Environmental Factor, July 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Another Scorching Friends and Family Day
By Eddy Ball
No one actually plans it that way, but NIEHS Friends and Family Day, which moved outdoors in 2007, always seems to coincide with some of the hottest days of summer. The 2009 celebration was no exception, as NIEHS staff and contractors, families and children, and friends gathered under a sweltering sun June 19 on the patio outside the Rall building for fellowship, music, snacks, games and fishing. There were lunch specials at the NIEHS cafeteria inside, and those who wanted to escape the oppressive heat could enjoy Wii dancing and bingo in air-conditioned comfort in Rodbell Auditorium.
NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., kicked off the event. "I'm a little sorry for the weather," she said and warned attendees to avoid getting overheated as they enjoyed the event. Speaking optimistically, she warned the other teams in the annual softball game to watch out for her Office of Director (OD) and NTP team, which she promised would pummel posteriors when the competition got underway later in the afternoon.
As the thermometer topped 90 degrees, the action shifted to the NIEHS ball field where the Institute's softball warriors battled for the honor of besting their colleagues from other divisions. Elimination games left members of the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) Devils and the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Discoverers sitting on the sidelines for the final competition.
Not even a new name and Birnbaum's enthusiastic boosterism could tip the scales for OD/NTP in the playoff game. In a 23 to 2 rout, the Office of Management's (OM) Blazin' Bullets hitting machine trounced the OD/NTP Riptides and came away with the winner's cup for the second time in the three-year series. The outcome showed that enough new talent and fresh faces can revitalize a losing team.
Fortunately, as organizer Steve McCaw said afterwards, the annual battle of the bats "is indeed a Family Day event with just enough competition to make things 'edgy'" - so if there were any hurt feelings and injured pride, they shouldn't linger for long.