The Thread for People who Like NAC

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The Thread for People who Like NAC

Post by DumbJaques » Thu May 31, 2007 10:51 pm

Ok, I know this is pointless since most people here believe viruently that Chip sucks and everything and I'm pretty much grinding whatever remains of the massacred, partially eaten horse, but those questions are a complete joke for something billing itself as a national tournament. Even PAC, which has short and as previously discussed far from ideal questions, tries to tap into higher-level material to at least give better teams a good chance of winning against worse teams. Even with all the *serious* ethical questions aside, could someone who supports NAC, or even someone who went or coached a team who went, please explain to me why it's a good idea to give your money away for questions like "The G8 is a consortium of the world's wealthiest countries" or whatever that some kid is still able to buzz in off of and guess the right answer. There are so many people out there who try very hard to write good questions for very little reward, and even after just one year in college competition I have a sincere appreciation for them. I really want to hear from an NAC apologist, not to call him or her an idiot or berate their philosophy, but to see what reasons people really have for thinking this is a worthwhile tournament for any reasonably talented team (or really, any bad one) to attend. I guess being in the younger generation, I haven't really heard much from people who believe in NAC or Chip. I guess this thread is my futile hope of some kind of discourse. But, since I was the who started the thread, that seems pretty unlikely.

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Post by The Time Keeper » Thu May 31, 2007 10:57 pm

If you don't like games being determined by horrible Sue Grafton-themed lightning rounds, you can go play real quizbowl with all the other elitists, Mr. Sassypants.

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Post by etchdulac » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:46 am

It has been suggested more than once that non-elite teams go to NAC because their chances of succeeding are considerably greater, and they can go home and say "we did this at Nationals" and no one knows the difference.

For instance, my slumping state sent four teams to HSNCT. Two other teams had conflicts with HSNCT and went to NAC only as a second option. Those six teams total included, arguably, the best four teams in our state.

Eight other teams from my state chose to go to NAC: two private schools and six schools from a single ISD. One of them is the B team from a 9th-10th grade campus.

I think Chip's main selling point right now for schools aware of the alternatives is success. It's an amenity NAQT does not go out of its way to offer, but at NAC, it seems that if you grease the right palm or kiss the appropriate ring, you may gain Chip's favor.

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Post by Tegan » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:41 am

While I am no Chip apologist, I have found that there are teams/individuals who sadly enjoy these kinds of questions. I think they like the "living on the edge" adrenaline rush of knowing he other team may be buzzing in and getting the wrong answer because the questions does 120 degree spin in hte next sentence ...... that "pulling victory from the jaws of defeat" kind of thing.

There is also an element of fun that is different from NAQT .... at NAQT, the fun is in defeating tough teams on tough questions. At NAC, the fun can come from drug-referencing physical comedy in the middle of the match by the host ...... or from the warm, building up description the host typically gives of one of the schools. It can certainly make you feel good.

I'm really not kidding in that I think that there are people who think "This is what its all about". I completely agree with etchdulac as what the biggest reason is. I think only a handful of the teams who attend NAC would stand a chance of making the playoffs at NAQT or PACE, and thus if its all about winning, and you can't stack up, you go to NAC and play it up to people who don't know the difference.

I attended the NAC two summers ago hear in Chicago as a neutral third party observer, and walked away seeing why this tournament is so reviled ....

This threadjack sponsored by Clark Bar and Jostens.

edit: with extreme apologies to NAQT and thanks to Dr. S for catching that. Yeesh! That was the worst typo I've ever made ... and there have been plenty!
Last edited by Tegan on Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by e_steinhauser » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:44 am

Tegan wrote: At NAQT, the fun can come from drug-referencing physical comedy in the middle of the match by the host ......
I realize this is a typo, but I can totally see R doing that.
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Post by UERD » Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:29 pm

First things first: I am NOT a Chip apologist; quite the opposite, in fact. I just want to address a very specific situation and avoid any future confusion.

