I BOUGHT some trivia games as the cold weather hit (clever journalistic attempt to avoid dating this by using a largely timeless temperature-related phrase rather than the word Christmas) and found myself becoming overly-competitive as the questioning finally commenced due to lockdown preventing us going out much and doing something more worthwhile.
The current TV series of Only Connect and University Challenge are over, and Mastermind is coming to an end, and I don’t mind admitting to suffering defeat in most episodes as I was only treating them as a warm-up to these heated home-based battles.
My love of quizzing began and ended in the fifth year at school when an inter-form contest was organised and 5.5 triumphed over 5.1 due to my heroically buzzing in (there was no actual buzzer but imagining there was one will help you to easily recreate the tension that was in the air that day) on the tie-break question: In which cathedral was T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral set?
Barely had Mr Griffiths, the geography teacher who once told us his grandfather was a bare-knuckle boxer from Wales, finished speaking when I was in there. BUZZZZZZZZZ! “5.5 Mosley.” The room went quiet as I calmly shrugged off the pressure and answered: “That will be Canterbury Cathedral, sir.”
“Correct, well done Mosley. 5.5 may have won today, but the real winner was the quizzing which was played out in such a sporting manner and I’m sure both teams would like to offer each other a round of applause...”
His words of summary were lost as mutual appreciation broke out. “Yeessssssssss, wahey, whoo, get in yer dancer. who the ******* *** are you?, up yours you losers.” “How on earth did HE know that, he’s thick?”
This approach to sportsmanship and boasting in victory has continued in much the same manner over the decades, my narrowly avoiding defeat in a Connect 4 game against my brother years ago still regularly coming up in conversation. Not his, obviously.
So it was that last week I found myself three games to two up in Shot In The Dark, a trivia game full of questions you would not know the answer to (eg How much does the average charity sky dive cost the NHS per pound raised to treat injuries sustained in the act? Answer: £13.75), with the nearest getting the point.
I was well on my way to securing a match-deciding fourth victory when a drinks break was announced with me leading 32-12. On recommencing, my game collapsed and my partner/perfidious opposition was suddenly invincible, staging a dramatic comeback and then emerging victorious in the tie-breaker.
The thing is, this has really bothered me all week and I have briefly approached the subject of whether or not she looked at the answers, but she was obviously too embarrassed to admit to having done so, hence I will use this column purely to give her another chance, spare her blushes, assuage her guilt and help her move on through confessing, if you will. “Just admit it, there’s no way you could have come back from so far behind if I hadn’t left the room to get the drinks, you cheating ****...”
By the way, did I mention I once won an award for being the most sporting loser? Or was it just for being a loser?