Wednesday April 27, 2011 | 01:50 PM
Not everybody can be a gymnast.

I mean, some of us could have been, with our keen sense of balance and jungle-cat reflexes and stuff, but we chose instead to play in the dirt during those crucial kindergarten years.

So if we're aiming to be Olympic-level competitors, we need to find another avenue.

Board Game Olympics could be a winning opportunity for limber-of-mind folks who prefer to tumble with trivia - while NOT wearing a flesh-hugging Lycra.

The first of what's expected to be a monthly event, Board Game Olympics kicked off last night at Bayside Bowl. It's another offering from local organization Portland Roots, geared at getting people together for some socializing and smack talking.

Teams of two, with names like "#Winning," "Roots and Ladders" and "Low Expectations," met to play rounds of a few board game classics: Taboo, Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit.

The board helped keep things organized.

In short order, buzzers were buzzed, answers were shouted, table tops were slapped in "Dangit, I knew that!" chagrin.

After 30 minutes, teams tallied their scores for round one, then swapped one rival for another. This is right around the time that my team (Board Silly, formerly known as Pinto Beano) realized that we were not, in fact, board game geniuses.

Ten minutes into the Trivial Pursuit round, it became clear that we might, in fact, be idiots. Thirty minutes of questions and do you know how many pies we acquired? Not one.

We begged for mercy. We begged for hints. We begged for the junior version.

Let it suffice to say, by the end of the third round, Board Silly had been unceremoniously destroyed. Emotionally speaking.

Three teams were going to the final round - Jenga - but there was a four-way tie for teams in third place.

No better way to weed out the lessers than an electric game of Operation.

Poor guy was picked and prodded all over. But his sacrifice led one team into the final round.

As Portland Roots co-founder Jeff Russell said, "Welcome to the Jengle."

It may well have been the longest round of Jenga recorded, lasting at least half an hour. That tower defied gravity. It swayed and leaned but refused to fall, even when, in my clumsiness, I began knocking things over at the other end of the table.

But the Jenga tower, much like my own board game dreams, eventually came crashing down.

The night's ultimate winner was finally decided - I think there was a round of Taboo in there too. They are Bamma Jamma. And they are a board game force to be reckoned with.

Board Game Olympics will be happening monthly at Bayside Bowl. To stay apprised of future dates - or anything else from Portland Roots - sign up for their email newsletter at

Check out more photos from Board Game Olympics.

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Shannon Bryan, content producer for MaineToday Media, likes exploring Maine - from mattress races to cardboard boats, she's into the weird stuff.

Karen Beaudoin, online editor for MaineToday Media, likes knowing the important things - like who's just opened their deck for a sunny afternoon beer and what Portland's eclectic set of street performers are up to.

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