The Ohio Quizbowl Forum

A forum dedicated to discussing all things related to high school quizbowl in Ohio.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:20 pm
Posts: 258
Location: Ohio
Carry on.

Greg Bossick, formerly Persona Non Grata
Mogadore '98, Youngstown State '02
Director of the Mahoning, Ashtabula, Portage, and Toledo Area Quizbowl Leagues

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:37 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:56 pm
Posts: 309
Location: Self-Imposed Exile, 4ever
Ah yes, NTAE. Oh look, it's 1:35am: time for me to make an ill-fated nocturnal post!

There were two positives about the NTAE tournament that I think the good quizbowl universe, should they choose to make the effort, could adopt and see some benefit of such.

1) This is more pertinent in the compare/contrast to the only similar-philosophy national out there in QB (NASAT), is the fact this tournament better caters to teams from areas somewhat devoid of good quizbowl (Louisiana, Colorado, Maine, et al). Anyone that's seen NASAT in person knows there are always a couple states that try hard to put together a team (Minnesota, Indiana etc) but get absolutely throttled ad nauseam at NASAT by states that are much more experienced with high-competition tossup/bonus who also go through a very selective, competitive tryout processes (California, Texas, Virginia, Illinois etc [Ohio fits that narrative, except those four states have placed much higher on a more consistent basis]). There's nothing wrong with states doing the latter, but on the other hand, NASAT as a product to the "newer states" is essentially really hard-as-nails tossup/bonus against much more experienced states strung out over the course of one day (the round robin is what, 10-11 games on a Saturday?). By contrast, NTAE only makes you play like two-or-three games over the course of a couple days, and even they make the match-ups somewhat equitable for all sides by factoring in state size and results in previous games. The solution to my presented issue, I think, for NASAT would be to pre-seed the teams and do preliminary brackets of four, play those, rebracket the tops with the tops; middles with the middles, and bottoms with the bottoms. Do a couple rebracketings a la PACE NSC, and boom - you have more equitable, competitive, and worthwhile games for all sides.

2) When playing at NTAE, you don't play in front of a reader and scorekeeper - you play in front of a panel of teachers whose expertise range from the arts, to the sciences, to the histories, to the mathematics, to the languages, to the... (you get the idea.) While obviously you can't have six-person panels in every room at HSNCT, NSC etc, the idea here is that you're playing in front of experts on the subjects at hand. Granted, they do need the panels in large part because the questions are something else, but that appeals more I feel to the "quiz bowl as an extension-of-the-classroom activity" crowd than "quiz bowl: the ultra-competitive activity." (And we've all been in that first crowd before we stepped into the latter.) Maybe NASAT or possibly NSC could pilot an incorporation of that idea: get the necessary staff for a quizbowl game and pay a couple teachers a small sum of cash (be it in the QB community or from the hosting area) to sit in on it and let them be a part of the game (as a spectator or as a person to turn to in case a dispute arises...).

2a) Also on that topic: I found that the panels of teacher-judges at NTAE were generally more interested in engaging with the teams; they were generally warmer and nicer, too, in comparison to some experiences at nationals where you may encounter some guys that just read the packet, nothing more/nothing less. The point being that the NTAE staff from my experienced is pretty concerned with putting on the event and being good hosts, whereas the moderators at the good nationals are generally just interested in getting the show on the road: get in, read questions, get out, get through the day. Perhaps this topic of moderator interaction and any power dynamics between reader and players is nuanced at best, insignificant at worst, and yeah it'd be unreasonable to see such a turnaround in philosophy get implemented at HSNCT + NSC due to the massive tournament size and time/logistical contraints... but, again, don't see why we can't see something similar get implemented at a NASAT or even some of our local tournaments.

There were some really not-great things about the tournament itself, we all know it. But I do feel there are some things that can be taken away from NTAE that can improve the quizbowl product on the national front, and heck, maybe us Ohioans can find a way to get some more attention-to-detail in our tournaments; to make the game more appealing and welcoming, especially to newer schools. While some (including myself) may not see eye-to-eye on certain issues with Josh and Cortney, they did bring up a valid point on another thread in that whenever you have a school new to quizbowl at your tournament, despite the fact you obviously have to satisfy the masses and put on a functioning and worthwhile tournament, you're also putting on a tournament for the new schools too. I don't expect tournament directors to bend over backwards to try and accommodate the new schools (nor do I think they were suggesting it), but I think if we took just a couple minutes and inform the readers "hey, there's a new school to quizbowl/new school to our tournament in one of your rooms: when you get them, make them feel welcome, be a good ambassador of the game", it would pay dividends. The tournament from the TD's perspective is produced in the war room, but the tournament from the teams' perspective is produced in the classrooms, in the game.

Thomas Moore
Ohio Wesleyan '18

Retired from online, for good.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:08 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:43 pm
Posts: 361
Location: Garfield Heights OH
I thoroughly enjoyed NTAE/Panasonic in 2007 and 2008 when we got to represent Ohio. As long as you went into it knowing it wasn't "quizbowl" per se, it was enjoyable. The matches weren't horribly fun and the questions were at times aggravating, but I got the same vibe from the panel of judges that you did and between all of the events, they really went out of their way to make you feel welcome. It sucks to see something like this not happen again, even though I know I'm in the minority on this one.

Bob Kilner
Chief Admin,
Former Coach, Garfield Heights HS (2001-2008)
Coach, North High School (2015-)
Kent State '06 / Boise State '10

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