Monday, April 18, 2016

Trivia Master

I have always been a fan of trivia contests. My first experience was as a young man in boy scouts when we challenged the scout masters to a game of Trivial Pursuit with the losers having to provide wait service for the next evening meal. We almost won. Later I would enter trivia contests whenever opportunity arrived. One of my favorites was a three day trivia contest held by a local radio station up in Minnesota when I live there. My team would take turns over three days and three nights answering trivia questions but I would generally stay up for the entire time. We never won but we did place well most years.

Flash forward to a few years ago when a group of professional people we know, half of whom are part of the gourmet dinner group, invited us to join their trivia group. We play trivia to raise money for a local charity group twice a year and of those times, we come in second place a couple times and third place a few times. Last year was the worst finish with a fifth place, always out of about 15 to 20 teams.

For me, it has always been a lesson in frustration due to one couple. They are very intelligent people but just not at trivia. It takes a different kind of brain to be good at storing random bits of knowledge. Each team has a maximum of 10 players so we have a variety of ages and experiences that round out our team but all answers must be a group consensus. The couple I'm talking about like to try to overthink questions all the time and reason them out. The type of trivia questions asked are not ones that can be reasoned out for the most part, you either know them or not. So we end up spending all our time between questions trying to convince them that we know the answer. Because they like to control writing down the answers, they sometimes go against the group consensus and write down the answer they feel is correct. The result, every time they cost us a half dozen points during all ten rounds and that is enough to take us from first all the way down to fifth place the last time.  I know it is for charity and that is what matters but it still rubs me wrong every time the 'reason' my correct answer into one of their wrong ones.

So a couple weeks ago, it was time for the spring version of the trivia contest and when we were called to be informed the time, we were also informed that the problem couple were out of town and sadly couldn't make it. We were ecstatic! We started off in the lead but in the middle half dozen rounds we hoovered around third to fourth place. Being for charity, in an effort to raise extra funds, each team is allowed to buy three stickers that will allow us to double our score for a particular round that we feel we answered well. All the teams ahead of us had used all three of theirs while we still had two left. So when we used our last two doubling stickers, in the final few rounds, we came from behind and won the event! It was a lot of fun.

As you can see, being for charity, they didn't waste a lot of the proceeds on fancy trophies but our children sure enjoyed having the trophies. We did get gas cards in the amount of our entry fee so we did get to essentially play for free if you don't count the purchase of the stickers and the various raffles held in between rounds. It was fun. I just hope that the problem couple is away the next time we play so we can defend our title.


Kelly said...

How fun! (love that rubber chicken and actually have one pictured somewhere on my blog, an egg-laying one at that)

You're right in that trivia is one of those things you either know or don't. Rarely can you reason out anything. We play Trivial Pursuit (and Pictionary) most years at our NYE gathering with two other couples. Woman against the men. It's always nice having a variety of minds/knowledge so, hopefully, someone can come up with the correct answer.

I was laughing at your comments about the "problem" couple. I would suggest pointing out how well you did without their reasoning tactics, but seldom do folks like that take a hint.

Ed said...

Kelly - We rubbed it in quite a bit but like you said, I doubt that the hint was caught.

sage said...

I played a lot of trivia in Michigan and we had a pretty good team, but haven't yet found a good place down here.

Ed said...

Sage - Trivia events are hard to find these days. The most common place to find them is at bars on certain nights of the week but I'm not much into bars these days and look for more family oriented ones. The only one I've found is this charity event twice a year but perhaps someday it will come back in vogue.

If you have a smart phone, there is an app called Trivia Crack that was immensely fun to play. I played it for a long time until I discovered a bug that allowed people to cheat. So many started using it that it didn't become fun anymore and I quit but that was a couple years ago. Perhaps they have fixed the bug again.

Bob said...

Great story and I believe you might be a little, uh, competitive?