All right, it’s time for the second week of the Capital District’s Trivia Unification Tournament, in which all the area’s bar and tavern trivia companies pick their top teams for a single-game winner-take-all championship.
Wait … did I say second week?
Yeah, I did. Seems I didn’t realize the qualification tournament started last week.
No matter. I’ll just pick a bar that is participating in the TUT, and …
Oh this will be good. Rivers Casino in Schenectady is hosting TUT qualifiers in their Van Slyck’s bar annex. It’s a “Trivia Nights Live” video format game, and the top three teams each week earn cash money.
Okay, Chuck … let’s set the parameters.
Whatever money I earn from the weekly tournaments, I’m earmarking it for advance car payments for my 2013 Chevrolet Cruze. Every additional apple I put in the basket brings me closer to full ownership of Dracourage.
That’s the rule. And the second rule – have fun at the tournament. Earn qualification points (10 for winning for the week, 7 for second place, 5 for third place, 1 for showing up). And if The Street Academy trivia team makes the cut, then so be it. And unlike my previous championships, I don’t get an automatic “past champion” invitation. Essentially, all the Summer Bowl and Trivia Bowl championships won’t mean a thing here. Qualification is the key.
I arrived at Rivers Casino in plenty of time. Trivia host Damon is a stickler for punctuality – if he says the game starts at 7:00 p.m., the first question is on the screen at 7:00 p.m.
And right off the bat, things went well for my one-man Street Academy trivia team.
Mostly nailed a category on state capitals – did not know that North Carolina’s capital is Raleigh, I thought it was Charlotte – but was able to identify the other states (by silhouetted shape) and, with that, knew their capital cities. By halftime, I was in third place among twelve teams, only 12 points off the lead.
We get a five minute break, so I take a small walk around the casino floor. Wait a second … is that a Monty Python and the Holy Grail slot machine? Seriously? Ha ha, what happens if you get three Knights who say “Ni” – do they bring you a shrubbery?
Or do you find a grail in the sky, follow it to a castle, and Carol Cleveland tells you that it’s not the grail you seek?
Powered through the other categories – the music round was okay, scored points there – the “Big Brain Boogie” round of super-tough questions were okay, I knew that Nathan Detroit was in the play Guys and Dolls, so that helped – and by the final round, I had 124 points, tied for fourth place.
The category – “Dead Celebrities.”
Aw geez. I don’t want this category. This category and “Before They Were Stars” are the two most nebulous, far-reaching categories in the Trivia Nights Live canon. Christ. I should just recite Latin and hit myself in the head with Scripture.
All right. Bet everything. Even if I lose, I’ll still get one point in the TUT cumulative standings, and one point is better than no points.
“What comedian’s last film appearance was in the 2009 film Old Dogs, released a year after he died?”
Okay, who was it, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, no wait I think Eric Idle’s still alive… wait, wait, I think I know this. I think before he died, Bernie Mac had completed two films that weren’t released until after he passed away. I think Old Dogs was one of them.
What the hell. Write down Bernie Mac. Hand in the slip.
And sure enough, other teams wrote down Bernie Mac as well. Some teams wrote down Walter Matthau as a choice, there were a couple of Robin Williamses and George Carlins…
But the answer was indeed Bernie Mac. And I leap-frogged over the team El Chupacabra (who only bet three points, despite having the correct answer) and finished in second place, 7 points for the TUT standings and a cool $50 in my pocket!
All right, all right, $50 toward Dracourage, let’s go to the cash cage and redeem these two $25 cash cards, and get out of the casino and … you know what? It’s not going to kill me to play a little slot action, I’ve got a spare $20 in my pocket. What the hell. Give it a shot.
I sat down at the Monty Python and the Holy Grail slot mchine and inserted $20.
And right off the bat, I picked up three bunnies on the slots.
Three bunnies, you say?
And after I threw the slot machine equivalent of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch at the rabbit, the slot machine spit out a voucher of $250.
So this morning, after I finish this blog post, I’m making a pit stop to the bank to deposit $300 – $50 from the trivia game and $250 from my slot winnings – toward Dracourage.
I swear, I’ll pay this car off before August 2018. I swear I will.
And winning at trivia will help me realize that goal.
If I can pull that off … then that’s a bigger win in the grand scheme of things.