What defines a team captain?

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What defines a team captain?

Post by ndikkala » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:08 pm

So this is an issue that I've been dealing with for about 2 years now. Last year, I ran all of our teams' practices, from finding and reading questions, to coaching the JV team, as well as finding tournaments for us to go to and arranging for the first bake sale in the history of our team. I had to do this because our Varsity captain was frequently missing from practices and our JV captain did not know how to coach a team. I also served as the Communications Officer for the club, basically sending out all the emails and reminders to turn in forms. When we came to the end of the year, I expected to be made team captain, because I had been a part of the team for the past 3 years and improved my skills significantly to become the top scorer on the team. I also had the endorsement of our Varsity captain, but our coach instead picked someone else, and did not explain her choice. This individual was until last year the highest scorer on the team, but he had done nothing to contribute to running the club apart from being JV captain the year before. Our coach then left the school system entirely at the end of the year, and we never had another meeting after the state tournament so I never had another chance to ask her about her decision. Because she left the school, we had no sponsor this year and our principal did not approve our club. So the extent of the supposed captain's involvement in fixing the issue was a conversation with the principal and one email. I talked to the principal, as well as an assistant principal, explained the issue to several teachers who said they would ask the principal about his decision, sent the principal an email, and emailed several teachers who were not sponsoring a club to ask for their help. I finally found a sponsor but our new coach is new to quiz bowl and doesn't know the responsibilities of a coach. So I've had to take the responsibilities of the coach, finding all tournaments, getting the forms for tournaments filled out, emailing TD's, getting new members, reminding my coach to collect the checks from the bookkeeper, reminding members to turn in permission forms, and getting a team shirt design set. I'm still running all of the practices and sending all emails. I'm also trying to secure a tournament for our school to mirror and in fact created the attached proposal working by myself which I delivered to the school administration. As you can imagine, it takes a significant amount of time to do all of this, but I'm only given the title "Communications Officer" which I feel vastly understates my role on the team. I have asked the team "captain" if I could be the captain since literally the only thing he does at present is sit in the middle chair at tournaments at this point, but he continues to deny me this title by saying I am not the captain. It is my understanding that the captain of a quiz bowl team is supposed to manage the team both on and off tournaments. This "captain" has also never offered to shoulder any of the many, many responsibilities that I undertake for the team, and appears content to let me continue to do these tasks without gaining any recognition at all for my hard work. To make matters worse, he refused to allow me to captain the team at a recent tournament in his absence, preferring instead to make a junior who has neither done nor offered to do any work for the club and as a sophomore was deemed unfit to lead JV practices by our old coach, even while that individual held the title of JV captain. In fact, many JV members complained that he ignored their answers during bonuses at tournaments where he was JV captain. Yet, when directly asked, neither he nor the regular "captain" provides any explanation for why they should be captain over me when I have clearly shown by scoring the highest in tournaments and doing work for the team outside of tournaments as well as attending practices more regularly than either of them that I am more dedicated to the club. I've gotten really tired of them showing up to an occasional practice and trying to manage the team, as well as managing the team at tournaments when they have not put in a fraction of the time or effort that I have and do not know the abilities of team members nearly as well as I do. The incident with the last tournament was the tipping point for me, as the junior on the team tried telling me not to walk around in the room after a match and claimed I was disgracing the name of our school when I corrected a reader on pronouncing a word. But even in the preceding week, both the junior and the "captain" refused to let me describe my duties for the team as captain on a college application, which I feel is only fair for a person who is performing all duties not only as a player, but as a captain and coach. I'm not really sure how to resolve this situation and am considering stopping all the extra work I do for the team, which would leave them in a very poor state indeed, given the last time I missed a practice, that practice didn't happen, and when I forgot to give an extra reminder to my coach about sending a check, it didn't get sent, to say nothing of my performance in tournaments.
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Naren Dikkala
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Lefty734 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:25 pm

Does the rest of the team (and JV team) view you as acting more like a captain? I would say to hold a vote for who should be team captain, and explain to the rest of your team that you take on most of the responsibility of the team and that you are the highest scorer. I wasn't captain of my team originally, but last year when I actually started studying and doing better I kind of just took over from our previous captain (who is still on the team). You seem to be the most dedicated to the team, so I would think that the others would see it your way. If the others don't agree to a vote, tell them that they need to be taking on the responsibilities of captain and not just the responsibilities at the tournament.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:33 pm

ndikkala wrote:But even in the preceding week, both the junior and the "captain" refused to let me describe my duties for the team as captain on a college application, which I feel is only fair for a person who is performing all duties not only as a player, but as a captain and coach.
I have a solution, at least to this part: don't let other people look at your college application. Describe yourself to colleges accurately and let FERPA or whatever take care of the rest.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:34 pm

