Challenge Trivia: A Battle of the Wits

“It’s the blockade runner, it’s the blockade runner!” Magnus shouts.

“No, it’s gotta be the eagle,” Mike retorts. “The Millennium Falcon literally has the word ‘falcon’ in it. An eagle is a bird, so maybe they just switched the name before production.”

Time begins to run lower and lower on the clock out as a buzzer ominously rings out. “Ten seconds everyone,” announces a voice from the front. Our group is in disagreement, when suddenly, a random piece of Star Wars knowledge triggers a lightbulb in my brain. “No, no, no. It’s the blockade runner. Han Solo was a smuggler, so he had to pilot his ship through the empire’s blockades—undetected. I’m sure of it.” Grinning goofily, I look around for approval. “Alright bro. We’ll give it a try,” says Josh, our team scorekeeper. Laughing, we all look up at the big screen near the front of the Dining Hall. A Black-Eyed Peas song blares on the speaker as our team waits in anticipation. Finally, the poll pops up, and it’s dead even across the board. Each of the four answer choices sits at nearly 25 percent, so we know that this question could give us a big boost in the standings and bring us even closer to the Chick-fil-A dinner promised to the winning squad.

“The correct answer is—” our trivia host hesitates. We hold our breaths. “The blockade runner!” Jumping up, we simultaneously scream, “WOO-HOO!” Everyone high-fives around our table as other competitors drop their heads into their hands. Jumping jubilantly around in the air, we are off to a good start.

Last weekend, my team and I competed in the Groton School trivia night. The challenge—put on by brothers Brett and Nik Outchcunis—was a not only a battle of brains, but a contest of luck and coordination too. The questions covered topics from the United Nations to Spotify and Australia to the White House, and I will admit, we did get a little rowdy when we got them right. We chanted—drumming our table to the beat of “We Will Rock You”—and ate white cheddar Cheez-Its as we climbed up in the standings. The atmosphere was lively, and at one point, Karenna Beckstein—a Second Former on an opposing team—even got out of her chair and started dancing to Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up” as the crowd cheered.

After the first round of questions, Brett announced a special event to level the playing field. The first test involved a Kendama—which is a traditional Japanese toy. The point of the game for the user was to land a wooden ball into a cup as quickly as possible, and thus earn our squad bonus points. We decided to send Will Molson; however, he quickly returned to our table because it only took him one try to win the game. We went absolutely wild.

The next intermission, our team filled out a halftime quiz involving dog breeds. Led by Josh and Annie, we managed to get many of the answers correct, and our score continued to rise. I participated in the third game—a ring toss—and earned a few more points to add to our tally. Finally, somewhere near the head of the pack, we approached the last question, the Equalizer. We could almost taste the spicy chicken sandwiches in our future, but the prompt, which had the potential to add or negate twenty points from our score, proved difficult. Brett—staring down the room with a smile on his face—asked, “What is the only Pixar movie not to include the Toy Story Pizza Planet truck.” We all sighed and threw our hands up in the air. Our finish was in fate’s hands. After narrowing our selection down to Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles, we took a chance and decided to go with Mike Wazowski and Sully. Time froze, and the board lit up. Three of the answers were in red, one in green. Our hearts dropped. It had been The Incredibles.

While we missed out on our beloved Chick-fil-A prize, we gained far more than we lost that night. I got the opportunity to meet two new Fifth Formers on the Circle, Har Vey Yuen and Will Molson, and remain excited for the memories I have yet to make with them both this year. Trivia brought us all closer together, and in Har Vey’s words, “We’re gonna run it back next time.”

Left to right: Me, Magnus, Noah, Har Vey, Annie, Will, Josh, and Mike