TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conference

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TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conference

Post by Aaron's Rod » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:59 pm

As requested from the main thread. I tried to be as faithful as possible to what people said while still preserving readability, and I kept the sidebars because I thought they were funny. corrections should be submitted to me via private message or other means (i.e., preferably not on this thread). Time stamps refer to the recordings linked in this post. I'm going to break this up by question where it makes sense.
Last edited by Aaron's Rod on Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Aaron's Rod » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:00 pm

Transitioning from high school to college

Fred Morlan: Hi, and welcome to "the first half hour" of the Coaches' Conference. [Laughter.] Due to a recording error, we lost the past thirty-seven minutes. Apologies, but if you really missed it, you would've been here.


Alex Damisch: Eric!

FM: So, what we're gonna do is we're gonna--we already talked about general advice about how to get better. One thing I want to transition to from that is--somebody wrote in and asked, "How--If you're transitioning from high school quizbowl to college quizbowl, what should you prepare yourself for, how can you best make that transition, what can help you find a college quizbowl program that suits you?"

One thing I would say is pick a college, not a quizbowl team. Because the quizbowl team changes a lot more easily. And if you're at a school that doesn't have a college quizbowl team, you can just start one. It's not that hard.

Anyways, I'll pass this on down.

And if you guys could ID yourselves again, sorry.

Jakob Myers: Alright. I'm Jakob Myers, a current player from Michigan State University, and noted person who transitioned from high school quizbowl to college. Before that, I played for Naperville North High School.

[1:15] A thing that helped me prepare for entering collegiate quizbowl was playing a couple of collegiate tournaments. If that's not an option for you, I totally get it. I mean, I freaked out because I thought that IHSA was going to sanction me for playing WAO II--sorry, WAO I. But, do that if possible. Always push yourself in terms of difficulty. If you can't play difficult tournaments, at least read difficult packets to yourself. Because in college, the way you're going to enjoy it most is if you hit the ground running.

[2:00] Go to summer practices, or Skype in to summer practices, for the team you're going to be playing for, if it exists. If they don't, then attend whatever summer practices you can, just to...collegiate quizbowl is something of a different realm than high school quizbowl, so it's best to familiarize yourself with as much of how that works as possible. If you go to a school where a team doesn't exist, ask people who have successfully started teams--I believe, in the audience, Michael Borecki has had some degree with success with that. Oh! Also Rebecca Rosenthal.

[3:00] Yeah. Another controversial take I'm about to put out there is the quizbowl team should at least--should be at least a minor factor in how you choose your college, if you do indeed intend to play quizbowl in college, since it will make up a fairly large part of your social milieu. If quizbowl is really important to you as-is and you understand it being as important going forward, then it should--I'm not saying it should be a major factor, but like, maybe a tiebreaker.

FM: I'll allow it.

Sarah Angelo: Yeah, I'll admit to ruling out William and Mary because I didn't get along with their captain at the time when I was considering college. And that was probably a mistake, but my time on the UVA team was something I value a lot.

[4:00] And I can't imagine a thought experiment in which I did go to William and Mary, so, your mileage may vary.

For me, transitioning to college quizbowl was kind of a unique experience, because I had been playing college quizbowl tournaments since I was a sophomore in high school. I was very close with the VCU team, I was dual-enrolled junior and senior year, and I played as a member of the VCU team.

[4:30] Cody Voight, who's a year older than me, was basically--I helped him transition to the college game. And it's weird to think about--where am I going with this...if you haven't noticed by now, I'm a relationships person. And I think transitioning to the college game is where it's important to know people in your area, especially on another team, because when you get to college all of a sudden they're your teammate so, Matt Bollinger and I were able to look at each other and be like, "Hey, person I've played against for the past four years, let's rebuild this team together." And we did. But knowing each other a little bit to start really helps out, I think. And if you don't already know each other, if you can get in touch online over the summer, I think it really helps remove some of that awkwardness going in. Or you can just accept that, you know, there's going to be some awkwardness, and just prepare yourself if that's how it is.

Chloe Levine: I'm Chloe Levine, I'm the current captain of--do you want to introduce yourself?

SA: I forgot to re-introduce myself! I'm Sarah Angelo, I played for Maggie Walker, I graduated in 2010, graduated from UVA in 2014, I graduated from VCU in 2016. I'm a member of PACE and ACF, and I'm a moderator on

CL: Hi, I'm Chloe Levine. I'm the current captain of Hunter College High School team. Next year I'm playing for Harvard. I'm the co-founder of the Girls in Quizbowl Committee.

[6:15] I don't have a whole lot to say on this topic because I'm only in high school. I was just going to say that for me, the quizbowl team was not at all a factor in where I decided to go to college. But as soon as I decided where I was going, I found out who the point people were for that team and reached out to them to try to start talking to them about the culture of the team and what things would be like. So, I don't know, I hope that'll work, I'll report back!