If you're doing the stuff necessary to run a team, that's great. The issue of a person who is nominally in charge being irresponsible will never go away, whether in college or in your professional career, so in a way you're lucky that you're learning how to deal with it now. It sounds like you're doing the right thing of putting the goals of the team first and continuing to work as hard as possible for the team's success. Put in the work and make the team better, and people will notice regardless of what your title is.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:05 pm

Fun fact: of the three Ladue people who went to both nationals last year, one was "team captain," one was "club president," and the other was "co-captain" (at least on the college application; we didn't give this a second of thought outside of that). None of the titles really mean anything, and you want to ensure that stuff is actually getting done as opposed to worrying about who can or can't do something based on what officer position they have in the club. I personally think that titles and positions should be more of an afterthought and something that's only meant to give outsiders an idea of what you're doing, though opinion on that may vary.

Your situation now sounds a bit like Ladue's situation last year; in other words, an already largely student-run club with a coaching turnover. I was doing pretty much what you are/were doing, except the more administrative stuff was done by our coach. Since I was going to be graduating and didn't have time to train an underclassman successor, I attempted to shift more and more of the day-to-day stuff on our coach, though I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped. In all honesty, if you're doing all this stuff and the people with the official titles do pretty much nothing, it sounds like the titles need to be done away with. Let people call themselves captains or officers or whatever after they've done the work, not before. Because it was a necessary component of running the team, I had someone regularly check the forums; it wasn't an official "communications officer" thing or anything, though they would be free to call themselves that. I'm not sure if your current club culture would allow something like that, but since your coach is new he/she could be more open to changes.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by TSIAJ » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:51 pm

It's great that you're so committed to your team and quizbowl, and that you have been taking all these burdens to benefit your team. So, I can see why you would be irritated, especially after the dismal behavior of your teammates. That being said, I would be cautious of bringing this up too much and acting like you're top dog, as it can exacerbate the problem at hand and can alienate you from the rest of your team.
Is there a particular reason for their attitudes toward you? By the looks of it, this is more of a personal problem versus "professional" on their part.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by ndikkala » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:21 pm

Kouign Amann wrote:
ndikkala wrote:But even in the preceding week, both the junior and the "captain" refused to let me describe my duties for the team as captain on a college application, which I feel is only fair for a person who is performing all duties not only as a player, but as a captain and coach.
I have a solution, at least to this part: don't let other people look at your college application. Describe yourself to colleges accurately and let FERPA or whatever take care of the rest.
I didn't let him look at my application, but I just asked him in person. In retrospect that was a bad decision, but nevertheless I left "Communications officer" in my title for the state schools. I'm thinking of changing it before I send out my apps to the out of state colleges, which I feel I would be justified in doing.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:40 pm

It might be better for you to list out what you've been doing in your role as the Communications Officer the past two years, so that colleges know just how good your organizational skills are and how committed you are to this.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by ndikkala » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:15 am

TSIAJ wrote:It's great that you're so committed to your team and quizbowl, and that you have been taking all these burdens to benefit your team. So, I can see why you would be irritated, especially after the dismal behavior of your teammates. That being said, I would be cautious of bringing this up too much and acting like you're top dog, as it can exacerbate the problem at hand and can alienate you from the rest of your team.
Is there a particular reason for their attitudes toward you? By the looks of it, this is more of a personal problem versus "professional" on their part.
I try not to bring this up much, which is why I get so irritated when the "captain" shows up to an occasional practice and starts managing the practice or trying to go over club affairs, because I do the day-to-day operations and backoffice work that lets us have practices and go to tournaments. I'm also having difficulty practicing because of this; I'm unable to play on a buzzer for most weeks because I'm either reading because there isn't an experienced member who can read, or because there are too many people and the "captain" thinks the other members need more practice. I don't completely disagree, but I can go weeks between using a buzzer and that doesn't help me compete against fast buzzing people at tournaments. I think there may be some chatter behind my back about this, because no one has ever given me a legitimate reason for why I should not be captain. In addition, the "captain" is already the head of at least 2 other student organizations and involved in several others, so I have argued that he is overcommitted, but he has not agreed to relinquish his position. In fact, there is supposed to be a new guideline at our school that says a student can only be in charge of 1 club, but I'm not sure how it is being enforced. I talked to the junior for maybe 15 minutes last week and attempted to extract some ulterior motivation from him, and the only thing he said was that the "captain" was upset because I didn't sign us up for the SSNCT mirror on the 11th because I couldn't go, when the "captain" couldn't go to Walton on the 18th and yet we were still going to that tournament. Although, this would be a really superficial reason, since I picked the Walton tournament due to the larger field cap and hence better competition, larger student interest (no one seemed interested in SSNCT but people wanted to go to Walton), and distance, because SSNCT is in Cedar Shoals, 15 miles farther away from GSMST than Walton, which I knew would be an issue for people especially when many people already claim they can't stay for the full tournament. Not to mention the fact that WAC qualifies more teams for HSNCT, which we had not qualified for yet (but now have) and our coach is only willing to go to 1 tournament a month. Besides that, our coach is not too keen on driving long distances, either. I didn't communicate these reasons very clearly, but I would have thought that the "captain" would be able to figure our at least one of these reasons on his own, and I know for sure I was emphasizing WAC in September for being an HSNCT qualifier. This was a recent issue though, and definitely not the main reason for their attitudes. If there was something it would have been years back and I honestly can't think of what it was. The junior tried telling me that I don't communicate with the team and I pointed out that I am the Communications officer for a reason. But really, I have a friend who is autistic and he was captain of his school's B team at a recent tournament, where he managed to beat his school's A team by a considerable margin. This isn't Kafka's The Trial, but they provide no reasoning and expect me to continue doing the work. It's really an irrational disenfranchisement on the part of these two individuals.
Naren Dikkala
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:45 am

