I did a little “research” this morning in an attempt to find out exactly when me and my trivia team first started doing pub trivia battles. And I’ve learned through a “memories” Facebook post that it was on or before January 26, 2011 at Wolverine State Brewing Company in Ann Arbor! But it could not have been MUCH before that, since Wolverine only opened its doors in November, 2010. It usually takes a bar a while after opening to begin offering pub trivia nights. Apparently, Wolverine didn’t waste too much time! Motor City Trivia – later called Great Lakes Trivia – and now called Sporcle Live – set up shop at Wolverine on Wednesdays beginning in January, 2011. And the trivia nights became popular enough for Wolverine to add a second night of trivia on Mondays. These days, the trivia scenes at Wolverine are still pretty hoppin’! No pun intended…(wait…yes, I completely intended that beer-related pun)! If you’re serious about playing here, you have to get here early on trivia nights. At least that’s how it used to be. It’s been a while since we’ve played here.
Back in those “early” days at Wolverine, we were not even registered as a “league” team – but we were using the name Miskatonic University Fighting Cephalopods (which we still use today, most of the time….). The team name was all my husband Mike’s idea (he is a huge fan of author H.P. Lovecraft), and the rest of us just kind of played along – and went along for the ride!
It wasn’t long after that when there was talk about doing team T-shirts and a team “mascot.” And according to a Facebook post I made shortly after the post I made about the trivia night, I had mentioned naming the mascot “Billy the Squid.” Though it would not be until maybe a year later or so when we would actually purchase a plush Cthulhu mascot to serve as our “mascot.” We would also wind up doing two different team T-shirt designs!
“Billy the Squid” at the Tilted Kilt in Canton, MI in December, 2015. This “breastaurant” is no longer open…
For whatever reason, though we enjoyed the occasional trivia games at Wolverine State Brewing Company, we didn’t like them enough to commit to playing there every week. But the seeds had already been planted! All it would take was for a trivia spot to open up closer to where we lived for us to really “grow” as a trivia team!
It all started, as many things these days do, with an e-mail. Our longtime friend Sam sent out an e-mail letting us know that the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti was going to begin offering trivia nights on Wednesdays starting February 13, 2012.
I kind of took over the “reins” of the team and became the team’s “captain.” Which means I sent out the game reminders, texts/ e-mails, found out how to best qualify us for tournaments, and…”herd the cats!” I also write down every question during games and post the game recaps – which strangely enough, have gotten quite a “following” over the years!
Our team’s Facebook page was born in September, 2012 – and we’ve amassed more than 600 followers since then (IKR)? I began using this blog site as another place to post trivia recaps, trivia posts, personal posts, etc. in late 2016, and as of this posting – I have 90 page followers! Some of the trivia recaps I’ve posted have gotten more views than they do on the Facebook page! It’s gotten to the point where I post a lot more “trivia” stuff here than I do on the Facebook page (though I still post every game recap on the Facebook page).
The game recaps started out as “just the facts, ma’am” third-person affairs, but have turned into more first person “opinion pieces,” if you will. I’ve always suspected that people who read the trivia posts love “schadenfreude,” which means “shameful joy.” What does that mean in plain English? When we do poorly on individual questions and in games themselves? People really, really love to read all about it! It can be a bit more fun to write about our struggles than it is to write about our triumphs. Maybe it’s also more fun to READ about the struggles than the triumphs, too! I’ve always made an attempt to never be TOO boastful in the game recaps – or to bash anyone by name (though I will not hesitate to mention random acts of trivial brilliance by my teammates during games).
Even when we would wind up winning the top prize in a finals tournament in July, 2017, I kind of wrote it off in the game recap as being akin to a dream – here’s a snippet of that game recap:
The “hugeness” of this still hasn’t quite set in yet! Did this really just happen? Or did our whole team die in a car accident on the way to the tournament and ergo we’re just dreaming this all happened? Did this recap just get a little dark? Maybe I need to write this screenplay and talk to film director David Fincher about directing this film! Or maybe David Lynch…nah, it’s definitely more of a Fincher film, and maybe Trent Reznor will do the soundtrack!
Truth be told, this was a very stressful time in my life. I was feeling the “pressure” on this tournament day, and it would take DAYS for the stress to abate. Clearly I couldn’t handle being “in the spotlight.”
Our best tournament performance was in July, 2017 at the My Trivia Live championship where we won first place/$2,500. To this day, I still feel kind of “weirded” out by that event, and in some ways, kind of wish it didn’t happen (I have a very strange brain). This set in motion a series of events which would eventually lead to me nearly getting burned out on competitive trivia a year later. In short, I hit “rock bottom” in terms of trivia addiction. I’ve taken steps to “chill out” on the competitiveness quite a bit since then. My love of “the beautiful game” remains as strong as ever! I just try to not get as intense about it.
Our team has been to 23 regional tournaments (in two different trivia leagues) since we started playing casually at Wolverine State Brewing Company in January, 2011. This does not even take into account the numerous “semifinal” games we’ve also played. We’ve consistently proven that we’re serious trivia contenders – even if we’re not ever going to be the “scariest” trivia team in the room – or the team that tends to win the top prizes a good deal of the time. As I like to say… “Sometimes we get lucky!”
The rest, shall I say…is history!
Here’s a look at both of our T-shirt designs…
Version 1 of the ‘Pods T-shirts. Though there are nine people in this photo, only four of the pictured folks are still “regulars” on trivia nights – Mike (rear left), Dave (next to Mike), me (next to Dave) and Brad (front right). Joel – rear far right – is kind of a “semi-regular.” He’s moved out of state (as have two other people in this picture), but still comes into town occasionally so I haven’t written him off yet! Brad’s brother and sister-in-law are in this group, and have occasionally stepped up as “reservists” to help us out!
I don’t have a “group” photo of the other T-shirt design, but here’s a pic of Dave and I in the shirts from February, 2016 at Sticks (Ypsilanti, MI). He opted for black, and my shirt is purple. I think black actually looks cooler than the purple!
Several players on our team have moved out of state since then, or have otherwise fallen off the trivia “radar.” And currently, we’re not really vying for tournament spots in any trivia leagues. Sporcle Live tournaments are scheduled in the month of June, and I’m pretty certain there will be some significant schedule conflicts that would prevent our team from being able to play in tournament games during that time. The My Trivia Live games are currently on hiatus, though I have kept the tournament dates in April open “just in case.” We may not be in “contention” this season, but we’re still regularly hitting up the local pub trivia battles whenever we can!
What else can I say? Go ‘Pods!