David Jones: My name's David Jones, I'm the coach of Northmont High School in Dayton, Ohio. I've coached there for 13 years. Again, I don't have a ton to add on this because I did not play college quizbowl, but I can talk about the experiences of two of my players. I had two players who played in high school who--Emily Bingham, who was a great player for me, back in 2011, left Northmont and then she started a team at Wright State University, built a team up there. That team's still around today--they don't compete a ton, but they compete in a lot of Ohio-area tournaments and around the Midwest. But she spent a lot of time building that team up, she wanted to keep playing in high school--in college, and did that. Sam Blizzard, my captain in 2015, went to the University of Cincinnati. They didn't have a team there, and he just didn't play. So, I think had he gone to a school that had a quizbowl team, he may have done that. But he didn't want to go through the process of building up a team himself again, because he was basically a one-man team in high school for a lot of years. So I think that that mentality is that he didn't want to do that. So I think that when players are looking for colleges, just kind of be cognizant of the fact that they want to play in college. Do they have a team, what do you have to do in order to start that up, if it is something you want to keep doing, just be cognizant of that.

AD: Well, I did not play in high school, and most of the people at my college also did not play in high school, but I will re-introduce myself because I have nothing to say on this topic. My name is Alex Damisch, I play at DePaul University and formerly of Lawrence University. I am the PACE Director of Communications and a Provisional Member of ACF.

Dennis Loo: I'm Dennis Loo, I coach IMSA, I used to coach TJ, and before that I played at UVA and Virginia Tech. I'd say that for adjusting to college, one of the first things to do really is just to adjust your expectations. Similar to people, I guess, any sport where people move from high school to college, or college to pros--and let's face it, there are some graduate students around here who have been around much longer than the four years of undergrad.

[8:45] And playing against them as a freshman can be intimidating. So, just about everybody who is playing in college, most of them were really good in high school. You have a lot of former number, like--players who were the number--yes! [Eric enters.]

AD: Speaking of people who have played for a million years...

DL: Yeah, speaking of people who...yeah, so, a lot of it is just, accept that, yes, you're probably going to start off--if it's a fully-functional, top-ranked program, as-is, you probably won't even be on the A-team at first. Plenty of great players go to--great high school players go to Chicago and end up on Chicago D. So, adjust your expectations.

[9:30] You might be used to powering four tossups a game in high school, and all of a sudden that becomes, if you play Division I, that becomes four powers a tournament. If you're lucky. So, just realize that it's going to be sort of like being a freshman in high school again. The other people who are there, yes, you can probably catch up to them, but it's going to take some time.

Eric Mukherjee:
I just came in. I'm Eric Mukherjee, I played for Penn. I understand the question's about transitioning from high school to college. I think what Dennis said is really good advice. The other thing is, college is a really good time to sort of reorient your game a little bit, and sort of change your expectations.

For example, I think it's a lot easier to become a replacement-level generalist in high school than it is in college. And especially in college, since the canon is so much bigger, it may be the case that being a replacement-level generalist is not necessarily the best use of your time, especially if you're on a team with a lot of people. One thing I like to tell people at that stage is–pick a category and defend that category. You're in college, you're obviously going to major in something that you probably will know better than most anyone else on your team. So as long as you defend that category and you're getting your 1/1 [one tossup and one bonus] or 2/2 for most games, you actually are going to contribute a great deal. And that's very important.

JM: Sorry to constantly add things at the ends of...after the panel's already run its course, but–something that a couple of people have alluded to that I'm going to make slightly more explicit–slide into peoples' DMs. [Laughter.]

AD: Jakob...

JM: Overcome any awkwardness you have surrounding that.
EM: Did we-are we talking about interpersonal relationships?

JM: It is honestly the best way to familiarize yourself with who your teammates are going to be who the people around your circuit are going to be. And that's a key part of keeping yourself wanting to play quizbowl in college, is, yeah. Do that.

[11:30] DL: Speaking of people who transitioned straight to college and started doing exceptionally well...

FM: Another thing that would be good that the circuit currently lacks is if an organization like ACF were to become more proactive in helping teams get set up. Because there's some organizational barriers you have to deal with just–maybe you go to your student organization board and get certified, or get approved as a program. And that can be kind of intimidating if you haven't done that before.

[12:00] So just having someone that you can email and be like "okay, well this generally how you do it, and we can help you out with it if you have any questions." And maybe even putting together just kind of a base template of an organization's roles to satisfy 95% of what colleges require, would probably be a good step to take. And hopefully ACF or NAQT can do that. Um, our next–

SA: Can I talk–can I say something–

EM: Yeah, good...we're like "well, it's really very pointed, but..."

[12:30] SA: Hey, so, ACF for a very long time has been primarily an organization of editors, and has only recently started getting into the logistics side of quizbowl. And I think that that would be a very valuable project for us to take on, and something to be considered as a long-term goal. I'm not sure if it's something we're set up for right now. I should also point out as a forums moderator that the new collegiate teams forums is a thing. And it's a thing that has a lot of good posts in it, from people who have experience with this kind of thing, and people who are happy to explain those things again.

[13:00] So if you are able to reach out to us on the internet, hey, we're there. Or, if you're in Jakob's meme group [Illinois Quizbowl Memes... on Facebook], slide into the DMs of someone in Jakob's meme group. We can help you. We're not just here for laughs, we're here to help.

[Some chuckles throughout]

JM: I promise, we all really really like talking about quizbowl.