My old high school (Wilmington Charter) plays and has won several times a state competition sponsored by Comcast that provides two awards: scholarship monies to the players, and funds for a trip to NAC nationals. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, the directors will not disburse the funds for any trip besides NAC.

At the same time, our school's principal is generous enough to fund the academic bowl club's trip to NAQT nationals each year we have qualified. We therefore have the option of taking one trip and forfeiting funds, or going to both trips.

It's true that the question quality at NAC is bad, that the adjudication is sketchy at best, and that better competition can be found at NAQT. Our NAC trip, though, serves more than just a means by which we can be frustrated by Chip Beall's 'tiebreakers' or poorly worded questions. We use it as a means for building team dynamic among the sophomores and juniors who are destined to compete in NAQT their senior year. By going to NAC, they have the opportunity to bond and to understand each others' strengths and weaknesses in a high-stress, low-relevance situation. I think it definitely helped certain members of our team when it came time to compete in NAQT's HSNCT, a competition in which they were truly concerned about how they did.

I don't claim to speak for all schools. I just want to help people explain why 'Wilmington Charter' has been on the roster for the past couple of years. It's not because we liked the format- from a technical and logistical standpoint, NAQT is superior in every manner. I didn't think NAC was a good competition, nor did any of our teammates, or our coach. But the trips themselves were both good fun and good for the team dynamic. Not to mention lots of Smash Brothers.
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Post by theMoMA » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:54 pm

Were you guys playing Smash at the DC-Merrymount site last year?

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Post by jhn31 » Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:14 pm

Looking back on things, I'm pretty sure my high school was one of Chip's favorites...therefore I always thought he was a great guy. Perhaps it's because we didn't know any better, but the end-of-the-year trip to the NAC was great fun and something we always looked forward too.
Invariably, we'd get upset by a lower seed by 10 points in the playoffs, but for teams that aren't as talented and cutthroat (IE, teams from states that don't take it so seriously), the NAC is a fun tournament to attend.

For example:
The NAQT state champ from Mississippi, Murrah High School, went 4-6 at the NAQT National Tournament. After all the success they had in Mississippi, I would assume (disclaimer: I have not discussed this with any high schooler, so take it with a grain of salt), that they probably didn't enjoy it as much as Jackson Prep (who went 4-2 and defeated the #1 seed in OT in a playoff game) did at the NAC.

Just my 2 cents...

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Post by jrbarry » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:13 pm

I find fault in ALL national tournaments.

I go to NAQT because it is the biggest and has the best teams every year.

I would love a national tournament with 100% academic questions, with bounceback bonuses, with set number of question matches, and with readers who are not "spewing" like debaters.

I would also like a Nationals that does NOT use tiny hotel rooms for matches and has enough chairs so I can sit my big butt down for every match.

I would like a Nationals that had more Shakespeare and Hemmingway than mythology.

I would also like a Nationals where every match followed a strict subject formula for tossup questions. I want the tossups to be balanced especially if the bonuses do not bounce back.

But, alas, my views are not in the majority in national, elite quiz bowl. I guess I am just a populist.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:17 pm

jrbarry wrote:I would love a national tournament with 100% academic questions, with bounceback bonuses, with set number of question matches, and with readers who are not "spewing" like debaters.

I would also like a Nationals where every match followed a strict subject formula for tossup questions. I want the tossups to be balanced especially if the bonuses do not bounce back.
I can give you 97% academic and everything else you asked for...

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Post by Bigfoot isn't the pr » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:04 am

What I like about the NAC style questions and rounds is that it is more exciting to watch for those not familiar with Quiz Bowl. Its faster, the questions are usually easier (so the on lookers can be proud when they get a question right), and faster paced. Now, certain NAQT matches can be real nail-bitters and exciting to those participating and familiar with the format, but just some guy off the street won't find it as interesting.

