Victory at Last: Dan’s Papers Trivia Team Takes 1st Place

Brendan J. O'Reilly, Dan Koontz, Stacy Dermont, Lee Meyer and Kelly Laffey—victorious at last.
Brendan J. O'Reilly, Dan Koontz, Stacy Dermont, Lee Meyer and Kelly Laffey—victorious at last.

It finally happened for us—the Dan’s Papers trivia team won the weekly Trivia Night at Townline BBQ yesterday.

The victory was hard fought, and it’s been a long time coming. We have flirted with first place in the past and this week not only did we win the overall game, but we aced the first two rounds and held the lead in every round. Usually there are more ups and downs.

The first of six rounds was “In the News.” The questions ran the gamut from pop culture to hard news. Working in media, the news round is typically a good one for us—though the categories change every week. Teams that subscribe to the email list are informed of the week’s categories ahead of time, but knowing the categories’ names isn’t always helpful. Sure, “In the News,” we can study for. But what do “Merry Christmas, Everyone,” “Under the Tree” and “Who Does #2 Work For?” allude to? It turns out it was a holiday movie trivia round, a round on toys, and a round on what comes second, such as second largest mountain (K2) and second most frequent host of Saturday Night Live (Steve Martin).

We thought the “Yay, Science!” round was going to ruin us, but it turned out that it was tough for everyone. (“Dinosaur” means “terrible lizard” and the Scoville scale measures the heat of chili peppers.)

The final round called for identifying movies based on an audio clip. The audio round was nerve wracking, but we were three points ahead by then, so we knew we would at least tie for first if we had seven correct. We handed in our answer sheet confident in seven out of 10 answers, and it turns out our confidence was well-founded. Plus, the second-place team did not get 10 out of 10. We had a decisive victory.

In past weeks, we have come so close then snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by second guessing our instincts or disagreeing among the team on an answer.

We’ve been going to Trivia Night every week since the trivia season started in September. Some teams come and go, while others, like us, never miss a week. The only Thursday when trivia was canceled was Thanksgiving, though if Townline had decided to hold Trivia Night that week, I’m sure many teams would have showed up, leaving the turkey to go cold. The season lasts until the week before Memorial Day.

Before last night we were in the money—that is, among the top three finishers—six times. Twice we placed in second, and four times in third. There were a couple occasions when we tied for third then lost the tie breaker. Both times, it was heartbreaking. (For future reference, as of the 2010 Census the year-round population of Montauk is 3,326—not 800.) We would have been happy to split the pot with the other team both times, but they refused. We learned from host and trivia master Paul Johnson that not once in Trivia Night history have teams agreed to split the pot, even though the option is always put on the table.

Even more important to us than the money on the line is the cumulative points toward the Townline Trophy for Trivia Excellence. We saw the trophy—with a golden pig on top—during our first time at Trivia Night and decided it will be ours. Well, we wouldn’t actually get to keep it, but our team name and the year would be inscribed on the trophy’s base for all to see for years to come.

We named our team Thursday Nite AA. The “AA” doesn’t stand for anything. We just wanted an ironic team name for a pub quiz. It is far from the most off-color name at Townline. In fact, our main rival is named My Dixie Wrecked. (If you don’t get it, try saying the name to someone else out loud.)

The trivia mavens who compose My Dixie Wrecked were champions of the 2012-13 trivia season and they hold a commanding lead for 2013-14, though there is still plenty of time for us to catch up. Teams get three points for placing in first, two for second and one for third. This week’s first place victory puts us in second in the overall standings, but we’re in it for the gold and nothing less. As they say, “Second place is first loser.”

Townline BBQ Trivia Night starts at 7 p.m. each Thursday. For a team of five, the entry fee is $50.  In addition to cash awards for the top three teams, those that win the second round or fourth round earn a $15 Townline gift card each.

Townline BBQ is located at the corner of Montauk Highway and Townline Road in Sagaponack.

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