Trivial pursuits no longer seem frivolous thanks to competition
by David Lazenby
Feb 03, 2011 | 614 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
David Lazenby
David Lazenby
Lately I’ve been in pursuit of trivia.

After some of my colleagues at the Daily Mountain Eagle decided to take part in the inaugural Rotary Trivia Night Competition a few weeks ago, we started training for the event by reading each other trivia questions during breaks at the office.

Of course preparing for a trivia contest is like waiting until the night before a high school graduation exam before cracking a book. In other words, at this point, you either know it or you don’t.

After all, it would be highly coincidental for us to draw one of the questions from the Trivia Pursuit game cards we are using to prepare for the Feb. 11 contest that will be held at the Community Health Services building.

These petty, yet interesting facts took on additional importance more recently when I received an e-mail announcing I was eligible to take an online test on Wednesday to be a contestant on Jeopardy. Suddenly the stakes were raised from mere bragging rights to big bucks.

Although I’m not sure I have what it takes to win on Jeopardy, I am not lacking in my aspirations. In fact, every time I see someone win several thousand dollars in 30 minutes on the game show starring Alex Trebek, I think to myself that’s something I would like to do.

Like the upcoming community trivia contest, there may not be a lot I can do to prepare for the examination I will take Wednesday evening, but I haven’t let that stopped me from trying.

I figured one way to prepare for the test to be on Jeopardy is to watch the show. So now my DVR is set up to record the game show every day. My wife Elisha prefers to watch The Dr. Oz Show or a re-run of Friends when she is in front of the television. But, I think the slim chance that I might get to compete on the syndicated program has made her more interested in watching the show — or at the very least having me watch the show.

One drawback from watching the show regularly in preparation for my test is that some episodes make me doubtful of my chances of making it onto the show, let alone winning any cash at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif.

I become especially discouraged about my random knowledge when it comes to certain categories. If I get quizzed about something like “ballet” or “15th century Russian literature,” my signaling device will probably go unused.

Although there are plenty of other topics I don’t know much about, I do know this: I am much more confident in the chance for success of the Daily Mountain Eagle trivia team, The News-It-Alls, than I am in myself as a wannabe Jeopardy contestant.

The reason for this is diversification.

While the topics in which I specialize deal mostly with pop culture subjects such as movies and music, W. Brian Hale has a hot hand when it comes to sports and history, Daniel Gaddy is the bomb when questions about politics and current events come up and James Phillips was a member of his high school’s scholars bowl team whose erudition earned him a scholarship to Bevill State Community College. James also knows more about professional wrestling than anyone I know.

Here’s something else I know: Regardless of how the News-It-Alls do next Friday, we’re going to have fun, because we enjoy having our knowledge tested. As a bonus, we’ll take pleasure in knowing that our participation is helping to raise money for some worthwhile causes. Organizations that will benefit from the event include United Way of Central Alabama, The Hope Clinic, Boy Scouts of America-Black Warrior Council, the ARC of Walker County, the Pregnancy Testing and Resource Center, The Boys and Girls Club, KidOne Transport and the Walker County Homeless Coalition.

No matter how we fare in the contest, the chance to take part in such a positive event is going to be gratifying.

And that’s a fact.

David Lazenby is the news editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 221-2840 or via e-mail at