Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

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Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Mcow2 »

As many of you know Hudson Valley NY, in particular Westchester County, is one of :chip: 's greatest strongholds. I've played under this ruleset for three going on four years, and I want to get out. I have only gotten a little taste of pyramidal NAQT tournaments (Columbia Cup 2016, SCOP Novice 2017), but it's just better for what I want to do and I believe that it is the direction my school (and the rest of Westchester) should take.

You may recognize me from this post from two years ago. I still go to BHS.

Since then, I've taken all your very helpful info and advice to heart, and have become one of the best players in Westchester. But, as I've gotten to know more about quizbowl, I've also come to realize how little that means.

Our plan to transition into pyramidal quizbowl hit a few roadblocks, the most important one being our new advisor. Our new advisor is much less passionate about our team, and was not accommodating to our desire to play pyramidal quizbowl. In an act of defiance, I took the A team to the Hunter Novice tournament last year, and we played under a pseudonym.

This was a very cathartic and fun experience, but eventually the year passed, and we didn't even go to nationals (NAC) even though we qualified many times over (she cited that we had only finished top 2 at the various :chip: tournaments we entered). This year, I have a much weaker team, and a lot less zeal to go to nationals. However I still want to move towards pyramidal quizbowl. The only problem is, I have no idea of how I'd realistically go about doing that.

I've come to the conclusion that one of the main issues is also that it's simply too much effort for most Westchester teams to compete in pyramidal style formats, since the closest tournaments are about an hour's transit away and also few and far between. If a local university or larger school would transfer and host NAQT/PACE tournaments that'd be incredibly helpful; however as I've tried to find quizbowl clubs at local colleges, I've turned up empty, and the largest schools in Westchester are deeply rooted in :chip: QB (White Plains and Horace Greeley).

That being said, I still want to try.

Last year's seniors and I had a falling out with our advisor over several issues and I've tried to keep my head down (especially since she's now also my calculus teacher and an administrator of sorts), so I'm not terribly comfortable negotiating with her. I have also thought about doing the whole pseudonym thing and going into tournaments unaffiliated, but the current members of my team aren't as committed/skilled and personally close as previous years. I've even contemplated asking some of the better players from Westchester if they'd want to form a coalition team and compete at NAQT tournaments, however the logistics of that are also difficult (although it could work).

If you have any suggestions about how I could make any of these ideas work, experience working with bad advisors, experience creating coalition teams, or perhaps new ideas about how I can escape :chip: I would deeply appreciate it.
Last edited by Mcow2 on Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Michael Tu
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

First, I'm glad that you enjoyed SCOP Novice at Hunter and found it a good experience in pyramidal quizbowl!

If you like history, one thing you might to is play History Bowl (https://www.historybowl.com/), which both Horace Greeley and White Plains do and is a good entry point into pyramidal quizbowl. History bowl also has "cultural history" within it, which encompasses much of the quizbowl distribution, albeit at lower amounts than a quizbowl tournament. Regarding your coach, you could mention that other strong teams in your area play these, which would probably help induce her to let you go.

In terms of History Bowl tournaments, the Upper Hudson Championships seem to not be listed on the tournament list as of now, but it has historically happened every year around March; additionally, the Lower Hudson Regional happens at White Plains HS around Martin Luther King Day every year and is a big event, and the NYC regional is happening this Sunday (probably a bit late to sign up) and also happens every year. Regarding the transportation issue you mentioned, these sites would probably be much easier.

For general quizbowl, I'd say to just keep going to NYC tournaments (Columbia Cup, Bardbowl and Hunter Novice) which is a solid 4 pyramidal tournaments per year to choose from. Also, an hour commute for quiz bowl is unfortunately the norm in this region; for Hunter, we have no tournaments within an hour except the NYC tournaments and maybe Long Island Fall/Princeton (which, if we take trains, still take over an hour).

