Those of you who've seen occasional references to "quizbowl" on this blog and wondered what that word meant might be interested in this Washington Post article on the game. (The three of us are all present or former members of the University of Chicago quizbowl team, and so we know the subject quite well.)
The article's generally pretty good. It has its share of oddities (I've never heard of a 100-question round, for instance), and it focuses far too much on former quizbowlers who've gone on game shows. (That's a good way to draw readers in, but it's really a peripheral side of the game.) Parts of the article, moreover, seem a bit bizarre:
"Certainly there is a segment of the community dismayed by game shows and the questions they ask and that Ken Jennings or Kevin Olmstead, whom they don't perceive as the best quiz bowlers or the most knowledgeable, are rewarded so much," Hentzel said. "It's like authors of serious fiction looking at J.K. Rowling and saying, this isn't fair, these aren't great books, yet she's richer than the Queen of England."
You have to be an active quizbowler to notice most of my criticisms, though--and, for the record, I speak as someone who's more-or-less quit writing for NAQT because of doubts about its philosophy and its commitment to question quality. You might want to check out this earlier New York Times article if you're interested in the subject: it has more glaring errors than the Post did, but was also more effective in giving readers a feel for what the game is like.Posted by Ed at October 5, 2004 12:42 PM