We are excited to announce that the seventh annual Big Bear Classic will be held this year in Malibu, CA from November 1st – 3rd. The Big Bear Classic is an annual tradition in our organization, where teams compete in a ‘Survivor’ style weekend for the grand prize of The Big Bear Cup. Historically, the Classic kicks off on a Friday in which participants take part in various business workshops, to help them network and get the necessary guidance to better their business. Once the sun starts going down, the business suits get swapped out for shorts, t-shirts, and team colored bandanas as we prepare for the next day of events like canoe races, ultimate Frisbee, and dodge ball.
One of the things I love the most about The Big Bear Classic is the fact that you have so many highly competitive people pitted against each other in a wide array of events that test the athleticism, skill, drive, and mental fortitude. Friday night always has an interesting feel to it. Meeting up with old friends from businesses all over the country usually brings out a very relaxed environment, but on this night tensions are high in anticipation for what the following day will unfold.
The Saturday morning breakfast is a huge tone setter for the marathon of a day. As the participants file in, you hope that none of your teammates are amongst the late-night-shenanigan-stragglers that are strolling in to the mess hall. Shortly after breakfast the captains meet to go over rules and regulations.
As a captain last year, I remember analyzing every question and concern brought up by the other captains, and trying to decipher weaknesses from them. After the captains meeting, the pregame meeting is the final strategy session before the event begins. I remember feeling like Maximus in Gladiator as I was rallying the troops to leave everything we had out on the field, court, pond, table, floor, and whatever else surfaces we battled on. At one point I think I even picked up dirt from the ground and rubbed it into my hands. “What we do in life, echoes into eternity!” As I looked into my teammates eyes I could see them all thinking, “we know that’s a line from Gladiator, but we feel you, let’s ride!”
As the day unfolds, the war of words between teams brews throughout the tug-of-war, ultimate frisbee, and relay racing events. During lunch, faces of excitement, anxiety, arrogance, dejection, and determination can be seen depending on what place your team is in. The lunch time is the height of the tension, as even the wait staff is sometimes greeted with venomous snarls. After lunch, the day continues with trivia games (food digestion period), followed by volleyball, basketball, canoe races, and a few others to round out the day. The final event is the big pong tournament where the destiny of your team hangs in the balance with every shot.
The closing hours are not for the faint of heart. This is the moment where legends are born, and destiny is defined. The pin drop silence during the last shot, followed by the moans of the desolate and the roars of the victors is what defines The Big Bear Classic. When it’s all said and done, with the competitiveness beaten out of all the contestants, sportsmanship reigns supreme as hugs and handshakes are abound, and the winning team is presented the coveted cup.