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8/29/01: To the Kids.
Every August, new faces show up at practice, new little people show up at tournaments, new folks show up in the chatroom, and I start avoiding all of them, at least until about February. Unfortunately, some of these people display such an egregious lack of social skills that they manage to penetrate through my protective haze of apathy and alcohol. I do hope that this behaviour results from ignorance rather than fuckheadedness. The following rules will hopefully serve to counteract this ignorance (however, if you are a fuckhead, please do me the favor of avoiding any person rumoured to be me).
I Hope You're All Taking Notes ...
But Put Away That Notebook.
1. You are not God's gift to quizbowl. If you memorize the answers to all the questions in the Stanford archive, you will not be God's gift to quizbowl. If you can recite pages of Benet's by heart, you still will not be God's gift to quizbowl. Please do not demonstrate a belief that you are God's gift to quizbowl, as it is well known that most of God's gifts to quizbowl are at least eighty proof.
2. Find the trustworthy people on your team. Have them tell you stories. Ask them about the people you'll be playing against. Forewarned is forearmed.
3. Sweetie, you're not in high school anymore. No one gives a damn about the games you won, the shows you starred in, the APs you took, or the SAT scores you earned.. More than anything else, no one gives a damn about how good of a qb player you were in high school.
4. We know you're smart (well, we know you think you're smart). Your questions should reflect this in their quality, not their difficulty, especially if they're written for a juniorbird.
5. The college circuit has been around for years and years without you. While youthful enthusiasm is cute and all, it's less than likely that you know better than experienced players. I shall quote a friend and say that novices are like children in a Victorian household; they should be seen and not heard (and especially not read). He's an embittered grad student, but he's got a point.
6. Look, there are a lot of creepy people out there. QB is not, has never been, and may well never be a community characterized by social skills. I'd love to be proven wrong on that, though, so please do try.
6a. On the creepy people note - and I do have to say that this is mostly about creepy guys, though I've seen it go both ways: if someone's behavior towards you makes you uncomfortable, let them know. If you are, for some reason, unable to tell them, have a friend tell them. If you feel it's necessary, have the TD or someone else in a position of authority tell them. However, as a gossipy bitch, I must tell you that the best way to minimize all gossip is to politely but clearly inform the person - yourself - that their actions make you uncomfortable.
7. I am all in favor of drinking at tournaments (though it's best to do this while not playing or moderating). Quite frequently, it's the only thing that makes the experience bearable. However, if you're the type to get friendly when drunk, keep friends you can trust about you. I mean, it's bad enough to wake up after a party wondering where you've been and who or what's sleeping next to you. Trust me, it's worse in qb.
7a. As a corollary to the above, *please* don't make your friends the only ones in charge of watching you. They won't be your friends for long. Know your limits; some of us just shouldn't drink. If you're one of those, NACutie will consider providing drinking lessons for a nominal fee, provided that you supply alcohol of superlative quality.
8. Win with grace, lose with grace. From what I recall of high school quizbowl (and what I've heard about recently) this is definitely something to work on. Hell, you can prove an example to certain established college players.
The scariest thing I overheard at a summer tournament: "You know what would be really awesome? If some quizbowler had the time to rewrite Benet's with all the entries in pyramidal order. It would be like a massive book of awesome tossups!"
Again, email me, with your comments, complaints, and hot quizbowl gossip.
NACutie is in no way affiliated with NAQT, apart from the occasional sectional. NAQT is a registered service mark of the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC.