I've cut my trivia night particpiation down to twice a week - Tuesday night at Pizzeria Uno in Crossgates Mall, and Wednesday night at Brown's Brewing in Troy. Tuesday night I'm a solo lone wolf, Wednesday nights I have my teammates Mark and Jennie, but both nights I'm the "Street Academy" team, named after my old high school.
While I finally took my first win at Uno Tuesday night (and the $50 gift card that goes with it), Street Academy at Brown's is becoming an unstoppable force. With the ability to win bar tabs for 1st and 2nd place, as well as beer and food prizes for winning each round, Street Academy has decimated the opposition, taking three 1st places and three 2nd places in the past six weeks.
And after playing at Brown's for the past six months, I finally got something along the equivalency of "respect."
Here's the thing. When I started playing competitive bar trivia in 2005, the top team was "Lynch's Mob." They had won the first two Albany "Trivia Bowls," and their team won nearly every night. With that, they often earned a chorus of boos and jeers even at the host's mention of their name. They were the New York Yankees of competitive team trivia in Albany.
I show up with my little one-man operation, and in the first week, take a third place prize. Before long, I was able to catch some wins here and there, along with a lot of "How do you know those answers" and "Why don't you come over and join our team, we never win and we would like to win once in a while, give us the answers" and "God damn, Street Academy won again, how the hell does he do it" responses.
In the 2006 Trivia Bowl, I joined up with another team, Tres Hombres, in an attempt to dethrone the vaunted Lynch's Mob. We did quite well in the Trivia Bowl preliminaries, to the point when the captain of Tres Hombres, Dan Smith, went out at halftime for a smoke, some other teams came out and yelled at him for his team hiring a "ringer." A ringer? Moi?
During the Trivia Bowl, the combined Tres Hombres / Street Academy team were booed and jeered almost as loud as what Lynch's Mob received. Dan explained to me that he thought it was great, because booing means respect.
So what would happen at various trivia locations is that I would win (or at least show a solid run) and teams would boo me. They would grumble and snarl and chant "You Suck, Street Academy!" I would simply take the food prize or gift certificate and respond with a "Whoo!!!" that would make Ric Flair proud.
I say that story to background this story.
Last night at Brown's, my three-person Street Academy team of myself, Mark and Jennie, had won gift certificates for the past five weeks (two 1st places and three 2nd places). We didn't win the first round last night, but one of the teams that did had rebranded themselves as "Street Academy, Part Deux."
A-ha... I can dig that. I could use some motivation.
Another team, upon arriving at Brown's that night, saw me and said, "Hey Street, we brought our friends, we're going to beat you tonight!"
I can dig that too. More motivation for me.
Of course we eventually nailed several rounds, and the host announced that "Street Academy - The Originals," had won the night and another $50 bar tab. Yes me likey this place!
And after the game, as I'm heading back to my car, I meet up with the team that said they were going to beat me. "We'll get you next time, Street Academy."
I wished them luck - let them know my name was Chuck (it's like going up to Pink Floyd and asking which one of them was Pink) - and then got ready for another round next week.
Respect earned again.