Competitive team trivia is just that - competitive. Everybody talks trash before the event starts, we all cheer if we get the right answer, we all grumble when the answer is horribly wrong, and in the end we congratulate the winning team, chat for a while, and go home.
Unfortunately, in the four-plus years I've played competitive team trivia, there have been a few sour apples that have really made team trivia less of a fun event and more of a grit-your-teeth-and-hope-the-guy-isn't-parked-near-your-car-afterward event.
Don't get me wrong - I talk trash just as much as anyone else. And if the host says that "Street Academy" is in the lead, and I hear a chorus of boos and groans, that's respect, man.
Unfortunately, some teams mistake respect for taunting.
With that, I'll introduce you to Dave. Dave is the captain of a trivia team originally called "See You Next Tuesday," and is now known as "C-Unit." For purposes of delicate sensibilities, I will rebrand that team as the "Sea Unit," rather than promote their purile pubic pecadilloes.
If Dave's team gets in the lead, he'll come over and start talking trash in the middle of the game at me. "We got you beat, Street Academy! You can't beat us, Street Academy!"
Hmm... A team of one (me) against a team of four or five (them).
I first met Dave's team over at Old Chicago, when his team scored a victory one week. I half-jokingly suggested they might have called a friend to get the answer, and Dave flew into a rage. "I had that answer, Street Academy, I knew that answer, you didn't know it, get over it!"
A couple of weeks later, I ran into the team at a trivia game at Recovery Room. I was in the lead at that time. Dave comes over to my table, and starts trying to chat me up - and while he's talking, he's helping himself to the french fries on my plate!
We talked afterward about keeping some decorum, and he agreed to tone it down.
That was until last night.
I was in second place, with a chance for the win, and the final question was "Strom Thurmond once ran as a third party candidate in an election that saw which person elected President?"
I didn't know the answer, so I was trying to calculate how old Strom Thurmond would have been to have been considered a successful candidate for a presidential election. Meanwhile, Dave runs up, slaps his answer slip on the host's table, and then starts shouting across the bar at me, "I got the answer, Chuck, you don't have the answer do you, or else you'd have brought it up already, I got the answer!"
Which completely threw my train of thought off the track. I calculated that Strom Thurmond, who was so old Methusulah once called him Pops, would have been a successful candidate in the late 1940's or mid-1950's, so that would have been either Truman or Eisenhower. I hedged my bet and figured he might have been in one of the two Eisenhower elections.
No such luck. It was Truman. So I lost the $50 bar tab - and the grand prize that night, which involved tickets to a Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
So at this point, Dave and the Sea-Unit team are now on my shit list. You better have your "A" game every time I see your team at trivia, because rest assured, I don't care if I come in 19th in a field of 20 teams - as long as your squad is in 20th place right behind me.
Or worse - in 21st.