by Michael Staiger ’20 (Immaculata House)
Aristotle once said, “All men by nature desire knowledge.” That is an appropriate quote, especially for those of us on the Trinity Quiz Bowl team. Our Quiz Bowl team has competed in many different tournaments with varying formats. With the onset of quarantine, our tournaments took on a new, unique format.
The Pennsylvania Charity Tournament (PACT) tournament was held exclusively online through a program called Discord. Many students are aware of the program, but for the Quiz Bowl tournament it takes on a chat-room format. No actual buzzers in our hands, which is an unreal experience when you’re used to pressing a button in order to respond. Whether to have something in your hand or even when you’re fighting off the adrenaline rush found in extremely close matches. The closer the match, the more nerve-wracking. For the PACT tournament, Quiz Bowl team members used their home computers. Aaron Cartwright ’21 (Seton House), Luke Capper ’20 (Immaculata House), Connor Coyle ’20 (Seton House), and I were not able to communicate via camera or spoken word. We could type to each other and that was it. Cameras were optional, though not really necessary and were not used. This match came down to listening to the moderator read questions, and then typing really fast. If you knew the answer, you typed “BUZZ” and waited to be called on. Once called on, then you typed your answer. There were toss-ups only and no bonus questions, so each toss-up could determine a win or a loss. It also made for some extremely close scores.
From the first match at about 9:30 a.m. to the last at about 3:30 p.m., it was both an exhilarating and a surreal experience. There we were, competing together, and yet it was entirely written. You hear people (specifically the moderators and readers), but that is it. No beeps when questions are answered, only the click-clack of the keys on the keyboard as you type your answer. Or the chime as somebody else answers. At the end, the score is called and teams find out the winners.
Overall, we did quite well. We’ve faced many of these teams before and we know them to be tough competitors. But we impressed them as well. We ended our day with a 9-3 record, taking third in this tournament against teams that have high records for their own leagues. During one specific match, there was a tie that ended with a single question that came down a tie-breaker based on physics (thanks, Mrs. Lindholm!). Another match we won by five points against a tough team we had previously faced. Each Trinity team member came in with some essential answers, especially “power” answers, on categories ranging from music (symphony, opera, reggae, and Bob Dylan), science, literature, and even movies (binge-watching some famous movies from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s actually helped, since Casablanca was an answer). The closest match was a victory of five points against Great Valley White. Nerve-wracking definitely, but exhilarating to win!
Our third place finish in an all-day, online-only tournament in a different format was a proud moment for our team. Since there were other tournaments we missed out on due to the pandemic (both local and out of state), it was great to finish with such a strong feeling of accomplishment in one last tournament as a team. Luke, Connor, and I will graduate and smile with pride as we reflect on our Quiz Bowl years. Aaron will be a torch-bearer, ready to lead a new team next year. As a team, we went far (literally – all the way to Atlanta, GA) and achieved great things. We not only have an awesome team but an excellent coach too. Thank you, Mr. Joyce, for all you’ve done for our team. To my fellow team members, and Mr. Joyce, I want to say that it’s been an amazing ride and experience.
“All for One, One For All” – Dumas