It’s going to take teamwork to find key

A column by Misty Poe, editor and general manager of The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Last week I got locked in a room with nine other people and somehow we managed to escape. And it was wildly fun.

If you haven’t been to the Escape Room in Westover, I highly recommend it. The Times West Virginian advertising staff launched an upcoming project and then completed the one-hour Escape Room task as a team-building exercise. And, boy, what a team we were. There was me, the crusty old editor and general manager, reporter Kelsie VanderWijst and then advertising director Terri Hale and advertising manager Teresa Dye and members of their staff, including Susan Bartholow, Brad Ross, Cathy Morrison, Josh Root and Beverly Miller.

You’re given a task, told a lot of rules and then locked in a room for one hour while the clock is ticking down. There is no way possible that one person could figure out all of the clues, solve the puzzles or come up with combinations to locks all on their own within the given time frame to produce the key to unlock the door. But working together, the 10 of us each took a little of our own expertise and understanding and tackled the seemingly never-ending series of puzzles and wordplay to solve one problem at a time. We built on every success until there was one combination lock in my hands and nine other people furiously trying to come up with one more digit to open the key box.

The best part of the experience was that each and every person in that room had a hand in solving the series of puzzles that got us out of the room, with the best time of the month so far I might add. Only 39 percent of the people who attempt it actually complete the task within an hour. Those weren’t comforting odds as we walked in, and when we walked out, I understood why. But despite the fact that we all came from different backgrounds and that we don’t always work in the same departments to get the newspaper out each day, somehow that became an advantage….

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