Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

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Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:28 am

Hey, I had a wacky idea that we could have these things called "collegiate tournaments" where people play for the schools they actually go to, people who aren't students don't get to play, there's no superteams formed from people at different schools as if this were a summer open, and if people in high school want to play then they play for a team composed of one or more players from their high school as per the ACF rules. If we had such things, maybe some of the less experienced players on less active teams would be more willing to show up to real events. Does anybody think that we could perhaps implement my craaaazy idea starting with Terrapin?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:36 am

Matt Weiner wrote:Hey, I had a wacky idea that we could have these things called "collegiate tournaments" where people play for the schools they actually go to, people who aren't students don't get to play, there's no superteams formed from people at different schools as if this were a summer open, and if people in high school want to play then they play for a team composed of one or more players from their high school as per the ACF rules. If we had such things, maybe some of the less experienced players on less active teams would be more willing to show up to real events. Does anybody think that we could perhaps implement my craaaazy idea starting with Terrapin?
Intrigued, ideas, newsletter, etc. Open tournaments are fun and all during the summer, but the collegiate game should really be grounded in collegiate teams. The default used to be "masters teams can play, but are barred from winning anything", and I think that's a fair policy to revive/continue for the majority of tournaments during the year.
Last edited by Theory Of The Leisure Flask on Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:55 am

Matt Weiner wrote:Hey, I had a wacky idea that we could have these things called "collegiate tournaments" where people play for the schools they actually go to, people who aren't students don't get to play, there's no superteams formed from people at different schools as if this were a summer open, and if people in high school want to play then they play for a team composed of one or more players from their high school as per the ACF rules. If we had such things, maybe some of the less experienced players on less active teams would be more willing to show up to real events. Does anybody think that we could perhaps implement my craaaazy idea starting with Terrapin?
I endorse this sentiment, though I'm willing to give more leeway to high school students. I think (save the Yetman/Kennedy team that I won't apologize for because Kennedy having questions solved many problems) that T-Party and its various mirrors adhered to it.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:27 pm

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Hey, I had a wacky idea that we could have these things called "collegiate tournaments" where people play for the schools they actually go to, people who aren't students don't get to play, there's no superteams formed from people at different schools as if this were a summer open, and if people in high school want to play then they play for a team composed of one or more players from their high school as per the ACF rules. If we had such things, maybe some of the less experienced players on less active teams would be more willing to show up to real events. Does anybody think that we could perhaps implement my craaaazy idea starting with Terrapin?
Intrigued, ideas, newsletter, etc. Open tournaments are fun and all during the summer, but the collegiate game should really be grounded in collegiate teams. The default used to be "master's teams can play, but are barred from winning anything", and I think that's a fair policy to revive/continue for the majority of tournaments during the year.
Alright, allow me to explain myself for a second. I don't have any interest in screwing up other teams' good time by forming a "superteam"; when I put myself up as a free agent I didn't have some grandiose scheme in mind. I realize this isn't Chicago Open, and that said "less active teams" have more of a stake in this tournament. My situation is simple: Brown probably isn't coming, and I don't like playing by myself. I personally don't think that a team of just me and Ike (for example) would be any worse for these "less active teams" than the full Brown A showing up. I'd be more than happy as part of a duo or something, and would be perfectly fine being barred from the top bracket or from winning. Part of the fun of quizbowl for me is having a teammate to discuss answers with, and I think I can be allowed that without screwing up anyone's day.

All this being said, I'll abide by whatever the TD's ruling is on this.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Ike » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:26 pm

Yeah, I'm open to whatever the TD decides to implement.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:47 pm

Yeah, obviously, it's the TD's decision with all matters like this - but, I really don't understand the commotion over this kind of stuff. I mean, I've gotten on board with the notion of having lots of "regular" (do note those quotes!) collegiate tournaments throughout the year to attract all sorts of new teams with accessible pyramidal questions. Fine, great. But, I don't understand the dogged insistence on team eligibility requirements for mACF-type circuit tournaments - what are we really campaigning against?

Let's be realistic here - there are maybe 15 active players in the whole nation who are "scary" enough to fear them teaming up with each other (good enough that we fear some sort of superteam will emerge and scare off/disocourage youngsters - I'm not sure I really think that happens anyway, but I'm even granting that premise here). At most standard circuit tournaments (like TIT) - you'd be lucky if you have 3 or 4 such "scary" players. Maybe I could understand the problem if all 3 or 4 of those people abandoned their normal teams to combine and win the event. But, if one good player wants to team up with a few other players in order to avoid having a bunch of teams composed of one or two people, I don't see the problem...in fact, I would think such combining preferrable, in that it fosters attendance and competition and just generally makes the event better. Are we really scared that chimera teams formed at these circuit events will be so powerful? Most of them are sure as hell going to be far less powerful/"scary" than the normal teams that Minnesota, Chicago, or Brown could field.

In reality, the only type of event where there really exists a big possibility of "superteams" are open events which draw large diverse fields - and those are the very events where we agree that it's generally okay for them to form, cause everyone's all hardcore and stuff.

