Nationals 1997

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Memories from Joey Bohanon

The following recollections were written by Joey Bohanon of the second place team from Central A/G, Springfield, MO.

I view our second place win in 1997 as a miracle more than anything else. Usually, the second place team has at least one quizzer in the top ten. In fact, many years, the top quizzers comes from the second-place team. I was 19th and Todd was 22nd. In contrast, the other three teams that tied with us for second had both of the people tied for top scorer as well as the third high scorer.

As of when I write this, the only rounds from this nationals listed in the history section are 1 through 5, so I will have a bit of a hard time remembering who we played when. I can say that five of the six teams we lost to were: Shreveport, Oskaloosa, Waco, Las Vegas and Clarion. The sixth loss was either to Watford City or to one of the Montana teams. I honestly don't remember.

This quiz year was the first year that Dave Hatley coached our team. Dave was a former quizzer for Central in the late 80's. All of us but Megan were returning quizzers from 1996 nationals, so we had a decent level of experience. We went to three tournaments that year and did decently at all three. We were in a tie for first at the Friendship Classic and almost won the last match against Sarver (in fact, the question I'd been waiting for all week was the question that sealed the match for the other team…I was on the bench for missing a quote).

About a month before nationals, we had one of the first pre-nationals tournaments I'm aware of. There were maybe six teams there and we did a double round-robin. As none of the rest of our team could make it, I quizzed alone. I actually won a match against King's Chapel, but the most important thing was that the questions were written by Greg House, who was the writer's former coach. Many of the questions that were asked there came up at nationals and I got them solely because of that.

We did very well that year in official competition, going undefeated at districts and regionals. Todd was top scorer at both, so if you had told me that I would outscore him at nationals, I would've been shocked. In fact, I was expecting him to be the top scorer at nationals. By the time nationals rolled around, I could quote the material pretty well (not nearly as well as I could the next few years), but I had very little concordance knowledge. It was finally at this nationals that I realized that if you know the material well, you can easily get consecutive verse answers and rack up a lot of points.

The first match we played was in future national coordinator Bernie Elliot's room and future official writer Tim Bahra was a judge. We played Auburn and quizzed very well. That year, Auburn had inherited the top quizzer from the Tacoma team the year before so they were fairly strong. I distinctly remember missing a question in that match because Bernie read the word "Jesus'" without the extra "s" at the end. Yes, it's grammatically correct, but I know how it can drive quizzer's crazy. The second match, we played Racine in Greg House's room. I don't really remember this match, but according to the scores, we won big. I later found out that at lunch that day, Greg and Tim talked to each other and both thought after those matches that our team was unstoppable.

Too bad they were wrong. The third match we played Shreveport. We played them only a few months earlier at regionals and beat them in an hour-long match (it was the last match of the tournament and was so anticipated that they actually kept us from playing so that they rest of the teams could watch). This time around we lost, pretty badly. One of the questions was about the six "Simons" in Matthew. I missed the question, but I kept going over the names I already had. There was "Simon the Leper", "Simon from Cyrene" then on one time through I actually said "Simon the Peter". The whole room found that quite funny. It was caught on film, and I hope to get a copy of that tape.

We played Allison Park in a very close match two rounds later. They were very good that year with Jen Shim and Jim Fenton. Not having the round-by-round results, I can't tell you exactly who we lost to that first day, but I believe we have four losses that day, putting us in the middle of the pack. I remember one of our losses pretty distinctly. Not mentioning names, the coach of the other t eam got into an argument with the quizmaster just before the match about whether or not we could have the air-conditioner on during the match. These rooms were pretty awful as far as the heat went, so it was necessary to have it on. The quizmaster later told us that we could've contested just about anything that match and he would've given it to us. Let this be a lesson that the first rule of contesting is "Don't tick off the quizmaster". We also lost a match to Clarion that day. Clarion was a bit of a dark horse at nationals that year. Throughout the year, at most tournaments, Sarver, PA was a very strong team and many would've picked them to win nationals. They had been second the year before and their top two quizzers were returning. Somehow, they got fourth at regionals and Clarion actually won the NE region. Clarion was one of the nicest teams I ever remember playing.

The second day we were either undefeated or had only one loss. We played the national champs from Lexington sometime in the middle of the day. I recall them being undefeated when we played them, but we beat them.

