Here’s the thing about lawyers: they’re a competitive bunch. Not much of a revelation, this, but there you have it.

I knew lawyers were competitive about work things: driving hard deals, trying to outmaneuver their opponent in court, competing to see who can send the most terse email with the fewest hints that the writer might be human and not robot- you know, the usual.

What I hadn’t counted on was how competitive they could be about charity work. Yesterday, 10 of us put togehter two teams for a charity event in Daly Plaza. This event involved groups of semi-in-shape professionals changing into shorts and tshirts in the middle of the day and riding stationary bikes at full sprint for eight minutes each and seeing whose team can ride farthest put together. (I know! Random! Stationary bikes? The seemingly-arbitrary 8-minute time frame? Daly Plaza?)

Holy. Toledo. Riding a bike a full sprint for 8 minutes with a group of 4 other lawyers hovering over you and checking how fast you are going then going over the other team to see how fast they are going then coming back to tell you that “you’re behind! pick it up!” is REALLY FREAKING HARD. You know that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary? When she decides she’s going to start exercising and goes on the elliptical trainer for like two hours and then gets off and her legs promptly buckle and she falls over? Yep! That was me! (Except, thankfully, I was able to catch the handlebar of the bike and pretend that I’d tripped instead of having to admit that I was so exhausted my legs could hardly hold me. Then the partner whose turn it was next started yelling at me to get off the bike so he could get going.)

I was really proud of my ride- according to our odometer, I did 4.1 miles in 8 minutes- until I saw the scores of all the other lawyers on our team. There were 5 partners who participated. Average age: 68. Average ride: 4.6 miles. One guy did 5.1. I seriously thought we were going to have a medical emergency on our hands- these guys flatly refused to let themselves be beat by summer associates or (god forbid) girls, and were ready to end it all right there and die on the bike if that’s what it took to get 4.7 instead of 4.6. It was insane. I was beaten handily by a man with two fake hips. Two!

As we were staggering back to the office, the most competitive of the partners, (the one who announced after, another summer associate got 4.4, “I will not be beaten by a girl!” right before he passed out on the bike,) came up to me and asked, “so, why have I not seen you at our weekly running club? You should come out and run with us!”

To which I replied in my head “there is no way on God’s green earth that I will ever, EVER, put myself in an athletic situation with you ever again because I might die,” and out loud I said “you’re on!” Maybe I’ve got a little of that competitive lawyer streak in me after all.

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