Plus, Orlando is better than Chicago when it comes to the amusement park and hotel quality.
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Post by swwFCqb » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:17 am

One of the things (actually come to think of it, it's really probably the only thing) that I liked about NAC was that they let you schedule your own rounds so that you could do some sightseeing on your own terms. It's pretty nice because a lot of teams who attend NAQT and are staying the minimum days possible won't have a lot of time to actually visit the city because of the tight schedule. Now obviously, if one were to either come in Thursday or leave on Monday, then they would have a chance to do some sightseeing, but if they were forced to come in Friday night and leave Sunday evening, then sightseeing would only be possible if they did not make the playoffs. In conclusion, even though the competition is the main attraction, it is still fun to do some sightseeing and exploring, and NAC is probably the best at giving teams that opportunity.
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Post by DumbJaques » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:30 am

The NAQT state champ from Mississippi, Murrah High School, went 4-6 at the NAQT National Tournament. After all the success they had in Mississippi, I would assume (disclaimer: I have not discussed this with any high schooler, so take it with a grain of salt), that they probably didn't enjoy it as much as Jackson Prep (who went 4-2 and defeated the #1 seed in OT in a playoff game) did at the NAC.
I just don't buy that argument. 159 teams did not enjoy NAQT HSNCT as much as they would have had they won. When I was a sophomore I went 1-6 in prelims at PACE nationals. It's nationals. Someone is going to finish in the bottom. Someone finished at the bottom at NAC. I would think that if you knew the only reason you beat this other team that's way better than you was because of bad questions or an ethically questionable tournament, you would feel horribly illegitimate about the experience. But I've been wrong before. If you want just a chill, end of the year thing and don't really want to compete, that's cool, I can see that. But I think thats a lot of cash to be forking out for a cozy weekend. Here's an alternative: Go to a trash tournament. Also, college is filled with opportunities to go and chill at some tournament without really caring how you do. They are created every time U Chicago attends a tournament near you.

On the other hand, if you want to go to a national tournament and compete, and care about the work you've put in and want to test your team against top competition, the idea that you need to win at a crappy tournament against a lame field to feel better is, in my opinion, ridiculous. When you go to a tournament with a field of over a hundred, guess what? Someone has to finish in 50th place and below. If you play as well as you can and the other teams are just better than you, oh well. One of my least favorite things about quizbowl is people who play down the competition aspect of it. How many college basketball teams would decline an NCAA tournament bid to try to win the NIT? If you're serious about competition, about the work your team has put in all year, you do not have "fun" beating teams obviously better than you because of a bad tournament or bad questions. I just don't see how anyone can take pride in that.
What I like about the NAC style questions and rounds is that it is more exciting to watch for those not familiar with Quiz Bowl. Its faster, the questions are usually easier (so the on lookers can be proud when they get a question right), and faster paced. Now, certain NAQT matches can be real nail-bitters and exciting to those participating and familiar with the format, but just some guy off the street won't find it as interesting.
Why in the name of all that is holy should our primary motivation behind a national tournament's format be what the random guy off the street finds interesting? He would probably find a quizbowl match where you have to fight the other team to get to one buzzer on their side of the room more interesting (I COPYRIGHT THIS IDEA), but that doesn't mean we're about to use that for our nationals. If the onlookers want to be proud, they can go watch jeopardy. Also, my mom thinks football would be better if less people got hurt, so I think the superbowl should be two-hand touch only. Agree/disagree?
Plus, Orlando is better than Chicago when it comes to the amusement park and hotel quality.
Orlando is definitely more expensive in terms of hotels, and not necessarily nicer. Also, if you want to go to an amusement park with your friends. . . you can! Again, a very low, low priority for picking a national quizbowl tournament.
One of the things (actually come to think of it, it's really probably the only thing) that I liked about NAC was that they let you schedule your own rounds so that you could do some sightseeing on your own terms. It's pretty nice because a lot of teams who attend NAQT and are staying the minimum days possible won't have a lot of time to actually visit the city because of the tight schedule. Now obviously, if one were to either come in Thursday or leave on Monday, then they would have a chance to do some sightseeing, but if they were forced to come in Friday night and leave Sunday evening, then sightseeing would only be possible if they did not make the playoffs. In conclusion, even though the competition is the main attraction, it is still fun to do some sightseeing and exploring, and NAC is probably the best at giving teams that opportunity.
Usually there's time to do something Friday or Sunday. But the reason NAC leaves you time isn't because of anything special about their brilliant scheduling system. . . it's because you play less games. You could go to NAQT and leave after 6 rounds if you wanted, but Christ, come on. Again, if you just want to go and chill, that's fine, but you probably aren't the kind of team that makes NAQT or PACE playoffs. You'll be free to do whatever you'd like on Sunday (not to mention Saturday night).