My opinion is that: Unless we're talking about ACF Nats (cause it's a collegiate title) or some sort of undergraduate/introductory event, we shouldn't go trying to put restrictions on who can play. It hinders attendance and competition and the formation of reasonable teams, and for no logical reason. Perhaps we could couple this policy with a "gentleman's agreement" not to form super-powerful teams that will clearly blow all other teams out of the water, just in case that's ever a possibility. It would be just like the agreement we have now where lots of very skilled players choose not to play introductory/low-level events.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:15 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:My opinion is that: Unless we're talking about ACF Nats (cause it's a collegiate title) or some sort of undergraduate/introductory event, we shouldn't go trying to put restrictions on who can play. It hinders attendance and competition and the formation of reasonable teams, and for no logical reason. Perhaps we could couple this policy with a "gentleman's agreement" not to form super-powerful teams that will clearly blow all other teams out of the water, just in case that's ever a possibility. It would be just like the agreement we have now where lots of very skilled players choose not to play introductory/low-level events.
I agree with this wholeheartedly, especially since a lot of the time, these situations arise out of a lack of a team's availability (like Eric). I don't think he should be punished simply because he's coming by himself and happens to be quite good at the game.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:20 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:I agree with this wholeheartedly, especially since a lot of the time, these situations arise out of a lack of a team's availability (like Eric). I don't think he should be punished simply because he's coming by himself and happens to be quite good at the game.
That's why the official ACF guidelines call for deep discounts for one-and-two man teams; such accommodations could also easily be extended to reduced packet-writing requirements for individuals who want to play without readily available teammates but would have a hard time writing a full 24/24 on their own.

My objection is less utilitarian than Matt's: I doubt there are many teams who would be intimidated by an Eric/Ike combo that wouldn't be intimidated by them playing individually, and I certainly hope that nobody would actually consider dropping a tournament because "oh noes there'll be good players there!" On the other hand, if they didn't mind playing individually, that would mean a larger field and probably one more game for every team, which I feel would be a net positive for TIT. My general (discouraging) attitude toward bastard teams stems more from my (old-school?) conception of quizbowl as primarily an interscholastic pursuit, and goes hand in hand with another long-held belief: that every non-summer tournament should recognize an undergrad champion (I'm a grad student, so I'm not arguing from self-interest here).

I mean, I certainly don't mind competing in open tournaments, and I'm glad they exist. But I do wish there were more collegiate tournaments.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:37 pm

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:My objection is less utilitarian than Matt's: I doubt there are many teams who would be intimidated by an Eric/Ike combo that wouldn't be intimidated by them playing individually, and I certainly hope that nobody would actually consider dropping a tournament because "oh noes there'll be good players there!" On the other hand, if they didn't mind playing individually, that would mean a larger field and probably one more game for every team, which I feel would be a net positive for TIT.
Right, and generally players who won't mind playing solo say so and don't make a fuss if the TD asks them to. But, like, if they benefit a lot more from playing as a team, do we all ask them to take a hit just for a possible extra game? (Also consider that there might be a schedule possibility allowing more games from the field with the other parity, if you're talking about a one double or two singles situation. And those players will infrequently be of Eric's caliber, for example, I'd say a tournament is better off providing one game against a team of two pretty good, complementary players than two games against solo pretty good players--the former will be more competition and therefore probably more learning.

I think that this is an issue safely left up to TDs. There are tournaments during the regular season traditionally slated as being "open," after all, and many of those offer a registration-fee incentive to play as a team. I agree with the spirit of Matt's post, but I don't know if the situation at hand really warrants as much concern as he expresses.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:24 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Hey, I had a wacky idea that we could have these things called "collegiate tournaments" where people play for the schools they actually go to, people who aren't students don't get to play, there's no superteams formed from people at different schools as if this were a summer open, and if people in high school want to play then they play for a team composed of one or more players from their high school as per the ACF rules. If we had such things, maybe some of the less experienced players on less active teams would be more willing to show up to real events. Does anybody think that we could perhaps implement my craaaazy idea starting with Terrapin?
Ok, I have to strongly disagree with this. The notion that somehow a team composed of Eric and Ike would deter anyone else from showing up is absurd on its face; indeed, it's just as absurd as suggesting that teams with grad students or generally good teams somehow keep other less good teams away. Is there seriously anyone out there who would be more intimidated by playing Eric/Ike than they would be by playing the full Brown A team? Not to bash on Ike or toot our own horn, but I'm sure the answer to this is "no."

I think it's entirely consistent with the spirit of the game to let in any bastard teams that form because those players are unable to come with teams from their own schools, or any teams made up of people no longer in school (e.g. Laferbrook teams, Magin). Keeping those teams out serves no purpose other than to alienate players, and if anyone is deterred by their presence, I would suggest that they have their priorities backwards.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:39 pm

I think it's indisputable that some teams are deterred from coming to tournaments because they lose every game by 300 points. This is not an argument for banning grad students or for getting generally bitchy about people who put in the work to be good, because we've repeatedly shown that grad students are a net benefit and complaining about one's own suckitude is an idiotic endeavor. I don't want to remake sensible parts of quizbowl to cater to those who don't really want to play in the first place. However, when the complaint is that people are treating collegiate quizbowl as "just do whatever the hell you want" and winning by taking advantage of resources that bad teams don't necessarily have, such as social contacts with other top players or the ability to attract a free agent to your team because you are likely to contend for the title, then I lend it more credence.

