Manchester, NH — When it comes to athletic competitions, companies like Dyn often aren’t picked first because, well, we’re kinda geeky and sit behind computers 95% of the day. (The Dyn Fit Challenge is going to change that, though!)
But anything to do with science, technology, math and using our minds? We’re all over that like 60 SPF sunscreen on our pale, sun-repellent skin and that’s why we DOMINATED the SEE Science Center Flights of Fancy competition, a great fundraising event for the center put on by Segway founder/overall awesome New Hampshire-ite Dean Kamen.
The competition featured teams comprised of some of the best minds and companies in New Hampshire, all vying for prestigious championship trophies, medals and bragging rights that come with being named champions. For team General Manager and Theo Epstein disciple Gray Chynoweth, the competition marked the opportunity to test his recruitment and evaluation skills.
“People always asked why we put prospective employees through a group of timed challenges (wireless router hookup, DNS record updates, server toss) at our yearly Dyn Combine, ” Chynoweth explained, whistle and clipboard in hand. “Make no mistake, this is a battle. We needed competitors that would go all out and never say die. This is our Super Bowl.”
The teams were put through their paces early, competing in three different competitions that put their minds and hearts to the test. Chynoweth put his two highest-rated prospects — Scott “Scotcha” Smith and John “Baby Faced Assassin” D’Amato — into the fray. The two have been in seclusion at the company’s temporary sales office for weeks in preparation.
“They needed focus,” Chynoweth said, avoiding questions as to why they only were allowed to eat leftover Tuesday sandwich meat and Canada Dry leading up to the competition.
Smith and D’Amato advanced to the finals after cruising through the Paper Airplane competition, Airtube Beach Ball Toss and Airwolf, where they were to land a tiny helicopter on houses made of Legos. Smith manned the controls as D’Amato recently came off the DL with carpal tunnel syndrome, a gamble that paid off.
Smith’s precision and familiarity with the Lego universe was key in the team advancing, something geek talk radio callers had questioned about him for months.
“I don’t listen to the critics,” Smith said. “I do it for the love of little plastic parts that you can build cool stuff with.”
Team Dyn advanced to the finals with ease and were set to compete against two other groups in the Bottle Rocket Launcher challenge, a grinder that many equate to the American Gladiators’ Eliminator in terms of mental aptitude.
Three hoops were set up in the air and an empty 2-liter bottle was attached to an air hose. One member was to step on the hose, forcing the bottle to fly through the air and through as many of the three hoops as possible.
The team struggled on their first attempt, sending their title aspirations into doubt. But with D’Amato on the aim and Smith providing the sheer force, they came through on their final shot, sending the bottle through all three hoops for a perfect score and a slot in overtime against the dreaded Canadian Pirates.
“They’ve been on our radar since last year,” D’Amato said. “Their pictures are in our locker room so we knew it was going to come down to us. At that point, it’s go big or go home.”
The two definitely went big, capitalizing on a complete miss by the Pirates. With perfect aim, D’Amato sunk a bottle through the first hoop, giving Dyn the win and their first SEE Science Championship. The team erupted in a euphoric celebration with team owners Jeremy Hitchcock and Tom Daly promising Dyn fans that more is to come.
“Our fans got us here,” Hitchcock exclaimed while signing off on proofs for championship merchandise. “We plan on doing a victory tour with the trophy all over New England. They deserve to share in this moment.”
Smith is locked up for several more years under contract, while D’Amato has talked about retirement. But for now, Chynoweth isn’t worrying about the future — just the present.
“This is right up there with the greatest Thursday nights in my life,” Chynoweth said while being doused in Diet Coke and Red Bull during the celebration. “My wife and new child are great, but c’mon. Look at this trophy!”