I'll cut to the chase here. This coming Wednesday night there is the annual charity quiz for the Mayday in Melincryddan fund. That's Mayday as in celebration for the start of the 5th month of the year, and not as in - help ! Although now I come to mention it . . .
The Mayday quiz is very close to my heart. OK - its certainly not Mastermind, - its not even the CIU for that matter. But it was at the Mayday quiz in 1994 that I became a born again quizzer.
I began quizzing in 1988, the same academic year that I started teaching. A friend of mine took me out to a quiz to wet the baby's head just after my son was born. I becam a regular, was drafted onto the league team, and had a few very good years out of it. Then it kind of all died the death. The league in Port Talbot packed in, my mates stopped going, and I lost heart. It had probably been a good year or so between quizzes when my then boss asked me if I'd put together a team of kids , and play with them in the Mayday quiz in 1994. I did, and we won. I kept up appearences every couple of months at charity events locally. Next year, 1995, we lost by a point. I thought that I could either be miserable, and just go home, or I could go up and have a word and give my congratulations to the winners. Which I did.
They were a bit suspicious at first. Finally they asked me point blank words to the effect of
"You won it last year , didn't you ? " I nodded.
"Well don't take this the wrong way, but, just you with all of those kids - did you cheat ? "
They knew that Caroline, one of my team, was the granddaughter of the late Viv O'Shea, the compiler and question master. Of course, Caroline had no insider knowledge, which I was happy to point out to them. At which point they asked me to join their team in the Neath Quiz League. This led to four happy years until the League folded, during which time I think we won the winter and summer leagues every time.
Through the league team I became reacquainted with my old mate Alan Coombs, who was also putting together a team for the Morriston Hospitals League in Swansea, which I was duly drafted onto. So taking part in the Mayday quiz has led to very many happy experiences through quizzing.
OK - now apart from that first occasion in 1994, I've also won the quiz on another 2 occasions. The quiz stopped for some reason back right at the end of the 1990s, and we won it on the last ocassion that it was held. Then, two years ago in my annus mirabilis of 2007 I ot 3 of my colleagues to join me, and we on by a couple of points from my good friend Rob Merrill who was playing with non quizzing friends and family.
Fast forward to last year. We stuck with the same team of me and three non quizzing teachers from the school. Rob, though, put in a call to my best quiz mate John - regular readers of the blog will be familiar with John's work - and asked him to join them. Hmm. Well, on the night I was very pleased that we were actually joint winners - and keeping neck and neck with any team containing John and Rob when I was the only quizzer in the team was a hell of an achievement, let me tell you. However it was all decided on a tie break, and as I have told you more than once before, John is the king of the tie break - so that was us finished !
Now, John hasn't mentioned anything to me about the quiz, which makes me think that Robert hasn't asked him, or certainly hadn't asked him before Tuesday when last we played. So tonight I am very tempted to ask John if Rob has said anything to him about it. I don't even know if Rob is coming. As a friend it was left to me to try to contact him about bringing the trophy. I couldn't see him, but dropped him a line, and he rang to leave a message saying that the trophy will be there on Wednesday. But does that mean he will be there ?
Two of the team have left the school, so what I think I shall do is ask John if Rob has said anything. IfRob hasn't then I will probably ask John to play for us, as a kind of insurance policy. However if he has asked John, then I shall ask Alan and Barry tomorrow night ! Oh God - the more I think about it, the more it is becoming a quiz Arms Race ! Hence the title of this blog.