An epic challenge began 15 weeks ago. It set the brave on a vast journey to push themselves to their limits. It demanded time, sacrifice, sweat, and endurance. At times it was taxing and grueling. But more was at stake than a simple challenge; eternal bragging rights held in the balance.
The 2014 Wellness Challenge, you say? Of course that started 15 weeks ago, but the ordeal I’m describing is one of the many user challenges created as part of that Wellness Challenge.
This test of human spirit and ingenuity is called the Parking Challenge. The rules are very simple: park the furthest away from the office on Wellness Wednesdays. No bikes. No public transit. Just a long, slow walk all the way into the office and all the way back at the end of the day.
The challenge proved not to be for the faint of heart. Talented illustrator and soon-to-be father, Bill, issued the challenge to the entire St. Louis office. Situated in the picturesque planned community of New Town, the nearby streets of the St. Louis office boast many interesting opportunities for those willing to exchange a few minutes of their time for some extra steps.
Escalation became the dominant theme of the challenge. In the early weeks, a clever park at the nearby volleyball court could be good enough to snag victory. But as competition got wise, more extreme measures had to be taken: another 200 steps back to the Wedding Chapel or further back to the start of the canal. Nothing stung quite like the walk back after work on a hot, humid day only to realize the competition had parked just a car length or two further down the same street.
Eventually, there was not enough mileage in this direction: routes from the office had to be pursued: across the lake, out toward the community swimming pool, and eventually the lone basketball courts hanging out on the edge of town.
The contest was intense. Exhausting. And surprising each week. But in the end, there was only one victor still left standing (or parked in this case).
On September 8, 2014, the final week of the Wellness Challenge, I sent my Email of Defeat (EOD) to the challenge’s master architect and Banyan’s newest father. Congratulations Bill on becoming the first ever Parking Challenge Champion. A truer opponent in ridiculously inefficient parking has never been known.