What's probably the best thing that can happen here is for you to sit down with your coach and calmly discuss these issues with him/her and ask for their help with resolving them.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:53 am

As long as teams set themselves up with a power structure, they're going to run into problems. Don't blindly follow the quasifascist ideal found in so many student organizations of a supreme class ruling over others. Instead, cooperate and try to reach a consensus on every issue. There is no reason for you to be Atlas, holding up the team by yourself. If everyone has an equal say in issues, i think you'll find people willing to collectively all play a role in running the team.
As the Tao te ching says, "fill your bowl with water and it will overflow".
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:05 pm

So this probably doesn't help you all that much, but as far as I'm concerned, the title captain is just that- a word. If you don't live up to it, you aren't the captain, no matter how much you insist on a title. The respect of your teammates is something you can control, even if the title isn't. Do your best, keep a positive attitude, and represent your team well, and you will be regarded as a leader by those around you. If you think it really matters to your transcript (and honestly, my wife is a college counselor, and she says that "team captain - academic competition team" is not going to make or break a resume by any stretch of the imagination), put "coordinator" as your title or just use a descriptive paragraph to convey all you've done. Colleges will be far more impressed by the extensive organization and coordination you've undertaken than the name you put on the job.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Howard » Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:38 pm

First, I'd like to say I agree with what Shawn Zheng and Mr. Rutsky have posted.

In regard to your particular situation, I think you need to ask what the title "captain" really means. On my team, it's just the person who coordinates a team during a match. It's his (or her) responsibility to consider input from others and choose the best possible answer. It's his job to manage the team's strategic matters.

I think you should be commended for all you're doing. On my team, I'd be doing a vast majority of those things. But, from what you've told us, it certainly seems you're approaching things in the proper manner. You're assigning tasks during practice to those most capable of the task, even if it means you might not personally get the most benefit. You're choosing which tournaments to attend on logical factors: how many people can or wish to attend, and proximity to your location.

I sense it isn't, but if this is mostly about what you can claim on college applications, you can always use a short phrase that describes the things you actually do, such as "academic team organizer and manager." Even if that's not your actual title, it's truthful and describes what you've actually done.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by ndikkala » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:51 pm

Howard wrote: I sense it isn't, but if this is mostly about what you can claim on college applications, you can always use a short phrase that describes the things you actually do, such as "academic team organizer and manager." Even if that's not your actual title, it's truthful and describes what you've actually done.
I talked to my AP Lang teacher about this when we were reviewing my college applications and she suggested writing "Acting Captain," which I think is a better representation of my role on the time and that way it is a more truthful statement. But the college issue is really a short-term thing, it's more about the club management this year and continuing forward, because I'm concerned things I have on the agenda for this year (like a mirrored tournament and numerous fundraisers) will be derailed by the "captain" and the junior's disinterest. I've tried to hold a hat day for at least 3 years now and they always insist there will be people cheating the system and not paying, but that hasn't stopped other hat days. I'm not even sure what will happen next year if the players on the team don't step it up. I'm reluctant to leave the club in the hands of the junior as there are more interested people who are currently sophomores and would be better candidates to lead forward, but if I were to bring this up there would be an inevitable backlash by the "captain" and junior. So I think "acting captain" squares up the college issue but I still have to resolve the larger issues of the system itself.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:08 pm

Just call yourself " Quiz Bowl Club President" and describe what you do on aplications. If you want it official, and you have the votes. Put it up for vote. You can have a captain & a president. Hopefully your "captain" won't make too many tournament mistakes.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by pajaro bobo » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:56 am