Eric is one of the best players in the game, and Ike is good enough to lead a collegiate tournament in scoring and miss going undefeated by a 5-point loss. Those two players do not need to be forming a team together at a regular event. I'm sorry if Eric's tournament experience is diminished by playing solo, but if no one else on your team can go to the tournament, that's what happens. We can at least make this less unfair by pairing him up with some less experienced freshmen from Maryland or some nearby school, right?

Terrapin had 9 teams last year, some of whom abandoned the tournament after the round-robin. There are more teams than 9, by an order of magnitude, in the Mid-Atlantic. I think we could do better with attracting people to actual collegiate quizbowl than we have been, and we need to consider reasonable ways to do so. Banning people from tournaments for being grad students or being good would be unreasonable; by contrast, asking people not to form mixed-school teams of good players seems very reasonable to me.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by evilmonkey » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:21 pm

In the rush to attack Matt's claim that superteams would deter less experienced teams, one of his points is being overlooked: that we do in fact call these "collegiate tournaments". Since as of now these tournaments are purported to involve matchups between two academic institutions, shouldn't we be awarding a championship to one of those teams? I'd argue that any mixed team should be barred from winning the tournament, as was mentioned earlier (obviously, not applying this to opens). At the very least, the top team actually from a school should be recognized.


Regarding Matt's claim about deterrence: I don't think that bad teams are going to not go to a tournament because there are superteams. The major turn-off for the not-so-good teams is lack of competitive games. This has two causes: questions that are too difficult (Like a team that struggles at fall-level questions trying to attend regionals-level tournaments), or lack of equal teams. The first is independent of superteams; the second can only be made worse when an extremely strong player is added to an otherwise weak team, thus reducing the number of less-strong teams by one. Thus, looking from the perspective of the weaker, less active teams (which is what Matt is trying to do), combining strong players into superteams (as opposed to having them play solo) might actually be preferable, since that would increase the proportion of games in which the bad teams feel like they have a chance.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:28 pm

Just to be clear about my personal perspective, which is similar to but not identical to a TD decision I made that I thought best iterated community standards, I believe that the subset of people who know how could "Ike" and "Eric" are, know they don't go to the same school, and would actually be deterred from coming to TIT for that reason alone is absolutely nobody. Why weren't some of those Mid-Atlantic teams at TIT last year? I'm not sure, but it had nothing to do with stuff like that (as none of that happened last year anyway).

Maybe Matt has other ideas about the reasons and solutions regarding team underattendance; if so, surely a separate thread about that is worthwhile.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:00 pm

I just don't understand any of the arguments being put forth by Weiner and Chris in this thread.

First of all, you're not necessarily allowing an event to have more games by simply creating more teams. If the number of teams at an event makes a full round robin too short, you can always rebracket and have additional games after that. There's no reason why a 5-team tournament would have any fewer games than 13-team tournament - in the former, you just play a triple round robin...in the latter, you play a single round robin. You can devise a reasonable schedule no matter how many teams you end up having at your event.

Secondly, I think having a bunch of solo and two-person teams stay that way when they express a desire to combine is pretty silly. This game isn't meant to be played by one person and three paperweights. It's meant to be played on teams, and things are a lot more competitive and less dull when there is some semblance of a team playing against some semblance of another team. Again, I'm against people abandoning their own teams just to play on better ones. And I'm against the formation of true "superteams". But, neither of those things ever happen at routine circuit events, so I dont see what we're worrying about.

People don't do "whatever the hell they want" at these events. If they have a team, they play on it. If they're a free agent or they have lots of vacancies, they tend to find other players and form reasonable teams with them. The end result is that you get more teams, at different skill levels - and more teams means a better, more enjoyable tournament experience for everyone. Like Jerry, I think anyone who doesn't agree has unfortunate priorities.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Cheynem » Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:51 pm

My opinion doesn't count for a hill of beans, but I actually like Matt's point. He's not arguing that Eric be forced to play alone, with three paperweights. He's merely proferring the point that Eric, an excellent player, should perhaps not team up with Ike, a very good player, at a regular event. There is a very interesting discussion to be had regarding the fairness or equitable status of some teams having "more social contacts" or the "ability to attract free agents" than other teams.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:42 pm

I'm amazed that I have to argue this point with you of all people, Matt. Nevertheless:
Matt Weiner wrote:I think it's indisputable that some teams are deterred from coming to tournaments because they lose every game by 300 points. This is not an argument for banning grad students or for getting generally bitchy about people who put in the work to be good, because we've repeatedly shown that grad students are a net benefit and complaining about one's own suckitude is an idiotic endeavor.
The logical conclusion of this line of thought is that allowing grad students to play is only useful so long as they net a positive participation in quizbowl. What this suggests to me is that if that were not the case (i.e. just by being generally good grad students drove away more people than they brought in by building up clubs) then we would be justified in banning them. This is a completely unacceptable position to me.

