Monday, August 18, 2008

NTN Buzztime loses a site in Columbia, Maryland

B. Santos recently wrote about Rocky Run in Columbia, Maryland. Here's a relevant excerpt:

The Smartest Patrons Ever Known

I am serious about this point. Since the day it opened, Rocky Run always ran the NTN/Buzztime trivia games; Half hour trivia contests that linked thousands of restaurants across the United States. Rocky Run attracted a clientele that was adept at these games (and for a long time, I was one of them) and often times Rocky Run would be ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Occasionally, a person would arrive at Rocky Run just based on seeing the restaurant on the trivia boards at other restaurants. During the late 1990’s, Rocky Run and Nottingham’s were engaged in a battle of trivia supremacy. Trivia players were courted. Scores were displayed; cell phone calls were exchanged after games.

What gave this rivalry depth was that at Nottingham’s, it was known that the trivia players typically shared answers. At Rocky Run, the unwritten rule was that you played your game. Shouting out answers was considered bad form. That is not to say that the trivia players were stoic and silent. After playing for a while, players got to know each other. Most were witty, some were outright funny, and all liked passing time together.

Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending:

[Friday] I stopped by to take the picture to accompany this post. The owner came out and said hello. We talked for a short while and then I just had to ask: What happened? He told me that business had really dropped off drastically in the last four months. I thanked him and inquired how the staff were doing. He had told me that more than a few had already found jobs. I was relieved to hear that. I just smiled and thanked him again. He smiled back and thanked me, then quietly went inside. I took a minute and sat on the bench outside. As I sat there, four cars pulled up, and each asked the same question: What happened? I told each what I had heard, and they all, hesitantly, walked back to their cars, muttering “This is awful…This was my favorite place…”

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