Nathan Freeburg

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Nathan Freeburg

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:37 pm

I was looking at qbwiki last night and came across the story of Nathan Freeburg.
High neg rate, MW thinks he's a "bad player," strange way of dressing, Ashkenazi, real knowledge, somewhat itinerant, tastemaker in alcoholic beverages
Are we long lost siblings?
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:04 pm

Ohhhhhhhh, you need to come find me at ICT or Chicago Open; I can regale you with many stories of Nathan. A good guy, I like him, but odd even for quiz bowl. Little known facts about him:
--Was a witness to the Fort Hood Shooting in 2009 (or was around it, anyway)
--Believed he had read a Nigerian novel called "The Palm Frond" that some of us made up on the way to lunch at a CO back in the mid-aughts
--Is the only person whom I've ever gotten to actually buzz by "deking" a buzz (ie, motioning as if clicking the buzzer).

Some of the other stories maybe ought not to be on the intertubes . . . .
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:07 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:--Believed he had read a Nigerian novel called "The Palm Frond" that some of us made up on the way to lunch at a CO back in the mid-aughts


This is still probably my all-time favorite qb story, especially with "Giovanni Deformata" part.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby jmarvin_ » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:10 pm

no sibling of 'mountain "cracker barrel" laurel' kirk-davidoff would ever be caught dead signing their life away to the Empire Maintenance Organization that is the US military

but in any case, i really resonate with those statlines
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:31 pm

Nathan Freeburg often played as a one man team. His high neg rate was a result of the fact that he needed to be aggressive to compete with full teams, especially at high levels.

I once scorekept a game between Nathan Freeburg and a team that contained Sudheer Potru. Sudheer P was a fascinating figure, who employed the "memorize all of the weird things that NAQT loves recycling as lead-ins" strategy in the waning months of that strategy's viability and came tragically close to winning an ICT this way. For our purposes today, all you need to know is that Sudheer was an aggressive player who also buzzed early in search of powers.

I forget exactly how many tossups were negged in that game but it was more than 15.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:04 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:--Believed he had read a Nigerian novel called "The Palm Frond" that some of us made up on the way to lunch at a CO back in the mid-aughts


Not as little-known as you might think, because I love telling people this story.

I'm very sad that NAQT's website redesign has temporarily removed evidence of his incredible 41/76/74 SCT line, which for my money is still the best statline of all time (narrowly edging out Seton Hall's Stephen Nichols at the 2007 CBI NCT, who went 21/42 for an incredibly hard-earned 0 PPG).
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:00 am

That trick about "The Palm Frond" came out of conversations that Raj Dhuwalia, Raj Bhan, Seth Kendall, and I (and others) had had about Nathan's predilection for not ever admitting he hadn't heard of something, especially anything related to lit or history. We could hear the most obscure CO bonus part, and Nathan would mutter about how he should've gotten that.

I mostly found this amusing, but it really pissed off Raj Bhan. So as we walked to lunch, knowing we'd see Nathan later, we thought it would be funny to start a conversation about Nigerian writers we've read, starting with some actual works, and then dropping in "The Palm Frond." I wish I could remember the fake Nigerian name we decided to use for its author.

Indeed, he took the bait, saying how he'd heard of that book but hadn't read it yet. Because Nathan was otherwise a friendly and positive guy, I thought this was a little mean-spirited on our part, but when Raj explained that we made up that book, Nathan wasn't fazed at all and thought it was funny, too.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:17 am

ValenciaQBowl wrote:That trick about "The Palm Frond" came out of conversations that Raj Dhuwalia, Raj Bhan, Seth Kendall, and I (and others) had had about Nathan's predilection for not ever admitting he hadn't heard of something, especially anything related to lit or history. We could hear the most obscure CO bonus part, and Nathan would mutter about how he should've gotten that.

I mostly found this amusing, but it really pissed off Raj Bhan. So as we walked to lunch, knowing we'd see Nathan later, we thought it would be funny to start a conversation about Nigerian writers we've read, starting with some actual works, and then dropping in "The Palm Frond." I wish I could remember the fake Nigerian name we decided to use for its author.

