Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

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Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by theattachment » Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:58 pm

Alright, my worst fears were confirmed.

I've received word that the Eden Prairie is backing out of many upcoming tournaments, namely ones that don't use NAQT sets, due to issues of funding more than one team per tournament. Regardless of the fact that NAQT tournaments tend to be more expensive than so-called "house sets" (for example, Ubu Roi will be $70 a team with further team discounts while their first tournament, St. Olaf's SOCIAL, will be $80 a team with no extra team discounts, as the early 2008 SAVANT was $75 and last year's GINVIT was also $80, neither with discounts), what this new coach has done is decide without consultation with the team what tournaments are legitimate and what tournaments aren't. The tentative plan is to play no tournaments that use non-NAQT sets, according to my sources in the team.

I'm currently working on plans to support the team however I can, but I'm looking for advice on how to convince a new coach of the error of her ways. It seems that this is just a case of a coach being wrong in her inexperience, but to tell her team to not go to tournaments with a clear pattern of "illlegitimacy" is, to an alumnus, sickening enough to offer my services as a coach for free.
Colin O'Donnell -- ex-Eden Prairie High School (man, that feels nice to say), eventually University of Minnesota

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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:21 pm

Alright, my worst fears were confirmed.

I've received word that the Eden Prairie is backing out of many upcoming tournaments, namely ones that don't use NAQT sets, due to issues of funding more than one team per tournament. Regardless of the fact that NAQT tournaments tend to be more expensive than so-called "house sets" (for example, Ubu Roi will be $70 a team with further team discounts while their first tournament, St. Olaf's SOCIAL, will be $80 a team with no extra team discounts, as the early 2008 SAVANT was $75 and last year's GINVIT was also $80, neither with discounts), what this new coach has done is decide without consultation with the team what tournaments are legitimate and what tournaments aren't. The tentative plan is to play no tournaments that use non-NAQT sets, according to my sources in the team.

I'm currently working on plans to support the team however I can, but I'm looking for advice on how to convince a new coach of the error of her ways. It seems that this is just a case of a coach being wrong in her inexperience, but to tell her team to not go to tournaments with a clear pattern of "illlegitimacy" is, to an alumnus, sickening enough to offer my services as a coach for free.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by BuzzerZen » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:23 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Write a letter
Hey, no proxy accounts in the high school section...oh wait.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by OctagonJoe » Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:37 pm

The situation as you describe it is almost exactly the same situation Wayzata was in a year ago. Our coach didn't want us going to tournaments where Hentzel wouldn't be present, as she wasn't sure about the safety or something odd. We overcame this by going to tournaments at the U on our own and under aliases. The route we went might not be ideal, as it included going behind our school and coach's back to play and required frequent out of pocket payments. However, it was definitely worth it in the end.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by The Lumpy Rug » Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:57 pm

It sure is mysterious that high school coaches in the town where R Hentzel lives have suddenly gotten the idea that non-NAQT quizbowl is illegitimate. I wonder where this impression might have come from.

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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Strongside » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:18 pm

This looks like an unfortunate situation. For non-NAQT tournaments, you could maybe try to convince the coach/school that the team would do better, and be better prepared for tournaments, if they could play on a variety of question styles and authors. Maybe you could also demonstrate the that the people and club running the tournaments are responsible.

With Eden Prairie's success over the past few years you could try to argue that Eden Prairie has built a quiz bowl dynasty, and they need to go to these meets to maintain that. If that doesn't work, the team could just go to meets on their own and pay with their own money. It shouldn't be that expensive if the meet is in Minnesota and they can split the cost, although this would not be ideal.

