Extent of Quizzing

The year I entered High School, Jeff LeMaster started the Florida Quizzing Association. I think the first year there were 4 teams that came. It was my school, Hobe Sound, The Master’s Academy, and Central Florida Christian Academy. We met each month and did a Round Robin. That year there was some competition between Hobe Sound and Master’s, but for the next three years of my high school career, Hobe Sound dominated. Towards the end of high school, a 5th team (Orlando Christian) had joined us and they began to challenge Hobe Sound. All five of those teams were either started, advanced, or significantly assisted by Paul West.

The year after I graduated, Jeff LeMaster turned the reigns of the FQA over to Matt West, Paul’s son, who has run the FQA since. Matt has started divisions for Middle School or new programs and elementary, both of which feed this high school league. The FQA had as many as 16 teams recently, but in all reality, that was essentially half legitimate teams and the other half RAMS teams in disguise. Now, they have about 6 each in RAMS and VETS in Central Florida, but there are also South Florida, I-85, and Alabama divisions. While hurricanes, storms, and other factors have affected each of these divisions, it is clear that the FQA is here to stay.

As has come out in many other things I have penned, I have too many older sisters and several have quizzed at one time or another. Despite being the youngest, it was my curiosity that got my family into Bible Quiz. When I was very young (I think I wasn’t even in kindergarten yet), I stumbled across the finals while my sister was playing piano at AACS. I was impressed by Valerie Wood and delighted that my state (Florida) won. I told my mother about it and the next year (I had to go to school that year), she and big sis watched the finals themselves. They loved it and Bible Quiz became a staple in the Lindsay family for the next 12 years (and now I continue to be involved in the spectator arena).

Now many of you are saying, “Thanks for the history lessons, but I really don’t see a connection or a point.” Well, here is the first point. My sisters all quizzed a total of no more than 3 times total. They were never on a team good enough to win FACCS and they had but three years of eligibility back then. I, on the other hand, not only got to quiz at FACCS, but at the FQA monthly Hobe Sound show-off-a-thons. Now this may seem to be a trivial thing to you, but I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I enjoyed quizzing more than any of my sisters and that is almost all because of the FQA. The FQA was something that meant so much to my life. I know my sisters liked Bible Quiz, but they never were able to get too excited about it.

The FQA is quite the organization. I would say that all groups who ever have or still do participate have many differences theologically. My school was certainly what I consider to be the most fundamental, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn from each other and enjoy the Christian fellowship. Many schools, churches, and groups around the country have no such league in which to participate. Why is that important? Well, because they are all in the same boat as my sisters. All of my sisters loved Bible Quiz and memorized Scripture, but they just weren’t given the same encouragement to memorize. That doesn’t mean they can’t be good teams. In fact, Florida has not won an AACS title since the FQA started. But it does mean that they are not as likely to have the consistent motivation.

It is rumored that Matt West usually didn’t learn any verses before January. In the FQA, many students have memorized the entire section before then. Now, Matt West was, as I have heard, a pretty good quizzer. I am quite confident, however, that he could have been even better had he worked in the fall. I am just as confident that he would have worked harder in the fall if the FQA had existed. Unfortunately, we never saw the greatness that might have been. I feel that there might be many in the same boat. Could it be that there is more potential greatness? I think so. Now this is not at all to belittle those TMA teams that won 2 national championships, but rather, this is to say that those teams were great, but they could have achieved more.

This is why I think finding opportunities is important. I think that every coach should attempt to find an opportunity nearby. If you find just one event in the fall, you can easily better your team. For example, several of the teams at the West Virginia Midseason event I watched from the back were delighted at their relative progress. I find it unfortunate that many schools have to fight for rights and privileges to quiz. I know some coaches cannot quiz during school, which I think is a shame. In my high school, for example, the football team, the basketball team, the track team, not to mention the baseball team, the academic team, the engineering team, and the service team all got to miss school for games and activities. Why is it that we cannot get the same dap for the Bible Quiz team? Some other groups struggle with overnight trips. I find this to be equally unfortunate. We had the same teams getting to go places overnight at my school.

Now, I am not suggesting that everyone miss a day of school a month, but I think that almost everyone can find an event during the fall that is nearby to you. The article Ron wrote a few weeks back detailed events before February that were good. Of course, everyone knows that Athens NYC is a must attend for any good quiz team, but whether or not you can make that, find a nearby event. If you live too far from West Virginia, New York, Michigan, Atlanta, Athens, or any place where a fall tournament occurs, contact the directors at this website to see about having an event near you.

OK, now you are wanting to know why we care so much about getting better teams. Aside from the obvious of making our jobs of writing about it more meaningful, it helps students learn Scripture better. I have learned that even from my rudimentary learning that the Scripture I know follows me in every facet of life. I have an index of about 900 verses that deal with many subjects I talk about, debate, consider, and assert in my everyday life. When I use those to His benefit, the kingdom is improved. While it has only been three years since I graduated, my sisters have the same experience. Some have said that they’d rather have a Bible Study as a Bible class, but as for me, I can always do a Bible Study, but I won’t always have the encouragement to memorize Scripture. The better the quiz team, the better we learn Scripture. And I quote a great reformer, “A peasant armed with Scripture is mightier than the strongest pope without it.”

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