I hate to revisit old arguments, but I'll just throw this out there: the consequentialist argument for allowing this or that group (e.g. grad students, experienced players, etc.) to play is the wrong argument. Being allowed to play is a matter of fairness, not a matter of bringing in the right number of people or something equally pointless. I find highly objectionable any rule that attempts to exclude people or teams on the mere basis of their institutional affiliation or lack thereof.
However, when the complaint is that people are treating collegiate quizbowl as "just do whatever the hell you want"
Who, other than you, is making that complaint? I must admit that I didn't do a scientific poll of the entire circuit, but I don't recall anyone protesting that people are "doing whatever the hell they want" at quizbowl tournaments.
and winning by taking advantage of resources that bad teams don't necessarily have, such as social contacts with other top players or the ability to attract a free agent to your team because you are likely to contend for the title, then I lend it more credence.
First, neither Eric nor Ike took advantage of any resources not available to the public; presumably, that's why we're talking about it on this board instead of finding out after the fact. Anyone can, in principle, post here and declare himself a free agent.
Eric is one of the best players in the game, and Ike is good enough to lead a collegiate tournament in scoring and miss going undefeated by a 5-point loss. Those two players do not need to be forming a team together at a regular event. I'm sorry if Eric's tournament experience is diminished by playing solo, but if no one else on your team can go to the tournament, that's what happens. We can at least make this less unfair by pairing him up with some less experienced freshmen from Maryland or some nearby school, right?
I've decided to make this point moot by coming to Terrapin. Other Brown players may or may not come, but Eric and I will be there to represent our school. I hope that satisfies your misguided sense of propriety; I also hope that any teams that were planning to not attend for fear of having to face the Mukherjee/Jose juggernaut will now reconsider their decision.
Terrapin had 9 teams last year, some of whom abandoned the tournament after the round-robin. There are more teams than 9, by an order of magnitude, in the Mid-Atlantic. I think we could do better with attracting people to actual collegiate quizbowl than we have been, and we need to consider reasonable ways to do so. Banning people from tournaments for being grad students or being good would be unreasonable; by contrast, asking people not to form mixed-school teams of good players seems very reasonable to me.
I don't particularly care to speculate on why or why not mid-Atlantic teams are unable or unwilling to attend tournaments in their immediate vicinity, or why some of them don't stay at those tournaments through the end. I will however say this: 100% of all players, barring perhaps Andrew Yaphe, has at one time or another been on the receiving end of a furious ass-kicking by a better team. I haven't an iota of sympathy for teams that use the existence of better teams, combined or otherwise, as an excuse to not come to tournaments. If losing to teams that are better than you is discouraging, you are doing it wrong. If you don't want to improve, that's your personal business, but anyone who would justify non-attendance by recourse to this argument is not worth taking seriously.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Dec 24, 2008 10:05 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:...And I'm against the formation of true "superteams". But, neither of those things ever happen at routine circuit events, so I dont see what we're worrying about.
But isn't that exactly what's happening here? It seems like the two best players in the field (or at least two of the best) are considering forming a single team.
I'm not expressing an opinion one way or another on this practice per se, but it seems irrational to say "this never happens" when precisely this potentially happening was the precisely the impetus for this discussion.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:27 am

Well, Mike...With all due respect to Ike Jose, who seems totally awesome, referring to an Ike/Mukherjee pairing as any kind of superteam is just laughable.

Even if they were the absolute two best players at a tourney (not the case at all, likely), I wouldn't call them a superteam....at some point, you have to objectively say "come on, this is not an unfair superteam, don't be silly!" I think that, if you attend a normal regular season circuit event (not a low-level intro-to-quizbowl type event), it's time that you come to grips with reality. There are quite a few reasonably good players out there. The goal of this game is to try to beat them, that's what makes it entertaining - not pretending that they're some sort of frightening untouchable juggernaut, when it's clear that they're not.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:00 am

I'm a bit late to this thread, but I just want to speak out against Matt Weiner's insistence that more and more tournaments be closed to students and student-only teams. If, for example, Ray Sun and I decide to play a tournament as a Harvard-Northwestern hybrid team, what negative effect could that possibly have on a tournament?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:28 am

Okay, so where's the line then, Ryan? It's evidently short of the two best players combining across team lines... So, what are we to do? Perhaps we'll send proposed combinations to you c/o Potter Stewart, since you evidently know a "superteam" when you see one?

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Edit: Fixed than/then. Typing on a phone is hard.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:46 am

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Again, I'm against people abandoning their own teams just to play on better ones. And I'm against the formation of true "superteams". But, neither of those things ever happen at routine circuit events, so I dont see what we're worrying about.
At the Maryland mirror of IO, Chris Ray played on a team with Jerry Vinokurov and Ted Gioia (and one other who I forget, sorry!), despite the presence of a two-person Maryland house team. Granted, it was at a tournament rather explicitly labeled "open", so no objections here or anywhere else (heck, by Bryce's measure, it gave us one more competitive game). However, the question difficulty (not much harder than "regular") and timeframe (during the school year) lead me to say that it was pretty clearly a routine circuit event.
Whig's Boson wrote:I'm a bit late to this thread, but I just want to speak out against Matt Weiner's insistence that more and more tournaments be closed to students and student-only teams. If, for example, Ray Sun and I decide to play a tournament as a Harvard-Northwestern hybrid team, what negative effect could that possibly have on a tournament?
I see no reason why you shouldn't play with who you want to. Anyone should be able to enjoy answering tossups and learning stuff with whoever they want to team up with, against whatever competition they think is appropriate, on whatever questions they find interesting and valuable. On the other hand, the top team from one school should get recognition, because I don't think it's necessary or desirable to remove the "interscholastic" from "interscholastic competition". As for "more and more tournaments", it used to be the case that almost every tournament was attended by/open to student-only teams only. So, whether you agree or disagree with it, what Matt's proposing is at least not a radical idea.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:51 am