I'm not totally sure what this thread is about anymore (College issues? Building a lasting team culture?) but in regards to the question asked in the title, I can't give you a nice, clear definition but I can tell you what doesn't necessary define a captain: being the leading scorer and being the guy who organizes everything. If those are more or less the only two arguments you've made to the guy currently in charge (This is the impression I'm getting from this thread, correct me if I'm wrong) then I can't say that I'm too surprised that your requests to be officially recognized as a captain are being denied.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:58 am

pajaro bobo wrote:I'm not totally sure what this thread is about anymore (College issues? Building a lasting team culture?) but in regards to the question asked in the title, I can't give you a nice, clear definition but I can tell you what doesn't necessary define a captain: being the leading scorer and being the guy who organizes everything. If those are more or less the only two arguments you've made to the guy currently in charge (This is the impression I'm getting from this thread, correct me if I'm wrong) then I can't say that I'm too surprised that your requests to be officially recognized as a captain are being denied.
Gee Alex, that's pretty rough. I think you now owe us your definition of Captain. I'd say someone who organizes the schedule and travel, coaches and reads to the team, is the strongest competitor on the team, shows up for all the meetings, organizes the fundraisers etc. would be the person I'd want as the team leader. As opposed to the guy who sometimes shows up, did not make it to the last tournament, and is already president of, and has commitments to two other clubs.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by ndikkala » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:15 pm

I have to agree with Mark. You can't really define something by what it isn't. I would like to know what your [Alex] own views are, however.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by pajaro bobo » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:52 am

If you guys think I was trying to define anything then you missed the point of what I was trying to say.

This was great advice.
Joshua Rutsky wrote:Do your best, keep a positive attitude, and represent your team well, and you will be regarded as a leader by those around you.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by naesorman555 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:01 pm

In our program the captain always had a skull insignia on their uniform (we're the buccaneers). I spent most of my freshman year as captain of our JV B team, but right at the end of the year our coach made another player captain. I didn't get the insignia on my uniform (no one did in my year) I took it a little personally, but then I put my ego aside and thought there must have been a reason for it. That summer I studied quiz bowl nearly everyday and it was clear by the end of the first practice of sophomore year that I took quiz bowl the most seriously and was going to work the hardest on my team. I never got the insignia, but I was eventually named captain because I had earned it. If the issue is bad enough where you don't think you can stay on the team, talk to the coach and voice your concern. If this doesn't work, I guess you can either put up with it or just walk away.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by acrosby1861 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:49 pm

naesorman555 wrote:If the issue is bad enough where you don't think you can stay on the team, talk to the coach and voice your concern. If this doesn't work, I guess you can either put up with it or just walk away.
I agree with this statement / strategy because it worked out pretty well for me. The quiz bowl team at my school is classified as a club, and the guy who runs it is the "president". But I don't think that the club president does a good job of leading the team. I was on a team with him for two tournaments this year, and we did really well the first one and okay on the second. After the second tournament, I tried telling him all the QB tips I learned over the years in hopes that we could improve, but he wouldn't listen. I tried over and over again to get him to listen to me, but he won't. So I left.

If things get that bad, then I would recommend leaving, but you don't have to take my advice. It's your decision, honestly.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by The Formiddable Dark Skeik » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:26 pm

Historically, our school has not had a student "club president," since our coach took up most of the administrative/behind the scenes tasks. The captain for our team is not the highest scorer, nor do we have a permanent captain. We normally switch off between games, since our players are all competent enough to lead. If I were in your position, I would definitely approach your teacher sponsor, and list all of the facts. If he/she does not raise the issue in a club practice, you should do so yourself. Best of luck with your college apps.
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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by vishdog101 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:00 pm

As a varsity captain since 6th grade, I've been doing whatever I could for my team's success and was a true leader at meetings and showed the most initiative of my team. I had start the team up from nothing, and in the end, it was worth it to see the meetings filled with like minded individuals who share a passion for quiz bowl. if you are a sophomore/junior, try to take hold of the position after those in it graduate. If that's not the case, not being a captain doesn't mean a lack of leadership.Take a possible assistant position, or even show your fellow teammates what you can really do.

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Re: What defines a team captain?

Post by dhumphreys17 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:55 am

I'll just say this: one of few things a coach really doesn't need experience to do is resolve interpersonal conflicts. In my experience, when you have a new coach, they're generally able to get a grasp of your team situation, and they're approachable if there's a problem. Your coach is a responsible adult who has probably had to resolve situations similar to this (but outside of quiz bowl) before. In my experience, the best avenue is to talk this over with your coach. He or she will appreciate that you respect him or her enough to approach him or her, and he or she will be able to (a) give advice and (b) wield the authority hammer to end the dispute. I know the problem is sort of a moot point, but this is just advice for anyone else in a similar boat.
Devin James John Bartholomew Humphreys
Team Captain, Sacred Heart Academy High School (MI), Class of 2017
Michigan State University, anticipated Class of 2020

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