Oddysey of the Minds: A Journey of Winning

Winning is nothing without a challenge.
– Somewhere in a film

M: Her perspective will be the sole perspective you will see this story in – CMA
G: A lanky dude, with hair like John Lennon – CMA
Randz: A chubby guy with an outspoken personality – CMA
Dan: A normal girl (I guess, I barely know her) – CMA
Fev: An average students, loves reading NatGeo – CMA
Jeb: A stout man who loves Geography and History, undoubtedly his strong suit when it comes to general knowledge questions, friend since HS – CEA
Rex: The previous champion before I came to the school – CEA

Ers: A CEA student, friend since HS
Rej: Someone who is a lot like G but … more silent – CEA
Ju N: A former CMA student who shifted course – CAS
Rod: A tall guy with hair a lot like Lennon, formerly a CEA student but shifted course, friend since HS – CAS
Grach: A fellow member at the publication – CAS
F: A member of the publication – CAS
Sir C: A judge at the competition
Sir JB: A judge at the competition
Sir Norm: Coach? Financer? Supporter? A CMA professor
Candace: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
Beth: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
Kez: A CMA student, not a member of my team – CMA
C: Wore a red shirt that day, I knew her only after the competition – CMA
Nins: Short, thin, and everything in between, a member of my team – CMA

The story begins at PHINMA Cagayan de Oro College where an annual competition is held every foundation week. Usually held on a Friday in 2nd or 3rd week of February, the games was called Pautukay: Battle of the Minds. It, in a simple way of explaining things, is a general knowledge competition. A lot like Who Wants to be a Millionaire but with little cash and bragging rights the only prize the winner gets. Along with the satisfaction of beating the quiz master and/or any team that goes on to compete in the final round.

FEBRUARY 13, 2015

Randz, G and M first time together in a competition like this, enter the arena with nothing under their belts. Randz, was the former quiz master and no longer a part of the organizing team at the time, he decided to join. G and M just wanted to join for the fun of it, nothing major in their minds at all – not even winning. Eliminations is always the tricky part. Not really sure whether your team would make the cut, you and your team mates scramble to answer every single question given by the quiz master. At the time, Rex was the quiz master – a former champion and with a lot of tough trivia in his arsenal. The questions hurled were of various difficulty level. But then again, what could have been difficult for the quiz master may be easy for the players especially if they know it. Long story short, CEA and CMA battled for the top spot. The mechanics was simple. Bet by multiples of 100, 100 being the lowest and whatever bet one team bets, the other is compelled to match it. In case of insufficient fund, the team is allowed to borrow money from the quizmaster’s bank. Betting game; strategy, and general knowledge – quite a way to do battle. With a 1000 chips on the line, the winning question was,
What is the study of rocks?
I poked Randz to raise the board up.
We were deliberating and I was sure I knew the answer but I couldn’t find it in my mind palace just yet.
Geology? G says?
No! I reply sternly.
Rex inches near us, ready to hear our answer.
I whisper to Randz.
He relays it to the quiz master and out of the corner of my eye, I could see Sir C. Snapping his fingers. We were right! We won! Even if the CEA team gets the next questions, we have accumulated greater chips… so we won! Jun and Randz shouted in delight. I was too awe-struck. History was made then. CMA has won the competition for the longest time of being dormant and always being beat by CEA. I was just glad I beat Jeb. Do not ask why.

FEBRUARY 10, 2016

So, the next year came and Randz graduated. G went on and decided to become the quiz master. I was stuck all alone. Dan and Fev became the fillers at the time. By then, Rod and Ju N have both shifted. The usual CEA people did not join due to a conflict in schedule for their convention. Rex, still the quizmaster. Eliminations was tricky. They were to choose the top 10. We were the top 10. Haha! By a hair, pal. By a hair. The finals consisted of the team Randz coached, Rod and Ju N, and my team. The mechanics, similar to last year but with a twist – this time if a team becomes bankrupt, they may opt to switch one of their players for more money from the bank. Hunger Games; betting game; strategy, and general knowledge. Part 2 it seems. To make matters worse, the MC announced I was the defending champion. And that the quiz master and a coach in the audience are my teammates. Pressure much! Rex, the MC, sure knew when to build up the tension.
Short story short (lol) I won. CAS the second placer, and by this time, I have made a name for myself.

Up until this year.