DL: I'd also like to thank Sarah for, well, being the person that ensured the UVA team, which had plenty of great players–but a lot of clubs do not realize that the skills involved in being a great player and keeping an organization going are very different. And certainly without Sarah, the team would not have experienced as much success because, who knows whether we would have dissolved in a wave of accounting scandals beforehand? But yes, we really do not thank the people who work: direct tournaments, or handle logistics, nearly as much as we should, I'm not sure what we can really do about that. Like, there are the Cooper Awards–are great, but there's only two of them–one standard, and one for young people each year. And that doesn't seem to really appreciate some of the people that keep things going.
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Aaron's Rod » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:09 pm


Fred Morlan: Joe Bluth just rode by on a Segway because we can now transition to talking about how can quizbowl–I can't think of the right question, I'm just stumbling along here, very professional–one question is, somebody brought up, if quizbowl is too inclusive, and the specific statement is, "the whole insular debate is–"

Alex Damisch: Insular, not inclusive. We're definitely not TOO inclusive.

Sarah Angelo: The opposite!

FM: "The whole insular debate seems a bit like a stuck record, but I think it really is an issue. Maybe not the most important one, but still. We know that there is a pretty extreme divide between elite players and teams and everyone else. Some of this is inevitable, as better teams are more likely to go to national tournaments and play each other, and the elite players are more likely to become staff members as they get older. It does feel pretty weird to have thousands of average quizbowlers quietly observing this community of a few famous quizbowlers." That doesn't really have a question at the end, but what do you guys think we can do to get more–hear more from average, less-than-average players? To kind of, help steer the game forward?

[15:30] Jakob Myers: Okay, I'll just lead off with a very simple suggestion. If you are an elite player, or even not an elite player, is just talk to people. I mean, most of us are relatively friendly, I'd like to think?


AD: Nowadays, yeah.

[16:00] JM: I know we can occasionally seem cliquish, but in terms of more upper-level quizbowl social circles, there's like no entry sign that says "you must have PPG this high to enter."


JM: A certain amount of that is to like–if you're not elite, make friends who are, ask them for advice. But like, the flipside of that is, elite players sort of do have a responsibility to reach out. That's how we–since like, keeping below-average or average teams on board is–if you're in college–is how your club keeps getting funded, if you host tournaments. Unless you're Chicago, and you have an infinite pile of money, but that's a discussion for another time. So, yeah. Just talking to teams that may not have done so well at the tournament, talking to players in your own club who may occasionally not go to tournaments, not come to practice, stuff like that, it really does go a long way, so you should do more of it.

SA: Hey, relationships person here again. Absolutely talk to people! I used to talk to people when I was in high school–Harry White's in the room. I used to talk to him before a lot of tournaments, because he was on the TJ team. And I made sure the Maggie Walker team and the TJ team were friends. You know, if we're going to be these two elite teams in the state of Virginia, we should know each other. We should share resources, we should help each other get better at writing questions, we should help each other get better at playing. Anything that you can do to encourage relationships with the teams in your area is a great thing, I think.

[18:00] And I absolutely agree that it's kind of the responsibility of elite players to try and–if you are an outgoing person, to be that outgoing person, and make connections with people. Eric Mukherjee down there gave medical school advice to one of my kids from UVA who was never a great player, but who was very dear to me, and was a great member of our program. And–

Dennis Loo: In fact–sorry!

SA: Sorry! Especially if you're in college, those players who show up to practice every now and then, but staff every one of your tournaments, those are the BEST people in your program. Because they help you make all your money, and then they don't even ask you to spend it on them! [Laughter.] Like, LOVE those people! Love those people! Don't complain about those people. They are your bread and butter, and they are usually great people who just aren't super active players or were never very good, but like quizbowl and like to be around quizbowl. And those people are extremely, extremely useful and should be valued members of your team.

[19:00] And, you know, if you're on a college team and you're out at a tournament and you see a one-man team that's just started up, try to introduce yourself to that team. I was at a tournament with VCU once, and Hernan [Morales] was playing by himself for American, and we pretty much insisted that we have lunch with us, because he was there all by himself. And I have no idea what impact we had on him, but the American team is still going strong. They had, I think, C teams at events this year. So, anything you can do to encourage those growing programs–and sometimes that can just be a "hello" in the hallway, and acknowledging that people are there.

Chloe Levine: Yeah, just adding on to everything that's been said–at least at the vast majority of tournaments we do buzzer checks and give our names for the scorekeeper. That means you're hearing your opponents' names. So, you're not going to remember everybody's name, but maybe try to remember somebody's name! And then when you say hi to them, you don't just say like, "hey, you," and you can make them feel valued and appreciated, even if, you know, they didn't get any questions that game.

[20:00] Or even if you grailed that team or whatever, it doesn't matter, because they're still a person in the community. And also, just–Jakob is always modest about the actual impact of the meme [Facebook] group, but, in all seriousness, I really do think that it's helping address that. And I agree with the person who sent in the question, that sometimes it feels like elite people just talking to each other and everyone else watching or clicking or liking things. But, I think that it's certainly less insular than it used to be, in large part because the online presence has increased so much, and because even if you're not getting a lot of questions, it's really accessible to just like the meme about negging. So yeah, I think that Jakob should give himself more credit.

Eric Mukherjee: "Tfw u neg?" Am I doing this right?
JM: There are a variety of "tfws when you do" that.

David Jones: I would agree with the person who wrote in the question. In a lot of ways, I think the quizbowl circuit does appear very cliquish. I know in Ohio, I've had a player each of the last two seasons who–last year in particular–probably would have made the NASAT team from Ohio, but did not want to try out because of the cliquishness of the team, the players who they knew were going to be on it. So I think that is a very real issue. I think that there are coaches in Ohio who are very committed, I know Sue [?] is here right now, who really is helping develop the circuit in northeast Ohio, bringing new teams in to the circuit.

