First, I must apologize that this article is a day late. I was unable to get it to our resident web posters on Sunday, because of working restrictions. Why they made it due on Sunday, I will never know. Anyway, as I contemplate Bible Quiz out here across the pond, I must say that I have found myself constantly encouraged by the scripture I have committed to memory. I am sure that as the years go by, someone only grows more encouraged. One such person would be Mike DeVries.
In the beginning there was Tennessee, and Tennessee was awesome. After Tennessee’s early domination, some competition began to form. The first team that anyone suggested could match those Tennessee teams was the team led by Mike DeVries from Colorado. This team was dynamite. I was born in between Mike’s two titles, so I’ve always kind of thought of him as my champion, like people sometimes do with Presidents. It is said that his intimidating presence in Bible Quiz was aided by his lengthy tie. While the precise length of that tie is unknown, legend has it that the bottom was always frayed from his incredibly swift jump and his far lean.
Mike was the most dominant Bible Quizzer from the first ten years of AACS competition. He is the only person who has been elected from that time period, who won a national championship during the timeframe. Statistically, his numbers were the first to ever be overwhelming. It is believed that his constant quizzing out is what made AACS change the rule from seven to six between 1984 and 1986. And while it took Valerie Wood a few years later to memorize the entire section, he was the first quizzer to be able to answer questions from every chapter.
Mike’s quizzing excellence inspired a young youth director named Craig Scott to raise the bar for his teams, a bar that Craig’s son still holds very high each and every year. Mike was the one that showed that yes, a team from two time zones away could be great, even when the quizzes start at 6 AM their time. Prior to Mike’s determination, Bible Quizzing was dominated by the east coast states. Since then, the trend has continued. In fact, more than half of the states represented at AACS this year are not exclusively in the eastern time zone. Before the early 80’s this was never the case.
Mike also began another trend. While Bible Quizzing was something that was done by high school students, it frequently was something that stopped at graduation. This website is proof that that is no longer the case. Mike was the first to get involved post-graduation. While Dr. Knapp quizmastered the first time in Mike’s sophomore year, Mike became the first ever consistent second quizmaster at AACS. In an age where we have four rooms at AACS, eight at SCQANIT, ten at Athens NYC, and five in many other tournaments, it seems weird to believe that it wasn’t until after Mike’s graduation that Bible Quizzing took on a multi-room idea. While there may have been dabbling of a second room before Mike, he began the trend of knowing who would be in that second room.
Those who have only been to AACS in recent years do not realize the things that are taken for granted that used to be mere crazy ramblings. While many can be credited to Dr. Knapp, Mike DeVries is right up on that pantheon of influence. Before Mike DeVries, AACS Bible Quizzing was an east coast dominated event with only one room where people had to wait for hours between quizzes. He showed that teams from other time zones could do well, that the creation of more workers could expedite things and make them run more smoothly, and finally, that a quizzer could be truly dominant. That is some serious light he shed on the subject.
Continue to use use God’s Light, Mike. You’re on the list.