2018-04-18 / Here's the Scoop

Let the games begin

I have a bit of a competitive nature. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I simply enjoy winning. A lot. Losing, well, I’d just as soon leave that to others.

Just kidding about such matters. Except for the losing part. Despite knowledge of one of my personality flaws, I was recently invited to participate in a Trivia Night competition.

“You remember I’m a sore loser, right?” I inquired after receiving the request to take part in this event. The person extending the invitation was well aware of my “lack of grace” when not finishing first, but said the offer remained on the table.

My wife was excited about taking part, so we decided to put our knowledge of trivial things to the test.

“You know so much about so many useless facts, this should be easy,” she assured me.

That was a real confidence booster.

Who knew?

I was unaware that such Trivia Nights were a popular attraction at restaurants and bars. Apparently, these events are a draw for these businesses and help produce revenue. Getting to make fun of participants for their dumb answers is a bonus.

Once we arrived, I sized up the competition. All of the players were younger than us and probably (very likely) possessed far better memories. We were in trouble.

When the “action” started, I quickly realized that Trivia Night could be fun (as long as I was on the winning team, of course).

My wife and I make a good duo. She knows a lot about the arts and history. And I possess vast knowledge of (almost) useless facts. Without going into the gory details of the contest, let’s just say that I was feeling pretty good about our chances, as we seemed to be clicking on nearly all cylinders.

Then, something very unfortunate happened. The category was “Video Games.” I am kind of proud of the fact that video game experience is largely limited to a handful of rounds of Pac-Man. I didn’t set any records — at least not for high scoring.

Lot of chances

Did I mention there were 10 questions in this category? All of them were really hard. Well, they were difficult if you’ve enjoyed a lifetime of having zero interest in video games. In desperation, I reached back into my memory bank and recommended that we fill out “Donkey Kong” for each question. Which we did — except for one space we missed. It’s probably not necessary for me to explain what the answer was for the one that was left blank. I felt like a jackass.

Fortunately, we rallied in the “Alcohol” category. Cheers! We also did pretty well in the “photo” portion of the game, where contestants were challenged to name to the characters being portrayed by actors shown in their movie roles. I’m very pleased I was able to name Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane in “Moneyball.” Apparently, it’s good to watch baseball movies.

At evening’s end, it turned out that the one non-answer in the video game questioning didn’t prove pivotal in the final scoring, We missed plenty of others!

It’s hard for me to admit, but despite not collecting the first-place prize and the associated bragging rights, I still enjoyed the contest. Could this be the new me — someone who merely enjoys the activity and doesn’t really care all that much about coming out on top? I’ll have to play a few more times before I come with a correct answer for that question.

— Brian Sweeney

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