Indeed, he took the bait, saying how he'd heard of that book but hadn't read it yet. Because Nathan was otherwise a friendly and positive guy, I thought this was a little mean-spirited on our part, but when Raj explained that we made up that book, Nathan wasn't fazed at all and thought it was funny, too.

Disrespecting ur boi thaddeus nwajwa
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:37 pm

See, I don't have to read the QB Wiki; y'all do it for me.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby pray for elves » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:10 pm

Chris, don't forget that Andrew Hart spread this story to a non-quizbowl audience:

Andrew wrote:Another—who was so obsessed with appearing to be well-read that he once claimed to be “in the middle of” reading noted 50-line poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”—was approached by a group of players who asked him if he’d read The Palm Frond by Thaddeus Nwajwa, the famous Nigerian author. “Of course,” he responded. Thaddeus Nwajwa was not real.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:49 am

Thanks for that reminder, Evan. I read and loved that article by Andrew but had forgotten that included that anecdote.

But this reminded me of another Nathan bit: he rode with me and a former Valencia (then UCF) player of mine named Cory Edwards up to Chattanooga (or was it Knoxville?) for an ACF Regionals sometime around 1999 or 2000. We barely knew him, and as part of long-drive chit chat he was telling us about his college career, and he noted that he had a master's in English (I think?) from somewhere, which definitely surprised me, and then as the conversation continued, he then talked about having nearly finished a BA in science somewhere else (but changed his mind), while at the time he was studying something else at Florida State. Of course, he was around 21-22.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:23 pm

How many degrees did Nathan Freeburg complete/start? At the time I started playing quizbowl (2004), the scouting report on Nathan Freeburg was that he was unnaturally extending his quizbowl career by going into degree program after degree program.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Nathan » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:51 pm

I was forwarded this and asked if this was discussing me.

Been over a decade since I've looked at anything qb related (though I've run into Chris Frankel a couple times). I do not recall the Palm Frond incident but it sounds like it was a great joke :)

I did neg a lot; sometimes cause buzzing often and early was the only way to win. Others because I never really thought about the mechanics of the game.

And yes, Chris, I was a professional student back then....

Are there still summer master's tournaments? I might be interested in joining up with a couple other has-beens for a team in one. I suppose the game has changed quite a bit.
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:36 am

I still love you, Nathan Freeburg!
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Re: Nathan Freeburg

Postby Rothlover » Thu May 17, 2018 8:56 pm

Since... other things have me on the board at the moment and I came upon this, I will say that my first Chicago Open proper of like an 8+ year stretch was played with Nathan (and Lorin and the waayy under-discussed Anthony DeJesus.) He was a really amusing guy to have as a teammate and I wonder to what extent his entirely logical gameplay style relegated him to solo or two person teams more generally. (I don't mean he could've/should've been on top tier teams, but he certainly had a function for a team with a .500 ceiling.) I wish I'd gotten to hear more of his personal life narrative as opposed to hearing others' take on it at dinner/lunch after. Would play with again.

But, to Bruce's point, I think Freeburg showed the self-awareness of his own un-self-awareness to play the style that perfectly suited that. I think it's still the sort of style that can lead to some crazy outcomes, which I personally think are the most interesting. The best example of the superficial-er super aggressive generalist that I can think of happened at that 2004 that Bruce was staffing (as was I believe a young Eric K:) Our team, the entirely perfectly named "Original Studs of Quizbowl," discussed above, was playing a team of Andrew Yaphe, Seth Teitler Jeff Hoppes and Paul Litvak. It was a weird round on many levels in that, for instance it contained a Nathan Zuckerman tu and Freeburg got two non-rebound science tus iirc. We'd had, by far, our worst conversion of the tournament and it was somehow still a 20 point game going into the last tu, which was gotten, likely by Andrew, followed by a 30 on that bonus.

What I'm saying is that playing with a Freeburg type, you are very likely to underperform something like a pythagorean expected won-lost record, likely with some "embarrassing" loses to go along with lots of negs that would embarass the self-conscience, but you are also able to have that outside shot at an insane win that would stick with you for a long time, and which might totally screw with the expected outcome of a tournament. So, I hope the modern game has its 2018 Nathan Freeburgs who don't let a nit like a lack of knowledge stop them from buzzing.
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