The Year of the Bluegrass State

On November 5th on this very website, George Lindsey composed a list of who he thinks are the top 10 teams in the country. On November 27th he revised said list and created what he (and I) believes to be a more accurate indicator of where exactly teams are in relation to each other. He exhibited responsible journalism in my opinion when he detailed the reason why a certain team is ranked where they are. However, when it came to Pleasant View Kentucky (which he placed at number #1), he stated “As if there were any doubt.”

Don’t get me wrong even for a second. There has been no equally dominating team then Pleasant View Kentucky of 2005-2006. They made a clean sweep through our Big Four tournaments, won Nationals rather convincingly, and they DID win the Midseason this past October. And now, with First Baptist Church of Central Florida losing its top quizzer, someone could make the argument that until Aaron graduates, Pleasant View is simply untouchable and anyone who’s trying to succeed in Bible Quizzing should shoot only for 2nd place. And in many ways, that argument holds water. There is no doubt, as George Lindsay put it, that Pleasant View Kentucky is number one.

Lets not forget, Kentucky was competitive even before their winning streak. In early 2005, Pleasant View won the Colorado Invitational, a tournament so competitive that the future champions FBC-CF got 6th place at. They also gave several middles to FBC-CF during AACS before ultimately coming in 3rd place that year, an impressive feat in and of itself. Of course, things changed with the addition of Autumn. A new era of quizzing was born, and it began with Autumn (as the strong Number 2 that she is) winning Athens for PVKY on the last question against a very formidable California team, Valley. Since then, Pleasant View has been on a roll, which hasn’t stopped yet, and if you ask any of them, it certainly doesn’t indeed to stop any time soon.

Obviously a lot of the credit needs to go to the great quizzing instincts of Aaron and Autumn Wells. Aaron has only gotten better with the addition on his sister, and Autumn has the great ability to clinch victory when the time arrives; a skill only few have been able to do. It requires understanding the great pressure of answering correctly, and resolving to make it happen. If you also add in the fact that PVKY had Josh Voyles last year, who could hold his own and contribute regardless of who he’s against (and who he’s with, for that matter), and Pleasant View found a perfect system of quizzing, and last year, they could not be denied.

Okay Jesse, we get it, Pleasant View is the bees knees and we can’t do anything about it. Why did you even write this article?

Well, such an article, had it been written before October 21, 2006, would be completed and undisputed. It would speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and that, my friends, is the truth. BUT, because it is written the afternoon of December 17th, right before my friend Jordan’s wedding, and more relevantly, after the Midseason Invitational, it would be quite an injustice to finish this article right now. Because, my friends, for all intents and purposes (but not really), Pleasant View Kentucky has lost their first tournament in over a year.

Okay, so they actually did win. They came back from near (and certain) elimination to win it all, and for that, I give them major props. They did not roll over and die, but it almost looked like it. This past October, Calvary and UCF gave Pleasant View their first loss since before SCQANIT, a feat that many, many teams tried, but ultimately failed at, as Pleasant View won both SCQANIT and AACS with no losses, a truly impressive feat. And I’m not here to put over Calvary and UCF for beating Pleasant View, as my team (me, specifically) was not at its best, and does not necessarily deserve the honor, but I do want to point out how Kentucky found themselves a losing situation twice.

The fact is that Pleasant View made errors. When FBC-CF (in its prime) lost a quiz, it was because they did not jump, or jump fast enough. They rarely found themselves in the error zone and paying for it by losing points. Unfortunately they would shut down. Of course, that was when they lost, and they rarely lost, so if they were behind it was not uncommon for them to pull back in the lead. But Pleasant View, when behind, tends to jump quickly and make hasty decisions that leads to errors. What’s worse is that they make errors in the error zone, giving a literal 50-point swing to the other team(s). One of the things I’ve learned to do in my quizzing experience is to jump quickly around question 14 and 15, and jump very cautiously from then on, because an error can be absolutely devastating in the error zone. Only when I have to jump to win will I jump; otherwise I will just sit and watch the other teams continue to lower their scores. And the strategy has since worked. Teams get excited and jump too soon, and my team winds up answering free question after free question, making 20-point shifts toward a sure victory (-10 for the other teams errors, +10 free question for us!).

I also believe that the level of quizzing quality has lowered, not just for PVKY, but for the other teams (including us) at the Midseason. Much more errors have been made, and teams like Pleasant View seem to shut down after a loss or a close quiz. If a team can produce a new star quizzer and a strong supporting cast, Pleasant View could pick up a loss or two come this January. I could also envision a team like Calvary, New York, FBC-CF, or Colorado make a statement by having enough strong quizzers to get points and shut out Kentucky.

Also (and I don’t mean to point out Pleasant View, as other teams have this same problem), there seems to be a lot of dead weight on some of these top teams. Obviously it’s necessary for these quizzers to get some real experience, but I would suggest putting your best five on a team, and let the other quizzers try out the competition on a lesser team, so they can hone their skills and not get dominated out by members of their own team. Often times I see quizzers (who aren’t as good as their team leader) miss an important question, and sometimes even cost them the match. It’s good that they’re trying, and ultimately it’s about the Word of God anyway, but when setting a competitive goal, it’s issues like this that need to be dealt with.

But Jesse, I’m on Pleasant View Kentucky! You just gave our weaknesses to everyone else! Thanks for nothing!

You’re welcome. If you are Pleasant View reading this, or another team struggling with the same weaknesses, then here is some advice:

1. Use your errors wisely: A team that is behind in points should have no reason NOT to be in the error zone come question 16. Are you telling us to error, Jesse? Well, no, what I just said was a little radical. But seriously, via the rules of the quiz, teams have three errors, three graces, if you will, before the last 5 questions. Use them! If you are on question 12 or 13 and your team hasn’t made an error, then just jump like crazy. If you do, you’ll probably be the first one up, and if you get it right, then great, those are points you didn’t have before. If you get it wrong, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t affect your score at all. And this message, folks, applies not just to the Number 1 on the team, but all the other members, especially the Number 2 and Number 3. Remember, if your Number 1 goes jumping happy and gets three errors before question 16, there’s no penalty, but he or she is just one question away from quizzing out backwards, which could put you in an even worse situation.

2. By the same token, be cautious of the error zone. It’s a 50-point swing (20 points you would have had, 10 points you lost, and 20 points for the team that gets the rebound.) Better for a team to set back and watch the other teams bury themselves by their own errors, than to be the one buried. (But obviously, if you have to get, say 4 or so of the 5 to win, go for it. Please apply these tips with some common sense)

3. Well, I don’t have a third tip, other than: Don’t write an article and promise it to be up by Monday if you’re going to wait until the last minute. That tip is for me!

Next week I’ll answer some of your questions. If you have any questions about this article, send one my way, and I’ll answer it! Promise! Now I’m off to Jordan Bond’s marriage!


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