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote: I see no reason why you shouldn't play with who you want to. Anyone should be able to enjoy answering tossups and learning stuff with whoever they want to team up with, against whatever competition they think is appropriate, on whatever questions they find interesting and valuable. On the other hand, the top team from one school should get recognition, because I don't think it's necessary or desirable to remove the "interscholastic" from "interscholastic competition". As for "more and more tournaments", it used to be the case that almost every tournament was attended by/open to student-only teams only. So, whether you agree or disagree with it, what Matt's proposing is at least not a radical idea.
People used to eat dogs and cats. Proposing going back to those days would also not be a radical idea, by your standard.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:00 am

Whig's Boson wrote:
Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote: I see no reason why you shouldn't play with who you want to. Anyone should be able to enjoy answering tossups and learning stuff with whoever they want to team up with, against whatever competition they think is appropriate, on whatever questions they find interesting and valuable. On the other hand, the top team from one school should get recognition, because I don't think it's necessary or desirable to remove the "interscholastic" from "interscholastic competition". As for "more and more tournaments", it used to be the case that almost every tournament was attended by/open to student-only teams only. So, whether you agree or disagree with it, what Matt's proposing is at least not a radical idea.
People used to eat dogs and cats. Proposing going back to those days would also not be a radical idea, by your standard.
Well, in some places of the earth, they still do. Besides, it's not like I'm talking about the bad old '90s or anything; my impression is that this was still rare (and limited to tournaments explicitly called "Open") when I graduated in '05. During the school year, there was Illinois Open and I'm not sure what else.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Ike » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:40 am

That fourth guy was Andrew Lim.

I feel at this point I probably should clarify my intention.
When I saw Eric posting, the first thing that came to my mind was not "Superteam," or even "Someone to get more questions out of," etc. It was more of like, "oh sweet, someone who has played SO3," (his avatar.) No seriously, those were my first thoughts. The same goes for why I want to play with Jeremy Eaton or Ted Gioia or Chris Ray or just about anyone else on the circuit whom I know about, I really enjoy talking to these people about various things that I rarely ever get a chance to talk about. (Namely books that I've read.) Ok, QB isn't about all of that entirely, but seriously, that was piping through my mind.
Note: The fact that they are good is also a factor, I'm not going to be naive enough to say I don't care about that, but seriously, "hobbies or interests" or whatever colorful word you want to use was the first thing on my mind.

I'm pretty sure that this was an issue that was going to be dragged out at some point, so I am glad that it is being discussed now, but I figured it would be best just to make sure I don't wind up "face down in the mud" by the time this thread is over.

For what its worth, I tend to agree with the JerryBrook side of things more.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:44 am

I find nothing desirable about the phrase "interscholastic competition" - in fact, even saying it fills me with a void of sadness. But that's not the point, and let's not live in the past.

Anyway...actually, yes, I like the Potter Stewart approach - you'll find it's very similar to my approach on how to rate players' skill at quizbowl. Come on, we know unreasonable teams when we see them. They just look funny, given the event being played. Nothing looks funny about Ted, Jerry, and Chirs Ray playing Illinois Open - really good teams like that have a history of forming for IO. Nothing looks funny about the once-extant Ike/Mukherjee team here - two people are conveniently teaming up to play an event. If someone ever forms a nuttily inappropriate team for an event, we'll know cause we'll all look at the players on the team and go "what a nuttily inappropriate team for this event!" We don't need pointy-headed adherence to old rules which ruin competition and common sense by trying to find some makeshift criterion to tell people whether and with whom they can play.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:27 am

The issue of mixed teams aside, one thing that Chris White and Bryce Durgin brought up in this thread on which I agree is awarding the top team from one college the tournament championship, or at the very least hardware for being the top college team at the tournament. The reason I believe this is that it is nice for those teams that receive funding from their school (slight though it usually is) to have some hardware and success to point to when they go before our dear friends at student government for funds. I'm certainly not in the "everyone gets a trophy" school of thought, but I see no reason not to reward the top college team.

Getting back to the issue of mixed teams, what do people think about such teams using university funds? I'm against it, though I'm not sure if it happens.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:05 pm

Parson Smirk wrote:The issue of mixed teams aside, one thing that Chris White and Bryce Durgin brought up in this thread on which I agree is awarding the top team from one college the tournament championship, or at the very least hardware for being the top college team at the tournament. The reason I believe this is that it is nice for those teams that receive funding from their school (slight though it usually is) to have some hardware and success to point to when they go before our dear friends at student government for funds. I'm certainly not in the "everyone gets a trophy" school of thought, but I see no reason not to reward the top college team.

Getting back to the issue of mixed teams, what do people think about such teams using university funds? I'm against it, though I'm not sure if it happens.
Such teams in my experience usually use their own money, but there have been times at Minnesota when a non-Minnesota player joins up to make a team with a few of our players and just gives us some cash to recoup expenses.

That aside, I think the argument that we should disqualify superteams from regular tournaments in order to give hardware to "real" collegiate teams is counterproductive to quizbowl. I understand that stance for tournaments that actually mean something (i.e. sanctioned ACF events), but, really, for me, seeing experienced, awesome players has only encouraged me to become further involved with quizbowl and to aspire to their level of talent. Without these people, quizbowl wouldn't be as interesting, either.

