The first thing to say. I did not win Trivia Bowl XVII this year. And I’m okay with that.
The second thing to say is … Lynch’s Mob, who won Trivia Bowl I and II way back when Trivia Nights Live was a one-restaurant Tuesday night game at the Crossgates Mall Hooters, won Trivia Bowl XVII pulling away. They are now three-time Trivia Bowl champions, and much congratulations to them.
But here’s the most important thing to say.
I hadn’t played in a Trivia Bowl championship in three years. In 2019, because of a scheduling conflict, I instead acted as a proctor and answer-runner for Trivia Bowl that year. And in 2020, my ankle was fractured and I could not attend. And in 2021 … well … you know … pandemic and all.
And even though we’re still in a pandemic, there was still a way to host Trivia Bowl. It just meant that the number of teams involved was limited to 24 championship squads (smaller than the usual 35-40 teams), competitors sat at socially equidistant tables, proof of vaccination was needed for entry, and masks were worn whenever possible. Trust me. With the exception of noshing on some Fritos and diet cola, my mask stayed on my face like I was El Santo getting ready to face Blue Demon.
Also … for the first time in my Trivia Bowl participation, I went in as a single-player team. Do not get me wrong. I’ve had incredible teammates in the 15+ years I’ve played competitive team trivia. Heck, the Stir Crazy crew I joined up with to win the back-to-back World Tavern Trivia championships offered to come up to Albany and play in Trivia Bowl. But I told them that because of COVID and the limited space, I didn’t feel right asking them to come up. When we fully get past COVID, then I’d be more than happy to have every one of them on my team whenever there’s a major tournament.
The trivia game itself has evolved. In prior years, we wrote our answers on little chits and handed them in to the host. Now, the captain of each team has 30 seconds to type in the answers on their cell phone and submit them electronically.
So here we go.
- What network is airing the Super Bowl next weekend? (2 pts)
- An official chefs hat has 100 folds to represent the many ways to cook what? (4 pts)
- What series of 62 kids’ books were published in the 1990s by R.L. Stine? (6 pts)
- In what New Jersey city was the first professional basketball game played in 1896? (8 pts)
- How many hearts does an octopus have? (10 pts)
Messed up a couple of questions, but I’m still in the middle of the pack. I knew a chef’s hat represented the number of ways to cook eggs, and R.L. Stine wrote Goosebumps, so I was good on that. Wrote down NBC, crossed it out, wrote FOX, crossed it out, went with CBS, should have stuck with NBC. Did not know that the first pro hoops game was played in Trenton, and apparently octopi have three hearts. Surprise, surprise.
- What movie series character owned a pair of turtles named Cuff and Link? (2 pts)
- How many World Series titles have the New York Yankees won? (4 pts)
- What replaces the olives in a martini to make it a Gibson? (6 pts)
- What were the first two states to join the Union after the original 13 colonies? (8 pts, double bonus)
- In what Midwest city will you find an airport named for Albert Lambert, a prominent aviator and Olympic golfer? (10 pts)
Still fighting on. Tied for ninth place in a field of 24 squads. Rocky Balboa, 27 championships, got those easily. Watched enough episodes of Bar Rescue in my life to know that onions turn a martini into a Gibson. Vermont and Kentucky were the states, but did not know that Lambert Airport was in St. Louis.
Round 3 – the music round.
Each song gets a 30-second burst, and you had to identify the song and the artist. Right in my wheelhouse. Four of five. Of course, when you can identify Molly Hatchet, the Greg Kihn Band and the Supremes instantly, it doesn’t hurt. Moved up to sixth place.
Round 4 – the Huddle round.
“Paul Rudd is currently People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year. Name the last four men to receive this honor – whose last name is a single syllable.”
This is where my Trivia Bowl run went completely off the rails.
Do I look like the kind of guy who pays attention to People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year competition? I mean, seriously? Me? Yeah. If I were at bat in a baseball game right now, that question would strike me out on two pitches. Ugh.
Fell back to ninth place. In case you’re wondering, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Richard Gere and Harrison Ford are the big names here.
And it got worse from there.
The next round was a themed round, “One or the Other,” where the answers had the words “One” or “The Other” in them.
- What 2010 movie starred Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg?
- What did Ray Charles sing in Diet Pepsi TV ads?
- From their album “Pump,” what 1998 Aerosmith song would fit this round?
- What 2000 Disney Channel movie revolves around a kid who clones himself as a genius?
- Name the African non-profit that assists small farmers.
Yeah. Got the two-pointer, “The Other Guys,” and then just crumbled. I should donate to the One Acre Fund in Africa for my shame.
Fifth round was the “Big Brain Boogie,” with really tough questions.
- The largest volcano in our solar system, the Olympus Mounds is found on what planet? (2 pts)
- The 1980 Men’s Olympic hockey team did not win the Gold Medal by beating the Soviet Union but rather had to beat what country for the gold two days later? (4 pts)
- What southern state lends its name to a strait found between Washington and British Columbia? (6 pts)
- Who did Miley Cyrus twerk at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards? (8 pts)
- The Wife Of Bath was a character created by what author? (10 pts)
With the exception of the Wife of Bath answer – it’s not Stephen King, Chuck ,it’s Geoffrey Chaucer from the Canterbury Tales – I did okay. In fact, I only remembered the Straits of Georgia answer (the 6-pointer) from Summer Bowl I, when the team in the lead got it wrong and fell out of the running for the title. Gee, I wonder who won Summer Bowl I. Oh yeah… these guys.
Then came the sixth round. The movie round.
The movie round involves identifying a scene from a film. One frame. Identify the movie from that frame.
I forgot how much I hate the movie round.
Five films. I got none of them. UGH.
If it weren’t for a team that plays out of Tipsy Moose called The Moose is Loose, I’d be dead last right now.
Final question. Bet your points. Category is airports.
Screw it. I bet a few points of my 74 total and hoped for the best.
- What city had 5 small islands fall to reclamation so the landfill could be used to expand an airport?
No freaking idea. This is the drawback of playing as a single-player squad. You can’t ask your teammates to help you out. If you don’t know this, well then you’re shit out of luck.
I wasn’t going to win, but I certainly wouldn’t finish with zero points. So let’s bet a few points and hope for the best.
And the answer was Boston. Logan Airport, to be precise.
Which allowed Lynch’s Mob to become three-time champions. And again, much congratulations to them.
But as I said before … even though I didn’t win Trivia Bowl this year … the fact that I was able to compete in Trivia Bowl at all is a win. The fact that any of us could show up at the Holiday Inn and play this competitive team trivia game was a win. Straight up. No lie. We won.
Even if it meant KN95 masks and social distancing and all that … we still got together and we played.
So barring any other COVID variant along the way – Delta, Omicron, Tau Kappa Epsilon – Trivia Bowl 18 is twelve months away.
And I’ll be ready.
Bank on it.