For 2 years in middle school and 3 years in high school, I devoted countless hours to an activity called quiz bowl. When quiz bowlers describe the activity, they may describe it as an academic competition based on answering questions about art, history, literature and the sciences, or simply as “kind of like a team jeopardy.” Teams of four or five buzz in to answer questions before the other team. If someone buzzes in and gets the question right, he/she receives 10 or 15 points (depending on how early they answered) and then that team gets 3 more “bonuses,” which are worth 10 points each. If he/she gets the question wrong, the team loses 5 points.
The game seems pretty simple, but like every competition, it’s extremely exciting when competing, or even watching when you understand it well enough. I’ve spent many hours researching quiz bowl, poring over stats and discussing rankings on forums. I quickly realized that this said something about me. Although I enjoyed the competitive nature of the game, I always preferred to look at statistics and engage in discussion rather than study to try to get better when I competed. I still remember answering a question that clinched the win of the whole tournament at Cedar Shoals High School one year. As I thought about my future a little bit more during my senior year, I realized that quiz bowl had given me a lot and taught me a lot, but my interests lied elsewhere.
Quiz bowl changed the way I think, making me think quicker and recall combinations of words rather quickly. I realized this when I was watching some video or another and heard the name Brian Chesky. Immediately, my mind spat out “Airbnb,” the company he founded. This quick recall ability is an interesting development that may come in handy when I have to think on my feet in the future. Having some keywords pop up into my head in response to stimuli can be helpful for conversation, especially if I don’t know very much about a topic. Quiz bowl gave me some knowledge of a lot of things, which is nice, since I usually feel like I can roughly talk about a wide variety of topics in an academic sphere.
At this point, I know there is a quiz bowl team at Tech, but I doubt I will end up participating. Despite the possibility of being on the same team as one of the best players in all of history, I think my talents could used in more relevant ways. Either way, I have to thank quiz bowl for all that it has taught me.