New Year’s Classic: A Former Quizzer’s Perspective

Being a quizzer at NYC was quite an experience. A few years ago, the Friday Night Fiesta (which I believe that I had a little to do with that name) was formed. This was a chance for quizzers to meet the other quizzers, make teams that contained quizzers from several ministries, and actually practice a little quizzing the night before the real tournament. While the Friday Night Fiesta was entertaining to most for the above said reasons, it was entertaining to me for a different reason. I enjoyed watching the top notch quizzers take part in this event. I remember one quiz where Brant Callaway and Jesse from Spring City VA were in the same room for a quiz. If my memory is correct, neither quizzer got more than 2 correct and each had more than 2 errors. That was interesting because the next day, those two were some of the most dominating quizzers in the tournament. It was as if they didn’t want to give anything away, so they would quiz poorly on purpose. That was certainly interesting to see. But the real part of the tournament started on Saturday morning at 9. This was one of the most fun tournaments for me personally because my school hosted the tournament. There was a lot of competition in this tournament and we always looked forward to it for months in advance. For some reason or another, my school had never done too well at this tournament so we hoped to break the losing tradition and finally secure first place. That brings me to the story I would like to share.

A couple years ago, our Athens team seem to hit on all cylinders throughout the day. Led by Brant Callaway, we entered the Finals with no losses and what looked like an easy opponent. We faced a contingent team from Florida (“FQA”) and had two chances to win. But something went wrong in the Finals. Way Wrong! If you are a quizzer, you know as well as I know that there is more to Bible Quizzing than..well…er.. Bible Quizzing. Yes that’s right, more than just the Bible. There are many rules and specifications that when not noticed can sneak up and really cause problems. Well, here’s what happened. First, we had been quizzing three-team style all day and didn’t do too well when it went down to two teams. But I really thought that we could work through it. I thought that until we faced another problem. Brant had developed a habit, a bad habit. He liked to place his left hand on the side of his chair. The rules specify that a quizzer’s hand cannot touch the chair as he jumps. Whether or not this was actually helping Brant jump or not, well, that is still being debated. But a coach noticed that Brant was doing it and waited until the Finals to mention it (if there seems to be a hint of negativity in that last sentence, well-there is a hint of negativity there!) So Brant was told to not use his hands or the Quizmaster would have to give him a foul every time he jumped. This seemed to completely throw Brant for a loop. He quizzed horribly from then on out and it seemed that none of us other guys on the team could do anything to help the cause. We lost that first game bad. In between quizzes, Mr. Bamford seemed to get our focus back; but it still seemed to sit in the back of our mind that this had the feel of an upset. As it turned out, there is a reason people get that feeling in the back of their minds. We lost. At one point, we got so desperate for Brant to quiz well that I persuaded him to start using my knee like he used the chair. So from then on out, he stuck his hand on my right knee at the beginning of each question. At least that drew a snicker from the quiz master. That was about the only fun we had in the Finals. So Athens has yet to win their own tournament. Putting aside my team results from the tournament, I thoroughly enjoyed the tournament as a quizzer. The competition is fierce; Friday night is a lot of fun; there is a tournament for the JVs; there is usually a high school basketball game going on in the gym on sat afternoon, and many more reasons contribute to why the tournament is so compelling to a quizzer. Keep checking back throughout the week for much more NYC coverage and look for my interview with tournament director Jack Bamford!

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