Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by nadph » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:54 pm

I'm pretty sure people were responding to Daniel Galitsky's proposition that novice tournaments have early speed rounds, not your post.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:40 pm

How about we all just do the smart thing here and ignore Galitsky, kay?

Look, tournaments in the DC area are way smaller than even just 2-3 years ago when CR first started coming to them (I'm not counting 2000 and 2001, we were hardly a real team then). This is a problem. Isaac's post had it all right when he was listing the reasons for this phenomenon. I believe the so-called difficult explosion is the largest culprit, but tournament fees are not far behind. Most of these need to be addressed, seriously.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:56 am

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:How about we all just do the smart thing here and ignore Galitsky, kay?
This should be RM's new team motto.

But in all seriousness, Mr. C is right. We need a whole series of tournaments, not just one or two, that teams who haven't been doing this for generations and players that aren't as deeply involved as some of us are can play competitively. That, paired with outreach, sounds like the best solution to me.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:10 pm

I think a big part of the problem has been having too cavalier an attitude about coaches in your area. There are really few coaches who are invested in good quizbowl in your area. Quince Orchard's coach and father Meehan (who has hardly been around since Dan left) are basically the only people I can think of right now from the D.C. area who routinely made sure their teams went to good tournaments. I do understand why coaches have been de-emphasized in the area, because I agree it is certainly better to have a team that plays at all rather than doesn't (TJ/RM/GDS), or to split off and go to good tournaments when your coach won't (Blake), but I think the chaos in the D.C. circuit now is showing the heavy strains of relying on student leadership. Motivated coaches who learn how to direct tournaments are so important, because they can make sure their school always runs a good tournament as long as they are there, no matter what their student leadership looks like. Motivated coaches can always make sure their team goes to the right tournaments no matter what. Motivated coaches can often help make their circuits more competitive in general. I feel like there's been a backlash against coaching in general because people are very sour on the old generation of bad coaches that do a lot of negative things, and like the difficulty explosion, this needs to be curtailed because when done right, coaching is the best way to maintain a relevant program. Students can be really motivated and have done a lot of really excellent work on the D.C. circuit, but once those students leave it can be very hit or miss whether anybody else will pick up the slack from their schools, and you see how spotty the circuit is because of that.

I don't know what to say about the individual teams that are really active now without coaches (I would really suggest finding one), but I think doing the outreach to other programs that do have coaches and getting them to care will help you find the kinds of people who will routinely be willing to reach out to other programs, maintain proper contact lists, and ensure that tournaments are run no matter what.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Panayot Hitov » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:15 pm

If a "good quizbowl" team is stuck waiting at an It's Ac taping, it wouldn't be a bad idea to proselytize. I, for one, didn't know about hsquizbowl until I searched for directions to the GDS tournament. I'm sure that this is the case for other teams, that they don't think that speed is the coolest format ever, but they don't really know about other tournaments.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Herb » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:45 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I don't know what to say about the individual teams that are really active now without coaches (I would really suggest finding one)
I don't know if the lack of coaches in the area is entirely due to a cavalier attitude; I think it's also due to the fact that good coaches are hard to find. When our coach of 12 years--Mrs. Danis (to whom we are forever indebted for her dedication and her Southern-gentlewomanliness)--retired at the end of this past school year, we looked everywhere for a replacement. We asked all of our teachers and sent out emails to all the staff, but, up until the last day of school, no one was willing to sponsor us. In the end, we were able to get a teacher to agree to come to the Its Ac tapings and to let us use her room for practices--but that's about it. The work required to be a "good" Quizbowl coach was too much for potential sponsor at our school, and I suspect other schools go through similar dilemmas.

Also, this is unrelated to your post, but I think one thing to consider is that, now matter how good our outreach is, we really can't expect to convert every team to pyramidal questions. I don't think that every team out there is dedicated enough to amass all the "fake" knowledge needed to get past the first big hump of being decent at pyramidal questions. Speed Quizbowl is an activity; pyramidal Quizbowl is a way of life, one won't appeal to everyone.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:44 pm

The Herb wrote:When our coach of 12 years--Mrs. Danis (to whom we are forever indebted for her dedication and her Southern-gentlewomanliness)--retired at the end of this past school year, we looked everywhere for a replacement. We asked all of our teachers and sent out emails to all the staff, but, up until the last day of school, no one was willing to sponsor us. In the end, we were able to get a teacher to agree to come to the Its Ac tapings and to let us use her room for practices--but that's about it. The work required to be a "good" Quizbowl coach was too much for potential sponsor at our school, and I suspect other schools go through similar dilemmas.
She's RETIRING!? NOOOO! I love Mrs. Danis. But we had this exact same issue when our fantastic coach, Mr. McKenna, transferred to Poolesville to spend more time with his family. We found a sponsor, but after tireless searching we've yet to find a faculty coach. For what ever reason it's pretty hard to find a coach willing to get into it, especially when people see the shoes they have to fill. Another issue that plagues us is that so many teachers commute from so far and have no time to do other things, like come to quizbowl tournaments.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:50 am

anybody wanna make a date claim for next year? (The 1 year anniversary of the previous one has passed)
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by SunWukong » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:22 pm

What I’m hearing on the boards is this:

1. The quizbowl-powers-that-be (everyone involved in quizbowl) want to have high school students playing pyramidal tournaments that reward academic knowledge.

