I had to drift from the topic I had planned on writing to ease my spirit. What I mean is that I had a rush of emotion and opinion following Startup’s essay on challenging.

He did a decent job defining what a challenge should be. Let’s be honest though. Part of his definition was a result of bitterness. Some unnecessary challenge was accepted that cost him a tournament (it happens to the best). I know this to be the truth because I was quizzing in the quiz where it happened. Now whether or not he had that moment in mind when writing the article matters little, but the fact is that challenging has more importance than some like to think it should. I believe challenging is awesome, and maybe it’s just the Floridians (read Matt West’s post on the message board) who want to regulate it. Now I will be the first to admit that there are certainly some lame challenges, which the FQA has done a good job of bridling in its rulebook (West, I bet you’re proud that one of your QMs knows the rule book so well). But I think we should look at the world around us. Currently, the NFL couldn’t live without Instant Replay. NCAA is now allowing some conferences to use it. Refs need the monitor at the end of basketball games. And Aaron Peirsol loses his Gold Medal in swimming without it. Bible Quiz was ahead of all of those sports. We’ve been challenging and letting the quizmaster “review” the play ever since I was born. Some quizzers know the rules better than the average quizmaster. I quizzed with Joey Bridges in his senior year at Athens. He knew the AACS rulebook inside out. He got maybe 3 questions correct in AACS tournaments that year (I guess it would have been more of a help if he knew the Bible inside out) but won at least twice that many challenges. The point is that there are many quizmasters who don’t know the rules that well. I expect Ron, Charles, and probably Jesse again to respond with their thoughts, but here are some of my pointers to the quizzer on challenging.

—If there is some part of you that just cringes when a quizzer answers and omits the article (a, an, the) that the Bible joins with the noun (i.e. church—THE church), count to ten in a couple of different languages and prepare yourself for the next question. DON’T challenge!

—Sometimes (more often than not) a problem arises in a tournament about referring pronouns. The QMs and tournament leader get together and decide when something should and when something shouldn’t be referred. If you encounter a time when you feel that the quizzer still did not refer correctly, there was a reason the QM accepted so DON’T Challenge.

—If someone answers with Lord and the verse says God, if it isn’t a challenge that has already been overruled earlier in the tournament DO challenge.

—If a quizzer quotes a verse and misses a word and the quizmaster rules it correct, it IS correct. DON’T Challenge.

—And finally in the DON’T Challenge group: When a QM is passing out fouls for jumping early on the rebound question, don’t challenge his foul ( I know it sounds absurd but I saw it happen last month)

— When a quizzer gives too much or too little information and is counted correct, DO challenge

— When the passage and question do not correspond, DO challenge. But there is more to it than that. Some quizmasters are fine with a quizzer just pointing out that it is the wrong reference, but others will quickly point out that “you can’t challenge the question”. Quizzer, young and old, listen to what I am saying. If there is a time when you would like to challenge but you feel that you are challenging the question, there is a way to get around it without challenging the question. Here is an example. Let’s say that the verse says that John the Baptist wore blue-laced tennis shoes. The question is what color was John’s shoes? I answer “Blue.” The QM says I am correct. You as the quizzer should know that he isn’t looking at the verse, but rather at his list of questions. Also know that you can’t challenge the question. Challenging the question would be saying the following: “The question should have said what color was the laces of John’s shoes, not the shoes themselves”. That challenges technically cannot be accepted. Here is the challenge you need: “According to that verse, John’s shoes were not blue. His laces were blue. The quizzer’s answer is incorrect according to the verse” Yes, both challenges basically say the same thing, but until the rule changes only one is acceptable.


It is best if you have time to run your challenge by another quizzer who knows that material before you stand and challenge. How many times have we seen a quizzer stand and challenge, and a teammate or two motion for him to sit back down and keep quiet. To save on the embarrassment, let them tell you to stay down in the first place. But don’t let anyone tell you that challenging is pointless.

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