It’s a new place for the Summer Bowl trivia championship, as over two dozen teams gathered at the new Pearl Street Pub in downtown Albany. I was there with my Street Academy trivia teammates, and right off the bat everybody knew that this seventh iteration of the summer gathering of Capital District brainsquads would be unique.
And as trivia host Kevin Baker set up the rules and introduced the teams, my squad and I – which included my regular teammates Jeremy and Katie, my friend Jeff who joins Street Academy for the championship rounds, and special guests Sim and Ell, who normally play on the Stern Fans squad – got ready for the questions by discussing the possible topics Baker might run toward.
“It’s an Olympic year,” Sim said, “So he’ll definitely have an Olympics question.”
“He loves Tarantino movies,” said Jeff, “So I studied up on my Tarantino.”
Yeah. And trying to predict Baker’s questions ahead of time is almost like trying to predict where a leaf might fall in an autumn breeze. The questions could go anywhere.
And so they did.
Let’s play along. I’ll post the questions, and you see how well you would do. Remember, you get two skips, and you get a double-chance option – guess two answers on one question, if you get it right, you earn the points; if you get it wrong, you lose twice the points.
Ready? Here’s round one.
- (2 pts) Who was the fifth president of the United States?
- (4 pts) What actor played the title character in the movie “Schindler’s List”?
- (6 pts) What is the only South American country to have shores on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans?
- (8 pts) Who wrote the 2011 book “How to Win at the Sport of Business”?
- (10 pts) In what city did the first International House of Pancakes open in 1958?
First two answers – nailed them. James Monroe, meet Liam Neeson. For the South American question – damn, I hate South American questions – Sim and Katie debated as to whether Colombia or Chile would have shores on both sides. Good time to use the double-chance option, I thought. Wrote down both answers, and Colombia came back as the right one. Half the teams in the bar knew that the author of that book was Mark Cuban, so did we. And only one squad in the bar knew of IHOP’s humble beginnings in Toluca Lake, California in 1958. Okay, Los Angeles = Toluca Lake, but who’s splitting hairs at this point?
First round done, only one team perfect. And a chorus of boos and jeers for the team in the lead, Street Academy.
Second round. Ready? Let’s begin.
- (2 pts) – Dead or Alive – Fidel Castro?
- (4 pts) – In what city was Michael Jordan born in 1963?
- (6 pts) – What TV character was played by 6’9″ actor Ted Cassidy?
- (Double Bonus – 16 points possible) – What actors played the cops Scotty and Peretti in the movie “New Jack City”?
- (10 pts) – As an assistant coach, the now-dead Dennis Green got his only Super Bowl ring working for what team?
Although Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, Fidel Castro is still alive. We did not know that Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn; so there went our perfect game down the toilet. Everybody knew Ted Cassidy was Lurch on The Addams Family, and we knew one of the two cops in New Jack City was Judd Nelson (the other was Ice-T). And we skipped the Dennis Green question, because we thought he could have assistant-coached for the Redskins or for the Colts or for the Broncos… it was the 49ers. “Good skip,” we said.
End of Round 2, we’ve got a good 42 point score, only 16 off the lead held by the Dan 2014 team that plays out of Graney’s Stout.
Halftime ticks away.
Halftime continues to tick away.
Because at halftime, there’s a discrepancy regarding the South American question.
See, there’s an argument that Chile also has shores on both sides of the continent… as does Argentina. So Baker eventually decided to take all three answers – and if you used your double-chance option and both choices consisted of Colombia, Argentina or Chile, you got your double-chance option back.
Which we did. This will come in handy later.
Hey, I’m just glad it’s a South American question controversy and I’m not part of it. That’s all that matters to me.
- (2 pts) How many different letters are found on the musical scale?
- (4 pts) What volcano is the highest peak in Japan?
- (6 pts) In what year’s Olympics did Mike Krzyzewski begin his run as the Men’s Basketball team’s head coach?
- (quadruple bonus – 32 points possible) At the U.S. box office, four of the five top-grossing movies of 2015 came from what film franchises?