I can't help but feel like these are preposterous justifications for NAC's shortcomings. NAC is fun, let's you upset teams better than you that you wouldn't have a prayer of beating on other formats, and has theme parks near one of its sites? How are these the primary criteria for a national quizbowl tournament? I still fail to understand why "Yeah, NAC sucks, but. . ." justifies its existence.

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Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:01 am

I'm confused. Is this The Thread for People who Like NAC, or is it The Thread for People who Like NAC Even A Little Bit To Be Told For The Thousandth Time That They Are Wrong?

I think it's fine to have one thread a year telling people that NAC is bad, but the other NAC thread seemed to be serving that purpose.

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Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:06 am

Sasquatch wrote:What I like about the NAC style questions and rounds is that it is more exciting to watch for those not familiar with Quiz Bowl. Its faster, the questions are usually easier (so the on lookers can be proud when they get a question right), and faster paced. Now, certain NAQT matches can be real nail-bitters and exciting to those participating and familiar with the format, but just some guy off the street won't find it as interesting.

Plus, Orlando is better than Chicago when it comes to the amusement park and hotel quality.
We ran PACE Nationals a few years ago in Orlando, and I think Orlando exceeds Chicago in terms of hotel quality. But you do pay more because it is a tourist town compared to Chicago. Regardless, many people thought that Valencia did an extraordinary job running the event. Maybe in the future we could think about going back down if Chris Borglum and his group are interested. Flights to Orlando are very inexpensive, and if you choose the right hotel venues, it's not bad. But I can also predict that despite the location of our hotel being next to Universal Studios Florida, very few people actually went into the amusement park/studio (I think many did the CityWalk outside of the gates for food). Maybe that's our sampling and our selection bias, but I think many people who attended could say they did enjoy themselves there even if they didn't enjoy Walt Disney World or Universal Studios.

But I completely disagree with the assessment that general people would not find NAQT rounds interesting. Toss/bonus preceded the existence of NAQT, and plenty of people back in the 1950's enjoyed College Bowl when it was on TV. Many TV format shows that I witnessed or played used standard toss/bonus.

Your point brings up a very critical observation that has been pointed out to me several times: should quiz bowl formats deliberately cater to audiences? When it comes to broadcast formats, the answer is a no-brainer. But Jeopardy! is not a valid test of intelligence equivalent to an IQ test, just as a perfect SAT score is not equivalent to a high school diploma. But do we play quiz bowl to entertain the audience? If so, we have to redesign our format to include less obscure and organize our clues to be fewer but more knowledgeable for the "common man." You even prevent people from interrupting the reader (like they do on Jeopardy) so that your definition of "quick recall" should be modified to "quick response to the signaling lights on the set".