I'm not sure how a coalition team works or if they're allowed in general; this would probably have to be dealt with on a case-by-case, tournament-by-tournament basis and might cause a lot of hassle even after you organize one. But certainly try to get other schools in your area to enjoy pyramidal quizbowl and reach out to them; this could end up resulting in one of them hosting a tournament near you. Scarsdale HS hosted annual NAQT tournaments until 2015 but hasn't played any NAQT since then; perhaps they would be good to contact.

Oh, and if at any point, a more experienced team acts elitist towards you (which I saw you mention in your previous post), just kindly remind them that you're new; if any Hunter team has acted badly in the past, I sincerely apologize and hope we've gotten much better since.
Last edited by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War on Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Aaron Goldfein »

Have you tried to talk your advisor into taking you to HSNCT or NSC? Even if you haven't qualified, if you're doing well in local tournaments then I'd bet you have a good shot at a wild card bid.

As a second point, have you considered being the change you want to see in the world? Why not run the "Briarcliff Invitational" on pyramidal questions? You would need a little help from your advisor for booking rooms, but if you volunteer to do everything else then it would be tough for her to say no. It would also be a good fundraiser for your club, which could go towards an HSNCT or NSC trip.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by A_Failure »

This feels like an excellent place to make a shameless self-plug for the Millburn Invitational on March 30. We will be using an easier set, and the field won't be as stacked as the Columbia tournament you played in, so it should be much more competitive for you. At this point in the season, tournaments below regular difficulty tend to be less common, so this is the best chance (that I am aware of) for you to get your team acclimated to pyramidal quiz bowl this year.

Speaking in the abstract, if you have been able to play under a pseudonym before, it is probably best to go with that route (especially if your coach is opposed to you going). Even if you cannot get your teammates to go, from your stats, you seem like a strong enough player to consider playing solo. Some tournaments will offer discounts for shorthanded teams (we might be able to if you can make it to our tournament). Obviously, if you do start doing this, you should try and get some younger players into the fold in order to keep pyramidal quiz bowl alive at your school.

In addition, since you are the captain, you might want to discuss replacing a few of your Chipbowl events with pyramidal tournaments next year. The schedule for tournaments next year will probably pop up here in June or so.

Other than that, I have little else to say other than to echo what Daniel and Aaron said above. Good luck!
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by High Dependency Unit »

You could always consider hosting your own tournament. The fact is, though, that traveling an hour to go to a tournament should not be a big deal, especially considering you'll be spending like 8 hours at that tournament anyway. To pitch another tournament, Darien High School is 45 minutes from you and hosting an A-set in late March. Since you're close to the Tappan Zee though, a lot of hosts in northern NJ should be relatively proximate to you. If you can't convince your teammates and coach to travel at all, you're not going to be successful in your effort to play pyramidal.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan »

Hi Michael,

It's great to see that there are players from Westchester who want to get more involved in pyramidal quizbowl and I'm sorry that you've hit a few roadblocks along the way. Speaking as someone who also played in Westchester, I know that getting yourself and your teammates involved isn't particularly easy.

If you want to play pyramidal quizbowl, play pyramidal quizbowl. As others have mentioned, you can play under a pseudonym. If you are willing and able, do it. While there are no tournaments in Westchester, I see 3 tournaments in March and 2 in April on the NJ Date Claims forum here: http://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=21295. New Jersey and New York are not different circuits. The only dichotomy is :chip: in Westchester and pyramidal in the Tri-State Area. For better or for worse, 60-90 minute drives are the norm for pyramidal quizbowl in Westchester. Once you (or your teammates/parents/advisors) get over this mental block

It's going to be very difficult to steer your advisor and administration away from :chip:, especially if the payment structure for the tournaments works the way it used to. Ultimately, the best way for you to try and do this is to get the younger members of your team more involved in pyramidal quizbowl. One of the main differences between :chip: and pyramidal is that the local tournaments feel more like a casual way to spend your Saturday morning as opposed to a full day commitment. That's not for everybody. Try to take a few underclassmen under your wing, but be careful about putting too much pressure on them. Most importantly, try to have fun with them at tournaments. It sucks that you're not as close to your new teammates as your old ones, but hopefully that will change over time.

