Quizbowl Book

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Beevor Feevor
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Quizbowl Book

Post by Beevor Feevor » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:25 pm

As I alluded to in a response I made in the Theory section of these forums, I am planning on writing a book about Quizbowl as soon as my high school playing career is over. Like many in the community, I've become fed up with the lack of attention that Quizbowl receives in the media and in the public consciousness as a whole. I believe that Quizbowl could use a book that both defends its merits as a legitimate source of intellectual curiosity and vitality, as well as a guide that teaches beginning players how to improve and find how Quizbowl can better their individual lives.

I would be responsible for writing the book and finding publishers and agents and so forth to get it out into the public (with the details of that obviously to be worked out after I've finished more of it). I'm anticipating it to end up somewhere around 200 pages, just based off of my outline, and it would be written in a style that would hopefully be very accessible to the lay student who is first encountering Quizbowl in middle or high school, or to established high school players who wish to improve. However, I am asking for suggestions regarding things to include in the book, and I do believe that the community can be very helpful here as a tool for brainstorming! Some possible questions I have that I want to answer in the book are below, and other comments are extremely welcome.

1. What is Quizbowl?
2. What is the purpose of Quizbowl as an activity?
3. What is the state of Quizbowl like today, and where is it going?
4. How do the different formats compare with each other, and why is one preferred over the others?
5. How do I as an individual, or how does my school as an institution begin to participate in Quizbowl?
6. How do I improve from a beginning player to a medium-tier player to a "expert" at the game?
Eric Xu
Western Albemarle High School '15
University of Virginia '19

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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:46 pm

One thing you could do to drum up interest is to arrange a distribution plan with ACE camp whenever you output a product. You'll get to a lot of people that way.
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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by Charlie and Lolcat » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:16 pm

Eric,

This is an excellent idea. Schools in some areas have difficult competition for student and faculty resources between quizbowl and activities such as Fed Challenge, We the People, etc.

Some things to further elaborate

1. What Quizbowl Is vs. What Quizbowl Isn't
-Younger players or prospects often see Jeopardy or the local quizbowl show on TV, and assume all Saturday invitationals, state series, nationals, etc. are like that. I have been asked by many people about games I have staffed for the VHSL, and they often ask "What channel will it be on?" I am not trying to unfairly criticize TV formats, but the book should show prospects a realistic depiction of mainstream modern quizbowl. Discussing the format differences will help, as it is sometimes confusing, as state series (e.g. VHSL) are often played on a format other than 20/20, which may confuse novice players. Also, rules often change from year to year, so having references to NAQT, PACE, ACF, etc. websites for the most up-to-date rules will help.

2. Working with school administrations and athletic/activities directors to gain more funding
-Making a pitch to the school is always beneficial, especially in tight budgets. Demonstrate the learning capabilities of quizbowl, and where it can complement other non-athletic activities that also compete for the same resources. In states where there is a sanctioned state championship, researching recent(ish) results against local competition and opportunities to demonstrate some success, at least at the local level.

3. Student and faculty commitment
-Quizbowl teams offer lots of independent growth and leadership opportunities, which can go further than college and NHS applications. For example, players have the opportunity to study outside material specifically for quizbowl (which may come as a surprise to a middle schooler or freshman somewhat unfamiliar with quizbowl customs), and they can, in turn, impart their knowledge by passing down binders and notes on their subject area(s). Students may also make AV presentations on their findings, particularly if they are a specialist for music and/or art.

Faculty coaches need to at least know what is going on with the team. They are usually the official liason between the team and administration, and have to requisition for money, room space if hosting a tournament, buses, team shirts, etc. Faculty advisers do not need to rule the team with an iron fist, but should definitely coordinate with other faculty to continue recruiting within the same school, facilitate open houses for eighth graders, as well as team perks (such as letters, if applicable). They also need to be aware of the different formats and the specific variations between them.

Overall, quizbowl is a commitment, just as any sport or activity is. As my eighth-grade math teacher often says (sorry for the Sesame Street-sounding cadences of it): Every winner was once a beginner. Younger players should set goals for learning new material, deepening their knowledge of what they already know, and studying ahead of their grade level classwork in order to improve as a player. Older players shouldn't rest on their laurels, and should look at college-level material in order to get high school level tossups earlier.