I'll tell you "Deal or No Deal" is perhaps one of the dumbest game shows (let's be expedient and open the case we do have, but no...), but it is very exciting because they edit out the boring parts (so I hope). The Spelling Bee or Geography isn't that special when it comes to format, and GeoBee at times has some very good questions and both are broadcast formats. Ironically however, Chip's national tournament is no longer broadcast even though -- as you point out -- it is perhaps the most friendly in terms of a broadcast format of all the nationals. They used to be on TV, but they aren't because they cannot get the sponsors, the channels, or the audience interest to get it back on TV. (And as you know, we live in an era where if you wanted to, you could soon make your own TV channel to broadcast your show.)

But if I were a school administrator, which I'm not, I would wonder now what I would get for the money I'm shelling out for a team. Maybe I am one who wants to reward my kids for playing on our academic team with a trip to an amusement park while playing a few games. I can understand that. If I were a regular coach who felt that the amusement park trip is a nice reward for me and my kids, I can relate to that. But if going to a national championship tournament is all about the amusement park rides and not about a celebration of academic knowledge or achievement, I'm going to wonder why I spent $3000 to bring a team if they don't do as well as I would like them to. The sponsors of TV shows don't have anything invested when they give money to the "winning team" to attend nationals; that's the old sponsorship model that all the Bees use.

Maybe we should give you more time to yourself rather than just Saturday evening. Maybe we should not give you more games to improve yourself against similar teams on Sunday. Maybe we should give all Saturday off like ASCN used to. That's fine, and each person has his/her preferences. But as was pointed out earlier, we could make football more about the halftime shows and the cheerleaders than the players too. It's your choice in the end, but do not try to equate the winner of the local little league soccer championships with the World Cup (of soccer).

But let's go back to point on this thread, and recognize that I would like to know more about what people do like about Chip's events and what he does well. I've gotten an idea of "why" people attend his events over the years, and I always tell people that you have to go to all the nationals, so I know what PACE NSC can do to improve our event (within reason) or whether we need to exist at all (jrbarry and I have discussed this in the past that there should be one national... unfortunately we apparently don't agree with what it ought to be). To that end, I really thank Sasquatch for providing some insight from his perspective. Hopefully in the future we will have more people who can present their impressions as well.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:58 am

jhn31 wrote:...teams from states that don't take it so seriously...

For example:
The NAQT state champ from Mississippi, Murrah High School, went 4-6 at the NAQT National Tournament. After all the success they had in Mississippi, I would assume (disclaimer: I have not discussed this with any high schooler, so take it with a grain of salt), that they probably didn't enjoy it as much as Jackson Prep (who went 4-2 and defeated the #1 seed in OT in a playoff game) did at the NAC.
I guess I can't see how you're not sort-of contradicting yourself there. If a team doesn't take the game seriously, why can't they have fun regardless of how they're doing? Isn't that the point of "not taking it seriously?"

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Post by DumbJaques » Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:50 pm

I'm confused. Is this The Thread for People who Like NAC, or is it The Thread for People who Like NAC Even A Little Bit To Be Told For The Thousandth Time That They Are Wrong?

I think it's fine to have one thread a year telling people that NAC is bad, but the other NAC thread seemed to be serving that purpose.
I didn't create this thread to tell people the NAC is bad. I've never even been to the NAC. I created this thread to find out for myself why people think the NAC is good, or at least worth spending money on as a national tournament.

Also, at the time of your post, there had been like one post (mine) in response to the numerous ones attempting to explain the appeal of the NAC. I didn't say anyone was wrong; I said I couldn't understand why certain things are appealing to/deciding factors for the teams that attend.

Also, I created this thread because it's better to have this kind of a discussion in a separate thread rather than a thread in which the NAC results and whatnot are being discussed, because people should be able to do that without wading through my rambling opinions if they don't want to. I really don't see what your problem is at all, except maybe that you didn't read this thread that carefully before prejudging the content and intent of certain posts.

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Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:41 pm

I read the thread carefully, and what you are trying to do is understandable. However, I don't think the name of this thread is well chosen, and I am certain that nobody will explain to you why they go to these tournaments in a way that satisfies you. You said yourself: "Ok, I know this is pointless...I guess this thread is my futile hope of some kind of discourse. But, since I was the who started the thread, that seems pretty unlikely." I am agreeing with you.

