be great fun wheather giving them or participating in them but especially if the backdrop is the beautiful surrounds of the the Kerry mountains on a hiking trip. The day started out with a pep talk about the value of team cohesion. The famous "There & Back Cup" was the prize for the group who could get their team to the destination at the top of the mountain and home to base camp that evening with the least amount of hassle, injuries and complaints and in the fastest time. Boots were tightened, watches synced, maps readied and supplies accounted for while plans were hatched . Off we set at a good pace and in good spirits. There were six in my group three guys two girls and myself already to be crowned winners at the end of the day.

We reached the top fours hours later with few hiccups save for getting slightly wet crossing a river where we had to improvise a makeshift rope bridge and get everyone across safely. I dropped the ball or the rope in this case. I was reading the map for next markers when I should have been focusing on holding the rope. The result was two wet team members and a none too happy reaction from the team as a whole. With that misfortune put behind us we carried on, stopping every couple of kilometers for water and energy bars.

The summit was glorious, with stunning views of county Cork and Kerry in the far distance, strangely we all thought we were first to the top and not even a sign of any other groups. We figured out, much to my embarrassment as the map holder, that we had been traveling up a route between two mountains and had gradually veered towards the left hand one and away from the mountain we were meant to be on. Oh S#%%^it I thought I'd not only got some of them wet and cold I'd also managed to get us lost up the wrong mountain and with no chance of winning the coveted company "There and Back" trophy how the hell was I going to make this right I thought.

I decided to take it on the chin, apologize and take drastic action. We needed a new plan and to not give up as there was still a chance for us to win. This got me the "are you mad in the head" stares and "get the flock out of here" "Who are you kidding" comments. So I explained we had one hour to take the upper ridge across from this mountain to the next, and run, rock jump and even roll down various heather and grass patches and although the odds were against us, there was still a chance. The other teams could loose a member to a fall or falter on their way down or something. Long shot but possible. I looked at the lads and quickly recounted Leinster Rugby's heroic efforts in the now infamous second half of the 2010 Heineken Cup final against North Hampton, where they came from way behind to win the game and lift the cup. I was getting nods so I knew I had the lads - for the ladies it was easier. I told them if we lost they might have to listen to that bitch Gracie O Hara in the finance department  recounting how she beat them up and down a mountain for the rest of the year.  And we were off at a belt, teeth gritted, adrenalin pumping and words of support and encouragement flying between us. We crossed to the other mountain, took the required quick-snap at the arranged spot on the upper part of the mountain and were off again at downhill speed. We scrambled jogg-walked and rock-hopped as fast as our legs could carry us. I saw a farmer down a kew kilometers on a horse and flatbed cart and motioned to the rest of them to follow me as fast as they could. Just then I tripped and fell and rolled and landed back on my feet which couldn't handle the speed of my momentum and was thrown forward again into a roll and another and another. Luckily this all happened on heather and sheep fields and I didn't hit any big rocks.

Looking back now it must have been a spectacular scene from the farmers point of view of whom at this stage I had the attention. My momentum brought me upright into a run and then a jog and then a calm final walk right up to the horse and cart. "Are ye shooting a movie or something" he says. "Like wan o them action ones". It must have the dizziness but I answered yes. I told him we needed his help as myself and my camera crew behind me needed a lift down the rest of the way, as fast as possible to the guest house at the bottom. He said "Ara sure hop in, the beast here and I need to do our bit for the local movie economy" the rest of the group were just behind me and arrived out of breath and asking if I was ok. All in a days work I said while motioning them up onto the cart explaining that we had to meet the director and the rest of the movie crew down at the bottom. Looks of confusion and bewilderment as we held on tight as Beast took off at a good pace. We past two other groups off in the distance on the way down who luckily couldn't see us and then just on arriving at the earlier set off point, the guest house, we past the leading group with about 100 yards to go to the front door. Of course there were calls for disqualification and arguments over rules but we didn't care we had overcome the odds to finish first and would be able to have that in the experience bank for the rest of our lives.

So lessons learned were 1. Focus on the important things when they need focus otherwise you might let people down. 2. Never give up and have some good reference stories of people overcoming massive odds to achieve their goals or failing that play to the ego. whatever it takes to keep your team motivated. 3. Rolling down heather really really fast is great fun - watch out for the sheep shit. 4. Needs must and small white lies where no one is harmed are sometimes necessary.

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