When I was in high school I paid for tournaments with my own money at least once (I can't remember exactly how many times), and went to some tournaments my coach didn't really want us to go to, so it can be done.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:30 pm

Yeah, you are very lucky that there isn't a restrictive organization in play here, and I don't see any problem with going every now and then without your coach to some stuff. I know I can't speak for every TD but I think a lot would be willing to work with you and charge you less. If your coach gets angry about it, I know the community at large would probably be able to offer some kind of support (like, writing in that this has some precedent, these tournaments are very legitimate and they are what goes on around the rest of the competitive country, and that EP has shown a willingness to go to these events before and it doesn't make sense to suddenly cut that off). However, I think Minnesota has tournaments on almost every IS set made, and would say that going to all of those is actually not a terrible schedule, although I dont think that still excuses a coach not letting you go elsewhere irrationally.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:37 pm

Also, I could probably whip up some diagrams that show how 70 is a smaller number than 80.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:38 pm

Is this a new coach in the literal way? The coach has never been a coach of a QB team before? What were the responses to the objections of the students/teammates to this new plan?

Hard to believe that such an irrational executive decision was made which will obviously hinder a nationally-renowned and -respected team. NAQT sets are pretty darn good, but that's not enough if you really want to compete on a national level. Any good coach should figure this fact out in a brief period of time that the more exposure, the better.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:55 am

Just to be clear on this, we're talking about the coach refusing to go to other legitimately good tournaments, right? Not just backing out of Terrible Format Event 7?
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:57 am

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this mainly consists of not going to events held at the University of Minnesota like ACF Fall or Ubu Roi.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:30 am

Has the Team Captain had a one-on-one discussion with the coach in which s/he described a few of the good tournaments the team has gone to in the recent past? If so, what did the coach say during that meeting? If not, this thread should not have been started until after that meeting took place.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Gautam » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:06 am

It's unfortunate that this has happened. Given that my brother is on that team and has high aspirations for this year (and he's getting to be a good player too), I think it is a major setback to that team.

I don't think it is appropriate to be talking about legitimacy of tournaments not run by R; R has run several smooth tournaments for high schoolers, and they've been satisfied with what he has to offer. It is rather weird that coaches have this perception of tournaments run independently of R are unsafe or whatever, but it will take some time for groups like UMN and others to build up the reputation of offering quality tournaments that are run efficiently and which satisfy all players' needs. However, I do feel that the discussion drastically needs to shift towards how teams like EP should stop putting their money into Knowledge bowl and other funzies that bleed the coffers. I have spoken with the EP coach in this regard, but the discussion could proceed much further. I intend to talk with her more as the season progresses.

I know that my brother is willing to pay out of his pocket, and indeed, I am willing to finance his team as much as possible. I know that team is capable of making the top 15% at both HSNCT and NSC, and I feel that despite this setback, the team has a bright future ahead with lots of tournaments for them to thrive at.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by theattachment » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:19 am

Thanks to everyone who has responded to this. I'm going to answer some of the ideas:
Caesar Rodney HS wrote:Is this a new coach in the literal way? The coach has never been a coach of a QB team before? What were the responses to the objections of the students/teammates to this new plan?

