Amanda's entry today reminded me of something... Years ago, I read about pilots using Flight Simulator for training, which I thought was a novel idea but not really applicable to me. Also years ago, I went to a morale event at Champ's Karting with the Outlook test team. Perhaps I was just doomed to failure (one of the leads brought his own helmet, to give you an idea of the kind of competition I was up against), perhaps it was just that I sucked. The carts are difficult to steer and I (and the other women in the group) were dead last in every race. My arms were killing me by the end, and I vowed never to do it again.
Fast forward a few years. This week, my team went to Champ's again for another outing. I figured I'd just hang back and chat rather than ride, but then decided to give it one more shot. Well, much to my surprise, I came in second (out of 5 in that heat). I figured it was a fluke... next race, I came in second again. The best part, of course, was that the person in fifth was my manager, so I had a lot of fun with that. ;-)
It was obvious to me why I did so much better this time - I spent several months playing a whole lot of Gotham Racing (this was pre-baby). I got to be pretty good, I could skid my way around piling on the kudos. The same skills I learned in Gotham applied to racing at Champ's - get a feel for the way the car reacts to the degree of turn, take your foot off the accelerator if need be but never use the break, and passing your manager is a good move for your career.
It was a good time overall - my only complaint is that as a morale event, it divides the team into at least two, since one group is racing at any given time. I arrived first with two coworkers, one Brit and one (I believe) Scot. When choosing race names, one of them suggested “I'll be Blimey, and you can be Crikey!”, but the other wouldn't go for it. Shucks. :-)