Monday, October 29, 2012

O Captain! My Captain!

I have never been the captain of anything. Sports teams, cheerleading squads, debate teams, boats-not things in my life. I'm not sure what else one can be captain of but I'm sure I've never been involved. So I'm both humbled by and a little crazy about being the captain of my trivia team.

Back in June (before I moved from CA), I went to trivia night at the Clarendon Grill with some of my friends from work. I've decided to stop using the phrase "work friends." I think work friends implies that I would only hang out with them if work was involved. Work is just how we met; I'd hang out with these guys regardless of work functions. Do we talk about work? Yes. Do we only talk about work? No, so we're friends who happen to work together.

Moving on.

We weren't the best team but we certainly weren't the worst either. There was a nice balance of trivia skills amongst the group (although we could have used a sports person). I was surprised by my knowledge of assassins and the people they assassinated. (This was a category-I killed it. Pun intended.) Allison likes to say that she knows stuff only old people know (she is not old by the way). We have a good representation of generations and random movie/music knowledge. And of course we said that we should do this again. And of course we did not.

Until this past Wednesday.

One of the original team members and I went to hear Junot Diaz talk about his new book, This is How You Lose Her. During dinner, trivia came up and we decided that we would get the team back together with some new additions. I sent the email around the next day and boom: The Idea Exchange was born. Yes, that's our less than stellar team name but it's actually related to something at work so it makes sense to us.

Of course (which I have used a lot today), my fellow trivia team members decided I would be team captain. I'm sure this has less to do with my leadership skills and more to do with the fact that none of them wanted the responsibility. Here are the responsibilities of a trivia team captain (as defined by me):
  1. Fill out the very tedious team information form which includes spaces for team name (which we had to come up with on the spot), team alias (used only for the night-really?), and team member information. I have really clear handwriting (former teacher and all) so I did well here.
  2. Write down all of the answers. Honestly, anyone can do this but it's probably best to let it be a consistent person. Again, handwriting is important.
  3. Take the answers to the trivia hosts.
  4. Pick a prize in each of the three rounds because we came in 3rd (first round) and 4th (second and third rounds) so we got prizes. 
  5. Rally the team. This was the longest trivia night ever. There were a lot of teams and the hosts were not very well organized (I really want to help them with that) so it took 3 hours. Can you imagine that? After working a long work day let's play trivia for 3 hours-I'm fairly certain everyone hated me a little bit even though it wasn't my fault (which they pointed out but still). By the end, there were only 3 of us (from the original 8) so let's just say things fell apart. We finished in 13th place. This is an area I need to work on before the next trivia night. I also hope the normal co-host comes back and they get their act together.
  6. Make sure we have a regular team even if it's not the same people. This is going to be my new thing (apparently). I've already recruited two non-friends from work and at least one more friend from work who wants to play. A good trivia team captain is always on the lookout for solid trivia skills.
  7. Foster a sense of camaraderie amongst the team. I sent out an email the next day with our final score and encouraged everyone to come by to claim one of the prizes (Sweet Tarts candy canes). I imagine this will be my new regular Monday thing to do.
Here's what else I've learned in this one experience of being team captain: I'm ridiculously competitive about really stupid things. I honestly hate the fact that we finished 13th! It's driving me a little crazy. I want us to finish in the top 5 or at least top 10 next time. I want to find a sports person because we will probably need one (although one of the guys did well on this so maybe we're okay). I also think we need to fill out our science and history areas. We have some people with skills in both but need a more rounded trivia knowledge set. Yes, I just used the phrase "trivia knowledge set" in a serious way. The only other time I've gotten this competitive over something was when I bowled with strangers last year. I had fun then too but I was oddly competitive against a group of women I had never met before. It seemed weird to me then and it seems weird to me now.

Maybe this is an after effect of never playing team sports. I've never been really competitive in my work life (back in my admissions days I was a little competitive about application numbers but that was the nature of my office). I wasn't competitive in my theatre days - just bossy. Bossiness and competitiveness are two different things (although being bossy doesn't hurt when you're team captain). Maybe it's the perfectionist in me. Everyone wants to win right?

I will say this: even if we come in 13th place again, it will still be a lot of fun and I will get to hang out with great people. One of the things I've loved about moving back to VA is this feeling of belonging. Yes, I had people to hang out with in CA but I never felt like I was supposed to be there. When I hang out with my friends (from work or otherwise) and we're going to trivia or a book talk or dinner or to get a manicure and have frozen yogurt, it feels like home.

I haven't had that feeling about a place in a very long time.

Yes, we also won Christmas Garland. Please make jokes about my last name and holiday decorations. I've never heard them before.

1 comment:

  1. Dude! I'm so happy you're having so much in VA. It's great to hear that you're feeling good about being there and it sounds like you are busy all the time.
    I went to a trivia night in Denver one time, on a twelve hour lay over. 4 of us formed a team. It was so much harder than I thought it was going to be. Some advise, Tori Amos is often an answer, at least in Denver.