Trivia Night

You might say it was doubling down on trivia. A local pub hosts a trivia night contest in Rhode Island. I met family there to participate. I’ve done this before, but the crowd seemed bigger this time, as if people are eager to get out in the world again, variants be damned. I understood all too well. Vaccinated, boosted, and with a mild case of COVID during the holidays (when it became particularly trendy), I felt super immune and ready to get around people again. The couple hacking away at the table next to mine made me wonder if I was pushing my luck. We’ve all become hyper-aware of other people’s sniffles, haven’t we?

As the questions rolled out, one-by-one, it was clear we could have used another ringer or two in the group. Trivia contests are part knowing the right answer, and part getting the right questions in a series that you know the answers to. The last ingredient to success is having the courage to go big when you have an opportunity to. The last time we played trivia we were leading (!) with one final question to answer. We bet conservatively and other groups overtook us in the end, even though we all got the question right. Such is the nature of trivia contests.

In the corner of the pub, quietly playing while we all participated in our game of trivia, Jeopardy! was playing on a big screen television. If you haven’t been keeping track, or are from another country that doesn’t broadcast it, Amy Schneider was on a 40-game winning streak, becoming a millionaire in the process. But lately she’s been missing the final Jeopardy! question. It hasn’t been a problem because she’s been building such a lead, but in this game, in front of all these trivia folks, the game was a toss-up going into the final question with Schneider and another contestant. So it would literally come down to who answered correctly and who bet what.

As you might imagine, in a room full of trivia people, this quickly captured the attention of the entire room. Our own trivia game paused as the final Jeopardy! question was answered, and one-by-one the contestants answers were revealed. The challenger, just behind in money, had the right answer and bet big enough to take the lead. A hush came over the room as Schneider’s answer was revealed–wrong answer! The room erupted in astonishment, the queen dethroned! This is the world of trivia geeks, treating this moment like the Super Bowl or World Cup final. And why not celebrate general knowledge? The world could use a few more educated people agreeing on facts.

As the buzz in the room calmed, we refocused on our own trivia game. Questions weren’t lining up in our favor, and we finished in the middle of the pack. Such is the way. You get the questions you get, and you go big or you go home.

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