When I went to sleep Sunday night, I thought that my Stir Crazy trivia team had completed a successful round in the first day of the two-day World Tavern Trivia National Championships in Atlantic City.
When I woke up Monday morning … I had no idea how successful we were. Out of 60 correct answers … we scored 59 right. That’s frickin’ awesome.
And yes, if you’re playing along, we did NOT know the average weight of a gold bar – apparently gold is approximately 27 pounds per bar, not the 11 pounds per bar that we surmised. But be that as it may, we held a 30-point lead over last year’s champion, That’s What She Said, entering Games 3 and 4 of the tournament.
I also have some vague recollection of participating in a karaoke performance… not that anybody would ever turn up such footage anywhere, and even if it existed, no one would ever be so callous as to actually post it on Instagram… let alone share it in a weblog…
Yeah, no one … 😀
Game 3, however, was trouble from start to finish. We talked ourselves out of correct answers, and we were stumped on others. But we did use some intuitive work to determine that the northernmost part of Africa is located in Tunisia; and we knew that parsed down that the musician who became a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was indeed Prince.
The bad news for us – after three games, That’s What She Said had caught up to us, heading into Game 4.
The good news for us – in this trivia tournament, the low game for each team is tossed. So all our mistakes in Game 3 became a mulligan, and we were back to a 3o-point lead with 60 questions to go.
Now comes Game 4. Every question was now worth 20 points, double scores to the end. There were teams like That’s What She Said and Walla Walla Weasels and the Penguins and the Chewbacca Defense bearing down on us.
We have to pull this out.
One round was entitled “Liars and Cheaters.” Yes, we knew that Donald Trump’s Twitter handle was @realdonaldtrump. We knew that son-in-law Jared Kushner was a graduate of Harvard. And we knew that Trump was in the plan of revoking Michelle Obama’s education program known as “Let Girls Learn.” What we didn’t know was why the trivia masters thought that Donald Trump deserved multiple questions in the “Liars and Cheaters” category. Okay, yeah we did…
There were other categories of random and general knowledge. And when it comes to trivia tournaments, there’s always one question in the batch that will stick with you, whether you get it right or not.
And for me, that question came in the fourth round of Game 4.
“How many days does an average red blood cell live?”
Holy A1C, Batman… I know this. I freakin’ know this. I know this because my A1C level back in November was 12.1 – essentially my blood had enough sugar in it to double as a pancake topping – and the only way I could get my blood sugar down was to work hard and diet and exercise. And it was a gradual process, because blood cells take 120 days to expire.
“Write down 120 days,” I said to my teammate Leah, who was the team scribe.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
At which point, if you know me when it comes to competitive team trivia… I used that phrase. THAT phrase.
“If I am wrong on this,” I said … “It’s on me.”
Yep. The phrase. The “I double dog dare you” of competitive trivia. With that in mind, Leah wrote down 120 on the answer form.
We nailed it. And we started pulling away from the competition, as teams behind us missed that question. Keep going, guys. We have to move those chains to get to the end zone.
Now comes the final round. And since this was a Western themed trivia tournament, we tried to figure out what the final topic might entail. Ten most popular Westerns… ten longest-running TV westerns … the names of famous horses ridden by movie stars … whether a book was written by Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour…
Okay. We put on our Stetson-shaped thinking caps.
“Name the ten most profitable e-commerce websites.”
And this has to do with the Wild West … how?
Okay. If we can get at least seven of these, we can lock out our opponents. Our team huddled around. We wrote down our guesses. If three or more teammates wrote the same answer, we added it to the list. Amazon. Apple. Walmart. Best Buy. We did a “hard eight” on Lowe’s or Home Depot – we figured one of the two were on the list. We wrote down ten names. We handed up the slip.
And the six of us waited.
The ones we listed were on that tally – and doing the “hard eight” guess worked, as Home Depot – not Lowe’s – was one of the ten most profitable e-commerce sites. We needed seven correct to mathematically claim the championship.
We got eight correct.
Now we had to wait for the scorekeepers to judge and update. There might be challenges. There might be disputes.
It’s now 9:30 p.m. All the trivia teams are gathered at the Landshark Restaurant on the shore of Atlantic City.
There are championship trophies and plaques waiting for the top five trivia squads.
In fourth place … the Penguins.
Third place went to last year’s champions, That’s What She Said.
Now it was between us and a team called Walla Walla Weasels. Did we have enough points? Did we make the cut? Did we achieve?
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017 World Tavern Trivia National Championship team, Stir Crazy!
Woo hoo hoo hoo hoo!! This feels completely awesome!!
Let me start this. Congratulations to my amazing trivia teammates Tim, Nick, Tom, Will and Leah – five awesome and fantastic people, and all six of us worked together as an incredible trivia squad.
Also, much thanks as well as all the trivia teams we played against in the two-day tournament. We are so happy that this turned out as well as it did. Also much thanks and gratitude to the staff and organizers of the World Tavern Trivia National Championships, and to our hosts, Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.
And after the photos and the handshakes and the group hugs … it became official.
We had to fill out W-9 forms for our trivia prize money.
This is great. Totally great.
It’s going to be a long drive back to the 518 from Atlantic City on Tuesday.
But you know what?
I’m too happy from this tournament to even gripe about the journey.
This is way cool.
Way way way cool.