The time of year has come again for the annual and much celebrated ‘Pop Quiz’ held at my daughter’s primary school. Yay! I have a bit of a thing for quizzes; I like to exercise my knowledge (or lack of) against others whenever possible. And I particularly like pop quizzes as I’ve always had a bit of an aptitude for music trivia. I mean, I wouldn’t put myself up for Mastermind or anything, but I’m okay.
Every year, approximately eighteen to twenty teams of six come together to pit their wits against one another. They’re usually parents (and friends of those parents) of the school kids. It has been known to see teams with not one member familiar to us from the school playground. We sometimes wondered whether they were professional quiz-goers who toured the South West looking to win quizzes. I don’t know why, there certainly isn’t any monetary gain. But I guess we all do it for the accolade.
If you knew me better than you cared to, you would notice I have the tendency to be a little bit competitive. At least I can be when I have a ghost of a chance. For instance, I wouldn’t be remotely competitive about a 25 yards race across the length of a swimming pool, and that’s because I’m a crap swimmer. But you should try playing against me at ‘Trivial Pursuit’ (you shouldn’t, you’d go right off me). And what’s worse, at this quiz, they only serve wine (I don’t drink wine), beer (I don’t drink beer), or gin and tonic mixers (I do drink gin and tonic, hoorah!). Unfortunately, gin makes me a tad on the aggressive side. Perhaps that’s why they call gin ‘mother’s ruin’, I don’t know. I ought to look it up, but I can’t be bothered – you’re welcome to. But ‘aggressive’ and ‘competitive’ can be an ugly mix.
I’ve been attending this quiz for nigh-on ten years and I haven’t missed a single year. Somewhere along the line, we have christened ourselves ‘The Quizlamic Extremists’. And much to my disgust, we have never won. But I guess it isn’t all about the winning (it is…ha-ha, I’m joking…I’m not). Our usual finishing position is third. We used to fight for that position with another regular team, ‘Lionel’s Itchy’. But now ‘Lionel’s Itchy’ have taken over the running of the quiz – and they do a sterling job of it too. Still, that first or second place continues to elude us – it appears to be something completely out of our reach. In recent years, the top two teams are always the same people, we try to be pragmatic and stoical and not hate them too much. But we do. The winners have been known to parade around the school hall at the end of the quiz, boastful and triumphant over the rest of us. B@stards (not that I’m bitter or anything).
This year, we are a team member down. So a mere five of us will be left to do battle against the rest of the room. Our hip-hop and Bob Dylan expert will be missing and is going to be a great loss to us. But he has to be ‘out of town’ he says, ‘on business’ he says. Some invalid reason like that. All I know is, we need to sit down and discuss his poor sense of priorities one of these days. And if ever I question somebody new about their music knowledge to see if they’d like to fill the vacant spot on our team, they come over all flustered and swear blind they ‘know nothing about music’. Perhaps I put too much pressure on people…? I must reiterate, it’s not like we can feasibly win. But we must give it our all. And as far as replacement team members within the school goes, we seem to have burnt our bridges…
There have been fall-outs with former team members who weren’t invited onto the QEs in subsequent years.There has been minor bickering with other teams who’ve been caught using Google to find out all the answers. Sometimes things get heated. I don’t know why because it’s just a quiz; a school-run night with proceeds going to the school – a mere game. But such is the importance of this school quiz; it can sour friendships, it seems. Either that or it’s just a bit of a strange school. Or we’re too competitive. Or I am. I’m not sure anymore. But on the whole, it’s fun. Honest.
If my brother or his wife lived closer, I’d ask one of them to fill the QE vacancy this year. Their music knowledge (not to mention general knowledge) is second to none. Mind you, if they were on our team, I would be absolutely surplus to requirement. Because we had the same upbringing, my brother has exactly the same music knowledge as me – plus a lot more on top. Once, we visited them where they live in a little village in Wales, attending their local pub’s quiz night. I think my husband and I averaged answering one or two questions each. I did have to overrule once and put my foot down that, ‘it was The Osmonds, not The Jacksons’ (I remember, I answered little else). Other than that, everything else was fielded by my brother and my sister-in-law. It was embarrassing, really. Our team won that night, of course, but the team would have won whether my husband and I were sitting at that table or not. Turns out, winning ‘aint that special if you have bugger-all to do with it.
I’m writing this in the days leading up to the quiz so I can’t tell you the outcome yet. I can tell you we won’t be the winners though, that’s a cert – I’ve long given up hope. I really ought to be getting myself clued-up up on music trivia as we speak, but there’s little point. Music trivia is vast; you either know it or you don’t – so it’s best to wing it. For some odd reason, there seems to be an annual question about Paolo Nutini – at least there was before ‘Lionel’s Itchy’ took over. I think the former quiz-master had a bit of a thing for him… So you see, there’s just no telling what the questions may be. It’s either your era or it isn’t.
Overall, quiz-night is simply a nice night out with friends; exercising your general knowledge, a good opportunity to drink gin and be overly-competitive and a tad aggressive. And we keep showing up because this quiz is now a part of our local tradition and culture. Yes, culture. Next year though, my youngest child will go on to secondary school and I won’t have any kids at this primary school anymore. The year after that, all of the regular team members’ children will have moved on too. When that day comes, I suppose I will have to think about hanging up my quiz hat. It will be for the best. For now, though, the QEs solder on; fighting tooth and nail for the coveted position of third place (at the very best). And alas, I will probably have to spend yet another year watching the winning team conga around the room with an inflatable bottle of champagne. B@stards. Now, where did I put my G&T…?
PS: Last night the QEs came…*drumroll*….THIRD. Again. Gahh (I’m fairly pleased, really)!!!
PPS: There was an Irish dancing round last night (because it was St Patrick’s Day), and Danielle from our team absolutely nailed it. But didn’t win. I just want to point out that in Irish dancing, if done properly, you would have your arms fixed at your sides and would be poker-faced, as Danielle expertly displayed. Still, we’re not bitter or anything.😉