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Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:04 pm

The hard part is that those who really do like the format:

1) Do not know about this forum.
2) Know about this forum but see how others get shouted down whenever something doesn't agree with their perspective, and so they keep lurking.
3) Don't want to tell anyone they really like the format. :grin: Or that there are things they don't like but because they want to give it a chance...

So hopefully today, I have made contact with a few coaches and players from today's NAC festivities. I hope that some of them will feel welcome on the boards here in the long run. And then we can slowly come to a real discourse.
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Post by sweaver » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:08 am

I cannot truly give an opinion on NAC, as I have never been to that tournament. However, I do know Ernie Anderson, who regularly works with Chip on his tournaments. Ernie has hosted a quiz-style TV show on local TV whenever possible, and works tirelessly to get one on the air whenever it is not. Ernie's tournaments are always fun for the kids. He also is the chief reader for us at the state tournament. Ernie Anderson is a great friend to West Virginia quiz bowl.

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Post by Jackson_Raj » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:52 pm

We found the NAC fun, though I can't really compare it to the other tournaments, seeing as it was our first one. We found the NAC fun and as a reward for our season this year. We also liked the fact that DC was within driving distance and that it would be a cool place to visit, even for those who had been there before, because of the many musuems, monuments, etc.

Of course, we found more difficult competition there, seeing as we're a Jr. High (ex. Torrey Pines in the Prelims), but it gave us that thrill of competition that we don't really get here at home. For most teams, though, I can't really say the same, because in varying regions teams may be better or worse.

We also enjoyed talking to the moderators, a lot of whom we could relate to, like Ernie Anderson. One night, we were actually playing Halo and another one of the moderators came in and we just talked about Quiz Bowl. Now, I don't know if you could experience that at other national tournaments, but for us, this was a first.

Honestly, all I have to say about people ragging on Chip and his format is that for many years now, his tournament has not been the only national tournament. If people choose to go to his tournament, they recognize his questions aren't pyrimdal or the field isn't as strong as NAQT's. They spent their money to have a great time with friends on your team at a place that you can really have a fun time at.
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Post by ieppler » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:46 pm

Jackson_Raj wrote:One night, we were actually playing Halo and one of the moderators came in and we just talked about Quiz Bowl. Now, I don't know if you could experience that at other national tournaments, but for us, this was a first.
At least in my experience, NAQT moderators are very friendly and always to discuss quizbowl, especially with new teams. I've never been to PACE, but I know some members of the PACE staff, and I'd assume that they would be equally welcoming.
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Post by Byko » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:46 am

Hopper wrote:I've never been to PACE, but I know some members of the PACE staff, and I'd assume that they would be equally welcoming.
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Post by Tegan » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:57 pm

I will shamelessly plug:

The NAQT folks are great ..... for any group that size, there are bound to be a few not so great moderators, but that's the price of getting over 160 teams beating down the door to get in. In my estimation, not so bad a price.

PACE is something truly unique ....... the moderators are good to great to excellent ...... the questions .... at least NAQT quality in terms of correctness structure.

The best way to describe PACE: imagine all of the benefits of NAQT, with all of the benefits of an intimate tournament. You get to know people, and they get to know you.

Most importantly, and this cannot be said about certain other tournaments: there is never any doubt as to who the most important people at the tournament are: the players. The staff goes out of their way to establish a warmth, a tradition, a quality, etc that IMO leaves you with a very good feeling without being syrupy or condescending in any way. Trust me: there will be beatings, whuppings, and smack laid down ..... there are some truly elite teams there (IMO, in terms of concentration of talent, it might be the most talented field of any national). It is a fun tournament without compromising the game.

If not for timing + distance, we would be there in a heartbeat! I envy the teams going there .... if the past is an indication, it will be a great touranament.

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