Andre Craft hoped tonight was the night he'd finally be able to contribute to his trivia team's success by utilizing his encyclopedic knowledge. All he needed was a Magic: the Gathering question to roll his way.
"The night we met Andre, he just wandered up to us," said Maia Gregory, team captain of Trivia Newton John. "He kept trying to strike up conversations about some card game and asked if we were into MTG. Sorry, Andre, not Republicans. Alan and Theo were getting kind of annoyed with him at first. That was until we found out Andre doesn't come to trivia to drink... he enjoys it sober. Unironically. Crazy, right?"
"We knew instantly that he'd be a great fourth for our team. We always fought over who'd be the designated driver, which usually ended up with everyone getting drunk anyway. Saving money on Uber fares is Andre's main contribution to the team; he's done wonders for maintaining a low blood count in our alcohol content."
Enthusiastic as he was to be on a bona fide trivia team, Craft discovered just how little he knew outside of MTG Twitter beefs, meta-tiers, and notorious local pubstompers.
"The Quizmaster kept asking questions about sports, politics, and history," Craft said, sipping his cranberry juice. "Turns out people around here know a lot of useless information like state capitals, 'celebrity' birthdays, and when not to speak. These people couldn't begin to explain how deaththouch and trample interact or guess what B.R.E.A.D. stands for. Just wait. As soon as we get a Magic: the Gathering question, everyone here is going to learn who 'that guy in the racist shirt' is. Which, for the last time, isn't racist, it's Boros Legion!"
When a Toys & Games category was announced, Craft's excitement grew alongside his apprehension. Could this be his time to shine? What if he couldn't deliver?
"They opened the round with some questions about Funko Pop Figures, which they referred to as 'dolls', for whatever reason. Subsequent questions covered things like Call of Duty, Mario, and the Gameboy's release date. Then it happened. The last question in the round asked for the name of the person who invented the trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. I had waited for this moment for so long and frankly, I was offended.
"Why couldn't the question be about something interesting? Have us grade the power level of an EDH deck. Make us name the weekly schedule of the most popular Twitch streamers or give the original printing date of. I'd even accept naming the various shard's color identities and their associated monikers. But no. They had to ask the easiest question that every other group was also going to get. After all this time. All this waiting.
"My group looked at me, asking if Magic: the Gathering was that card game I never shut up about. When I told them yes, Maia said, 'People still play that game? I think my dad played that game.' The group, for the first time since I had joined, looked to me with hope. I asked if anyone else knew the answer to the question. To my surprise, none of them did. This cheered me up a bit since they were finally respecting my talents. They asked if I knew the answer to the question. Psh. Of course I knew the answer. Anyone who has ever turned cardboard sideways knew the answer to that question."
Craft casually jotted down his answer and brought it to the front. He heard whispers from other teams scrambling to come up with an answer.
"My card was the first one turned in," Craft said. "Other teams were arguing over the question. Some were laughing about it. Maybe I was being too hard on myself. Perhaps I was the only one who knew the correct answer. Honestly, who cares if the question was akin to dunking on a four-foot-tall Fisher Price basketball hoop. Even if everyone you're playing against are small children, you still feel like a giant. You could say I was walking a little taller as I returned to my team. High-fives greeted me instead of empty glasses, and for the first time I felt part of Trivia Newton John. That Applebee's gift card and free appetizer coupons were as good as ours."
The Quizmaster collected the cards and began reading answers aloud.
"Bed, Bath, and Beyoncé answered, 'Neckbeards who don't shower.' I think we can give them partial-credit on that one. Team Redundant Team answered in the form of an illustrated butt with an asterisk butthole and an arrow pointing to said butthole; sorry not correct either. My Couch Doesn't Pull Out and Neither Do I answered, 'The blond guy from Die Hard.' As much as we wish that were true, it's incorrect. Lastly, we have Trivia Newton John who gave us the only reasonable answer for this one, Andrew Garfield. Sorry, no, Spider-Man did not create Magic: the Gathering, but you were close. We were looking for Richard Garfield."
"I was mortified. Not only had I failed myself, but my teammates as well. Andrew Garfield? I didn't even like the Spider-Man reboot. What had I done? I'd be kicked out of Trivia Newton John for sure.
"After trivia was over, we piled into my 2003 Corolla. I expected the team to berate my abysmal performance, though it was a car ride like any other trivia night. There was a little ribbing for getting the question wrong, but they didn't really seem to care.
"Maia was the last to be dropped off for the night. Before she left, I asked her if I should bother showing up next week. She gave me a confused look and said, 'Of course you should.' I said I thought they were mad about not winning the Applebee's gift card and free appetizer coupons."
"Andre," she said smiling, "trivia was never about winning--even though Applebee's has quality food at a reasonable price in a family-friendly environment; it's about showing up and trying your best even though you don't have all the answers. Everyone," she said gesturing around her, "can do this with the help of liquid courage, but you, my friend, face it as sober as Monday morning. The fact that you know so little about anything to the point of parody but keep showing up anyway makes you the best of us. Remember, Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility."
"I asked what that meant, but she just blew chunks on the sidewalk, gave me the thumbs-up and headed up to her apartment pretending to shoot webbing from her wrists."
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