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Battle of the Brains trivia returns as Friday Night Dialogues

Get ready, get set, get your teams ready to go as Bob DeStefano, quiz host extraordinaire, returns to the Shelter Island Public Library for another round of “Battle of the Brains” on Friday, March 13, at 7 p.m. 

Battle of the Brains is the perfect antidote for the Madness of March on Shelter Island, when friends have decamped for warmer climes, the weather is still unpleasant and most businesses are closed for vacation. But on March 13, there will be a warm, welcoming and highly energized group of folks in the library’s community room as teams vie to win this round of Battle of the Brains.

Mr. DeStefano has been creating these types of programs for 40 years, first when he was head of the school board and then as the Golf Pro at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club. “It’s my hobby,” he admitted recently. “It’s so much fun to watch the participants because there is always so much laughter going on.” 

In addition to the ones he conducts twice a year at the Shelter Island Library, he runs a monthly program at Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton. “We pack the house there, with 55-60 participants” who also are served a casual dinner of pizza and salad. He also does “customized” quizzes for a birthday party or for the local Garden Club (yes, the questions were plant-related.) The 50 general knowledge questions that comprise a typical evening usually take him about five to six hours to develop, and fit his very specific criteria. The questions should be interesting and evoke a sense of curiosity. Players should want to know the answers. When working on a quiz he asks himself, “Is it interesting? Is it something you should know, such as who won this year’s Super Bowl?” He usually throws in three or four really tough questions in the hope that no one will get all 50 right, and few do. The winning team typically gets 40 correct. The point is to engender a sense of community, to create a space where conversation, personal interaction and laughter are the hallmarks of the evening — phones are nowhere in sight. He never worries about running out of topics because “you’re constantly seeing new ideas every day.”

The ground rules are simple: people compete in teams of four. If you don’t have a full complement, just sign up at the library’s circulation desk and you’ll be added to an existing team. Anyone who wants to participate can. Cell phones are turned off for the duration of the evening and, while there are prizes, winning is really all about bragging rights. 

In addition to pursuing his quiz show hobby, Mr. DeStefano now sells real estate for Georgiana Ketcham and writes the weekly “Eye on the Ball” column for the Shelter Island Reporter. 

So come join in the fun on March 13 at 7 p.m. for another challenging Battle of the Brains.

Next Up: On Friday, March 20, Jeff Baron, creator of “Visiting Mr. Green” will present behind-the-scenes insights on the Mumbai, India production of his tragi-comedic play, which has been staged in over 500 productions in 50 countries and 24 languages. 

For information on these and any of the library’s other programs, call 631-749-0042 or stop by the circulation desk. Programs are free but, as always, donations are greatly appreciated.