Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but I'm going to give a little bit of background just in case this is news for you. I've been playing on a Pub Quiz team for a couple years now. (A couple years? Has it really been that long?) It's a team of five people - we were all coworkers when we started playing - and we play monthly quizzes at Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Each quiz consists of 6 rounds of questions:

1. Current events - 12 questions
2. Pictures (we're given a sheet of paper with 10 pictures on it, and we have to identify them - sometimes it's movies, sometimes people, sometimes flags - that sort of thing) - 10 questions
3, 4, and 6. General knowledge/trivia - 12 questions
5. Music round - 10 questions. They'll play a song and we have to identify title/artist (sometimes this varies, but there's always a music round).

Points are tallied at the end and the top 4 teams walk away with prizes. The scores are logged and at the end of the year, there's a "Grand Final" for the top teams to determine the champion for the year.

Historically, my team (Meditations in an Emergency) has performed adequately. We put up a good fight, and usually finish in the top 10 or so (there are probably around 30 teams each night). Last year at the Grand Final, we were miserable - got off to a rocky start and climbed our way up to mediocre. It was borderline embarrassing.

We qualified again for the Grand Final in 2010, and the event happened last night. We were short a teammate, and none of us were very optimistic. Our performance hadn't been the best in the past few months. We went for the fun of it.

Round 1 was pretty easy. Most teams got a majority of the answers correct, and at least half the room was ranked in the top 4 places. We were up there, but not at the top.

Round 2 was tricky, but my teammates figured it out pretty quickly. We had to match up pictures of Time's Person of the Year with the year they won the honor. We lost 3 points on that round, and we were still near the top of the pack, but not out in front.

Round 3 was average, and I don't think there was much turnover in the rankings.

Round 4 must have gone well for us. As we're listening to the rankings, I catch the news that our team is out in first place.

We were in no place to count our chickens, though. Round 5 is the music round, historically our worst round. We usually drop a few places by the time it's done.

There's usually a theme to the music round. When it's announced, I know that this time it's going to be different. The theme? Musical theater. They'll play the beginning of a show tune, and we have to identify the musical it comes from. No need to name the song or the artist - we just have to name the show.


The first song starts, and we're off to a great start. "Happy Talk" from South Pacific. So many familiar songs, so many shows that someone in our team knows. Phantom of the Opera. The Lion King. Rent. Evita. We knew all of them but one, and we were able to make an educated guess. None of us had seen Les Miserables, but it's one of the more famous shows these days. And the music sounded like it could be from that show. We wrote it down.

It was right.

We swept the music round.

A feat never before performed by Meditations in an Emergency.

This meant we were still in the lead. We were still winning. After the music round!

One more round remained. We knew some of the answers. Some of the questions were easy. Some were guesses. Some we had no clue. In the end, we had no idea if we were still going to be on top. But we had a chance.

My heart was pounding as the answers were read. We got more wrong than I would have liked, but it wasn't an embarrassing performance.

The final scores are announced, and they always start from the bottom and work up the list. Two teams tie for 3rd place. Neither of them is our team.

2nd place announced. Last year's winners. Not us. I know what this means in my head, but I can't really reconcile it until I actually hear our name.

Meditations in an Emergency. First place in the Grand Final. 2010 Brit's Pub Quiz champions!