[21:30] And I think that's a fantastic thing. And I think more coaches have to do that, to try to build the area. I think that's why northeast Ohio is as strong as it is, because Sue's been working for years to try to improve that. And I think that that's something that–it kind of–to try to address the nature of how quizbowl is laid out right now, one of the things I'm most proud of is, when Sam Blizzard played for me (I know I brought him up a couple times, but), I still have coaches today, I talked to Todd Garrison from Glasgow last week at HSNCT, telling me a story about Sam being really great to one of his kids at one of the tournaments, and I've never heard a person say a bad word about Sam Blizzard. He was always friendly with everybody, and always tried to get along with everybody else. And I see that isn't–probably isn't always the case for a lot of the elite people, who are very much in touch with each other, but not necessarily with everybody else.

[22:15] AD: Yeah, in some ways I'm kind of jealous of people who are closer to Jakob and Chloe's age. I feel like now, elite players are more accessible to new players than they have ever been. The forums, I find a little bit–I mean, I still post on them, and everything–are a little bit alienating, they're not connected to peoples' real faces, they're not connected to the rest of your lives. So the fact that there are so many elite and non-elite quizbowlers who are all active in the same online presence on Facebook, I think is incredible. And, you know, you can both, you know, please don't like stalk random people on Facebook or whatever, but in terms of the quote-unquote "sliding into the DMs" thing, will really work for a lot of people. I think a lot of top players are very receptive to those kinds of things. I do think that it is still too much "who you know" in the quizbowl community.

[23:00] I was a non––by no stretch of the imagination was I any sort of elite player at any point in my career. But, you know, I lived in Minnesota for four months and of the sudden I've got all these acronyms in my forums signature, do you know what I mean? I think that a large portion of that was just kind of going through and being able to meet new people, and that opens up a lot of opportunities for more people. I think that we could be doing better about that as a community by having more open calls for writers and editors, more applications or organizations that can be open not by nomination, but where self-nominations are acceptable, where referring someone is acceptable. Just making it so that a person who is interested in doing more can recognize themselves even if they're not very connected to the rest of the circuit. And I think that there are a lot more things that you can be doing now as a person who is a not-elite player. We're increasingly recognizing the roles of people who are into logistics, or finance, or other portions that make quizbowl go, but are not necessarily big player roles. I think that definitely the community is changing for the better, but we still have a long way to go.

EM: I'm not sure quite how much I can add, except I want to reiterate the advice about "sliding into the DMs." I'm to understand that's some kind of romantic thing, but apparently we're using it in a different context.

JM: I–okay, I was using that in a completely platonically. Disclaimer.
EM: Okay. But–
SA: Please do not slide into anyone's DMs romantically unless you have a personal relationship with them.
JM: Strong agree.

[24:30] EM: Yeah. But, in any case, just, as an anecdote, people talk to me all the time. I like to try to be approachable for quizbowl stuff, life stuff. As an anecdotal thing, something like four months ago, the gentleman from Plano West, who's their science player, asked me for studying advice, and you all saw what happened last week. So–it worked. The other thing I want to add is, it's important–I think especially for elite players and people in leadership roles within a club–to think about what the people around you are really trying to get out of quizbowl? And keep in mind that, especially for someone like me, or someone who sort of is really there for the game, that not everybody is there to sort of memorize all the British prime ministers and try to take out UVA (and not succeed because Bollinger's there). But especially at Penn, we had a really big change when we started emphasizing more of the emotional aspects of the club. Making sure there were things like end-of-semester parties, end-of-the-year parties, we would go to restaurants periodically, celebrate peoples' birthdays, that sort of thing.

[~25:45] And then the club definitely grew and became more inclusive. Not only did that mean we had more staff, it also meant we had more teams going to things. We've definitely retained more players, like more than one freshman this year, especially, has pointed out that if–for example, Jaimie [Carlson] and Jinah [Kim], who are two of the seniors on my team, weren't so welcoming and kind, that they wouldn't have stuck with quizbowl in college. And I think a lot of elite players really underestimate the importance of the social ties, and that's something especially within a club I want to emphasize. I also want to emphasize that, the other thing that people who are sort of "on the inside" should avoid doing is if you're in a large group of quizbowlers, one of the things that inevitably happens is–it feels like you inevitably start talking about things that are only interesting to the select group of quizbowlers. And you should really stop doing that and try to include everyone around you in what you're doing. And one other small thing I like to do is, I like to–you're talking to people from other teams, talking to younger players on my team, asking them "did you get any good buzzes?" You know, praise them for their progress. People will say, "Eric, Eric, I got this question on red blood cells, and it's this clue you told me!" And it's like, "great job! You know, that'll come up again!"

[27:00] Keeping that kind of a dialogue going, making sure that people know that they're seen and they're heard and they're included. It's something that's very important to doing.

DL: Eric being a proud quizbowl dad! Yeah, but–yes. The vast majority of elite players are very nice people. I mean, last month, I asked "hey Eric, do you want to give a talk at my school about what's it really like being an MD/PhD student?" And, heck, one of my kids is like "if I asked Eric, do you think I could get his autograph?"


DL: Yeah, so, really–I mean, a lot of times, the elite players are not nearly as–they're not untouchable. Besides "start hanging out," you'll probably hear some embarrassing stories about them.

