Will Sam Marry Nora? A Sporcle Pub Quiz Engagement Story

My name is Matt. I’ve been a Sporcle host for over nine years, and in that time, I’ve met some extraordinary people and watched some wonderful stories unfold. Last week, I was lucky and honored enough to be a small part in a new story: that of Nora and Sam’s engagement.

I was approached a few months ago by Nora, a regular player at my Wednesday show. She, her partner, Sam, and a few other friends play on a team called the Kiweenies. They call themselves the Kiweenies because it’s the nickname of their team mascot, a three-legged wonder dog named Kiwi.

Nora was in the planning stages of her proposal to Sam, and she was curious if it was something I could help with. She told me that since trivia had become such a staple of their weekly routine, how special it would be to have a surprise proposal mid-game. Of course, I wasn’t just willing to help, I was downright giddy.

Nora and I exchanged a few emails discussing her options, but in the end, the bulk of the plan was all her doing. She came up with the idea of using the Mystery Round as the smokescreen for the surprise. The category would be “Celebrity Names”, and the answers would be the first names of celebrities. Those names when read in order would say: “Will Sam Mary Nora”. After I put a few Sporcle touches on it, the plan was all set.

The night finally came. I started the show like any other, hoping that my growing excitement wouldn’t tip my hand in any way. In fact, by the time the proposal was imminent, I was literally shaking. I swear, I don’t think I was that nervous for my own proposal to my now wife. When it was the outcome of my own engagement, the only person I could let down was me. But now, if I accidentally revealed the answers too quickly, or played ABBA’s ”Waterloo” before the cue was given, I might ruin someone else’s big night, which would be a much bigger letdown.

Luckily, I played it cool enough. By the time I read through the questions, Sam was none the wiser. In fact, like most team captains, she was so concentrated on the individual answers, that she didn’t see the hidden question being formed. The plan had worked so perfectly that when Nora got up from the table and took the mic from me, it took Sam a few moments to realize what was happening.

Nora began to read out the answers one by one, her eyes locked on Sam, whose eyes were now full of happy tears. The bar buzzed with excited tension. With every eye in the bar now flicking between Nora and Sam as they shared this intimate and wonderful moment with us, the final answer came up on the screen. All that was left was for the moment itself. Nora proposed, and of course Sam said yes. The bar erupted with cheers and applause. Tears were shed, even from yours truly. (I can’t help it, I’m a helpless romantic). Another team of regulars bought the Kiweenies some champagne to celebrate and once the cheering had died down, I had the unenviable task of bringing everybody back to Earth with the regular Mystery Round (which incidentally was much harder than the proposal questions and therefore angered many teams.)

In the wake of that night, I found myself taking stock of my position as host. I had always felt that it’s a fun and rewarding job but ultimately, not life changing. I mean, all I do is read questions into a microphone for a few hours a week, how important can that be? But then I thought back on the hundreds of times I’ve heard over the years how trivia night has impacted my players. How it’s the only constant break in their otherwise hectic lives. That it’s a commitment for friends to make sure they get to see each other more frequently, or for married couples to treat themselves to a date night once or twice a month. Heck, I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve seen a relationship go through every point of its life cycle, from first date all the way to marital bliss.

I haven’t known Nora and Sam for as long as I have some of my other players, but they let me and their fellow players into a life-changing moment for them. I’m grateful to have been a part of it. I’m happy Nora chose trivia night as the venue for the occasion because it reminded me just how important trivia night is for some of us. Whether it’s the new friendships we make or the strengthening of the ones we already have.

From all of us at Sporcle, congratulations Nora and Sam! And thank you for letting us tell your story.