Trivia Night After-Action Report: A Subpar Swiftie

Last night, the Lutheran Student Center hosted a trivia night fundraiser at one of the rival Lutheran churches in Springfield. One of the hostesses called it the “Second Annual” but that is not exactly true. It is the second year in a row after a hiatus, but the LSC has held trivia nights before at the LSC on the Missouri State University campus before. I know because the North Side Mindflayers won like three in a row.

But it does illustrate a bit of the mindset and myopia of trivia nights hosted by the college students and millenials. The world starts and ends with popular culture from the time when they were born. The questions they compile lean heavily on movies and television of the 21st century as well as slant toward younger topics like children’s books and Disney. Maybe they just stopped reading after that, and if they need questions from literature, it’s recent children’s books or things assigned in high school.

With this in mind, I figured the odds of a Taylor Swift category were very, very high indeed. I mean, c’mon, man, biggest pop star on the planet and “dating” the star tight end of the Kansas City Chiefs, for whom people in this area cheer. So high as to be approaching 100%.

So I spent yesterday afternoon taking notes from her Wikipedia entry and studying the order of her albums, her hits, her few acting appearances, and some of her conflicts and controversies, although the anchor woman of got a list of previous boyfriends and the songs written about them for study.

So we got to the venue and I took one last look at my three pages of notes and crumpled them up and threw them away before the game began.

And the Taylor Swift category was: “Taylor Swift lyric or verse from the Book of Lamentations?”

Aw, hell, I didn’t know I was going to have to listen to the music, too.

So I guess I should have spent the afternoon reading my Bible instead.

As it turns out, we ended up tied for third after the table full of school teachers and the table with the church pastor on it (who I believe went ten for ten on the Book of Lamentations category). Which is out of seven.

It’s weird: I think I’m losing a step in the trivia game as we’ve not done so well with the couple of church trivia nights we’ve been to in the last couple of years, including this “second annual” event. But when I play along with Jeopardy! on rare occasions when I see it or when one of my co-workers asks a trivia question, presumably from a Jeopardy! list, I am pretty quick with the response. I really do think that there’s a real divide between these general trivia games which go back into the 20th century and beyond and the games put together here locally.

That’s what I tell myself in consolation, anyway.

And if anyone accidentally creates a Billy Joel category, I will be set. Although “old” music questions that they ask tend to come from or be about songs in rotation on the greatest hits of the 80s, 90s, and today radio stations. So like the literature questions, they’re pretty basic if you’re, erm, out of college.

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