Attending a live sporting event is a lot of fun, but you quickly become aware that there is much more downtime during a game than you realized. Instead of watching commercials, grabbing a beer, or tweeting something clever during timeouts, you’re forced to sit there and watch the uniformed event staff try to intimidate you into not running onto the field or court while you slowly start to realize just how uncomfortable your seat actually is.
This is the reason why some benevolent gentleman (or gentlewoman…feminists…) introduced the idea of keeping the audience entertained with a series of quizzes and games throughout the event.
The quizzes range from the completely arbitrary “guess the attendance” to the more esoteric “who led the team in [insert random stat] in the year 1973?”
The games range from the juvenile “let’s watch four animated cars of different colors race around the stadium” to the morally questionable, sport-themed variations on the street gambler moneymaker, Three-Card Monte (which, according to Wikipedia is also known as the Three-card marney, Three-card trick, Three-Way, Three-card shuffle, Menage-a-card, Triplets, Follow the lady, Les Trois Perdants (French for Three Losers), le Bonneteau, Find the lady, or Follow the Bee).
Although they can be boring, the games serve their purpose in passing the time while we wait for the players to catch their breath, throw in some chewing tobacco, or get carted off the field on a stretcher.
But there is always one fan in your section who decides to make it his (or her…feminists…) personal mission to let you and everyone else in the stadium know that he got the answer right.
As soon as the “guess the attendance” question appears on the Jumbotron he abruptly stops whatever he’s doing and demands silence from his neighbors. He reads the question slowly, out loud, and repeats it several times while muttering “you know this…you know this” between breaths. A bead of sweat drips down his forehead as the multiple choice answers show up on screen.
“It can’t be less than 20 thousand, so ‘A’ is definitely out,” he says with a look of sheer concentration. As he surveys the rest of the choices, “A” fades away from the screen, effectively removing it as a possible answer. The man is happy, but there’s no time to celebrate. The clock is ticking.
He looks at the board intensely and, drawing on experience, says, “It’s never the highest number, so it can’t be ‘D’.” Just after he’s finished speaking, “D” vanishes from the Jumbotron, leaving just two choices. Tick, tick.
“Ok…it’s either ‘B’ or ‘C’,” he says as if he’s granting us access to some great secret worthy of a Dan Brown novel. His eyes dart back and forth between the two numbers incessantly until finally, just before the quiz ends he shuts his eyes and shouts out, “C!”
The crowd ooohs and aaahs as the final answer is revealed, and our hero finally summons every ounce of courage within himself to open his eyes and find that “C”, indeed, was the correct answer.
“YES! I TOLD YOU!” he exclaims as he alternates high fives and fist knocks with his taciturn fellow Row M inhabitants, “I TOLD YOU IT WAS ‘C’! I KNEW IT ALL ALONG!”
First of all, no you didn’t. You guessed, just like everyone else in the stadium. Secondly, even if you didn’t guess—even if you have some incredible speed-counting ability that allows you to count every person in the stadium in a matter of seconds—we really don’t care.
The quizzes and games at stadiums and arenas are a fun, easy way to pass the time, but that’s all they are. Getting them right doesn’t necessarily prove that you’re a superior fan and it certainly does not entitle you to gloat and do the Discount Double Check for the rest of the game.
So next time a quiz comes up on the board, do everyone around you a favor and guess quietly to yourself. If you get it right, give yourself a modest, subtle fist pump and go back to enjoying the game.
DISCLAIMER: This post applies to all stadium and arena games…except for the Milwaukee sausage race. If you have the pleasure of witnessing its greatness, from start to finish, feel free to go f***ing nuts!