It’s Thursday night and “Julie the Cat” piles into a car and drives the quarter-mile to the Perk. Tonight is the night The Cat has been waiting for since coming home for break – Trivia Night.
The Perk is the most popular restaurant in Perkasie, a suburb of Philadelphia. It comes alive every Thursday night as teams form to compete in a trivia competition. Julie the Cat, or JTC, is made up of seven college students who have been going to Trivia Night since senior year of high school. Now they are all juniors at their respective colleges.
“Not only do I love trivia,” says member Adam Kracht, “but it’s something I look forward to because I always have a good time with my six best friends.”
This week, there are 25 teams competing. “We chose the name Julie the Cat because there was a team here named Goldburg who was winning every week. We all love the movie Mighty Ducks, and Goldburg and Julie the Cat are the goalies on the team,” says member Cameron Koehler. Their team motto is “Julie the Cat has the quicker glove.”
Tom Shields, also known as ‘Triv-Man’, has been hosting Trivia Night for five years now. “It’s fun, and I know too many useless things, so I figure I should test people.”
The competition consists of five rounds, with each team getting a piece of paper to record their answers to the twelve questions. The questions each come from history, movies, music, science, arts and literature, and current events.
After the movie round there are four more rounds of general trivia. After each round Triv-Man announces the winner who receives a gag gift. However, the last round is the money round, for which each team puts in five dollars. At the end of the night, Triv-Man adds up the total points for each team, and the winner receives a $25 gift certificate to the perk to be used the following week.
“I personally like to win the overall [competition] because then I don’t have to pay for my dinner,” says Koehler as he eats the potato skins that he gets every week.
JTC Erin Koch has a different view. “I like when we win the money round because if we won the overall [competition] the week before then we already have our check covered and we walk out with money in our pockets.”
After JTC hands in their answer sheet to the first round, Triv-Man comes on the microphone. “Many teams did well this round, but only one team got all the correct answers,” he says, then he goes through the answers. Julie the Cat is already high fiving each other as they know they won the round. “I love when we win the first round,” says Rachael Koehler as she catches a shirt Triv-Man throws her way.
The team has many rituals for Trivia Night. “My favorite is when we get to the third round. We always order the Outrageous Brownie Sundae,” says Schanz as his eyes light up and points to the dessert menu.
Despite the sweet indulgence of the third round, JTC also finds itself in a bind when Triv-Man asks what year the Titanic was discovered after it sank in 1912. The team sits staring at each other waiting for someone to say something. They all agree the movie was made in 1997 which would mean it was before that. JTC member Conor O’Sullivan thinks it was before 1990 and Koch remembers going to the Titanic Exhibit with her mom when it was at the Franklin Institute. “1985 keeps popping into my head. I know it was before I was born and I remember when we went to the exhibit my mom said something about how it was discovered right after my brother was born, so I’m thinking 1985.” As the round goes on JTC is sure of all their answers but two.
Triv-Man, who has been sitting at the bar talking to the bartender goes over to the microphone to announce the last call for the answer sheets. “This is huge if we win this round because then we are for sure in first place,” says O’Sullivan while he goes through the answers one last time.
“Even if we don’t get the Titanic question right, I still love the logic we used for our answer,” says Cameron.
“Alright here we go,” Triv-man says as he then begins to read off the answers. JTC is silent as they are all waiting to hear the answer about the Titanic. “What year was the Titanic discovered after sinking in 1912?” he says repeating his question. “Many people put something in the 90s because that is when the movie came out but only one team got it right. The year it was discovered was 1985.”
Julie the Cat claps and cheers letting the rest of the teams know they are the team that got it right. Schanz leans over the table and kisses Koch on the forehead. “I love you, you crazy, crazy girl. Only you would remember your mom saying that.”
Although JTC was able to answer that key question, they got two questions wrong, and their rival team Blinkers wins the round. As the Blinkers walks by JTC’s table, they jokingly showed off their prize. “Good thing lava lamps are thirty years out of style,” Kracht yelled as they walked away.
By the end of the night JTC had won two individual rounds but lost the overall by two points to team Better Late Than Pregnant. “I still have so much fun every time we come here even if that team got lucky and beat us,” O’Sullivan joked.
Despite the loss, Schanz remains convinced that JTC is consistently the best team. “It’s really a testament to how awesome we are because we rarely know anything for sure. We just debate it and think of an answer that makes sense.”
As JTC walks out of the Perk, they don’t leave empty handed. Sure, they won a shirt and beer sign, but they all agree spending time with their best friends is the best prize.