(PS: Most tournaments outside of ACF don't give out hardware anymore. They give out books.)
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Thu Dec 25, 2008 1:37 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:
Parson Smirk wrote:The issue of mixed teams aside, one thing that Chris White and Bryce Durgin brought up in this thread on which I agree is awarding the top team from one college the tournament championship, or at the very least hardware for being the top college team at the tournament. The reason I believe this is that it is nice for those teams that receive funding from their school (slight though it usually is) to have some hardware and success to point to when they go before our dear friends at student government for funds. I'm certainly not in the "everyone gets a trophy" school of thought, but I see no reason not to reward the top college team.

Getting back to the issue of mixed teams, what do people think about such teams using university funds? I'm against it, though I'm not sure if it happens.
Such teams in my experience usually use their own money, but there have been times at Minnesota when a non-Minnesota player joins up to make a team with a few of our players and just gives us some cash to recoup expenses.

That aside, I think the argument that we should disqualify superteams from regular tournaments in order to give hardware to "real" collegiate teams is counterproductive to quizbowl. I understand that stance for tournaments that actually mean something (i.e. sanctioned ACF events), but, really, for me, seeing experienced, awesome players has only encouraged me to become further involved with quizbowl and to aspire to their level of talent. Without these people, quizbowl wouldn't be as interesting, either.

(PS: Most tournaments outside of ACF don't give out hardware anymore. They give out books.)
I never said we should be ban mixed teams from playing; I just think school-year tournaments should recognize the top all-school team, and Eric has hit on exactly why I think it's so important. I know Ryan doesn't care, but college is where we get out practice space, our tournament space, (for many of us) our funding, (for most of us) an actual team to practice and travel with. Given the immense practical necessity for quizbowl to draw resources from colleges and universities, I think it's reasonable to assert that college teams actually mean something.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by vcuEvan » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:00 pm

grapesmoker wrote:It's always been the policy of any tournament that was not officially an open to allow only a team composed of players from a single school to take the title.
As long as this remains the policy, I see no reason to disallow exhibition teams from regular tournaments.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:04 pm

Has it though? For instance, last year I thought your UMD/Brown hybrid won the Yale tournament, and I think there have been plenty of other open teams being declared the winner of non-open tournaments.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:22 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Has it though? For instance, last year I thought your UMD/Brown hybrid won the Yale tournament, and I think there have been plenty of other open teams being declared the winner of non-open tournaments.
That's a good point; in fairness, it should have been the policy and I guess it was overlooked that time. Most tournaments that I've been to have made this explicit when it mattered and I think all tournaments should do so officially in their announcements.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:00 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:Such teams in my experience usually use their own money, but there have been times at Minnesota when a non-Minnesota player joins up to make a team with a few of our players and just gives us some cash to recoup expenses.

That aside, I think the argument that we should disqualify superteams from regular tournaments in order to give hardware to "real" collegiate teams is counterproductive to quizbowl. I understand that stance for tournaments that actually mean something (i.e. sanctioned ACF events), but, really, for me, seeing experienced, awesome players has only encouraged me to become further involved with quizbowl and to aspire to their level of talent. Without these people, quizbowl wouldn't be as interesting, either.

(PS: Most tournaments outside of ACF don't give out hardware anymore. They give out books.)
I definitely didn't come out for or against mixed teams. I just want the top college team to get the recognition, in whatever form it may come, for the practical reason I outlined above. I also don't think funds should be spent to pay for mixed players (if they want to pay their share, so be it). This doesn't seem to be happening much right now, if at all, but if we are going to open the door completely to mixed teams, that's something to keep in mind. As for hardware, I'm all for books for individuals and trophies for teams, though that's always up to the TD. If TDs decide against trophies, that's cool too.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:17 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Has it though? For instance, last year I thought your UMD/Brown hybrid won the Yale tournament, and I think there have been plenty of other open teams being declared the winner of non-open tournaments.
To be fair, Yale Quizbowl is a kind of hermit kingdom that is disconnected from mainstream quizbowl, and what happens at a Yale tournament is not necessarily representative.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: TIT XXIII at Maryland: 1/31/09

Post by Mike Bentley » Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:11 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Has it though? For instance, last year I thought your UMD/Brown hybrid won the Yale tournament, and I think there have been plenty of other open teams being declared the winner of non-open tournaments.
That's a good point; in fairness, it should have been the policy and I guess it was overlooked that time. Most tournaments that I've been to have made this explicit when it mattered and I think all tournaments should do so officially in their announcements.
I think that's the canonical example of what can be bad about having superteams at regular tournaments. I think the team cleared the field by some absurd margin, while two teams of Jonathan/Charles and Jerry/Eric would have at least had competitive matches against each other.

In general I think superteams are sort of dumb. I don't really buy the argument that these teams serve as a shining example to other people at the tournament to get better. Sure it's neat to see one of these teams put up 600 points in a round or something, but it's not very meaningful when you're on the other end of it. I think it's pretty obvious from playing these people individually that they're good at a certain subject(s) and to beat them you should improve in those areas. I already know that Jonathan Magin is going to destroy me on literature, I don't think there is any value added from a "hey get better" perspective when he plays on the same team as Jerry who destroys me on science.

From my perspective it's much more worthwhile to play teams in the same general skill range as my team. It means that my team has a greater chance to hear bonuses, and that answering those bonus parts are actually important in deciding the outcome of the game. It changes the way my buzzing strategy works, as I might not be guessing as much on the assumption that the superteam will know if I wait for clues make it certain for me (whereas I could wait for those clues against a team on the same footing).