EM: One other thing I wanted to add, from both sides–if you are somebody who's interested in getting better, one thing that's great to do is–talk to people who are editing tournaments about writing. And that's actually a really good way both to get better and to sort of get to know the other people in quizbowl who are doing a lot of writing and doing a lot of editing, and trying to get better. It puts you on their radar, and it makes us aware of you as an editor, and that sort of is a way to pull yourself in.

FM: We'll conclude the first hour of the coaches' conference there, and we'll resume in 10 minutes.
Last edited by Aaron's Rod on Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alex D.
Lawrence B.A., B.Mus. '16 // DePaul M.S. '18
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Aaron's Rod » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:12 pm

Players and Coaches Conference: Hour Two

[0:00] Fred Morlan: This is the second hour of the David Riley Memorial Coaches' and Players' Conference. I'm Fred Morlan, your MC. We're going to start by having everyone introduce themselves, going from right to left this time. So, please give your name, your affiliation, and your favorite Vine.


FM: Yes, seriously.

Dennis Loo: I'm Dennis Loo, I coach IMSA, I used to coach TJ, and I played for UVA and Virginia Tech. And I am apparently too old for...

Eric Mukherjee: I'm Eric Mukherjee, I played for Brown and Penn, and my favorite vine is whatever vine General Iro was talking about when he's saying "leaves from the vine" in that one Avatar episode.

Alex Damisch: Wow. We have two very, like, characteristic answers here. My name's Alex Damisch, I play for DePaul University, formerly of Lawrence University. I'm the Director of Communications for PACE. And my favorite Vine is "welcome to my meet or greet."

David Jones: I'm David Jones, coach of Northmont High School in Dayton, Ohio, been there for 13 years. And like [?] I guess I'm too old to know what a Vine is, so, I'll pass on...

Jakob Myers: It's a six-second video.

Chloe Levine: I'm Chloe Levine, I'm the current captain of the Hunter College High School team. Next year I'll be playing at Harvard. And I'm a cofounder of the Girls in Quizbowl committee. I don't really have a favorite Vine, but I guess Olivia Lamberti is trying to make "is this allowed" a meme, so, I'll go with that.

Sarah Angelo: Hey, I'm Sarah Angelo, I played for Maggie Walker, UVA, and VCU. I'm a moderator on the HSQuizbowl forums, I'm a member of PACE and ACF, and I like people, so...I'm kind of everywhere. I don't think it's a Vine, but I really like that clip of the munchkin cat kind of walking sideways and freaking out a little bit, because I feel like it's a good encapsulation of tournament directing.

JM: I'm Jakob Myers, I'm a current player at Michigan State, alumnus of Naperville North.

[2:00] Favorite Vine is definitely the one with the kid with the hoodie with the gigantic ears hitting the whip. [Giggling throughout.] If you're of a certain age, you guys know which one I'm describing.

SA: We're too old, Alex, I don't...
AD: I don't–no, I...?

JM: Okay, just Google "sweatshirt ear kid," I swear it's life-changing.

AD: Let's talk about quizbowl.

JM: Okay, yeah, let's do that. Let us very do that.

FM: Scientifically, the best Vine is the umbrellas on the beach.

JM: You're wrong, but okay.

[2:30] FM: We'll just go off to the one tournament-directing question we had, which is–"How can you professionally deal with heckling from parents and coaches as moderators?" My suggestion would be to not deal with it and tell them to stop, and if that continues, go to the tournament director.

DJ: As tournament director, one of the things I've noticed–we've run probably, I think, 35 tournaments since I started coaching. You don't see it a lot at the high school level, I guess as much? But we started hosting a couple of middle school tournaments...

FM? EM?: Ugggh.

DJ: ...and middle school parents are a different breed, in terms of always wanting to be involved in every discussion that happens in a tournament. So that's something that we've kind of had to say "we'll handle the decisions, and those decisions are final," and they oftentimes don't like that. But you, I think, you have to kind of separate them from helping to run. But we've never really had any issues at the high school level with parents, but middle school, definitely a different breed.

AD: Yeah, I would say that one of the things you should keep in mind as a moderator is just–

[3:45] Even if a parent is wrong, and they almost always are, is to not escalate the situation any further than necessary. Sometimes you just kind of have to let them vent at you–it's completely unfair, as it is. If you think your tournament director would be able to be more authoritative than you are, sometimes it helps to just bring in another person to kind of lay down the law. But as a moderator, don't antagonize the situation any more than it needs to be.

EM: I honestly have very little experience with being heckled, but I can say, in any case–really you can generalize to any case where someone is being unruly, put your foot down, you say "if you don't stop doing this, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Try not to escalate, stay calm is the most important thing. If worse comes to worst you have to refer it up to the tournament director, bring someone else in.

CL: Yeah, I agree with everything that's been said, but I want to add that psychologically it can be really difficult to deal with people yelling at you, and saying that you're wrong, and blaming you for a loss or something bad happening to a team that they care a lot about. But if you're a moderator, or a scorekeeper, or a tournament director, you're just the easiest person for people to yell at.

[5:00] So. I don't know. Just that.

SA: Yeah, to build off of what Chloe says, I think it's important to remember that it's not personal. You know, they're upset about something that's happened in the game, in the moment. And oftentimes later, they realize they were wrong about it, if they were wrong. Sometimes they don't. But the important thing is just to stay calm and be as professional as you can about it. I directed my first tournament in Spring 2008, I was a 16-year-old girl. You have to kind of–even if you ARE a 16-year-old girl, you have to get yourself in the mindset of "I am in charge here. This is my tournament. You are not breaking my tournament. I will not let you." Once you kind of get yourself in that mode...