In my years of coaching, I saw too many players pay dues in the fall, find out they would not be on TV, and quit, only to mysteriously reappear for the yearbook picture in January. Anyone who pays dues and is willing to come to practice can take something away from quizbowl, even without cameras present.

These are just my first ideas. I will write more later this evening.
Dave Porter
Douglas Freeman (2002-2005 as a player, 2006-2010 as staffer discount; 2010-2014 as volunteer consultant/assistant coach)
Freelance Trash player (2008-present)
Perennial VHSL Staffer (Conference 11 and Region 5A South)

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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:28 pm

A brief history of quizbowl might be interesting, just from a consumer point of view, since it increases the air of legitimacy and tradition, in addition to just being an interesting read.
Raynor Kuang
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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by High Dependency Unit » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:36 pm

I'm sure you've thought of this already, but you should definitely ask to interview people like Robert Hentzel and David Madden for this. It may also be a good idea to include some of Chip Beall's perspective and thus interview him as well, as despite NAC's flaws, it must be mentioned, especially if you do a comprehensive quiz bowl history section.
Michael Borecki
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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by tktennis » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:38 pm

If it means anything, while I and many far-more-versed members of the community would certainly read the quizbowl book, it might not be the way to reach the largest amount of people. Instead, a tasteful, accessible documentary would be much easier to watch. Debate organizations are currently trying to band together and create one of these, and an example of a time that it worked is (sorry, it's trashy) the Super Smash Brothers, Melee professional video game series, who created a huge documentary telling the history of their game and what it's like. I could see quizbowl doing something very similar to this and doing quite well. Just posting it on YouTube and letting it go wild.

Just a thought though. This should be no discouragement from the book, I can't wait to read!!
Trent Kannegieter
Captain, A Team
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trentkannegieter@gmail.com

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Beevor Feevor
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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by Beevor Feevor » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:58 am

tktennis wrote:If it means anything, while I and many far-more-versed members of the community would certainly read the quizbowl book, it might not be the way to reach the largest amount of people. Instead, a tasteful, accessible documentary would be much easier to watch. Debate organizations are currently trying to band together and create one of these, and an example of a time that it worked is (sorry, it's trashy) the Super Smash Brothers, Melee professional video game series, who created a huge documentary telling the history of their game and what it's like. I could see quizbowl doing something very similar to this and doing quite well. Just posting it on YouTube and letting it go wild.

Just a thought though. This should be no discouragement from the book, I can't wait to read!!
Hey Trent! Yeah, I'm a huge Smash fan, and I do agree that the Smash documentary was very interesting to watch and illustrated a lot of what was great about the game. I've actually been privately advocating in my conversations with others for quite a while about the possibility of creating a Quizbowl documentary of the sort, or even something like Spellbound for the Spelling Bee. However, I don't personally have much video editing experience or the time to put a project of that degree together, and for me personally, it's much easier to write than it is to film. Melee also has a very large, previously dormant and enthusiastic fanbase that was eagerly waiting for the documentary to come out. Quizbowl just doesn't have nearly the same amount of raw manpower for such a project to take off.

I definitely want the book to be written in a way that it is very readable and enjoyable by a lay-person who has never experienced Quizbowl before. Ultimately, the goal of this book should be to interest people in joining Quizbowl and getting involved with the community. Although it is going to give people a very basic idea of how to improve up to becoming an intermediate Quizbowl player, there are adequate forum resources on the topic should the people interested be willing to pursue them. At this point in its existence, Quizbowl just needs a way for itself to be marketed, and hopefully, an anecdotal book that focuses on its merits will be a decent way to attract people on the fence about the activity.
Eric Xu
Western Albemarle High School '15
University of Virginia '19

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Re: Quizbowl Book

Post by tktennis » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:42 pm

Sounds good to me, Eric; makes a lot of sense.

On that note, are you taking pre-orders?
Trent Kannegieter
Captain, A Team
Bayside Academy '17
Daphne, Alabama
trentkannegieter@gmail.com

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