Well, alright, I won’t lie. It’s not like I’ve been sat twiddling my thumbs, doing nothing. It’s just I’ve been allowing non-quizzing things to distract from my quizzing.
For example, if you’re a Facebook friend, you’ll know that during the summer I took up painting. Look, I know I’m not professional standard, but it gives me pleasure and it’s very therapeutic.
In addition to that, this time last year I conceived a plan to watch every episode of the original Doctor Who TV series (1963 – 1989) and to write reviews of each of them. Been done before – in fact I got the idea from a couple of books about similar viewing marathons – but that lasted through until November. Having written the reviews and started posting them on a blog, it occurred to me that this might work if I self-published them on Kindle. I stress here and now that I’m not touting for sales here. I’m just trying to explain what I’ve been doing which has made me less serious about my quizzing.
Not that I haven’t been quizzing. In fact, one of the real highlights of the year 2015 has been the way that my team in the rugby club managed to go toe to toe with the Lemurs throughout the year. Lemurs have been the most successful team in the club for several years now. Alright, I didn’t keep score of how many quizzes each team won in 2015, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my team won at least as many as Lemurs did. Likewise, we’ve continued to have a good season in the Bridgend League after losing our first match. I know full well that after writing this we’ll most likely go on and lose on Monday evening now, but the fact is that our fate in the league this year is very much in our own hands.
Mind you, I have stopped going out on a Sunday evening. It’s a bit sad the way that it happened. We were down to one last Sunday quiz – in the Fox and Hounds in Bridgend. I really like all bar one of the teams there, and I really like all bar a couple of the people there. But there’s the rub. There is one team who started coming maybe 7 or 8 months ago. They are extremely loud and frankly I found that they, well, not exactly spoiled the quiz, no, thinking about it, they did spoil the quiz. On a number of occasions I was asked to set the questions. Right, look, there’s no way of putting this which doesn’t make me sound arrogant and smug. So be it. On the first time I set the questions, I wrote a set which I thought should be pretty easy without being an insult to the intelligence. It was far too hard for them. The second time, I made it (in my opinion) so easy it was a bit of an insult to the intelligence. It was still too hard for them. The third time I made it easier still, and used connected answers to help them. That seemed okay.
Which should give you an idea of the general level of most of the teams there. By the way, I didn’t say, but the loud team won my quizzes. Now, let’s get to the last but one quiz I attended there. We lost. Not only did we lose, every team scored more than we did. Teams who normally scored 15 -20 out of 35 were scoring 32. Look, I’m not saying
a) That any out and out cheating had gone on
b) That any gamesmanship ( of the questionmaster slipping the other teams a few answers beforehand sort) had gone on
c) That anything in any way wrong had happened.
I do lose quizzes, on a regular basis. Not to the whole pub, mind you, but there we are. The thing was, though, I happened to be in the gents at the same time as a couple of guys from the loud team, and they were like dogs with two . . . tails. They laid it on somewhat thick, and being the idiot that I am I rose to the bait and I dropped a couple of comments along the lines of – we came last with 31 out of 35 tonight – when I do the quiz next week, let’s see if you can score 31 then. –
Stupid thing to say really. In such a situation you should do nothing other than congratulate them, and take it on the chin. Which all comes back to me taking quizzes too seriously, I suppose.
Come the next Sunday, I had prepared the questions, and made another easy connections quiz. One of the loud team wasn’t there – the one I’d issued the challenge to. The others though started making observations, along the lines of “Connections? This isn’t a proper quiz, mun. This is a load of crap.”
Now, okay, I certainly hadn’t been burning the midnight oil over the quiz, but the fact was that I’d done it, and even if they didn’t like it very much the least they could have done was just moan among themselves. I won’t lie – I’ve moaned like hell about certain quizzes to my poor teammates, and not just the once either, but I would never dream of shouting out a comment like that directly at a question master. This was said in a way which was a direct – what are you gonna do about it? - challenge. So I said words to the effect of,
“Well, if you all don’t want the quiz, that’s fine, I’ll get my coat and go now, no problem.” The loud team said nothing, but the other teams asked me to stay and finish the quiz.
So I did, which frankly was pretty uncomfortable, and as soon as it was over (and I think the loud team may even have won) I got my coat and left. To be fair several people did make a point of stopping me as I went and saying – oh, please just ignore them, they’re just ignorant – and so on, and I replied that if they really wanted me to come again, or do another quiz again, then I would. But I gave the lie to that because I haven’t been back since.
You see, it seems to me that battle lines have been drawn. Once you’re facing that level of bad feeling from at least one of the other teams, in my experience you might as well not bother coming back, whether its deserved or not. For all that people stopped me on the way out, I didn’t notice any of them telling the one who made the comment that he was out of order – and in my opinion he was. When you get right down to it, I don’t need that on a Sunday evening – well, not any night of the week, to be honest, but especially not on a Sunday.