Friday, 25 May 2012

Gamesmaker training Module 4 - the devil is in the detail

It was a cold April morning and I was once again on my way to London for Gamesmaker training. And for the first time ever, I was early! So this time I could relax with my coffee and chat to my fellow colleagues about what they thought of the experience so far. It was overwhelmingly positive but we also were starting to get a bit bored about all the sitting in a room and listening.

After the mandatory icebreaker session (something about picking a piece of sports equipment and relating it to ourselves) we moved right into the training session. This module would cover a lot of the more detailed processes and procedures we might be involved with such as ticketing, accreditation, rate card, etc. 

There was a lot to cover on the day and perhaps we did it all too quickly or I wasn’t in the greatest of moods but this was my least favorite session to date. I found it incredibly tedious, with far too much detail that felt like it wasn’t relevant but which led to far too many questions and perhaps confused people more than it helped. 

So for whatever reason, I just couldn’t wait to get out of the room and on with my weekend. I felt like I didn’t actually learn much and could have done without the session. I’m sure the team tried their best but in my mind all I will remember of that day was that we spent far too long on questions around parking: where, how, who pays, what happens if they don’t WANT to pay? What if we have to pay, how do we get it back? What about credit cards?...and so on.

Just like everyone else, I was really more excited about getting to module 5 because this was the good one: the one where you’d find out what delegation you’d been assigned to! All else was just fluff, so roll on May!

Gamesmaker training Module 3 - it's all about the Athletes' Village


Before long I had another training session, this time in a different venue but still in Hackney. To attend this one I had to get on a train, a tube and then another train! Fortunately the walk after the station was not a long one and for once I made it to a training session just in time.

This Module 3 was all about the Athletes' Village: what is in it, what is around it, and basically everything we needed to know about the venue to help us in our role. We started with a fun icebreaker in which we all shared a greeting in another language that we could speak and fairly soon it was obvious that there were a huge number of languages spoken in the room!

The actual training session then started and it was all very interesting: we saw maps, photographs, layouts and learned lots of useful and interesting facts about the Athletes’ Village. I knew this was a large operation but just thinking about the amount of meals served – and not just regular meals but with particular consideration to strict fitness nutrition, cultural preference, religious backgrounds, etc – is enough to boggle the mind. 

At this session we also had a challenge, which is a well-used team build challenge: to make a tower out of dried spaghetti, using only basic materials and sturdy enough to hold a marshmallow at the top. The highest tower wins. This was mainly used for the team to study the ways we work together and enable them to be able to make decisions. However, I was a bit confused by this as I thought that the way the teams would be placed together was mainly about language and culture so I’m not sure what further insight this gave them. 

Finally we learned about what it would be like to be an athlete at the village for one day. I was very disappointed by this, because it could have been brought to life so well in so many ways, but instead we were presented with a wishy-washy video. Coincidentally, a few days later my Runners’ World magazine turned up and in Jo Pavey’s column she discussed exactly this: what is it like to be an athlete during an Olympiad and living in the Athletes’ Village. It was very well written and I wish I could link to it online somewhere so that every gamesmaker reads it!

Ultimately Module 3 was very interesting and full of great inside information and I felt like I learned a great deal. It had a couple of exercises and challenges which were fun but did get a bit tedious at the end. Disappointingly though, we didn’t get any chocolates this time but we did get a renewed feeling of excitement for the task looming in only a few months…

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