David Hammond

When Dan Andries – family friend, Berwynite and WTTW producer – called to ask if I’d appear on The Great Chicago Quiz Show, I said “Sure!” This show, hosted by Geoffrey Baer, seven-time Emmy Award-winning public television writer and producer, will premiere on Friday, March 26, at 8 p.m. 

This quiz show poses Chicago-based trivia questions like “Who was Bud Billikin?” and “Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S. president to have a patent. What was it for?” 

“For Chicago trivia geeks, those who miss trivia nights with friends, and the all-around curious, this series is the perfect Friday night activity,” says Baer. “I imagine viewers sitting on the edges of their couches trying to outguess the contestants. Win or lose, everyone learns something and has fun, including me!”

I prepped by watching Baer’s excellent Chicago history tours. I’ve lived in the Chicago area all my life, so I figured I’d do well. I was very wrong.

Before shooting started, I chatted with Baer, and casually mentioned, “I know about as much about professional sports as the average seven-year-old girl.” I now humbly apologize to all seven-year-old girls, most of whom probably know much more about professional sports than I do. 

I’ve tried to get interested in professional sports. On more than one occasion, I’ve forced myself to read the sports page and pick up as much information as I could. But it never stuck, and that’s because I just don’t care. I’m not proud of this lack of interest, and for other all-American males, this lack of enthusiasm for pro athletics seems to be incomprehensible. 

Years ago, at the Oak Park YMCA, I was on the treadmill, and a guy got on the machine next to mine and asked, enthusiastically, “Did you see that game last night?” I admitted that I didn’t follow sports. The guy replied, “Could you believe that free throw shot in the fourth quarter?!” Clearly, my comment about not following sports bounced off his ears like bullets off Superman’s eyes; they made no impression whatsoever; they didn’t compute. How could anyone *not* care about sports?

I do not usually advertise my lack of interest in – or any real knowledge of – sports. It’s my dark secret (my only one). When the guys start talking sports, I quietly listen until I figure out a way to change the subject.

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As the quiz show got underway, I got two out of three of the opening questions right. Then Baer asked me to name as many Chicago sports teams as I could. I got six or seven out of a possible 20 correct, which is not good at all. 

Aside from that, I do think this will be a fun show for anyone who is interested in Chicago trivia, and for me, there are few things more trivial than professional sports, which is why I know almost nothing about them…as you will see if you tune into The Great American Quiz Show.

Watch online at wttw.com/quiz.

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David Hammond

David Hammond, a corporate communications consultant and food journalist living in Oak Park, Illinois, is a founder and moderator of LTHForum.com, the 8,500 member Chicago-based culinary chat site. David...