The last day, we lost a match to Las Vegas. It came down to the last question and I think it was me that blew it. This was the first, but certainly not the last, time I played against Valerie Marchalonis. The final match is the one that sticks out most in my mind. Going into it, we knew that if we won, we might be in a tie for second. That depended on what happened when Shreveport and Lexington played that match. If Lexington won, and Waco also won their match, it would be a four-way tie. We knew we had to win the match to get a trophy (it was actually a plaque in those days). We were playing Sunnyvale, TX, who would also have six losses if we beat them. This was Kent's first year on the national scene and he was certainly an amazing quizzer even that year (and it only got better the next two years). He quizzed out midway through the match, so we were battling it out against his other two teammates. The last question comes up and we need it to tie the game. I hit the question on "What kind of tree cannot". There were two ways to go. While I was sitting there trying to decide what I would answer, the intercom in the room squawked. I tried my best to still answer the question and I picked the wrong one. Naturally, we contested. Now, I know this may seem a bit ethically wishy-washy, but our argument was that when the stupid intercom went off, I was in the process of deciding what to answer and there was no way of knowing whether that's the one I would've picked had it not gone off. I think Kent is still a little perturbed that they gave us the contest. Anyway, we got the substitute question and went into overtime. The question was to quote and give the complete references for the two verses that have the OT scripture "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord". I had a perfect hit, perfect quote and got it to win the match.

Then came the playoffs. The first match, we played Shreveport and Waco played Sunnyvale. The first match went ok. Jeremy Horn from Shreveport went out backward and that basically decided the game. I do remember a question in that match that was a Quotation Completion, and it didn't have a unique starting word, however, in those days that rule didn't exist. It was something like "Do not be…" from a chapter with four of those statements. We did a contest on it that I'm still kind of proud of, even though we didn't get it. It was still invalid for the text to not start at the beginning of the verse. I knew that of the four "Do not be"s in that chapter, one didn't start at the beginning of the verse, so we tried contesting validity on the off-chance that that's what was on their page. Of course, it wasn't. The second playoff match was against Waco. We had it sealed relatively early. I remember the exact room it was in and how full it was. Dan Smith was the quizmaster (he remains one of my favorites of all-time). Somewhere in the middle of the match, the question came up to basically give John the Baptist's six-verse speech from Matthew 3. As fast as I read nowadays, I just tried reading the answer to this again and it took 25 seconds. There are short verses at the beginning, but the last few are pretty big and tongue-tying.

I was out after the second or third round of the one-on-one, so I don't really remember much from that (it was a double-elimination one-on-one in those days). The last match I quizzed that year, however, was the scholarship quiz. This is what they used to do at the banquet instead of the east/west quiz (in fact, they used to play the match in front of the entire Fine Arts crowd). The four quizzers were: Top scorer from the first place team, top scorer from the second place team, top scorer overall and winner of the one-on-one. For those who want to know why contesting is very limited in exhibition games, this match is the reason. Somewhere near the beginning of the match, a 30 came up asking for the colors in Matthew. Three answers on the page were "gold, silver and copper". Now, I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think the question actually was worded so that those were genuine answers regardless of the fact that Jesus uses them referring to the metals in coins, not the colors. Anyway, the quizzer next to me contests and says, and I quote, "Gold, silver and copper are not colors, they are metals. I mean, gold and silver, I can maybe see, but definitely not copper." If I heard that in a contest today, I would deny it, but the judges accepted it. The most shocking part to me was that the entire banquet hall broke into applause. Included sitting in the room was the question writer, who was none-to-happy about the contest being accepted. Two or three questions later, this same quizzer contests validity on some grammatical nit-pick. They denied it and we moved on. A few questions later I hit a 30 and in answering I botched the verses about the blind men who called out to Jesus, but the judges gave it to me anyway. Another quizzer contested it and it was denied. That was the only contest of the match that I felt might have been justified. A few questions later, I answered a question and the same quizzer who had already contested twice contested my answer. It was denied. To my great surprise, when they denied it, Greg House's table (at which the question writer also sat), broke into applause. I still smile when I think of that. I remember it caused a big stink on the current forum, but honestly it never would've happened if the room hadn't applauded on the first contest. The last question, I was up by 5 and Jeremy hit the question from Matthew 10, "Jesus did not…" I was almost certain he couldn't get it, but he completed it "…come to bring what" (the answer was peace). He got it and won the scholarship quiz.

I love the memories I have of that quiz year. I have formed so many life-long friendships because of Bible Quiz and many started that year.