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Grand Forks trivia teams quiz for mental health support

The Board Room’s trivia has gone online and funds raised go to local initiatives

Just because they’re sitting in their own homes typing into their computers now, it doesn’t mean that some of the regular teams at Trivia Night hosted by the Board Room Café are any less boisterous than they would be, were they to be sat down on a Saturday night at the restaurant.

“You’re goin down” one team types into the online chat – a message directed to leaderboard rivals. While the antagonism would have likely been hollered in good spirits across tables at the café two months ago, it’s now been taken online for a good cause.

After restrictions around COVID-19 had hit the Boundary in full force, the café’s trivia regulars were without their Saturday night competitive fix. “For the next trivia night, everyone kept calling us and begging us to keep it on,” said café owner Savanna Hines. It’s one of my favourite nights,” she said, “because everyone’s just here to have fun.

“There’s a little bit of competition, but a lot of laughter.”

But now that there’s no one sitting down for a beer, a sandwich or a fancy coffee, Hines said, it felt wrong to ask to money from participating teams (they don’t charge for trivia in-person anyways), but there was still a desire to create some good out of the online forum. So instead, the team that is volunteering their time to host is taking donations that will go to mental health services in the Boundary.

“Up until now the focus has very much been physical health, and our concern was about what’s going to happen to people’s mental health in the whole COVID situation,” Hines said. As of their last trivia night on May 2, the team had raised around $300.

Trivia itself can be a mental health break for some on a Saturday, too.

“I think a lot of people really, really enjoyed it,” said trivia host Gavin Kinakin of the in-person leagues he’s hosted at work. “There was a lot healthy competition between a lot of people, and it brought people out who normally maybe just stayed at home.”

The in-person atmosphere also helped. “The nice thing is no matter where the scores land, everybody is smiling. They’re happy,” Kinakin said.

They’re also cracking up at Kinakin’s jokes – which he still makes but now receives no feedback because the teams he’s speaking to are muted on his computer.

“It’s definitely different. You kinda gotta hope that it landed, which is rough because you can’t tell if anyone is laughing,” he said, noting that sometimes he gets some feedback in Zoom’s chat feature.

“We deeply think that, especially in these isolated times, everybody’s at home and they’re getting into a routine where it can really wear down your mental state to just be doing the same thing every sing day,” Kinakin said. “So we wanted to offer that extra little thing that could change up your week, and have something that you can all participate in and feel connected.”

The next online trivia night is scheduled for May 16. Registration details will be made available on the Board Room Café’s social media pages.