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Wilson’s fact fanatics: Quiz bowl novices give it a try


When the bell rang at the end of fourth period on Monday, February 12, we hustled to room 416A to get our Quiz bowl on. Not to be confused with trivia, Quiz bowl is a team game of knowledge with questions ranging from Impressionist paintings to physics. With the exception of the “trash” category, which features pop culture questions, all of the categories are relatively academic. On January 6, the Wilson Quiz bowl team aired on the show It’s Academic!, competing against other teams from the area.


Meredith: I had been to Quiz bowl once before to observe, but this was my first time participating. The coolest part of the game is the elaborate buzzer system. Every player has a hand-held button connected to a flashing light, all wired to a control box in the front of the room operated by Quiz bowl advisor and math teacher Jeremy Singer. All the Quiz bowl members went out of their way to welcome us, looking for new members for their team.


Allie: A Quiz bowl game begins with a toss-up question—any player is free to answer, so get your buzzers ready! I had mentally prepared for Jeopardy, expecting to be read one clue at time, slowly. But Quiz bowl, as I learned the hard way in Round 1, is all about speed. Singer zips through a series of clues, reading fact after fact after fact until someone’s buzzer cuts him off. While I was still trying to process clue number one, Singer would already be reading clue number five, and before I could think, the buzzer to my right would be sounding. Shayna Brotzman with the win.


Meredith: Like Allie, I initially struggled with the pace of the game. I found that by the time I understood what the question was asking, I was too late. The point system in Quiz bowl really rewards speed because if you correctly answer a question fast enough, you receive “power” (15 bonus points). I prefered the multiple choice bonus questions to the toss-ups. After a player correctly answers a toss-up, their team gets to work together to answer three bonus questions. While the bonus questions still have time-restraints, I felt much less rushed and the collaborative aspect of these questions made them much less intimidating.


Allie: Ever wondered where that random court case from US Gov will come in handy, or those first 10 elements on the periodic table you memorized for Chem? Quiz bowl offers plenty of opportunity to put those tidbits to good use. It took me a few rounds, but I found my rhythm, and am satisfied with my rookie performance. I only answered maybe three questions correctly over the course of the game, but hey, every point counts, right?


Meredith: Though it was quite stressful, I enjoyed my Quiz bowl experience. I have deep respect for all of the Quiz bowl regulars and could tell from their sheer breadth of knowledge how much time and effort they put into it. Every time Singer read a clue, I thought to myself “there’s NO way anyone will get this,” but sure enough, most of the time, someone did. Quiz bowl is not a game of luck, so these kids are the real deal.


Allie: My main takeaway: The vast range of information covered at Quiz bowl is one that no combination of AP classes could have adequately prepared me for. I will be forever impressed with the brains behind the buzzers I got the chance to meet, and aspire to one day be able to name the chief export of Venezuela off the top of my head, just like a true Wilson Quiz bowler. •