As I start writing this, if I can get it written and posted in the next 20 minutes I’ll be up to date for Blaugust.
What do you write about in a blog post? I expect that some times there’ll be something I want to comment on, and I’m keeping up with posting about the films I see (I’m trailing Ant-Man again – no time to write it now).
But the only thing for Day 2 that leaps out is that we just got back from the local pub quiz, having won again – second time in four weeks. It’s not that big a deal – the winning team gets £15 which, after you take off the £1 per person to take part and the several rounds of drinks over the course of 3 hours, isn’t that exciting – but it’s a fun thing to do on a Sunday evening, at least until the NFL season starts up (Fantasy sports: almost certainly a post to come this month).
The thing is, I don’t see myself generally as a particularly competitive person. I play a lot of board games (almost certainly another topic that I’ll post on this month), and while winning is good, I also enjoy the process of playing a game, interacting with people across the table, exploring what happens if I make a particular decision. And I’ve never been good enough at any sport to get worked up about winning or losing.
But a quiz is a different matter.
I have quite a store of general knowledge, some of it quite obscure, and covering a range of subjects. And working in a 4- or 5-person team at a quiz, where everyone makes a contribution and can point to an answer that only they knew, is a really fun experience. But I’m always going into a quiz with the assumption that “We could do well here, maybe even win”: I find it hard to relate to the teams who are there “just for fun” -what’s the point of that? Is it just a nice evening out with friends, for a few drinks, and the questions are a welcome distraction from having to make conversation? The pub we went to serves chips as part of the deal – good chips, with a choice of gravy or curry sauce, but you wouldn’t want to build your entire evening around them. Most of those 15 or so teams know before they walk in that they’re not going to win – they’ve been before (it’s a weekly event) and they know where they stand: so what’s the attraction?
And a quiz is the one time that I brood on defeat. If we miss out by a couple of points, it stays with me. If we changed an answer from a correct one to incorrect (someone wasn’t sure, or someone was sure it was something else – I’m one of the worst for knowing something definitively, but actually being wrong after I’ve argued other people out of a right answer), it will haunt me for a week.
I’ve not yet got to the point of researching topics just in case they come up (I just know there’ll be another question on South American geography at some point, so it may be time to get the atlas out), and I’m very aware that we’re talking about a quiz in a pub in a small English village for a £15 top prize. But it matters!
Part way through writing this my son stopped by and read it, which led to a conversation about whether I’m competitive or not (a conversation that I’m pretty sure I won), and the net result was that it’s now after midnight so I’m late for Day 2 of Blaugust as well. Catch up tomorrow (which is now later today).