Sittin’ in a smoky room

Question Time!

In case you were watching the World Cup on Sunday, the big trivia finals were Sunday night in Memphis. Challenge Entertainment packed Dan McGuinness East with 5-member teams from dozens of bars and restaurants from all over town. A lot of people with a lot of arcane knowledge were packed into the smoking and non-smoking sections of the place. Ten rounds of questions along with a half-time and a final question to separate the men and women from the boys and the girls.

Is Something Burning?

Playing bar trivia during the year usually means winning as much as 50 bucks… but you get it in “bar money,” that is, some sort of gift certificate that you have to spend where you won it. The finals, however, split 10 grand (yes, $10,000!) among the t0p 15 teams. That’s reason enough to give up 6 hours on a sunny Sunday. Of course, there were several hundred people packed into McGuinness. The event started at 6, but most everyone showed up early to try and score a good seat. The first couple of people from my team were there at 4:30, but every single table in the non-smoking half of the place were snatched up by then, forcing us into the smoking section. I don’t smoke. I don’t judge either, but after watching my folks smoke during my entire childhood, I’m not a fan. Imagine spending 6 hours in a crowded ashtray. Not the most conducive place for brainwork.

I Ask Ya!

Still, we were in pretty good shape after the first half, and ended the second half tied for first place! The final question allows you to bet up to 30 points that will be added to your total if you get the answer correct. Of course, you lose any points you wager if any part of the answer is wrong. The final question this year was to put a series of events in order of their occurrence from first to last (the events were Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” tour, the release of the Jeff Goldblum movie “The Fly,” Princess Diana getting married and Landon Donovan’s birth). We had to guess about the soccer player, but ESPN actually ran a list of ages of the U.S. Soccer team while the answers were being collected, so we knew we had gotten it right. Unfortunately, so did the other team tied for first.

How Much?

Whenever teams end up tied, there’s always some impossible-to-answer question used to break the tie. In those cases, it can come down to who’s got the best guess. The tie-breaker for this contest was to come up with was the square mileage of Syria! I really don’t know why anyone would know that. We didn’t, so we tried to come up with a reasonable guess. We went high originally, but pulled back to 25,000 square miles. The other team went through the same process, but went a tad higher with their guess, 26,000. Of course, those of you who did well in geography class already know that Syria covers some 71479 square miles, which means we came in second, even though both teams were more than 45,000 square miles off!

Good Effort

So, instead of splitting $5,000 in cash and getting a ginormous trophy, we ended up in second place and getting 1,100 bucks and a $100 gift certificate. Not bad, but you really can’t brag about being second-best anything. Especially if the first thing you need to do after getting home is to shower to get rid of the smell of all that cigarette smoke. Still, the members of Intelligent Design did a damn good job and I’m proud of all of you. The core team will be back at work Monday night, working on dominating the teams at the Blue Monkey Downtown. And we will be back in the finals next year!

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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