On Monday, I saw a Facebook post from a trivia host announcing that trivia would no longer be offered at a local Mexican restaurant called “Maiz.” I messaged one of my longtime trivia “comrades” with the news, which turned out to be kind of… serendipitous.
“(One of my teammates) suggested playing here on the off week, I guess we can’t do that now,” he said.
It’s the third trivia spot to bite the dust in my ‘hood over the past several months – the first was Buffalo Wild Wings, the second was a barbecue joint called Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, and now…Maiz.
Me and my trivia team playing at Maiz in November, 2015
My team played at Maiz for one season in the spring/summer of 2015. If you want a Yelp review, click here…this blog is just going to discuss the trivia scene! Anyway, upon scoping out the trivia crowd that would be playing here, I knew one of the teams pretty well, which is called More Beer Less Pants. I knew they were really good, and would keep my team’s hands full! There was another good team that I didn’t know quite so well (though I did know one of the players from when she played on another local team). This team also had a former journalist among their ranks, so I KNEW he would probably be a trivia heavy hitter! Why? Because it takes one to know one! Allow me to explain…
“The Journalist Brain”
Having a journalist or former journalist on your trivia team will definitely give you an edge! These are people whose whole job consisted of… facts. Every single fact placed into a news story needs to be checked, which is typically done by the reporter, but also done by the editorial staff (when a newspaper has the luxury of having such an animal). Facts are basically the cornerstone of everything a journalist does. What time did a thing happen? What date? What people were involved? And speaking of people, better damn well spell their names right! Is her name Debbie? How’s Debi spelled? Or is it Debby? Maybe she prefers Debra, Deborah or just plain old Deb. Facts, facts, facts, facts and more facts! Back in the days before the Internets, it wasn’t uncommon for journalists to call reference desks at libraries to check facts for stories. Some facts I would even check with my husband by calling him at work, depending on the facts!
Me: “Honey, what’s the name of that ancient civilization that existed along the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers?”
Me: “YES! You’re a doll, thanks, sweetie!”
I really am kind of big on terms of endearment, I probably missed my calling as a diner waitress, but I digress! 🙂
Journalists also by their nature tend to be kind of ADD. You really can’t even do the job properly unless you have at least a touch of ADD – multi-tasking doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the daily routine of a journalist (by the way, there was no real daily routine, except maybe going to the police station to check out the police blotter). You could be grinding away at a story about a city council meeting that happened the night before and get a tip about an explosion on Five Mile in Livonia. So you save your story, and off you go! You get all excited to be on the scene, and run across the busy road when there’s a break in traffic so you can talk to the officer on the scene, and maybe a witness or two. Then you face plant, rip a hole in the knee of your pants and skin your knee! Dexterity check fail!
It would be a great story to tell the kids if I had any…
“Want to know how I got this scar,” I would ask, and point to my right knee. “It was when I was chasing down a news story.”
Journalists also have good mental “timelines” and tend to have good heads for dates, history, events, names, etc. It was simpler to just remember the important things so you wouldn’t have to look them up! Knowing all of this, I guessed that this journalist guy would probably be one of the “anchor” players on their team! And I was right…
So I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that he was a bit…quirky too (journalists aren’t very good at the whole “normal” thing). If his team won, he would immediately go up to the trivia host and hold his hand out for the gift card prize. He danced around like a goofball when elevator music was playing. He nearly constantly fidgeted with his electronic devices. Some of us other players bestowed him (unknowingly) with the nickname “Rain Man.” But underneath it all, there was still a good deal of underlying respect. Even if we wanted to strangle him for being annoying!
Sadly, we didn’t win a tournament spot by playing here. I actually even sulked about that for a bit…but not too long, since our “second chance” game was just two days away (which we would win, for the record)! I was, however, upset enough that I refused to write a recap of that game (a real rarity). Eventually I would shake out the “sand,” as it were, (ahem)…On a more positive note, the weekly battles against those two really, really good teams week after week was definitely a good experience! I’ll never forget winning a triple tiebreaker for first against both of these teams by answering closest to the mark on a question about when the Porsche company was founded.
After this trivia season ended, me and my team would still play here sporadically. I would pop in for solo games from time to time, and occasionally get lucky! I even attempted a venue tournament by myself in July, 2016 (I missed every single question in game one). Good thing this game wasn’t “for reals!” My team even had an informal “gunfight” with the More Beer team in November, 2015, which they would win..BY ONE POINT! Yes, the competition can be fierce at times, but the way I look at it, if we lose, we can tell ourselves that at least we lost to one of the best! Well played…well played! You win this round!