- (10 pts) What TV show emplo9yed director Pamela Fryman for 196 of its 208 episodes?
There are seven designated letters on the musical scale, and we also knew Japan’s highest volcano peak was Mount Fuji. Unfortunately, the next three questions hurt us. We did not know Coach K started his Olympic head coaching career in 2008, we only got three of the four movie franchises with box-office success (Avengers, Star Wars, Fast and Furious – but we missed the Jurassic Park series, opting instead for the Mad Max series), and we thought the director in question helmed Friends… no, Pamela Fryman was the director on How I Met Your Mother.
At some point in time, I really need to see this How I Met Your Mother show.
Three rounds down, and Dan 2014 has nearly twice the point lead on us.
Okay. Time to hunker down and move the chains.
Round 4. Ready?
- (4 pts) Launched in 2000, which Toyota model was their first Hybrid car?
- (6 pts) What is the single-word Scrabble score for the word “Single”?
- (triple bonus – 24 points possible) Who are the only three 20th-century U.S. Presidents who did not send an American Olympic squad to the Summer Olympics during their time in office?
- (10 pts) “Big Bang Theory” is a popular TV show, it’s also a 2005 album of classic rock covers by what classic rock band?
Right off the bat, we knew that the Toyota Prius was their first hybrid car.
We inched off the Scrabble letters, and the question was – did the “G” tile have two or three points attached to it? You know what… we have a double-chance option again. We did the math, calculated that it could be worth either 7 or 8 points, and double-chanced it. Baker said the correct answer was 8 points, as a “G” tile has three points, all the rest had one point.
We also nailed all three Presidents who did not send squads to the Olympics, mostly because Carter initiated the boycott due to the Russians invading Afghanistan; and Kennedy and Harding having died before their Olympic squads could participate.
Meanwhile, Baker’s Scrabble question came back to haunt. Although there are three G tiles in the game, a G tile only has a two-point value. So… The correct answer for the Scrabble question was 7. And thanks to the double-chance option, we still kept our precious points.
The classic rock band that had an album of covers called “Big Bang Theory”? We had no clue. No freakin’ clue. But hey, what’s this? We still have one skip left? Hand it in. The correct answer? Styx. And nobody got it right. So we essentially gained ten points from everybody going backwards.
Street Academy is now tied for fourth place with a squad called Miguel Hunt; the Dans are leading, a squad called Ketcham is in second place.
The final question category – “Actors Playing Presidents.”
We had no choice. Ninety points on our table. We bet them all, hoping we would get it right and the three teams above would not.
“What actor played John F. Kennedy in a 2013 TV movie called ‘Killing Kennedy?'”
Oh my God, they killed Kennedy! You Bastards!!
Oh wait, that’s something else…
We looked at each other. None of us had seen this film. None of us had any idea who it might be. Now we’re hoping for a Hail Mary pass that would get us in the end zone. At the last minute, we wrote down Ryan Reynolds and handed in the slip. Yep. Deadpool playing Kennedy. Break out the chimichangas.
Half the teams got it right, though. We weren’t among that half.
The actor who played Kennedy in the film Killing Kennedy was … Rob Lowe.
So we whiffed… but how did the three teams above us do?
Miguel Hunt bet their points and said Aaron Eckhart.
Ketcham bet their points… and said Rob Lowe.
And Dan 2014… bet enough points to win by one… and said Tom Hiddleston.
Which makes the 2016 Summer Bowl champion the squad that plays out of the Capital Hills Golf Course… KETCHAM!
So congratulations to Ketcham for playing a strong and solid game, and congratulations on earning their first major trivia championship. And thanks and congratulations to all the trivia teams who played on Saturday, as well as to Baker and his staff, and the staff of the Pearl Street Pub for getting all our drinks and food orders out in a quick and timely fashion.
Looking forward to Summer Bowl 8 next year.
Oh yeah, and to Trivia Bowl 13 in February.
Always fun stuff.