Yes, maybe I'm going soft, but I went to a terrific quiz last Thursday - great question master - good questions - convivial company - and for all that I didn't enjoy it. Why not ? Because it was a walkover.
I'd better explain myself. Now, please don't think that I say this for self-aggrandisement. Don't get me wrong, I'm as arrogant as the next person, and I love to blow my own trumpet, but just this once this isn't what I'm trying to do here. The point that I'm trying to make is this.
The quiz took place at the Aberavon Rugby Club. Regular readers will know that this is my 'home' quiz - and I take regular turns setting the questions. There are hardly ever lss than 6 teams. My team - the Boyks - win some, and my friend Rob's team, the Lemurs - win some too. The others between them win very occasionally. Now , on Thursday night, none of the Lemurs were there. That's OK - they have their own lives to lead - yutta - yutta. However, the fact is that wth the standard of questions that were being asked on Thursday night, they were the only team that could conceivably have challenged us. All of the other teams were always going to have a round when they fell 4 or 5 short of our score, and they were never going to make it up. We won by a dozen points, and I'll be honest, I could hardly have cared less.
So - winning by itself, its not as much to me as I thought it was. Its the competition. Winning against opposition who COULD beat you. On an ideal evening, the result should be in question right up until the end of the final round, with the winning score being a couple of points above the second place. That makes it interesting. That gets the competitive juices flowing. Even a tight loss can be more exciting than winning by that much.
Last Sunday John and I returned to the Haywain in Bridgend. The management's disastrous policy of moving the quiz forward to 6 o'clock has resulted in an empty pub on a Sunday evening, so at last sanity has prevailed. However, the problem is that a lot of the regular teams there saw my Mastermind win, and now virtually cede us the win as soon as we walk in. We won by 61 points to 49 last week. That's no good. I want the second place team to go back to their nefarious practice of phoning up for answers ( alright, I can't prove that's what they used to use their phones for - but their scores used to be a hell of a lot closer to ours ) . I want to have the frisson that comes from knowing an off week means that you could lose.
Thankfully, I had reason to celebrate on Tuesday. I had been inspected, and found up to the job in school, so I knew that there was no chance that I could be observed again on the Wednesday. So, on pretty much the spur of the moment, John, my eldest daughter Phillippa, and I bombed off to Cowbridge to compete in the Duke of Wellington Quiz. Good quiz - good questions - sandwiches at half time - the works. And we only won by 2 points, and also had to share the jackpot with another team too. That's more like it.
I do realise, that having ranted off like this there is every good chance that we will get stuffed out of sight on Thursday night. I'll let you know.