A manager needs a network server set up while his regular network admin is on vacation, and this pilot fish gets the assignment.
"I was talking to the manager on the phone to let him know when I would be arriving," says fish. "He said, 'Hey, I hear you play racquetball and you're pretty good!' I said yes, I did play and was ranked locally in the A league and had won a few tournaments.
"He said he played weekly with two other guys who would beat him pretty badly, and he would just love to beat them once. Would I be interested in playing doubles with him just so he could have a little fun? I told him that would be fine and I'd bring my equipment."
On the appointed day, fish drives to a gym and finds the manager and his friends, and soon they begin playing.
Fish quickly figures out why the manager gets beaten so easily -- he only started playing a few weeks before, and though he's quick and eager, he hasn't learned where to place himself on the court. Fish spends much of his attention on where the manager is, so he can avoid hitting him.
The other players are excellent, but fish has more court experience, so he and his manager begin to pull ahead.
"Finally, we needed just one more point to win," fish says. "The ball came to my right and I knew that I just needed a powerful shot to win. I tensed my right leg to push off for power, I tensed my abdomen, I tensed my back, I pulled my right arm up -- I was going to put everything I had into this shot and destroy that ball."
And just as fish bears down on his racquet to put away the shot, the manager leaps in front of the ball, facing fish with his legs spread.
The ball hits the manager in exactly the spot that no racquetball player ever wants to get hit.
He falls over without making a sound, and then begins rolling around in a fetal position.
"We carried him off the court into his car," says fish. "Fortunately his wife was at the gym and she drove him to a medical clinic while he lay in the back seat groaning.
"The next day he showed up at the office, walking very gingerly. Fortunately, he began laughing, and told me in whispered tones, 'I have to sit on a donut for a few days -- but it was worth it because we were winning!'"
Sharky loves a happy ending -- or any ending, really, as long as it's attached to a true tale of IT life. Send me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.
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