Jason Cale by Jason Cale

Week 151

Afternoon sports fans.

I’m sure you are all hoping I’m going to discuss the wind and the cold weather we are having here in sunny London. I’ve pretty much had my fill IRL, so I’m going to share the playbook for the week known as #151.

How it will pan out in terms of the whole season remains to be seen, the sceptics have been unusually quiet as the play has been unfolding; it seems everyone is holding their breath (even though it makes pretty steam in the moonlight).

Monday

We kicked off this week with an away game at the GovUK ground Aviation House. Spirits were high but as everyone can sympathise, at this time in the season, tiredness remains in everyones limbs. We dug deep with early pep talk from our coffee supplier and rushed on to get this weeks game underway. The stories were stacked in Pivotal Tracker and we were ready to hit it hard.

Game 1

As half time approached, we broke play to huddle in the dugout at Aviation House under the watchful gaze of Martha Lane Fox’s giant visage that adorns the wall, the crowd wore their ceremonial golden hotdogs.

Discussion turned to giving further transparency of how we are doing as a business, especially in the order of our financials. We discussed the possibility of opening up our books, perhaps making FreeAgent account open for public consumption.

This would allow people to see exactly how we are making money, what we are charging, what our outgoings are, and the personal remuneration for our time on the roster at GFR.

We have concerns that whilst we are very comfortable with opening up our guts to the world, our consideration for the welfare of our clients is a factor in how we go about exposing the rates we set for certain projects; specifically any differences that there may have been on a financial level.

This is partly because we often derive value from something other than just the monetary exchange between agency and client. When we agree to engage in some work we evaluate other things such as interestingness, challenges presented and how worthwhile we feel the project is on human terms (etc) and this will affect how we price our iterations.

We reflected that perhaps this is hard to communicate succinctly, or more importantly it is missing if we just happen to expose the financials.

Play resumed after we turned the conversation towards what we are planning to do for a seasonal-festive-themed lunch followed by beers and pineapple juice. A topic which is still unresolved as yet.

A theme which was brought into play by the Ven. Dokktor Adam was to take some time to think and discuss a bit more about what we are planning for 2012.

Quite simply, we are revisiting the recurring question of what do we really want to be doing in this game? What do we want to try next? Do we want to build something of our own, do we want to take some time out to experiment and blow things up?

We know that it is really easy to carry on delivering client work, hitting sixes and getting paid to realise other people’s visions. One of core the ideas GFR was founded from is the wish to explore what could happen if you bring together a bunch of smart people — who are each very capable of creating something good — and actually trying to do that together as a business.

Doing this is hard, and therefore requires some momentum to make it happen, and of course some idea or direction in which to take that momentum.

Cosmic Spiral had a fortunate incident (which may ripple out benefits to the wider league) on this day. For a while he has been wanting to go on a longer (insight) meditation retreat and has been graciously allowed to take a month out during March 2012 to deepen his meditation practice and hang out at his spiritual home Gaia House in near Newton Abbot, so he booked it up toot-sweeeet and laughed into the abyss.

The day closed out even score, with Wandering T.A. Ward hitting a smooth saddle blast out to the offside field to tie the score at 17-17.

Tuesday

Play was held on home turf in Shoreditch, Cosmic Spiral was playing hard on delivering some FRESH design work for the Whitehall GovUK app, the bookies placing considerable value on the league cup match on Thursday which would see all divisions come together for the launch of the Government Digital Service at Aviation House. This design component was deemed pivotal in the pitching ability of our frontline attack, with Neil “Double Hitter” Williams on the mound for most of the days play.

Game 2

However team interest was diverted by the surprise appearance of CAKE delivered to the team bench by Wandering Ward. It was eaten with gusto to the applause of the spectators who turned out in numbers despite the cold front which had been threatening play for much of the week.

Wednesday

Cosmic Spiral and Bear Catcher Roos remained fixed in outfield positions at Shoreditch, with Blazing Sails Mead delivering game from his Oxford outpost, Wandering Ward and the Ven. Dokktor took flight to Aviation House to ensure the front line was flanked sufficiently.

Game 3

Our team has seen an increased inpouring of lucrative sponsorship and league transfer deals this week, more so than usual, the first of which was caught by Bear Catcher staying true to his moniker with a Skype call with a potential playmaker.

Scores and spirits were dramatically raised when we finished the days play with a winning score of 34-7. The crowd’s voluminous response was only dampened by an unfortunate incident with a screwdriver and a barrel chested construction worker trapped in the ceremonial field of oxen.

Thursday

League Cup match at Aviation House.

Chaos reigned high as the crowds piled into to a packed out arena, the celebrity judges and journalists were on show to mark this prestigious occasion.

Taking centre stage was Double Hitter Williams with his presentation to the board of trustees. Tensions ran high as he delivered a masterful stroke, sending the ball deep into the outfield; a range of 457 feet was recorded and the crowd erupted with silence.

Game 4

Goodfellow P. Herlihy was on hand fresh from his suspension for suspected foul play at Death At The Well earlier in the season to deliver his rhetoric on the e-petitions website which he was part of before his transfer to the GovUK league early this season.

Whilst such extrovert play was unfolding in the centre field, the intrepid players of Go Free Range remained in tight formation, attacking the current backlog with jaw-breaking blows and god like athletic ability.

Although Cosmic Spiral did suffer some hair related disasters, and the usual cheering from the female contingent of the crowd had abated somewhat, spectators did comment that whilst his outward composure was maintained, the usual trademark flow of his game suffered visibly.

Violent wind stopped play at 234-45, and the team retired to a mountain of mince pies and mohair dressing gowns.

Friday

The tournament resumed after the halt in play, with only a few serious flesh wounds submitted onto the official game card.

Spiral and Catcher started out the day at Shoreditch, with Ven. Dokktor Adam claiming a double-point play beginning at Aviation House and ending up in the Shoreditch to collect two gold star meeting certificates with potential playmakers.

One of the discussions is said to be with O2, rumour has it that it was concerning GFR’s re-entry into the fabled O2 HashBlue league in which GFR exited as reining champions only the season before.

Pundits are excited to understand how this could affect this most important league, which is ripe for expansion into the super leagues. Critics have long commented that they should look into increasing the numbers of players and spectators.

Meanwhile Wandering T.A. Ward and Blazing Sails fought a late game battle alongside Double Hitter and Goodfellow in arranging the coming attractions and story cards for next-weeks tournament.

This often tricky component of play is difficult to manage, and we are continuing to strive to understand how we can effectively frame what really needs to be worked on. The aim being to pin down what is truly important without blindly falling into to trap of resigning ourselves to fitting our user stories against the shadow of how we may have imagined thing should work.

The true art of this game emerges when we react with agility to the unfolding demands of play, and not resting on yesterdays game plan.

Game 5

End of play saw the scores tie at 34-45 with the possibility of disciplinary action for a offside foul by Goodfellow earlier in the week.

Final scores

Bear Catcher (78) …. Cosmic Spiral (88) …. Ven. Dokktor Adam (109) …. Goodfellow (56) …. Wandering T.A. Ward (778) …. Double Hitter (101) …. Blazing Sails (107) ….

BYE

I’m sorry? Big love, Cosmic Spiral.

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