Preparation for a Games

As any of the Corporate Games get closer each week, more and more of the preparations for the running of the project are being finalised.

Some of the bigger-picture details, such as where the Games are to be staged, or which sports are to appear on the Official Programme, are sorted out sometimes a year or two in advance, whereas some of the finer details, such as where the Parade route will be, or how the Party venue will be dress, are sorted out nearer the time, as these ‘details’ are dependent on other influences, such as the number of anticipated Athletes, for example.

In the past, people that I have met during the Games weekend are amazed at how the Games weekends are staged. It’s easy to think that someone has organised the Party, for example, and that it ‘just happens’, but there’s actually quite a lot of work involved in that area alone, and that’s not really what the Games are all about, even.

Having been on this side of the curtain for quite a while now, it’s easy to get blasé about some of the various aspects within the Games weekend, but when we get to see the sports taking place over the weekend itself, seeing people all across a city competing in the Games for their organisation, the feeling is quite humbling to say the least. Thousands of people put their trust in us to stage a weekend of sporting activities, most of which consist of around 20 sports in all, as well as the Party, the Parade and Closing Celebrations.  Even the prizes for the Tennis Ball Hit Out have to be sourced.

Working at a Games office really is good fun. Like any job, it has it’s pressures. For us, trying to entertain thousands of people for a weekend, happens to be our ‘pressure’.  At the moment, we’re still on the run-up to the UK Corporate Games 2011, being staged in Loughborough and things are going to get much busier in the office, but we think that’s when the fun starts!

First Games Experiences – Brett Rigby

Hello – my name is Brett Rigby and I’m responsible for the IT Systems for the Corporate Games projects across the world.

My First Games Experience was at the UK Corporate Games in Newcastle Gateshead, back in 2003.  At this point, I had only been working at the office in Peterborough for about a month or two and to be honest, I was still taking in what the Games were, what to expect, and so on, so  I suppose you could say that I was thrown in the deep end a little!

The SuperCentre for the Games was held at St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, and my ‘area’ of responsibility was the Help Office, namely the place whereby people come to when they haven’t got the appropriate documentation to register for the Games, amongst many other things.

I remember that the doors to the SuperCentre opened, and with that, in came a flood of to-be-Athletes, all queuing up patiently to get their ID badges and schedule information from their respective Sport Coordinators.  Thousands of people from across the UK and beyond came in their droves and filled the room throughout the two nights of Registration, as buses would pull-up outside with rafts of people dressed in their corporate branding, some even waving flags early on in the proceedings.

Within moments of opening, we began receiving our proportion of the people that had either forgotten or lost their Registration Guide, or who were replacements for people that could no-longer make it at the last moment.  The two nights of Registration at the SuperCentre had began and ended, it seemed, within minutes! Around four thousand people had been and gone, with a small percentage of that number had also been through our doors in the Help Office.  By this point too, some of the Sports had already started, but the bulk were due to begin on the Saturday morning.

I managed to get out and see quite a few sports across the Newcastle / Gateshead area, and begin to take-in for myself the scale and scope of what these Corporate Games were all about. Seeing hundreds of people completing in a tournament in their own right for one sport, and then seeing the same number elsewhere for another sport, and seeing this over and over again, really made me feel quite proud of what the event was, and what we, as a team ourselves, were pulling off. That was all ‘topped’ in a way, by seeing (and helping to man the route of) the Parade for the Games, which crossed the Millennium Bridge, joining Newcastle and Gateshead.  The photos that were taken of streams of people coming across the bridge in the order of their division certainly help to remember that moment, but seeing a gradually-increasing-team-size of people in their corporate colours, all waving banners, flags and even just their arms, all in aid of the Corporate Games, is truly fantastic, particularly when the last teams to enter, i.e. the largest, are into the hundreds.

Staff at the Games offices around the world seem to remember a particular Corporate Games for one reason or another, but for me, the first is still the best, but despite that, I have been constantly blown away by the efforts of relatively small number of people in our office alone to create a magnificent Games experience for the Athletes that come either year-in, year-out, and for those making that Games their first too.