[5:45] There are people in this room who could tell you that I am sometimes a lot less friendly when I'm a tournament director, than I am in my normal state. I have thrown people out of control rooms, I have backed coaches out of control rooms. Sometimes you have to do it. And you have to do it in as polite and professional a manor as you can, because when you're a tournament director, attendees are your customers. They are giving you their money. You want them to come back, but you can't let them break your tournament. You politely remove them from the room, if that's what you need to do. And it can be hard to get yourself to that point, and honestly if you want to have practice disagreements at practice, that might be useful. Especially if you have a really goofy teammate, get them to pretend to be a troll, and heckle during a game in practice, and see if you can get yourself to politely remove your teammate from the room. If you're somebody who's going to be nervous about that kind of interaction, simulate it with somebody you're comfortable with.

JM: So, I don't have a whole ton to add, except that what Sarah said about being a tournament director, I think also goes (but to a lesser extent) for being a moderator, even though you're usually not getting paid. You have to bear in mind that your club's future financial success depends to at least a small extent on how you resolve this situation. So it's important to remain in control–again, as Sarah said–both of your own emotions and of the situation as it unfolds. I said, not a ton to add.

AD: Just one more thing I wanted to add is that–know your ruleset. Most standard rulesets will have provisions for what to do and what is in the power of both the moderator and the tournament director when you have incidents with people, so know before the tournament starts what you are–what your range of options is if someone is being really disruptive.

FM: Yeah, I think the–staying calm is really great advice, and just knowing the ruleset and being prepared to act on it, 'cause it's one thing to have in your rules that you're going to eject people if they're too disruptive, and then it's another to act on it. And you just have to be ready to do that.
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:23 pm

Thanks for transcribing!
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:57 pm

Aaron's Rod wrote: FM? EM?: Ugggh.
It was, at least in part, me.
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Aaron's Rod » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:05 pm

Women in Quizbowl

[8:15] Fred Morlan: Anyone else with anything on this subject?

Okay, we'll go into the next one, which is, "How can we make quizbowl more appealing and inclusive to women in quizbowl?" Because I think that's been a big subject this past year, I think some progress has been made on it but I also think we have a lot of room to go. So, whoever would like to start off.

Chloe Levine: Okay, so, I've done a lot of thinking about this this year, and over the past several years. And first of all, as a disclaimer, definitely women and other non-cis[gendered] male people are not the only people who are excluded in the quizbowl community. And there are lots of other issues related to inclusivity we have to deal with. But, this is one that I am personally affected by, so it's like what I focused on to start with. For those of you who don't know, I wrote a paper about this issue for school this year–which isn't like a scientific study, but it does include some statistics based on a survey distributed at local tournaments and via NAQT and word of mouth. It garnered 415 responses.

[9:30] It is not trying to seem as though it is representative of the entire quizbowl community, but it certainly reflects the experiences of at least a segment of the quizbowl community. And, based on those findings–a lot of them just sort of said what I thought they were going to say. More than 50% of non-cis-male respondents have felt less welcome in the quizbowl community due to gender. Over 13% of non-cis male respondents had felt sexually harassed at some point in their quizbowl experience.

[~10:00] And obviously, those statistics are unacceptable. And it's our responsibility as a community, all together, to figure out what to do about that. But one of the suggestions that I made that I'm most excited about is the idea of a mentorship program, which is cost-neutral, because all it would be is freshmen and sophomore non-cis-male players providing emails and information regarding their schools and their teams and just signing up for this program, getting matched with an agreeable non-cis-male junior or senior–this is at the high school level. And then just staying in correspondence throughout the season, updating each other with how tournaments go, hopefully becoming friends, getting to know each other. And that has a lot of positive effects, both because it's sort of like a built-in way to have a role mode. And also because it incentivizes being more involved in the overall community, which in turn (as I talked about in the first half of the conference) then makes you more likely to want to improve as a player, and then if you're more likely to want to improve as a player, you're more likely to get more non-cis-male players at higher levels of competition. And as I said before, that would not cost any governing organizations a dime. So–I mean, I make other suggestions, but that's the one I'm most excited about. And I really hope that people keep talking about it!

Sarah Angelo: I love Chloe's idea. I am all about it. I also–one thing that has happened to me a lot in my personal career is–when I was in high school, there were not very many women on the Maggie Walker team. There just–there just weren't. There were two seniors when I was a freshman, they were great, they were great role models.

[11:45] They looked out for me quite a bit. There was a teammate I had issues with the next year who I didn't have any problems with as a freshman because Joanna [Wu] was there to put herself between me and him. But my coach would occasionally get on my case, the older I got, and the fact that we still didn't have a ton of women on the team. He was a great coach, but I don't think he understood just how hurtful it was to say to me that "there are no women on this team because you're too masculine and too aggressive." It is not your fault if you don't get along with the other women on your team. It's not. It is not your personal responsibility, as the girl on the team, to make sure there are more women on the team. If that's not your personality. If you love people and you love talking to people, awesome! Talk to all the people. If you don't love people, and you don't want to talk to people, that's not your fault. And it's so important to remember that. Because I–it was really intensely–I'm getting emotional talking about this, and it's 8 years later! Being a good person to a people around you is on everyone in the community.