I'm not saying there should never be any matches between the best and worst teams in the field. However, I am arguing that artificially creating teams so that the number of these matches increases is dumb and should be avoided at regular season events.

Mixed teams created for the purpose of adding teams to the field and letting more people play who wouldn't be able to play by themselves I don't have a problem with. It obviously gets difficult to draw the line in certain cases, such as with Ike and Eric. I'd favor splitting these individuals up, but it's probably not something that would be as egregious as the Yale tournament team last year.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Thu Dec 25, 2008 7:54 pm

As for the importance of colleges to the game...I see colleges as, no doubt, a primary source that allows us to fund and expand the game - as a great foundational base from which to acquire players and money. I have nothing against giving away bright shiny trophies for the best college team if that will help them bring in more players (thus increasing competition) and give out more money. But I scoff at the general notion that anyone should think of quizbowl in general as a "collegiate game" (outside of ACF Nationals, which I see as the one bona fide collegiate national championship event - where we throw down the gauntlet and see which college team is the best).

In general - I think quizbowl is best conceived as an individual skill, a craft that you hone individually, and exhibit when you play as part of a team. As far as I'm concerned, once you pass novice events and go on to regular circuit events, you've officially entered "profesisonal quizbowl." If you're the equivalent of a 12th man on the Oklahoma City Thunder, sorry, but you're going to lose to some people very badly until you get better. The answer is not to erect a bunch of rules to destroy an otherwise-thriving league full of players of all different skills - it's to hone your craft and steadily work your way into being a more valuable player.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by Cheynem » Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:07 pm

Well, I don't know if anyone will argue with the concept that "you're going to lose to some people very badly until you get better." I've been on the receiving end of some ass-whippings. I got no problem with that. I need to get better.

The issue at stake here is whether artifically created ass-whippings, so to speak, is a good idea. To use Ryan's sports analogy, a weak Oklahoma City Thunder roster would get beat down by the Boston Celtics. Fine. Do we need to enhance the beat down by having the Celtics borrow Dwight Howard or Vince Carter or whomever?

Certainly the specific example which started this whole kerfuffle, Eric and Ike's potential team-up, is a loose definition of a "superteam" and perhaps not one that deserved this attention, but on the whole, I generally agree with Mike Bentley on this subject that superteams should be minimized at regular season events.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by theMoMA » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:31 pm

I don't really see the point of having conglomerate teams that are expected to be better than the rest of the field. In the case of TIT, it seems like a team of Eric and Ike would fit that bill even if it's not a traditional "superteam." If the tournament director okays it, I'm fine with having a few open teams to round out the field or make it more competitive. Last year, when we had a few people drop out from our Penn Bowl trip, Quentin Roper came along and played with the rest of our B team. Everyone benefited: our team was larger and more competitive, the field was more well-rounded, and Quentin got to play.

I agree with Matt that we should not let teams in the Ike and Eric mold form. It's important that we set community standards for our regular (i.e. non-open) tournaments, and that standard should discourage forming very good open teams for regular events, especially superteams that are expected to clear the field by a wide margin.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by Gautam » Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:48 pm

theMoMA wrote:I don't really see the point of having conglomerate teams that are expected to be better than the rest of the field. In the case of TIT, it seems like a team of Eric and Ike would fit that bill even if it's not a traditional "superteam." If the tournament director okays it, I'm fine with having a few open teams to round out the field or make it more competitive. Last year, when we had a few people drop out from our Penn Bowl trip, Quentin Roper came along and played with the rest of our B team. Everyone benefited: our team was larger and more competitive, the field was more well-rounded, and Quentin got to play.
Yeah, I agree with this 100%.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:27 am

I hope I'm not belaboring the point here. I just want to clarify some things about my argument that my characteristically-flippant language may have obscured.

In my experience, I can't remember many times where there's been an open team at one of these events so good it was "clear of the field" (for instance, that would hardly have been true of Ike/Eric here - surely Harvard could have competed with them). In fact, far more often it happens that a university-based team is so good that it "clears the field" - I'll bet Brown roughly fits that description at TIT. Now, I too love it when all teams are very competitive with each other - that's why I love the novelty of having a draft - all teams turn out kind of equal and you have to play every game well to win. But, that's just not feasibly going to happen in a normal tournament. Rather, no matter what you do, you're going to have some teams that are good, some that are okay, and some that are bad. Some of the teams at all three of those tiers will be university-based teams and some will be open teams. Basically, you just create more teams at each tier of competition by allowing people to come together as they want.

So, I don't see any basis for regulating how teams form, or who can win the tournament. Like I said, if you want to give a shiny trophy to the best college team, and you think that will help attract more people or money, fine. But, I resist the notion that collegiate teams are inherently more "legitimate" than open teams. The fact that all members of a team happen to be from the same school seems pretty inconsequential to me (unless it's ACF Nats, since there we're explicitly determining which school is the best). Otherwise, nothing about going to the same school has anything to do with you sitting there playing quizbowl - that's the point of my whole spiel about this game being a craft that you hone as an individual - sure, you do everything you can to make your present team win, but at its heart, I contend that this game should be conceived as an individual skill. And I've always felt as such, incidentally, since I played with a team at Michigan until now.
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by salamanca » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:26 pm

All-

Since ACF Nats editing has begun in earnest for me and I am checking out what the community is arguing about these days, I was wondering what folks thought about this typically Westbrookian statement:
No Rules Westbrook wrote:sure, you do everything you can to make your present team win, but at its heart, I contend that this game should be conceived as an individual skill. And I've always felt as such, incidentally, since I played with a team at Michigan until now.
I know that Paul L. has previously called Ryan out on his conception of what it means to play quizbowl as a member of a collegiate team v.s. the individual effort that getting better at the game entails, but I think it bears repeating that this view of a player's evolution misses something vital and undersells the collegiate team experience.

