This excerpt is from the book entitled 40 Strange Groups available here on Amazon
The Phrase ‘Push the Envelope’ is believed to have originated in the NASA Space Program. The envelope here isn’t the container for letters, but the mathematical envelope, which is defined as ‘the locus of the ultimate intersections of consecutive curves’.
This fact hasn’t stopped the formation of the Push the Envelope Society in Toronto. Any speeches made at meetings of this society must be produced from sealed envelopes. The initiation ceremony for new members involves pushing an envelope with a hockey stick across a carpeted room in under two minutes. Some members take this pushing further and organise races where envelopes have to be pushed across a lawn for 100 metres. Occasional obstacles, such as croquet hoops, are sometimes used to increase the difficulty.
Matt Goldschmidt of the Etobicoke branch of PES explains the importance of the society to people like him: “Pushing the envelope started with the Space Program and we’ve all wanted to be astronauts at one time, right, so this is like our homage to our ambitions from a young age. PES wants people to be always trying to improve themselves in every facet of their life and OK, we might have a hokey, hockey stick initiation, but it’s not an easy thing to accomplish and if you can’t handle a hockey stick you won’t do it, simple as that, you won’t become a member.”