How I survived Geek Bowl XII

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m waking up in Boston.

I’ve been recruited by the Stir Crazy trivia squad – the team who won the 2017 World Tavern Trivia Championships – to participate in Geek Bowl XII in Boston.

I’m game.  Actually, they asked me to play in Geek Bowl XI in Seattle last year, but that was around the time when my foot was still in pieces, so no travels for me.  And without me, Stir Crazy came in – 71st out of over 200 teams.

That’s still near the 25th overall percentile… it’s good enough … but you readers know that the Stir Crazy Trivia Team does not settle for “just good enough.”

Cue Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

Of course, while my teammates are doing sightseeing endeavors in Boston, I’m doing my own set of travels.  A trip to Michael’s Deli in Coolidge Corner for some corned beef and Diet Moxie.  A trip to the barbershop to get this shaggy mane trimmed into a snazzy man.  And a trip to Saugus … to pay my respects.  #grandmabetty

From what I understand, over 250 teams from around the United States are meeting at Agannis Arena at Boston University for this mega-event.  Last year my Stir Crazy trivia team reached 71st place.

71st is not acceptable any more.

Let’s do this.

The first few rounds were essentially loaded with tricky questions.  We did ace the first round – the category used Boston MTA stations as clues for the answers.  Example – QUINCY is the first name of what cartoon character? (Mr. Magoo)  The HAYMARKET riots took place in what city?  (Chicago)  Stuff like that.

The second round involved the house band performing songs – with the original lyrics replaced by historic correspondence.  You had to name the author of the letter – and the original artist who performed the song.  In other words, they would use the melody of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” to reprint the legendary “J’accuse!” letter from Emile Zola.

Oh, and did I mention that the “house band” was Letters to Cleo?

Yes, THAT Letters to Cleo!

At the end of one intermission, we were in 27th place.  27th in over 200 teams.  Boom.

Second round of questions.  One round had an option to answer an easy question for 1 point … or a harder question for 2 points.  Example.  Martin Landau played Rollin Hand in what TV series (1 pt) and he also starred in what 1963 Oscar-winning film? (2 pts)

We went with the tougher answer … wrote down Cleopatra … and were right.

At the end of the second intermission, we were in 22nd place and moving up.

This is good.

One more intermission.  One more short set from Letters to Cleo.  The lead singer even received a T-shirt from one of the trivia teams – did I happen to mention that that team’s trivia name was “Letters to Cee-Lo”?  Fun stuff.

Final round.  General knowledge.  We did as well as we possibly could – we did NOT know the four main religions that consider Mount Everest a holy site; and that kinda kept us out of the Top 10.

Oh yeah … and the Jokers kept us out as well.

In Geeks Who Drink parlance, one can choose a “Joker round” to double one’s points.  We used ours early on … and maybe 20 different teams below us used their Joker in the final round.

We finished – out of over 200 teams – in 41st place.

Which is a 30-point boost from what the Stir Crazy trivia team did last year in Seattle.

As for the winning team … there was a tie.  And when there’s a tie, there’s a sudden-death question.  The category involved naming as many of the 37 different songs that finished in Billboard’s year-end “Hot 100” countdown … with those 37 songs all having the word “Girl” in their title.

Team A … Last House on the Jeff … started with “Girl You Know It’s True.”  Yes.

Team B … More Than Appealin … went with “The Girl Is Mine.”  No.

And it alternated back and forth.  If a team missed … they lost a player.

And Team B kept answering … for some reason … “California Girls.”  First teammate said it and they were wrong.  Next teammate said it and they were wrong.  Third teammate said it … you kinda get where I’m going here.

Anyways, Last House on the Jeff survived … and won $10,000 for their efforts.  More Than Appealin’ took home a consolation prize of $6,000.

As far as Stir Crazy did … we improved greatly over last year.  41st overall is damn impressive.  Besides, the only other Albany-based trivia team I recognized – Threat Level Midnight – finished around 185th place or so.  Urgh.

So a great night all around, and a fun time.  I’m really glad I partnered up with Tim, Nick, Leah, Will and Tom again.  And it’s this same lineup … that will defend our World Tavern Trivia championship in Atlantic City this September.

And next year … when Geek Bowl takes place in Las Vegas …

I’m going.

Hell yeah, I want to go to Las Vegas!  Heck, I want to go down to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and hang out with Chumlee!