Intern Challenge: The Cat’athlon

During the season, the Tri-City ValleyCats organization relies heavily on its valuable interns to provide a quality product for our fans. About two-thirds of the summer employees are interns, helping each department succeed before and during the 12-week season.

As of this week, all the summer interns are on board and getting ready for Opening Day. The full-time employees, feeling that today would be a good time for us to get to know each other and the organization better, designed a scavenger hunt-like challenge, which they dubbed the “Cat’athlon.”

At 11 a.m., I joined 23 fellow interns outside the main gate as we awaited our instructions. We were paired into two-person teams and given matching shirts:

Catathalon 2011

A few minutes later, the horn sounded, and we were off. We went to the box office and received a pair of tickets to the day’s event, directing us to a seat in the stadium with our first clue.

Interns were paired with peers from other departments, which came in handy throughout the day. I had no trouble matching the 14 teams of the New York-Penn League to their parent MLB clubs, but when we came to tasks about menus or sponsors, I mostly relied on my partner Ryan, who knew those subjects much better.

At one station, one partner was blindfolded and had to correctly guess five of seven foods that can be found in the ballpark, which was a bit disorienting. The food was a nice energy boost midway through the event, but the spoonful of nacho cheese came as a surprise…

Food tasting

We scrambled all around the ballpark, running from station to station to gain an edge on the other competitors. The weather, fortunately, cooperated – after a week of scorching afternoons and a freezing Thursday, the sun was shining and the temperature was very pleasant.

Some stations involved physical labor…

…while others were more cerebral. In Southpaw’s Den, we calculated discounts, taxes and totals on merchandise:

Many of the stations involved trivia tasks, making sure that we knew our stuff for the upcoming season. Another involved throwing giveaway items into a designated area of the stands, as ValleyCats employees will be doing often during each of our 38 home games this season.

Interns also put on mascot costumes and showed off their best dance moves:

The “Cat’athlon” lasted quite a while, as even the fastest teams took about an hour and a half to complete all the challenges, culminating in a run around the bases. After all the groups finished, everybody retired for lunch and to talk about the day.

Ryan and I came in first place:

Now our focus is solely on preparation for Opening Day, exactly two weeks from this evening. ‘Cats Corner and the ValleyCats Network will bring you full coverage of the 2011 MLB Draft, including live chats on Monday and Tuesday, when the Astros will draft many players who will join the ValleyCats and try to defend the NY-Penn League Championship.

Kevin Whitaker

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