2. There is no distinct type of student who enjoys such tournaments; most students will come to enjoy playing in these tournaments and studying for quizbowl if they attain a certain level of competency that lets them win some games and take pride in their abilities.

3. The vast majority of high school players will be discouraged and put off from “good quizbowl” if they attend a pyramidal tournament and get repeatedly stomped into the ground. This begs the questions, “if every team is supposed to beat someone, who is on the bottom.” The answer to this question is B and C teams (or D teams if you have them). Freshmen and sophomores on B and C teams are not expected to win games, and can derive some enjoyment from watching their teammates succeed and from imagining how good they will be in a couple of years when they’re on the A team.

4. To prevent new teams from being discouraged, their players must get some sort of education that allows them to compete competently on pyramidal questions before going to their first regular difficulty pyramidal tournament lest they be annihilated and lose interest. Here is where the first question surfaces. What kind of tournament serves in this role? It has already been concluded that speed/pyramidal hybrid tournaments are silly. The most popular solution seems to be novice tournaments, but these seem to have their own problems. Not only are they few and far between, they don’t seem to have the field size or consistency one would expect. You would hope that novice tournaments would have large fields filled with teams you’ve never heard of. A glance at the stats for the St. Anselm’s mirror of FNT 2011 shows a field I’d describe as “the usual suspects.” Perhaps the solution is to market novice tournaments to new schools rather than the freshmen and sophomores of established quizbowl entities with the idea of introducing them to good, pyramidal quizbowl in a less competitive atmosphere (I do not mean the games will be less competitive; if anything they’ll be closer. I am simply referring to the level of play). There was also some discussion of crashing the practices of prospective teams and reading them some questions. This apparently had a high success rate (I personally would have predicted a lot of dead questions, leading to discouragement and subsequent non-attendance, but shows what I know).

This whole paradigm creates a conflict of sorts. On the one hand, we would love to embrace seldom seen schools with open arms and invite them to loads of tournaments. On the other, we risk discouraging them with difficult questions if we invite them to everything. After all this theory has been batted around, we must set out a course of action and follow it through. So then, wise lords of DC quizbowl, what is our stance? Do we make an effort to run more novice tournaments with large, diverse fields or do we invite everyone to everything? Is there a list of schools and contact information that has finally been compiled? Even if tournament directors don’t inform the entirety of their audience, could we create a service that would send letters or E-mails to players and/or coaches telling them about tournaments that would be of appropriate difficulty? It seems to me that we need not rely on tournament directors to market their product. We could simply create lists and algorithms and things (what, I don’t know comp-sci!) to inform our target audiences of appropriate tournaments that are happening in the area.

There is also some discussion of the role of coaches in DC area quizbowl. I can only speak from personal experience here, but a coach is a good thing to have around. Not only do they chaperon things, iron out transportation details, balance the club budget, etcetera; they also carry on the school’s tradition. A coach can recruit a new team even if the team died out for a few years and can push otherwise unmotivated players to tournaments and practices. Finding a good coach (or any coach at all) can be difficult. Our team hasn’t had a coach since my freshman year and we really need one. I don’t know if it’ll work, but we’re going to try recruiting a coach through our school administration. We’re planning to sit down with our head of school in a couple of weeks and say “hey, GDS quizbowl is going to die out without a coach. Offer a course release. Make a new hire. Something. Get us a coach.” This tactic probably doesn’t work at schools where quizbowl hasn’t really been a big thing, but I think that a lot of schools have an “academic team coach” or similar person. I think that winning over such people is probably a very important step in the spreading of pyramidal quizbowl. Back to my request for an action program (yes, I did that). How do we get the coaches excited about quizbowl and interested in pitching academic tournaments to their teams? Could we do something as simple as sitting down and talking to them about the merits of quizbowl? Yes, it’s weird, but that makes it memorable. I guess I just don’t see E-mails being all that effective.

If I’ve horribly misinterpreted anything that was said on the forums or the goals of the quizbowl community, I apologize.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:58 pm

SunWukong wrote: There was also some discussion of crashing the practices of prospective teams and reading them some questions. This apparently had a high success rate (I personally would have predicted a lot of dead questions, leading to discouragement and subsequent non-attendance, but shows what I know).
I dont know about the rest of Maryland, but i think all middle schools in Howard County have a "black saga" team, which answers trivia about african-american history. Crashing those practices would be a good way to get upcoming freshmen to consider joining their High school's quizbowl or It's Academic or whatever team.
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