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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Discussion of quizbowl topics not related to specific tournaments
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MJones
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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Post by MJones » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:38 pm

Before you read my post, it is important you know a few things about me. I have been active throughout my high school career in Quiz Bowl, but only recently discovered this forum and entered in to this open dialogue with teams from all around the state. So if anything I say has already been done or discussed before, I apologize. Now, on to my post.

After carefully reading posts over the last few months I have come to the conclusion (quite easily, in fact) that a vast majority of people involved with Missouri Quiz Bowl are unhappy with the current system and the way in which MSHSAA handles it.

The most glaring complaints include district placement preventing the best teams from competing against each other in the state tournament, and the quality of questions, especially regarding the non-pyramidal and misleading manner they are written in and how they eventually devolve in to a buzzer race.

With the obvious stated, I will get to my point. What do we plan to do about this issue?

Personally, unless similar ideas have been attempted before, these are my thoughts:

I first have to ask what has been done in an attempt to deal with MSHSAA? Do they just not listen to anything we say? Have our views and opinions even been expressed to them in an organized and unified manner? Do we have district representatives like MSHSAA Speech and Debate to communicate with them?

Seeing as MSHSAA has been a major issue for such a long time, and things only seem to be getting worse, I think we need to express our opinions to MSHSAA as a unified community of quiz bowlers and then issue an ultimatum.

The first step would be to come up with a complete new system that we in some way democratically agree to. Not everyone's opinions on the exact manner of the system would be able to be included, but I think we can all agree that with a chance to completely re-vamp the system ourselves, the end result would be much better than the current one.

When the system is agreed upon, I think it would seem much more legitimate if two things happened. First, every person involved; coaches, current students and alumni from every school actively competing in MSHSAA, would sign the bottom of the proposal like a petition. Second, an official body with a single or group of figure heads to personally represent us would need to oversee and submit that proposal (I'm looking at you MOQBA).

Of course, we have to do something to put weight behind what we say. While I don't think that we should come across as a group of angry villagers, I believe that we should issue an ultimatum at the end of the proposal:

Fix the current quiz bowl system, or every school represented in this letter will no longer participate in MSHSAA sponsored quiz bowl.

Then of course, we loose as well, because we have no state tournament to participate in.

That brings me to my second idea. I think that some sort of recently created, state-wide, high quality quiz bowl organization should sponsor a state tournament (once again, I'm looking at you MOQBA :p). I also think that this should be done even if we still have a MSHSAA tournament. Speech and Debate does it; most schools compete in both MSHSAA and NFL districts. The only thing that we would need to do to make the tournament legitimate and make winning it prestigious is make sure that a majority of the best schools in that state elect to participate in it. I think everyone can agree that MOQBA events sponsored so far this year have been excellent.

As for the format of this proposed state tournament, that can be discussed in later posts. I have some ideas, but haven't quite formulated a system that prevents things like the Liberty - NKC - Savannah group of death situation.

I apologize if anything like this has been said or done before. Like I said, I'm new. :p

Let me know what you think, or if I am completely off base.

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Charlie Dees
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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Post by Charlie Dees » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:50 pm

There already is an alternate state championship - the NAQT Missouri Qualifier held at Missouri S&T in February. I do think that with some work the NAQT Qualifier could really become a viable alternative, but there needs to be more publicity for it and more teams attending. The biggest problem with what you are proposing is that I think there is a major sample bias in viewing what is said on the board as a majority opinion. Yes, there is a group of us who are very frustrated with things that we think are flawed about Missouri quizbowl, and embarrassed at how much of a laughingstock this state is nationally. However, for every one poster here who expresses discontent, there are probably 30 coaches out there who either disagree with us, don't know that there is any real problem because the MSHSAA system is all that they've ever experienced, or who just don't care what happens. It's really sad that things are this way, but its reality. I find it heartening to see that more people are dissatisfied than ever before, but we're still kind of a pebble sitting beside a boulder. At this point, the most effective things a person can do for improving quizbowl is:
Clamoring their coach to give priority to the good tournaments around the state and good questions in practice - this will both increase your team's knowledge base and will allow you to vote with your feet. Also, it will give you a better chance to qualify for nationals, which is a good time.
Making your opinions public - airing dissatisfaction may seem like a small thing, but the more people who do it, the more other people may be swayed to think "hmm, maybe there is something wrong."
Hosting a good quizbowl tournament - not only does this earn your team money, it allows you a chance to show off to other teams just what you are all about when you are talking about an alternative to the status quo, and maybe convince them that that system is better. It also gives back to the community because you are providing teams another chance to compete.
Talking to people 1-on-1 at tournaments, on your team, wherever is also a good way to increase knowledge of quizbowl around the state, even if all you do is tell them to check out this website or hsquizbowl.org. Even if it doesn't convince everybody, if you can get a few people to check out better quizbowl that is a positive step forward.

It's going to be a long time before things in Missouri are such that those of us who are dissatisfied with the lack of quality in Missouri quizbowl will be able to effect a radical change in the state structure, because at this point good quizbowl is still a grassroots movement. However, the more good quizbowl there is, the better our chances get.

MJones
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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Post by MJones » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:03 pm

I'll post a full reply when I get to a computer because I am using a phone.

You said we are pebbles next to a boulder. How many state and district championships do the pebbles have in comparison to the boulders?

And the NAQT Qualifier is a state tournament? Awesome. :p

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Jeffrey Hill
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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Post by Jeffrey Hill » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:18 pm

MJones wrote:And the NAQT Qualifier is a state tournament? Awesome. :p
Yes, MOQBA and other proponents of good quizbowl consider it a state championship, but I think MSHSAA regulations prohibit us from calling it that.

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ajax
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The State of Missouri Quiz Bowl

Post by ajax » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:06 pm

MJones wrote:
You said we are pebbles next to a boulder. How many state and district championships do the pebbles have in comparison to the boulders?
Unfortunately, the Boulders have hold of school athletics in MO, mess with the Boulders and sport districts get changed which upsets athletic directors and coaches in a school system. Quiz Bowl is just one of many sports the boulders hold.

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