Student trivia buffs compete in worldwide contest
J.D. is not the only one who knows a thing or two about trivia. Amid the CSB/SJU community, an SJU sophomore has dedicated hours of travel and dedicated participation to one annual weekend on his own pursuit of trivia for the past six years of his life.
Tom Hirschboeck, a philosophy major, spent April 19 to 21 in Stevens Point, Wis. at what is known as the largest trivia contest in the world.
And Hirschboeck, alongside his father and father’s friends, did not lose this world-renowned contest, run by WWSP 90FM radio station at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In fact, his self-named team, “Got Jeannie, We Don’t Need Underwear,” came in 88th place this year, after competing against approximately 400 teams for the entire weekend with little to no time to spare.
“A typical day at the contest includes very little sleep, a lot of coffee and eight questions in hour,” Hirschboeck said.
Throughout the contest, participants are asked eight questions per hour about pop culture and asked to call their answers into the radio line, where 18 volunteers are at the ready all day and night.
Hirschboeck was not the only CSB/SJU student to participate this year. Approximately 20 CSB and SJU students played on an online team called the Pudding Pops right in St. Joseph, Minn. and called in answers on Friday and Saturday as well.
“I’m from Stevens Point, the home of trivia, so I’m somewhat of a veteran,” SJU Junior Ben Precourt said. “I’ve always wanted to bring a little Wisconsin flavor to the trivia-starved people of Minnesota.”
Although the Pudding Pops team took 363rd place this year, Precourt hopes to bring a group of CSB/SJU students to the contest next year for the full experience.
For both Hirschboeck and Precourt, trivia has more of a meaning than what it “trivially” denotes
“It’s trivial, sure, but when 400 teams show up, it becomes something huge and all the sillier for it,” Hirschboeck said. “It’s a celebration of our shared humanity; a tangible representation of our collective search for meaning, perhaps.”
From participating in this trivia contest with his father and friends, Hirschboeck noted a positive change that he saw in himself from participating from his high school to college years. From the camaraderie to the caffeinated beverages, Hirschboeck said he would like to see more of his friends get involved.
“I’ve tried to get some friends to come, and they keep wimping out,” Hirschboeck said. “I want them to know that senior year they are going to have to come, and I will hold them to it.”
Until then, Hirschboeck said he will await next year’s contest but that he will not be practicing. Rather, Hirschboeck sees the value in trivia as a “temporary break from the norm.”
Whether on the LINK with J.D. or participating in worldwide trivia contests, CSB/SJU students can “celebrate youth and of the college culture of trying out new things” through trivia, according to Hirschboeck.