FEBRUARY 17, 2017

The events prior to this date no longer mattered. They became shadows compared to the happiness I felt the entire day. It was beyond the happiness of seeing a very dear friend during the first week of February, beyond the excitement of watching Split the following week after, even more than the feeling when I found out I will be starting work as a paid intern! The universe loved me that day. Rex, was no longer the MC, G is still the quizmaster and Randz still a coach. My new teammates were Nins and Cielo. The funny thing was, the elimination round was still as tricky as the previous years; only this time, my teammates were responsive. There was also not a moment where I would look at my back and see CEA’s answers and just laugh at them if they get it wrong and pout if they get it right. Half of the time, we were guessing, (nope, not really) so I was pretty sure the CEA team was too. My CAS friends did well too. Each college was required to have two teams participate for the event and by the end of the elimination round, both teams of CAS, both teams of CMA, both teams of CEA, both teams of SHS, CRIM, and CITE got in the top 10. My CEA friends topped the elimination round. We tailed behind at 4th. It didn’t matter at all because in the final round, all will be reset to zero. Fair game.
Rex even joked, as were off to the next venue,
“Grabe Mona, wala man mi nag-ampo nga mahighest mi sa eliminations. Ang amo gi-ampo na maeliminate mo.” (We did not pray for us to have the highest score in the eliminations. What we prayed for was that you get eliminated.)
In the final round, we were practically laughing and just so noisy. It did not help that the crowd kept on cheering me when I got the right answer.
What was ironic was remember what category made us win back in 2015? Science.
This year, what made the CEA team win… yes, Science.
Triple Point. The answer they were looking for. All’s well that ends well. Rex, back to reclaim his throne and CEA is once again the defending champion. I was ecstatic, really. I kept cheering on even after the game ended. What was funny was what happened after the event. We celebrated, obviously, and as usual, the chat went on from and back to school. Afternoon came and I had to go do duties in our school publication because we would be hosting a literary event. Busy day, ahead of me but I was just too happy I met my friends again after so long. All it took was a competition.
Awarding was by night time so we waited until then, quietly hoping we’d get medals. Yep. There is no shame in just playing for want of a medal. Haha! Although the money was a bit catchy at the time too, we wanted a medal. Sadly, none was given so we settled for cold hard cash. Haha!
My jokes are nothing compared to the jokes and puns my friends make. Rex, no exemption to the party. The night was fun and full of laughter. 8 of us gathered, 5 stayed until the end. Dinner at the same place where we ate lunch, and at the same table too! Always a night to remember, if spent with quality people. It was then that Rex opened up and shared his thoughts throughout the game. I had nothing left to share, I ranted straight to them after the competition. I was just so proud so happy! It almost didn’t feel like a competition. It felt a reunion between friends. I would always glare at G if the question’s category is either Geography or History, and he would laugh, as if mocking me. In the back of my mind, “Great, Jeb knows it. History is his, after all.” But when the category fall into Humanities, Literature or Law, I sit back act calm, and don’t bother feeling tense. I guess my mom’s classes do pay off once in a while.
Waiting for the awarding ceremony, recounting the events of the day, was still what we had in mind.
They were gloating. And I was just joining in for the fun.

Bahala ug di pa mi mugraduate, basta kay daog mi. (It does not matter that we wouldn’t graduate, we won!)
Bahala ug pildi, basta kay nakulbaan ang kontra. (It does not matter if you lose, just as long as your opponent felt nervous.)
Pero Munch, daog jud mi. (But Munch, we won.)
Jaaah! Kamo man tulo! Ako ra dayun isa! Asus! Kinahanglan jud full force, mapildi lang ko. (Jaaah! It’s the three of you! And only me! It took three of you to beat me!)

We had fun remininiscing the days, taking turns in admiring this year and the previous year’s mechanics of the game. Applauding G for his questions. In all fairness, difficult … is indeed difficult. I wanted a lot of tension (hence, why I prefer the 2015 version) and Rex liked this year’s version if only the crowd weren’t as close to the players as they are. We took turns rating the previous administration’s take on the event, and the outcome of this year’s foundation week. Laughing at the fact of how every winning team had a member of the school’s publication in it (Jeb, Me, and Grach). A great time. An awesome moment.

Rex’s story was funny, cute and a testament to what we were all feeling.

Kulba biya pud ghapun bayh. Katon jung sa easy round bayh. Taka-taka ra sa mi. Unya katong nagsunod-sunod na imong mga correct bah. Ana jud si Jebsen, nagsugod na si Mona oh. Naluyahan jud mi na. Kung wala bitaw tong Triple Point nga question, pildi jud mi. (It really was a nerve-wracking game. In the easy round, when you started getting consecutive correct answers and we were wrong, Jebsen said “Mona’s starting” we started to lose composure. If it wasn’t for the triple point question, we would not have won.)
Kung correct pa jud mi atong isa lang sa sa moderate round, daog pud mi. (And if we got one more correct answer in the moderate answer we would have won)
Kung correct pud mi sa … (But if we got one more question…)

I was just laughing, at his story.
The entire time.
Because the game was never what we came for in the first place. (Yep, it was the medals and the cash)
The first win I had in the competition with G and Randz, will always be my most treasured experience of all (including future ones) General Knowledge competitions. It was… and will always be about the fun in playing and the joy of seeing friends once again – whether as a quiz master, a coach, a fellow player, a competitor. It’s nice… competing with peers it never feels like one. It is so much more than the joy of winning for own personal gains, the college, the medals or the bragging rights. The joy of being able to compete with peers is priceless. Even more so when they consider you a threat – I take it they commend you and admire you highly. And if any of my friends were to read this, believe me, the admiration is mutual.

From the left: Rex, Me, Nins, Ers, Ers’s gf

Congratulations to us all! Next year, I will be somewhere in the crowd, a spectator, cheering them on. Here’s to more competitions! Here’s to more triple points! Here’s to more fun moments!

P.S. Petrology is the study of rocks. *smiles*

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