From what I have seen, motivated folks who play quizbowl on collegiate teams get better collectively, they learn to anticipate what others know, to trust others on their teams, to study certain subjects to fill gaps, etc. All of this takes time and, to a certain extent, continuity. That doesn't mean that studying on your own is not an important part of the game's growth, but the underlying structure of playing for certain collegiate teams and not being able to team up with folks from other teams willy-nilly adds a rewarding challenge to the endeavor of playing academic quizbowl.

Note, this doesn't mean that I would ban so called "super teams." I actually welcomed the presence of these types of teams at tournaments outside of Nationals when I played at MD and at MI. I wanted to beat their asses and to do so with the folks who were a part of my collegiate club made victory that much sweeter.

I am also willing to concede that Master's teams who play together consistently can form these kinds of internal dynamics (e.g., Weiner's various team ups with Illinois players at Chicago Opens), but I think that experiencing the type of growth I am describing with such a configuration is rarer and ultimately provides a less satisfying end result, but that may just be my own view.

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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:46 pm

I whole-heartedly agree with what Ezequiel's saying here. To me, winning with my teammates because of the work we've put in together (and because of the work we've put in apart in part because of wanting to win together) is one big part of what makes this game worthwhile. Building a team (by helping other players get better, for example) is another.
Certainly, my individual development is a third, but it's far from the only worthwhile end. Frankly, I'd further say that I don't see how it can consistently be so: it seems to me that, if one values one's own development, one is compelled likewise to value the development of other people, including one's teammates. After all, how can one person's development generally create more value than another person's, a priori? Given that it clearly can't, doesn't that imply that one ought work to help develop one's teammates (and team, as the structure of a team is a powerful mechanism for helping teammates) as well as oneself?

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Mechanical Beasts
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:25 pm

Moreover, your team's development furthers your own development in more obvious and mundane ways than the way that they inspire you to get better. I did not answer all that many tossups at VCU Open, for example, but I had the opportunity to answer some tough bonuses because Jerry had a 9-2 round or whatever. That made me better. Playing solo, maybe I go 4-1 (at best) instead of 2-1, but I don't learn as much on the whole. (Perhaps there's a quizbowler out there who learns just as well from hearing other people answer questions as answering them himself, but I don't know him.)
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No Rules Westbrook
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Re: Open Teams at non-Open Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:47 pm

Presumably you mean for someone other than me, the Westbrookian ideal, to reply...but I'll throw out a few considerations in thinking about this.

For one, unless you happen to be at places like Minnesota, Brown, Chicago, the old booming Michigan team, and so on - whether you like it or not, the process of getting seriously better at QB is going to be a pretty lonely one. Zeke is certainly a more charismatic figure than I, but I doubt even he could manufacture a group of people willing to expend large amounts of time and energy into getting better at quizbowl, at most places in the country.

Secondly, through years of competition, most of the circuit regulars pretty much know what to expect from other circuit regulars. I have played on very few teams with Matt Weiner or Susan Ferrari, for example, but I have a pretty good feel for which subjects they know, how they play the game, and so on. I will concede that playing with someone on a team for a long period gives you a particularly in-depth and specific sense of what they know and how they play. I certainly have that kind of sense about Matt Lafer, for instance. And, sure, when you regularly play on a team which has a specialist, you tend not to focus on studying the things that the specialist knows...when I was playing with Adam Kemezis, I knew that studying ancient history wasn't terribly productive. But, people don't completely change their games in order to suit the team they usually play for - people inclined toward humanities don't turn into science players just because that's what their team needs most. In fact, very few teams out there truly tailor themselves to work optimally as a unit. I think that's probably a good thing - if you're a player inclined to make your strongest subject history and you really like mythology too, then by all means, I'd say go ahead and learn those things as your base and don't be deterred just because you'd better serve your team by focusing on other stuff.

Lastly, and most importantly, I think there already is some sense in which the circuit regulars are "getting better together," without needing to be on some common collegiate team. A while ago, I made a post about rising parity amongst top players - generally, I think circuit regulars are increasingly part of an internet community where they read each other's packets, talk about question writing, and so on across all of the things you do in order to become a better player. In general, I like the idea that we're living in a "post-team era" of quizbowl - an "era of good individual players" who occasionally come together at events and offer their skills in battle. That's where the excitement is for me, seeing a bunch of skilled individual players - playing on teams with them, and playing against them...what team that person happens to currently be playing for, or what school they happen to currently attend, is completely irrelevant to me. And, if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere, you can still learn "along with" people, as it were - you can still get better as part of a collective enterprise, and I think people do. The development of other players, who may or may not be on your actual collegiate team, should inspire you to develop in turn.
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