Additionally, since you are one of the best players in Westchester, use that clout to plug pyramidal tournaments. Talk about how much fun they are, how you improved from going to them, and how much you would love to see more Westchester teams at these tournaments. Once you have a number of schools in the area who express favoritism towards pyramidal quizbowl for an extended period of time, the easier it will be to separate from :chip:.

Regarding going to NAQT tournaments as part of a collective, I would triple check with a tournament director if would be allowed. I would imagine that NAQT and the hosts would discourage doing this, but I guess it can't hurt to ask.

Assuming you haven't totally burned the bridge with your advisor, I would recommend asking what the specific issues are regarding an inability to attend pyramidal tournaments are. I know for example that there might be issues with budgeting to pay either the supervisor/chaperone or for transportation/registration fee. It's important to keep in mind that you are asking someone to give up their Saturday to look after the team, and that's a big commitment. Try to meet the advisor halfway (or even three quarters of the way) and both understand their perspective and how a compromise can be reached. For example, if a chaperone is needed ask if there is a form that can be signed so that a parent can take the place of teacher or administrator. I would generally not worry too much about negotiating with your advisor as long as you do so in good faith and don't piss them off. If they are taking out their frustrations about negotiating quizbowl funding on your calculus grades then there is a huge problem.
One conversation you could try to have with your advisor is about not paying for MACC and WACKO next year (are those still a thing?) and instead using that money to go to pyramidal tournaments. Of course, you would need to have at least a majority of your fellow club members to want to do the same before that conversation can happen.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out privately.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Important Bird Area »

ProfessorIanDuncan wrote: Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:50 am Regarding going to NAQT tournaments as part of a collective, I would triple check with a tournament director if would be allowed. I would imagine that NAQT and the hosts would discourage doing this, but I guess it can't hurt to ask.
"Collective" or "coalition" teams are ineligible under NAQT's rules (and thus may not qualify for or compete at NAQT's national championships). Local tournament directors might or might not allow such ineligible teams to play local events; as Alec indicates, the right thing to do is to ask your local td well in advance of the tournament.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Mcow2 »

Thanks for all of the responses; they were very helpful.

I've decided that, for now, my best course of action to get involved with pyramidal quizbowl is to aim at hosting and attending one pyramidal event next year. I've also contacted some of my teammates about going to the Millrose tournament, however that's more of a stretch.

I've read up the NAQT hosting guidelines and recommendations, but I was hoping to get some more first hand knowledge on how to run a tournament well. Briarcliff has hosted :chip: tournaments in the past; however, we've ceased to do that ever since our old advisor retired. I think I have the power to leverage something like this with my advisor, however she'll be skeptical and I'll need to know the in's and out's of hosting if she's going to consider it.

After reading the NAQT guide, I understand the basic responsibilities: choosing a date with few conflicts, making a tournament posting, being confidential, score reporting etc. But I'm pretty inexperienced about the workings of the tournament itself (scoresheets, lunch, brackets/reseeding, rooms, readers, etc.), as well as what kind of personnel/funding I'll need to ensure the tournament runs smoothly.

If any of you have any advice/an insider's guide for a long-time player, but first time hoster, feel free to DM, email or reply to this post. It would be greatly appreciated. I'll try to make my intentions known to my advisor and the schools in the area as soon as I get a better grasp on how I'm going to make this work.

I'm also a bit unsure if I'll be able to convince my advisor to sponsor one trip to NYC or Darien, however that's probably significantly easier to work out.

Again, any advice about what tournaments to attend/ how to convince your team or advisor to attend or about how to host a tournament would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.
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Re: Feeling Trapped in Hudson Valley(NY)

Post by Wartortullian »

Mcow2 wrote: Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:55 am If any of you have any advice/an insider's guide for a long-time player, but first time hoster, feel free to DM, email or reply to this post. It would be greatly appreciated. I'll try to make my intentions known to my advisor and the schools in the area as soon as I get a better grasp on how I'm going to make this work.
Chris Chiego wrote a massive guide for this, which you can find here.
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