Quiz bowl will attend virtual competitions this year

COVID-19 restrictions pose a major challenge to Quiz Bowl operations, forcing them to go virtual


By Lily Godfrey

Science teacher Landra Fair discusses the difficulties of practicing and competing this year for Quiz Bowl tournaments Thursday, Oct. 1.

Ellie Basgall, JAG reporter/photographer

COVID-19, as well as social distancing and safety guidelines, have posed a challenge for nearly everything this year. However, hit especially hard due to such restrictions was the Quiz Bowl team. 

In previous years, Quiz Bowl attended in-person tournaments against numerous teams; at competitions, they raced to answer the questions presented to them before an individual opposing team could hit their buzzers and answer first. This year, however, these events have shifted to be completely virtual–posing a considerable number of new challenges for the team.

First of all, noted by Quiz Bowl team member Manoj Turaga, the team did not know Quiz Bowl would even be operational this year until well into a few weeks of school. Quiz Bowl sponsor Landra Fair has also stated that there have not been any team practices yet. Having caused initial confusion, adequate communication also remains an issue.

“It also has been difficult to organize and coordinate with Mrs. Fair because the time we spent together is cut in half and we are only able to meet online,” Turaga says.

On the bright side of these challenges, however, there is a silver lining: pressure from competing with an opponent face-to-face is removed. Turaga hypothesizes that the squads will answer more questions correctly due to this benefit, although he is not sure how the new methods of the virtual competition will truly affect team performance yet. The team plans to strategize as the season gets underway.

Along with the challenges of safety restrictions, recruitment has also become an issue. According to both Turaga and Fair, recruiting new members to join has always been an issue due to the lack of the club’s publicity. Made even worse this year from the lack of contact with those at school, word of Quiz Bowl is unable to be spread adequately. 

“It has also been hard to recruit new people because, one, I am a senior and I don’t have many classes with the other grade levels, and two, freshmen and other people don’t know much about Quiz Bowl to actually warrant joining and there really hasn’t been an effective method to spread the message,” Turaga said.

Turaga and Fair encourage all who may be interested to join Quiz Bowl. 

According to members of the team, positive things abound from membership: this club does not require a heavy after-school commitment, it offers a great opportunity to meet new people and expand knowledge, and of course, it is fun. 

“While it does get tense during rounds, we sometimes have fun and give joke answers and it gets even funnier when the answers are right,” Turaga says. “Most people are afraid of participating because they are worried about not knowing the answer, but it’s no big deal. Anyone who wants to have a little fun can compete with us and I guarantee you won’t regret it.”

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