[13:00] The men and the women, and everyone in between. And just–you know, if you're not super outgoing, just try to not be like–don't be rude to people, basically. You don't want to make your club an unwelcoming place by being nasty to your teammates. Find a different venue for that, if you've got that in you. Because the quizbowl community is a community. I've been pushing hard in the staff forum on HSQB to get a community discussion board established, in addition to Collegiate Discussion, to kind of foster these conversations better. Because I do think that we are very much a community made up of individual people and teams, and we need to think about how we relate to one another. I'm getting a little lost, hold on. So yeah, I think it certainly–it certainly does help to have female role models, absolutely.

[~14:00] When I was just a wee baby tournament director, Julie Gittings of the State College team took an interest in me, and it was always encouraging, and it was super awesome to have her there. But I don't think it would have been–I don't think it was 100% necessary for that role model to have been a woman. Encouragement and praise as an older player, or as a coach, is the best thing that you can give to your young folks. I wanna pass this to Jakob before I get incoherent.

Jakob Myers: So, I will acknowledge, I'm coming at this from a cis male perspective, but I do think that, like, especially within club and community leadership positions, cis males like myself in quizbowl, do have a set of responsibilities in this regard.

[15:15] Firstly, in somewhat blunt language, don't be an asshole. Secondly, in equally blunt language, don't tolerate assholes. And, thirdly, do make an effort to include women in leadership roles, both–especially within your club, if you have the authority to do so. And at least attempt to make them feel as though their presence is valued, because that's not always a thing that happens. And sometimes that's independent of gender,, I believe Chloe's study demonstrates that it's not always independent of gender. So...yeah. Do those things.

SA: I would also like to say real quick on the subject of responsibility as an older player, I want to share with you all one of my greatest regrets as a player, and as a team mom. I took, one year, a group of little kids (not little kids, they were, you know, college freshmen) but to me they were my babies–[Audience laughter.]–to me they were my babies, and I was especially protective of the young lady. Because I thought I needed to be, because unfortunately sometimes you do need to be. And because I was paying so much attention to making sure that she was safe, I missed one of the male freshmen being sexually harassed. I didn't see it. And I wasn't there to protect him. And that is my biggest regret. And we cannot tolerate that from anyone. And we as older folks, and especially you gentlemen who have an easier time negotiating with gentlemen with bad viewpoints on things, it's on us to protect our young ones.

David Jones: One of the things I'll say is–I know at Northmont, the first year I started coaching in 2005, we ended up having a team that just through word-of-mouth had 10 female players and 2 male players. And kind of from the beginning we've had a team that has been overwhelmingly female. And that has been something that I think has kind of lead to itself, and fed itself, because today my two assistant coaches are Emily Bingham and Kara Combs, who both graduated from my program in 2011 and 2017, have stayed on to coach with my team. They run our middle school program completely, along with Samantha Street who's one of my freshmen right now, who runs our middle school program.

[17:45] And our middle school program is about 75% female. And I think that we need more females in the coaching ranks to be able to kind of make the environment seem more inclusive. And I think that's one thing that, as we get more female players over time, I think that's something that will kind of lend itself to that. I know in Ohio–I just looked at the stats while we were talking–our top 40 players at our Ohio State Championship this year, 3 of them were female. And I don't know–outside of my team, I cannot think of one team that has more than one female on it in Ohio. And I think that's a problem. And I think that's something that we–I don't know how you address that as a community, given kind of the institutional culture with some of the programs, but I think that's something that is very evident. I think Chloe's research demonstrated that, and I think that kind of elucidated the problem we see.

Alex Damisch: One thing I wanted to add about what's already been said about the environment, is that I think that something we forget...this kind of ties back to insularity, too, which we were talking about in the previous discussion. I think that sometimes people think it's okay to get mad at–get visibly mad at themselves for a bad neg or a 0 or a 10, or to be joking along and kind of berating their teammates, and think that that is still conducive to an atmosphere in which newer people, who are not all up in your inside jokes, can still feel welcome.

[19:00] I would say that even if they are not–even if you are not the target of bad behavior, just kind of lashing out, it still creates a really nasty environment that no one wants to be around. And so, I think that by sort of treating everybody better, and making sure that people feel welcome and that you're demonstrating that sort of environment to other people, it'll go a long way.

Eric Mukherjee: The first think I want to say, in case it already hasn't been said, is that everybody should download and read Chloe's paper, because even after being in quizbowl for over a decade, reading it was actually incredibly illuminating. So, thank you for bring that to our attention. The two things I want to emphasize, especially as an older male who's been in a leadership role, I have been incredibly fortunate to have played with several strong women players; in fact, the Penn A team this year was half women and half men, and we got second at ACF Nationals, which I think–of the top bracket ACF nations, I think Jaimie [Carlson] and Jinah Kim may have been the only two women? Although–

AD: That may be true. [As Eric later corrected, it's not, we missed Ellie Warner (Cambridge) and Tamara Vardomskaya (Chicago B).]

EM: That may be true, actually. But the two things I want to emphasize very much, to especially men who are in leadership roles, is–first of all, think about the vibe that your club is giving off to a new person that's coming in. At one time, Penn was a club that was a majority men, it was very masculine, there was a lot of sort of relating to each other through insult and jibe, a lot of sexual humor. And this was clearly something that was off-putting to a lot of new people, and it's something that I made sure was addressed. And in fact, at one point I had to take aside one of my A team players at the time and sort of dress him down a little bit for an inappropriate remark he had made to a female team member, not realizing that she wasn't in on the joke. Especially as a male and a cis-male, these are things that we don't realize how we come off, I think, to people who aren't cis-males, and that's something worth considering in your mannerisms and in your humor and in your appearance and all these things, that's very important.

