Chris Ray can power one in every 8.6 tossups he hears. I can write a five-paragraph essay in 3 1/2 minutes. I guess it's safe to say that we had two very different approaches to high school.
You know, I found myself complaining about how 90% of NAQT questions left me feeling like they were too long, too obscure, too confusing, etc. too. . .
. . . at my first tournament. The fact is that if you practice, you won't feel that way. If the timer bothers you, practice with the timer. If the question length bothers you, practice on it, or better yet practice on ACF or PACE or something and you'll be praying for the brevity of NAQT. As for not being able to figure out what subject it's in, why does that matter? IF you KNOW something, you should be able to buzz. And for the record, it's not really hard to figure it out. When a question begins "A screaming monkey stands in the foreground" and you buzz in with "Tarzan," you're a moron.
Any quizbowl team that practiced sufficiently on NAQT questions would not feel overwhelmed by them at nationals. If you play on those questions for a year, you're not going to get caught off guard. However, you probably WILL be caught off guard, as it seems you were, if you don't prepare for them. But you know, this is nationals
. How about practicing for it?
As for your comment about our respective scholastic approaches, I don't know what you mean, perhaps you can clarify. I'm also not sure what the standards at Loyala, but your 3 1/2 minute essays must be awesome. Five whole paragraphs you say? Amazing, we sure never write anything that long over here. . .
From what I can glean from Illinois threads/your stats, you were one of the better teams in your state format, but got beaten by some fairly mediocre teams at nationals. For all your "powers are too hard" complaints, you had more powers by almost double than most teams you lost to, and less powers by a very significant margin than some teams you beat. NAQT does seem frenzied and a bit ridiculous the first time you play it, especially if it's with timers and at nationals. But you shouldn't be playing it for the first time if you go to a national tournament. It's ridiculous, even if there are no competitions in your area, order some questions.
Basically, you're saying that NAQT is too hard and fast, but there are a whole lot of teams who finished lower than you who don't think that, because they PRACTICED. You should have too. Quit blaming the format or the humidity or whatever for dropping games.