Nationals 1999
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Memories from Caleb Booth

The following recollections were written by Caleb Booth, fourth high scorer at the 1999 National Finals and member of the second place team from Tulsa, OK.

The first Nationals is always the best, at least it was for me. The previous year, quizzing over Romans and James, I had been the captain of a team which contained three starting quizzers who knew every verse and every basic analysis perfectly. We were in the South Central Region, where there were five championship level teams to fill three spots. We were heartbroken when we did not crack the top 3, but I still decided to go to DC to watch the top two teams in the South Central Region win the top two spots at nationals. After that, I was focused on actually quizzing at nationals.

In 1999, we were relatively unknown, not looked at as a favorite. I think we even surprised ourselves when we started as strong as we did. In our first 14 matches, we were 13-1. We were quizzing well, but the reality was that our schedule had saved most of the elite teams until the last day. On our last day, we went 3-4. We were on quite a tail-spin.

If there has ever been an unbeatable team in Bible Quiz, it was Orange Hills in 1999. I do not think any team got within 100 points of beating them. So, for the rest of us, the race was for second. So, in those horrific last seven matches, we watched that second place trophy, slipping away ever so steadily.

Our schedule treated us a little better in the final two rounds. We finally faced a few non-elite teams, which we had a little easier team winning against. The reason this was important was because it reversed the negative momentum we had going against us, and, as it ended up, we finished in a three way tie for second. It was playoffs-time.

In a pretty lucky manner, we finished with only five more total team points than Las Vegas. I think that the Vegas team said they let a ten pointer go dead in one of their final matches out of sportsmanship because they had already won the match. This gave us the bye while the other two teams played each other. Syracuse beat Las Vegas in the first round, and it was our turn. We were thankful for that slight positive momentum those final two matches had created for us, and we quizzed well to win the match and secure second place. This was my highest competitive emotional moment as a quizzer. To us, second place was like first place.

I will say, as the captain of my team, there was a clearly most important match/moment in the 1999 Acts Nationals. We came down to the last question against Central from Springfield in a match on the second day. Every starting quizzer was still in the match and was gunning for this last ten pointer. When the keyword came, I hit my buzzer and was confident that I had gotten the question, but I was surprised to see that my third quizzer Brycen Turner had beat me to it. Slightly nervous, I listened to his finish of the question. I thought I knew what the finish should be, and when he went a different direction, I melodramatically buried my head in my arms, certain we had lost the match. When the quizmaster called him correct, I could not believe what had just happened. This, more than any other moment in 1999's nationals, sparked me with confidence because I realized if I had buzzed in, my team would have lost. How lucky I was that my teammate was faster and more knowledgeable than I was.

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