Hard to believe that such an irrational executive decision was made which will obviously hinder a nationally-renowned and -respected team. NAQT sets are pretty darn good, but that's not enough if you really want to compete on a national level. Any good coach should figure this fact out in a brief period of time that the more exposure, the better.
Yeah. She's been an academic team coach before, but it was on a largely quiet (by the format's standards) Knowledge Bowl team. She has no experience even playing quiz bowl. The team was somewhat displeased by this, but I think they just recognized it as a challenge instead of an unworkable one.
David wrote: Meeting with the coach yet?
A transition meeting between captain Sam Daub, the coach, and former coach Kirk Walton has already happened. From what I gathered, the meeting was basically about the difference between Knowledge Bowl and quiz bowl. I also e-mailed her at the beginning of her run, and I think I noted a difference between mACF and NAQT questions as part of a larger point to reach out to the quiz bowl community.
People talking about IS sets wrote:IS sets are pretty good
IS sets, while good, don't really provide the level of difficulty for a team like EP to develop. The year-over-year change in difficulty is very low, and the team that EP returns wouldn't really benefit from using more IS sets to learn the same clues they had already buzzed on before. A schedule that is largely IS sets is, admittedly, a lot better than what most teams have to deal with. A schedule that only hits IS difficulty, however, isn't a good use of the team's knowledge.
Rob wrote: 70 is less than 80
This is another issue that comes up. When budgets are tight, you would tend to pick tournaments that are cheaper, namely ones that actually give discounts for second and third teams. Instead, the new coach picked tournaments that are more expensive with, according to the team, no real reasoning.
Jerry wrote: Just to be clear on this, we're talking about the coach refusing to go to other legitimately good tournaments, right? Not just backing out of Terrible Format Event 7?
Yes and no. League can be argued to be Terrible Format Event 7 (basically an NAQT timed four quarter with a lightning round, a chopped up version of IS-80A and twelve speed checks), but its being terrible is largely just a league being played on an A set. The issue is that the coach has decided to go to less legitimately good tournaments, namely every single NAQT set, instead of tournaments like Ubu Roi and NNT.
Dudes saying go to tournaments as a secret team wrote: Secret teams
They likely will have to do this, which really sucks. The school does allow for teams to go to tournaments on their own, though it's more that the precedent is to not raise questions as the team plays college stuff like Fall and Matt Cvijanovich. Additionally, teams like EPUC (the Ultimate Frisbee team) and the lacrosse team have played as club teams outside of jurisdiction (often due to a lack of it) while still retaining school sponsorship.

However, two concerns come up: 1. Coaches should not be limiting schedules for players, even if they are willing to play on their own. The team was told to not go to this tournament, not that the school wouldn't be sponsoring and paying for the team to attend. That's patently absurd. 2. At EP, quiz bowlers pay $35 a year to play quiz bowl. This is an extremely low number, one that has been found last year to be far from capable to pay for tournaments. The team has said that they would be willing (and probably able) to pay more in activities fees to communally pay for registrations. This was struck down, and now the school, through the new coach, is imposing that people pay for their own tournaments and transportation, causing the team to spend more money. I don't precisely know how the school matches funds, but my understanding is that the team gets some sort of matching funds to cover transportation for tournaments, as well as a free trip to attend recognized state tournaments. Seeing as though the only tournament where that would apply is KB State (which we won't be doing) it may be a good idea to see if that money can go into the fund or can instead be applied to going to PACE or something.
proxy account wrote: Stirring stuff with Hentzel's involvement in MNQB
Like it or not, with Hentzel living in Minnesota, NAQT gets a lot of play and prominence. That said, knowing Hentzel makes me doubt that there is anything sinister with this. R. has never really been one to work to destroy competing formats, regardless of the views of other members of NAQT; instead, he's been the more rational one in promoting tournaments in the state. If this is a case of R. trying to push the U of M's tournaments or other local tournaments out, I doubt he would link to the announcement on HSQB for Ubu Roi.

Anyone who is interested in building a lengthy tract to send to Ms. Canfield (and the school if that doesn't go well) should get a hold of me at theattachment @ gmail dot com. I already sent a list of talking points to the team's captain that revolved around question quality and the numbers on the budget.

EDIT: One last clarifying thing. Save for work on EPIC, which I'm on a break from due to Rob Pilatus, I'm not linked to EP outside of being an alum interested in helping the team out.
Colin O'Donnell -- ex-Eden Prairie High School (man, that feels nice to say), eventually University of Minnesota

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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:50 am

Sam Daub should try to meet with the new coach again. He should point out that this change is clearly a step backwards for the team and find out if there is any way for the team to maintain its excellence, since cutting out important tournaments would make it close to impossible for the team to maintain the record it has built up in the last few years. If Sam is frustrated by that meeting, he should speak to the Activities Director at EP to express his disappointment and find out if the program can retain the benefits it has enjoyed. The Activities Director may be willing to mediate a compromise between the returning students on the team and the new coach regarding tournaments.

