The First (and hopefully only) School of Law and Government Lockdown Quiz Extravaganza
For ten years the staff and students of the School of Law and Government at DCU have held a Table Quiz at Christmas, with proceeds going to support our friends at St Michael’s House. The quiz, held in a local hostelry and sponsored in recent years by A&L Goodbody, is always great fun. It is an opportunity for staff and students to socialise, to mark the end of the first semester, and to win life-altering prizes (my favourite of the past few years was the signed photo of Dr Michael Breen!).
On the occasion of the first such quiz a tie-breaker situation emerged. It was impossible to separate the teams. A suggestion came, forcibly, from a second year EPL student for the winner to be determined by way of a “sing-off! sing-off! sing-off!”. And the now infamous sing-off tie-breaker was born. Somehow, nobody can quite understand this phenomenon, in each subsequent year a three-way tie has consistently arisen between a staff team and two student teams, and a sing-off has been required. While many performances have been memorable, for good and bad reasons alike, Law and Government graduates are likely to have a unique response to the words “It was Christmas Eve babe…” as they (fondly?!) remember the ghosts of Christmas quizzes past.
In recent weeks, with Christmas far behind us, and the memories of attending a local hostelry fading fast, the notion of a socially distant School Quiz to lift our collective spirits was mooted. A great idea certainly, but could it be done? A crack (craic? cracked?) team of staff members put their heads together and decided that it could! And so it came to pass that on Friday night, April 17th 2020, at the end of Semester 2, in the midst of a global pandemic, over 150 staff members and students from their kitchens, sitting rooms, and bedrooms, came together via the wonders of Zoom for the First (and hopefully only) School of Law and Government Lockdown Quiz Extravaganza! The logistics of running this quiz were like nothing I have ever experienced! There was an initial minor delay while we placed 150 participants into 27 team Breakout Rooms; a logistical nightmare that felt like attempting a 100,000-piece jigsaw under time pressure, with no picture of what the final product should look like!! But then we were under way!
At the beginning of each round the teams were sent to their respective Breakout Rooms and once there our MC for the evening, Dr Tanya Ní Mhuirthile, sent on the questions in written format. Then all participants were recalled to the main Zoom Room where the answers were read out, and we went round the houses for each team to pronounce their score, which was duly recorded by our tab-master Dr Erika Biagini. Team names were excellent, including such topical hits as “Covid Nine-Team”, “Nerd Immunity”, and “Quarantina”, along with the broader-based “Les Quizerables”, “Quizzy Rascals”, and “The Quizzly Bears”.
While six rounds concentrated on General Knowledge, Sport, and Music, the “Quick-Fire No Buzzer Round” required participants to gather items from around their homes. Watching 150 participants within their individual Zoom screens waving toothbrushes, pillows, egg-cups, pieces of fruit and rolls of toilet paper was like some sort of bizarre Brady Bunch intro! But it was lots of fun!
And so it came to the scoring. Would the Lockdown Quiz suffer from the same strange phenomenon as its Christmas cousin? Was a three-way tie inevitable? Indeed it was, but in a shocking turn of events, no staff team made the cut on this occasion! It seems that staff members got distracted by making virtual backgrounds out of one another’s faces!
A further question then arose, could a sing-off work on Zoom? Yes, by the wonders of modern technology, and the sharing of lyrics videos on YouTube to all participants, three teams performed their party pieces: “Wake me up” by Avicii, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and the excellent, winning crowd-pleaser “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond! I cannot recreate for you in this short piece the joy of listening to and watching 150 staff and students singing along and swaying to “Sweet Caroline” in their kitchens, sitting rooms and bedrooms, at 11pm on a Friday night! The spirit of the School of Law and Government is strong!
This was a really nice occasion, during which we felt that we were together even though we were apart. Many people assisted in the planning stages and on the night, and both staff and students contributed greatly to the fun atmosphere through virtual background changes, costume changes for each round, hats, garlands, steward’s enquiries and various heckles! Congratulations to the BCL2 team “This is our alibi” on their victory!! We asked participants to text SMH to 50300 to support St Michael’s House, as they are working so hard to support their service users throughout the current crisis.
We hope not to have to run another socially distant quiz, but this one-off was fun!