Sharing the Night Out with a BBQ – By James Gross

It has been said, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. This past Friday, Dr. DeRuntz and his family invited us to their home to enjoy an end of summer barbecue. It was a picture-perfect day with temperatures in the upper 70’s and sunshine. Bruce and Liz DeRuntz made a delicious home cooked meal, and we are all grateful for the work they put in to reward our efforts. Although it may seem like having a barbecue is not a team event, it’s events like these where one may truly learn the most about a group. In a professional environment, it is important to take the time to get to know the people on one’s team without the pressures of work. There is certainly more than the smell of the barbecue and the taste of fresh watermelon at a barbecue that will help a team grow.

        In a casual environment, one can learn things about their team they may never have found out during the work day. For instance, I had no idea that one of our teammates was training to get a private pilot’s license or that another teammate was involved in theater performance. Learning about their interests was something I enjoyed, and I may not have had the opportunity to do so in a work environment. The chance to network while learning about each other and what they enjoy is important because it takes our knowledge of each other further which bonds us not only as coworkers but friends. Understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses is important because it inspires growth. There were activities such as chess, washers (which is like bean bag toss with steel washers), and fort building with Alex (Dr. DeRuntz’s son). These activities gave the team a chance to have some fun together in a relaxing environment with no pressure to accomplish a task. When a team takes time to enjoy one another’s company they become a community.

        Our next LDP community event will be this weekend at our poker night. I’m looking forward to being together again with a group of people that I consider now to be some of my best friends. There are some of us who I’m sure are great poker players, and some of us who have never even used playing cards before. This is another great chance to learn, teach, and become closer together. One thing that we will all surely learn about poker: what is a poker bluff, perhaps who has acquired this skill, and who is good at calling a bluff. Although bluffing in poker may be necessary, in this community we are honest to each other. I’m glad we will have another chance to bond as a community in the LDP.