And it’s time to go.
Once a year, I team up with several trivia competitors from the Hudson Valley, and we compete at the World Tavern Trivia National Championships in Atlantic City. The events are fun, the questions are tough but fair, and we all have a good time.
But the kicker is – for the team to win the 2018 championships, and to repeat as national champions, we have to surpass 47 other squads. Some of them are here for a weekend in Atlantic City and to drink like fish; others are hyper-competitive and want to knock our team – Stir Crazy – off the top of the mountain.
Bring it on. If you beat us, you beat us at our best. No excuses ever.
The National Championships format is thus. Two 60-question games on Sunday, with two 60-question games on Monday. We are allowed to “joker” one of the final three 10-question rounds in each game. So there’s the possibility of a maximum of 700 points for each game. In Game 4, which will be played on Monday afternoon, the point totals are double, and the low score from Games 1, 2 or 3 are tossed.
But before we can answer any questions for the day, we must get together and take our team photo. And since this year’s theme is “Second Chance Prom,” we decided to recreate the iconic poster from The Breakfast Club.
Oh, and by the way … in a world of Judd Nelsons and Emilio Estevezes and Anthony Michael Halls … it’s okay to channel your inner Molly Ringwald. Just sayin’ is all….
And in Game 1, the Stir Crazy team played like world beaters. If we didn’t know an answer stone cold, we were able to use educated guesses and suss out the right answer. And even in moments when we struggled – maybe getting only seven otu of ten right – we made up for it in the final round, where we “jokered” the final question – name the ten states (including the District of Columbia) where legalized marijuana can be used for recreational purposes.
Got nine of the states. That’s 90 ponits, doubling it to 180, and giving us a total of 590 for the first round – and the lead.
The second round was a pub crawl through the casino, and all the categories involved high school classes and subjects.
Remember that part about us playing like world-beaters?
The world came back and beat us left to right.
Ten questions on auto shop, and we got maybe six. Ten questions on naming the celebrity chef to his/her upscale restaurant, and we maybe got three. It was a blood-letting.
We saved our joker and hoped for the best in the final round – which was music class.
In that round, we all heard four-second snippets of songs that might be played at a slow dance for a prom.
This is when my skills at “Name That Tune” kicked in.
“If I was a sculptor…”
Quick, write down Elton John’s “Your Song.”
“Closer now, we begin to move…”
Quick, write down Madonna’s “Crazy For You.”
“Take time to tell me…”
That’s Heatwave’s “Always and Forever.”
In the end, we had a horrible Game 2 – 480 points out of a possible 700 – but 200 of those ponits came from the perfect round in the music category. That saved our bacon.
And at an afterparty at one of the casino’s bars, some of us took turns at karaoke night.
Yes, I sang karaoke. Garth Brooks does not have to worry about losing his job.
Because after two games, we are now in second place, 30 ponits behind a squad that calls themselves the Chewbacca Defense.
You’ve never heard of the Chewbacca Defense?
What, you’ve never watched South Park in your life?
Right now the trivia team named The Chewbacca Defense has a 30-point lead on us.
But Games 3 and 4 are today.
If we can score at least 490 or better on Game 3, we can kick out our stink score from Game 2.
And if we can finish that game with a 600 or better mark, then our nice 590 score from Game 1 will be our low score and we will still remain near the top of the leaderboard.
But right now, after I write this blog, I’m going to get myself a Jersey Breakfast. Apparently a Jersey Breakfast is a fried egg, cheese, and something called either Pork Roll or Taylor Ham – all on a toasted bun. I don’t know what Pork Roll or Taylor Ham is, but apparently it’s a delicacy in New Jersey and depending on what part of New Jersey you’re in at the moment, you call it either Pork Roll or Taylor Ham.
Jeez, I hope that’s not a question in the finals. 😀