2020 was, in many ways, the year when everything went horribly wrong. There’s no need to rehash it. You LIVED it. But a few things went really right too. And one of those things was taking our weekly trivia cult out of the bars and into each other’s living rooms. It all seems so “normal” now, but at the time it was frightening, bizarre, and somewhat random.
Last March, as Carl, Art, and I discussed what an “Online quiz” should look like and how it should play, Carl said something that quickly directed the focus: “The most important aspect of this is people hanging out with their friends. Everything else we decide should revolve around that.” And so instead of a ton of teams playing at once, or a bunch of technical bells and whistles, we focused on small, intimate (as intimate as it can be on a computer), gatherings with a single quizmaster and a single team.
It worked. Carl went from a guy hosting once a week at Birra to becoming the backbone of the whole operation. (Yeah OK and the brains too. Whatever. I’m STILL the beer belly of this damn thing!) J. Michael went from weekly regular to beloved host. Chip and Blake stepped in and quickly garnered weekly regulars. Every time we faced a hitch in scheduling, Erin or Mike would step up big. The whole thing just kind of…came together. And after each quizzo season Carl and I would have the same discussion: how many can we expect for the next season? And every season we underestimated.
As summer turned to fall which turned to winter, we kept getting teams willing to sign up again. And there was a certain magic to it. The Narcotyzing Dysfunktion, a team that had played weekly at the Bards in the mid 2000s when they were in grad school at Penn, got the band back together despite living all over the United States. Jeremy and Sharon of There’s No I played from Tokyo while working overseas. Tiffany of Synchronized Trampoline drank some sort of red concoction out of a Mason jar every week. Beth of Duane’s World mocked my pronunciations online instead of in person. The Drunk Parents lived up to their name. Not Last Place seemed to always finish JUST AHEAD of last place.
We quizzed through the madness of 2020, the eerie silence of March and April, through the protests, riots, the nightly “fireworks” and explosions of last summer, the daily madness of a deranged President, through an election, an attempted insurrection, and through a year+ that we might like to forget but a year that may well define our lives. And while I can’t speak for you guys I can speak for myself: it kept me sane at times I thought I was losing it, it made me smile when things were grim, and it made me laugh when absolutely nothing else was funny. It kept a roof over my family’s head, and it made me realize that we’ve got something here that is a whole lot bigger than bar trivia. And for that I just want to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you. -JGT