NORTH CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Not all losers are, well, just that — losers. Sometimes, if you flip the stakes and rules of the game, a loss becomes a win and it literally pays to lose big.
In what became a major win-win for all participants — weight loss and better health maintenance coupled with quality “fun” time with colleagues — North Clackamas School District bus drivers, mechanics and other school associates left the job at the day’s end and hit the track.
And later they hit the scales, where they weighed in their results. All of this was part of the district’s “The Biggest Loser” competition.
The brainchild of four bus drivers — Jeff Lamb, Jennifer Stirneman, Karen Concannon and Kari Larimeer — the competition ran last year from January to May and was inspired by the television show that sports the same name.
Nine teams, comprising five to six members each, entered the contest, which boasted an impressive turnout: 130 bus drivers and 50 individuals from various school employment divisions.
Assistant Transportation Director Janet Alley said the game sparked great enthusiasm.
Inspiration, however, oft dwindles when participants learn the commitment required and the official rules of the game.
This was not the case in North Clackamas. The players’ enthusiasm grew, and the rules were straight forward. Each player tossed $10 into the pot, which was later used to furnish cash prizes for the winners and to boost the transportation department’s “Sunshine Fund.” The Sunshine Fund pays for the department’s holiday potluck and provides money for a needy driver at Christmas.
While spreading goodwill and sprinkling “sunshine” to all was a major theme, the players took the game seriously. Participants faithfully paced the school track, which is conveniently located adjacent to the transportation yard, and participated in extra “challenges” that generated bonus points.
Each team weighed in weekly. The winning team, “Meet the Fockers,” lost a total of 147 pounds, and the collective weight loss for the entire group was approximately 800 pounds.
But that was 2006. Since then, it’s been out with the old and in with the new, including new resolutions for the upcoming year. So what about 2007? Did the pounds stay off?
According to Alley, yes.
“Most of the participants have kept the weight off,” said Alley. “Many still walk the track today and some are still losing weight. ”
As for accomplishing 2007’s New Year’s resolutions, time will tell, for plans are already underway for the game’s next installment.