Bubble Tea, Buzzers, and Boron: Concordia’s Quiz Bowl Culture
by Jacob R., Concordia Applied Journalism
Co-curricular activities at Concordia are a defining part community at Concordia. It is a daily observation to see people in a given co-curricular hanging out with people who also participate in that activity, even during what might be considered free time. During my time in high school, the club I have involved myself with has been the Quiz Bowl. Unfortunately, the past few years in Quiz Bowl, while exciting and fun, have left the club with plenty of senior students, but few other participants. With that in mind, I enjoyed some reflection time with Zi Xuan T. and Nicole Z., two seniors who have participated in Quiz Bowl with me since freshman year.
How did you get into Quiz Bowl at Concordia?
Jacob: I got into Quiz Bowl my freshman year, because my Dad was running the club. The first year definitely took some getting used to. It was weird going from the guy who knew how World Scholar’s Cup worked to the guy who sat quietly and didn’t know any question answers, but I stuck with it, and it was worthwhile.
Zi Xuan: I heard about it first from my sister, who was in Quiz Bowl. I was middle school. Being a competitive person, I wanted to compete with my sister in Quiz Bowl. I also knew it would be fine, because it was just answering questions, and that was something in which I was interested.
Nicole: Craig (a student who was in our grade at the time) dragged me in. I mean that literally. I was walking through the hall, he said “follow me” and dragged me in. I sat in for a session, liked it, and came back the next week.
What did you like or dislike about the Quiz Bowl?
Jacob: I really like how casual the club is. There isn’t a set list of people we expect to show up (although there are definitely regulars who show up consistently). People show up because they want to be there. We don’t necessarily try to win competitions, it mostly works as a way of letting us relax with friends. There aren’t enough clubs like that at Concordia. Sometimes, Quiz Bowl is the thing getting me through a difficult school week, because I just need a place to stop worrying.
Zi Xuan: I like that the club is casual, but sometimes it feels too casual. There was a time when I wanted to get extra practice sessions going, but it just never happened. Ordering slushies every week is pretty cool though. The thing that annoys me is that the people who you want to bring with you to Quiz Bowl the most always have another commitment. I find it really sad that we go into a lot of these competitions without expecting to win.
Nicole: I feel like there used to be a different atmosphere. It was a learning experience for us [as freshmen]. Before it was very chill, and now it is very talkative. We get strangely competitive, sometimes a little bit too much. We stopped going to the Philippines, and we started going to World Scholar’s Cup. The Manila competition was just a good trip, I wish we still did it.
What kind of questions did you like the most and why?
Jacob: I really like the biology questions. Many of the kids in Quiz Bowl have taken AP Bio, but the Quiz Bowl questions are very strange and obscure. The result is that biology questions are competitive, with everybody looking equally stupefied but being too proud to admit defeat. The other funny thing about biology questions in Quiz Bowl is that half the time, the answer ends up being something really simple and obvious, like sugar.
Zi Xuan: Math. Pencil and Paper ready, undoubtedly. Math was always the one where I felt I could contest people.
Nicole: Art, but I also like literature, even though we never get any literature questions right.
Were there any Quiz Bowl traditions that stood out?
Jacob: We order bubble tea in every language! Each week we write some variation of “Milk Tea?” on the board in a different language. The tradition began last year, when some of us wondered how to write “bubble tea?” in binary.
Zi Xuan: We used to wear suits for every competition (this tradition is now abolished).
Nicole: The bubble tea in various languages stands out to me.
What class at Concordia helped you most with Quiz Bowl?
Jacob: Independent Research. You learn Quiz Bowl by doing Quiz Bowl, but you also learn how to answer Quiz Bowl questions by being curious. My IR project doesn’t usually relate to Quiz Bowl, but when it does, I get the question.
Zi Xuan: I want to say AP World History, but at the same time, I rarely answer history questions anymore.
Nicole: Art History. We spend a lot of time going over historic paintings, which helps on all of the art questions.
To whom would you recommend Quiz Bowl?
Jacob: Everyone. People say Quiz Bowl is for smart people, but really, it is a place for people to relax and learn on a Thursday afternoon.
Zi Xuan: Everyone. You don’t know you like Quiz Bowl until you get your first question right.
Nicole: Everyone. I remember when it was the end of freshman year, and Shannon (a senior at the time) signed my yearbook and said, “you have to keep Quiz Bowl going” and now there are no freshman.
What’s next for Quiz Bowl? Going into the next semester, The Quiz Bowl will be getting ready for World Scholar’s Cup, which will come in late April. The club always has open doors, so feel free to come and join if you have time on Thursdays from 3:30-4:30. Quiz Bowl meets in room H305.