[~21:15] Next I want to add, like, pointedly to people who are in club leadership roles, not just people who are like, the president of the club, but people who are captains–top scorers, captains, like that kind of role. Even if you don't ask to be this person, in some ways–especially in college–you are the adult in the room. Because you're the person who–you're the person who is sort of afforded a lot of respect, just because of the way quizbowl social hierarchies work. And it's important to–one of the things I did while I was at Penn was made sure that I was a person that anybody could come to if they had problems with another team member, or if they were feeling unwelcome, or if they just needed to talk, or if they just needed advice. And that's something that I think has paid off a great deal. It's a great way to sort of stop any conflicts before they happen, make sure you're not missing anything. And, on top of that, it's–if you're in an authority role, it's perfectly okay if you notice something a little bit untoward or something you're not very sure of, to step in, take somebody aside and to say "hey, are you okay, do you need me to step in here? Is this something that you want addressed–that you want me, as president, captain or whatever, to address with this other person?"

[~22:30] Sometimes they'll say "no, I'll deal with it myself. I appreciate that, but just stay out of it." Sometimes they'll say "Yes, please, can you please step in here and make sure that this doesn't happen again, I'm very uncomfortable with this and I'm glad you came to me." And it's one of those things that you learn as you occupy a leadership role for a longer period of time, but it's something that's worth learning if you want to be a leader.

Dennis Loo: Yeah, I really don't have much to add to–but, just as a reminder for the coaches that–yeah, just that you need to monitor the, I guess, a lot of the way that the boys socialize. There are certain things where if you–if there's anything inappropriate, you stomp on it and made it clear it's not acceptable. And really, if it comes down to it, you don't need that on your team, and if that means that you lose some games, well, there are things that are more important than just winning.

[23:15] CL: Uh, yeah, I just want to add on to that. Specifically on Hunter, I know that without going into detail, there have been decisions that have been made over the past few years because we as a program were getting to be more nationally-competitive again, and weighing the benefits of winning vs. the benefits of feeling heard and appreciated and human. I think it's really important for us as a community to remember that, even if you're a national contender, the most important thing is never winning. The most important thing is always making everyone feel safe and accepted. Also, just on a more concrete level, a thing that writers and editors can do is try to make sure that, within the context of keeping difficulty reasonable and wanting to represent the canon, we need to be talking more about the accomplishments of non-cis-men across all fields.

[24:15] So, one example that I bring up in my paper is that both Alan Paton and Nadine Gordimer are white South African writers from the 20th century who wrote anti-apartheid novels. The only major difference in terms of resume being that Gordimer has a Nobel Prize and Paton doesn't. And at the high school level, Paton is considered much more reasonable for regular difficulty than Gordimer. And at first, including unconventional answer lines, like–Prison Bowl is clear now, so I can say this–Prison Bowl this year, we had a bonus about Rosa Bonheur. And despite the fact that we tried to tone it down–like the easy part was "pants," right, like, "this article of clothing."

[25:00] It's going to get backlash at first, as an editor, and people will complain that your set is too hard. But if you do it little by little, over time and in a reasonable way, then the canon as represented by high school quizbowl does change. And if you don't do that, then it doesn't! So, yeah. Also, just one last thing is...I guess, my thesis in my paper was that there is hope, I think, and change, despite the fact that–one of the stats is that the gender ratio has not really changed, at least according to the respondents to the survey, between people who are currently in high school and people who aren't, but I do think that there is something fundamentally different going on right now. And we have to sustain that as a community or it will fizzle out.

[26:00] For example, last week, a year after HSNCT last year, when there were some very sexist things said on a Periscope thread during the national final, as a result of the increased discussions that have gone on about this, I got an apology from the NAQT leadership, which was really meaningful to me. And I just–I don't know. I think that we shouldn't give up.

JM: Just a quick note off of Chloe's point on editorship is that to some extent, the quizbowl–biases in the quizbowl distribution do reflect biases within curricula and academia at large. So, there may be some societal factors at play here. But like, that's still really no reason why quizbowl can't be an exception to those trends, especially given that already parts of the distribution cover things that most reasonable high schoolers will not learn in high school. [Chuckles.]

FM: And one thing I want to add real quick is, we talked about the importance of teammates and coaches and leaders in quizbowl in general, saying something if they see something, but I think that's also important to remember as a staffer at tournaments. Because you can see comments being made in front of you between matches, or even during matches, and you should–if you're a moderator, you should probably step–you should step in and say "that's not acceptable, you really shouldn't be behaving in that matter."

[28:00] Anything else we want to add on this subject before we move on? Good, ok.
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Re: TRANSCRIPT: 2018 David Riley Players & Coaches Conferenc

Post by Aaron's Rod » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:Thanks for transcribing!
You're welcome!

I will not have a lot of time to transcribe for at least the next week and possibly the next few weeks. If anyone is impatient for it, they're welcome to transcribe the last 38 minutes; if not I'm happy to pick it back up the next time I'm able.
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Treasurer & Misconduct Form Rep, ACF // Member, PACE // Writer, NAQT

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