Team Dysfunction

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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:33 pm

Team Dysfunction

Post by deepfried »

So I recently found out about this website, and I'm hoping some people here can solve this dispute.

Lately, our team has had serious problems getting along. We simply despise each other, simple as that. I've been trying my hardest to get along with my teammates, but they don't seem to care about anything except being better than each other, specifically our captain. I haven't had a normal, non-hostile conversation with our captain for months, and I'm still not sure how we still have a team.

I've talked to our coach about it, but he always takes our captain's side, refusing to consider the idea that our captain has done anything wrong. We have our first tourney next week, and we really need to find a way to resolve this.

Before you give your verdict, I would like to say, I fully acknowledge that I have been part of this problem. I have been caring about my points, more than teammates, and that I've been a jerk for the last few months, but I've began to realize the gravity of this situation.

Feel free to share whatever thoughts you have.

EDIT: user was reminded to add a signature -mgmt

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The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
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Re: Team Dysfunction

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) »

This might seem extreme, but especially given your coach's attitude, I would consider walking away from the team for a month or two to get a fresh perspective on how it's affecting your life and how you're affecting teammates' lives. It sounds like QB is more a source of stress than anything else right now.
Adam Sperber
Hickman '10, Northwestern B '14

" 'Yay, more Adam Sperber' --Nobody " --Cody Voight

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Re: Team Dysfunction

Post by alexdz »

Short of walking away from the team, I think there are a couple of things you can do.

1) If your team isn't already set up this way, consider proposing a division of labor. If each person has a particular "role" to play - A covers science, B covers fine arts, C covers literature... - then there might be less of a chance that you all end up fighting over points. Instead, each person simply maximizes the points they earn in their own category and (within reason) leaves the other people's categories to them.

2) You can also propose practice formats that don't involve direct competition. I've heard of teams who use practice time to drill worksheets, or even put together presentations on their topics as a way to study. If you can apply something other than "game mentality" to a practice, perhaps your time with your teammates might start to feel less competitive overall and more about building up each person's skills.

It sounds like overall people have been sucked into the competitive aspect of the game and lost sight of the intellectual benefits it can offer. Perhaps your team just needs to correct that drift and get back on course to ease the tension.
Alex Dzurick
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
Coach, Harcum College (PA)
Former midwesterner (South Callaway - Mizzou - UIUC) coping with life on the east coast.

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A Very Long Math Tossup
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Re: Team Dysfunction

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup »

You should definitely consider walking away, at least temporarily. I can only speak for myself, but the people are a pretty big part of the reason I do quizbowl, and while I'm fine not being best friends with all of my teammates, I wouldn't even show up to practice if I didn't enjoy interacting with them. As awesome as quizbowl is, having a healthy relationship with the people around you is probably more important.

Keep in mind that you don't have to give up the game if you walk away. You can still write things, play tournaments solo, and participate in opens and online mirrors.
Matt Mitchell
Colorado '20
Treasure Valley '16
QBNotify creator, Colorado Quiz Bowl founder, PACE member

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Re: Team Dysfunction

Post by cthewolf »

As someone who's walked away from quizbowl and returned, you never know what's going to happen after you leave or if you'll ever want to come back. It's completely dependent on the situation of the team, why you play quizbowl, and what you do outside of quizbowl. I returned because I missed the game and the my teammates. However, I didn't have an official position because I left.

If the problem is personal, which is completely normal and understandable, I would highly recommend considering playing on multiple teams. If you're competing for questions, that means that you're overlapping too much and may have gaps in knowledge. Playing on different teams can give you space to relax, provide more opportunity to play like you want to, and hopefully have more appreciation for each other as teammates. If you do have gaps in knowledge, it would be beneficial to both players and the team to fill the gap. There are less questions neglected, and players have more opportunity to score.

It may also be worth it to try being the positive presence. You could encourage genuinely good buzzes or give support when a teammate is disappointed. Teammates tend to reciprocate and follow suit in this kind of behavior.

Lastly, you shouldn't feel like you have to change or accommodate on your own. If you feel that no one else is trying to work towards moving on or feel disrespected, it's just not for you.
Christy Jestin
Boston Latin School '20
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