During discussions, Sam should focus more on the positive aspects of the tournaments you want to enter than the negative aspects of other tournaments.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by at your pleasure » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:11 pm

I would also point to houswrites and mirrors being considered legitimate in most quizbowl centers, and give examples of popular and legitimate non NAQT tournaments(say, NSC, ACF stuff, and higly regarded mirrors)
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:36 pm

I think that a good way to convince this new coach to let EP go to U of M tournaments would be to mention that Gautam is an EP alum. This would allow the coach to have a known quantity as a contact at U of M.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by First Chairman » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:59 pm

I would agree: alumni ties can be useful in this situation. Not to mention older sibling connections. :)
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Antisamitism » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:06 pm

I feel like I should probably chime in on the discussion, since my name's already being thrown around, and I don't want to come across as too much of an ineffectual tool without at least getting my say.

Here's the situation right now: our team is pretty deep in hock with the EPHS activities office. Even after EPIC and our various fundraisers, we're working on a pretty minimal budget. So paying for tournaments out of pocket really is our only option on that front. The district doesn't have all that much money to spare, and it's the ugly truth that very little of it will end up going to quiz bowl. Raising the fee could definitely help our situation, and I'll see what I can do about that, but we've pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we're going to be paying our way to a lot of tournaments.

Keep in mind that the team dealt directly with the activities office for the majority of Kirk's tenure, since he wasn't a part of the staff. Ms. Canfield was brought on-board partly to keep the team from contacting Student Activities directly. Like I said, we're nowhere near the top of the totem pole, and I don't think any number of state championships or angry letters will be able to change that.

Now, as for Ms. Canfield: I don't want you guys to get the impression that she's some idiot in over her head. She's a new teacher to the district, so she seems kind of cautious about ruffling feathers with the administration. It's unfortunate, but I can't say I blame her. She does have "experience" as a KB coach, which at least makes her an expert on earth science and Paint Your Wagon. Will the transition be rough? Probably. Will it kill the program? I certainly don't expect it to. Given a few years in the building, I'm sure she'll be able to become the tough staff advocate the QB program at EPHS needs.

Until then, we're going to have to play by their rules. We're thinking of fundraising opportunities outside of EPIC, and we're definitely going to end up paying for some tournaments out of pocket. I'm not sure Eden Prairie needs to be "rescued," so much as it needs to be "funded." I'll definitely follow the suggestions I saw above, however, and I'm open to anything else you guys have got.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by at your pleasure » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:18 pm

In that case, things should go all right. The only other suggestion I have is to mabye show Mrs. Canfield aroud the boards and/or the qbwiki, just so she gets a better feel for quizbowl.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:19 pm

Antisamitism wrote:Until then, we're going to have to play by their rules. We're thinking of fundraising opportunities outside of EPIC, and we're definitely going to end up paying for some tournaments out of pocket. I'm not sure Eden Prairie needs to be "rescued," so much as it needs to be "funded." I'll definitely follow the suggestions I saw above, however, and I'm open to anything else you guys have got.
Host more tournaments. This is how many teams fund themselves; some programs have no school support at all.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by ClemsonQB » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:29 pm

Get local businesses to sponsor your team.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:37 pm

ClemsonQB wrote:Get local businesses to sponsor your team.
Become the Al Franken '08 Eden Prairie Academic Team, AFEPAT. Then Al can turn that into APE FAT, and chuckle. Then win a lot of tournaments and get lots of publicity. In the next few weeks.

Seriously, business sponsorship would be a great idea but I don't know how feasible it is in your area: I know we couldn't manage in Pittsburgh.
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Re: Help Colin rescue Eden Prairie

Post by David Riley » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:50 am

I'm with Matt--hosting tournaments is a great way to fundraise. And we tried business sponsorship in Illinois and we weren't able to get it to work. Businesses have no interest in sponsoring "suburban brat" schools. We're one, and I'm assumng (Eden Prairie being so close to Edina) that you are as well. :grin:

Seriously though, host a tournament for schools in your area; I'd invite some outstate schools as well; who knows how many teams might want to attend a tournament at eP?
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