A Great Quizzer

As we continue our discussion about what a coach can do, we are now seeing how a coach can cultivate a great quizzer. We looked at how a coach can challenge quizzers to memorize the correct sectioned amount for a given passage. This is the first step in cultivating a great quizzer. It is impossible for a great quizzer to be great without knowing a significant enough portion of the material to answer a good number of questions. Some quizzers, like Tex Poston and Abby Carbonell, are great at answering questions over material that they supposedly do not know, but most of us are stuck in a world needing to know verses to get questions.

Therefore, when a coach sees potential greatness, he needs to make sure the student is ready. Additionally, a coach needs to find a way to help this student. If a quizzer has the wherewithal to learn it all and goes ahead and does that, great. But if a quizzer does not do it all and could be great, the coach needs to make sure they do enough to be great. Obviously, the more you learn, the more confident you can be when you do jump.

There is more to being a great quizzer than merely memorizing verses. If not, we would be inundated. Like every other competitive activity, there is much to be learned. Paul West is a legend down here in Florida for his ability to teach everyone the proper time to get up on each and every question. The science involved in such an approach is phenomenal. We all have heard this story and we know that if we know our verses as well as we can, we can benefit from following his scientific formula for “when to jump.”

Another Florida legend, the artist formerly known as Israel Bandela, had his own strategy on just knowing every single word that appeared only once. I think he also knew the words that appeared only once in a given chapter. He glued in on this and when he heard the word, he was up. His logistical skills allowed to take the information he had and almost always convert it into a correct answer. I think most of us would struggle to learn all the verses AND these facts, but his massive memory could.

Now, as we speak about greatness and how to cultivate it, I think it is impossible to take God out of the equation. I think God just naturally blesses some with the ability to be great. I, myself, was not great and I recognize that. I learned all the same principles that some great ones did, but alas, it was not meant to be. God’s gift plays a profound role in the whole thing. I am frequently reminded of the parable of the talents and how we need to use what we are given, no matter how small.

I once overheard Jesse Startup telling Matt West that he felt 80% of his questions were luck. He just “guessed.” I believe Jesse had what many greats have–a natural intuition. Further, Jesse recently wrote about the fastest jumpers. I think there are two jumping skills. The first is the person who knows the word on which to jump, intuitively. Every question has a word to jump on, and if you get up on that word, you’ll get it right. The second jumping skill is a physical reflex. I think it is difficult to separate the two, but if you could I think God can bless you in either area and the greats are blessed in both. A good coach helps quizzers maximize each of these skills.

One quote of which I never tire is, “Unfortunately, as humans we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others, when God wants us to compare us to what He has called us to be.” Some use this logic to belittle themselves when they are not as good as others. Honestly, I would never have been as good as Abby Carbonell, even though I memorized the whole section and knew it word perfect. I learned all the same strategies, but I just wasn’t as blessed with the gift. I was blessed, however, with the ability to memorize, so I did that the best I could. If each quizzer could honestly evaluate how they did based on their own individual ability (something in part 1 we put on the coach), I think we could have more quizzers feel like winners and walk away encouraged.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” Come back next week when we talk about those who were truly great. On Tuesday, we have our first Hall of Fame article about the people’s choice and then on Wednesday, we announce the names of the other inductees and the schedule of their articles. I leave you with the finishing of an earlier quote: “If we do not do what God has called us to do, He has to use the second best person in the world to do it.”

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