How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

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wherewasmybrain
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How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by wherewasmybrain »

Hey all, TN state tournament was a week ago, and I've had a lot of time to think about it. My team got second, behind Hume Fogg, who won on a points earned tiebreaker. I could get salty about that tournament in particular, but that would be really beside the point of this thread.

I've never won a single Quizbowl tournament in my time in high school. My team in the past couple of years has been good, but last year (my first on the A team), we were a consistent runner up to a stellar Ezell Harding team. This year, I think in part due to a severe drought of tournaments in the Middle Tennessee area, we also never won one. We got second and third several times, but never got first.

So, how should I deal with this? It just sucks that after all this time I've spent studying for Quizbowl, going to practices even after it stopped being fun, going to tournaments and giving up weekends to continually come up short, going to summer camps and giving weeks of my life to this, that I still just could never win. I know people are going to point out that there are people who didn't do as good as I did, it just really feels bad to consistently come up short and to fail at having success in Quizbowl.
Last edited by wherewasmybrain on Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aidan Rowan
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gettysburg11
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by gettysburg11 »

There's actually been a fair bit of discussion on this recently in the collegiate section. I'll primarily let others who have played for a lot longer than I have weigh in on this, but did you have fun learning new things? Going new places? Meeting new people? If you can say yes to any or all of these questions, then your HS career is not a failure.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

Is playing in (and playing to win) college quizbowl tournaments a prospect that appeals to you? There are many great players in the history of college quizbowl who hit their stride well after finishing high school.
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wherewasmybrain
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by wherewasmybrain »

gettysburg11 wrote:There's actually been a fair bit of discussion on this recently in the collegiate section. I'll primarily let others who have played for a lot longer than I have weigh in on this, but did you have fun learning new things? Going new places? Meeting new people? If you can say yes to any or all of these questions, then your HS career is not a failure.
You do bring up a good point. I had a lot of fun learning new things and expanding my knowledge base, and I probably wouldn't know a lot of great people in my school if it weren't for Quizbowl. It's also good to remember the people I met from other schools, most of whom have been great competitors and good sports.
Adventure Temple Trail wrote:Is playing in (and playing to win) college quizbowl tournaments a prospect that appeals to you? There are many great players in the history of college quizbowl who hit their stride well after finishing high school.
I would definitely check it out, but I don't know where I'm even going to college yet, but that's another topic entirely. The other thing is that, although I'm good at HS level quizbowl, whenever I look at college packets they are so hard that I'm lucky to get it by the giveaway, so I'm not sure how much success I'll have if I do compete in college.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Failure is a terrible feeling; many great quizbowl players have said here (or elsewhere) they they were motivated by a distaste for failure as much as (or even more so than) an enjoyment of victory.

Unfortunately, in any high-stakes competitive activity worth its salt, more people will fail than succeed. There are only two college national champions each year, only three high school national champions, only 1-3 state championships per state (in some states there may be none). Great teams with great players on them lose those championships, because there can only be one winner. And the reason you lose isn't necessarily because you didn't work hard enough: it could just be that you were unfortunate enough to be playing at the same time as some other great team, or had a round of questions that didn't favor you, etc.

If you are going to play a competitive activity at a high level, you need to learn how to deal with failure, because you will encounter failure. Constantly.

Some things that might make you feel better:

- know that people will judge you by things other than your win-loss record or how many championships you've won. people will judge you by how fun you were to be in a room with, how impressive you were on the buzzer, how much you knew about [whatever your favorite subject is], your in-game attitude, how well you wrote questions, etc.

- know that some of the greatest players of all time encountered constant failure. I wish this thread was happening a year ago, so I could tell you that Eric Mukherjee, one of the best quizbowl players I've ever seen, has never won a championship: last year he finally did, but he didn't win until he was half a decade into a PhD program. Matt Weiner, another of the greatest players of all time, has as far as I know never won a full national championship (he has won subsidiary titles) but has become immortal through his other work (going back to my first point above). A lot of other players had careers marked by one title very early (as freshmen or sophomores), and then a constant inability to win a second title despite becoming one of the best players in the country (Sorice, Jerry). No one calls them slouches or failures.

So even if you go play quizbowl in college (which you totally should), odds are that whatever heights you may reach there will also come with a heavy dose of failure, and you'll need ways to deal with it.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by cchiego »

wherewasmybrain wrote: it just really feels bad to consistently come up short and to fail at having success in Quizbowl.
There's an issue in thinking that you have to "win something big" to have a successful quizbowl career, which can lead to somewhat insane studying schedules and burnout along the lines of this post. Don't think that you have to do that--as others in this thread have pointed out, so long as you enjoyed the journey and got something out of it (and, perhaps most importantly, stopped before going overboard with it) you should be fine.
wherewasmybrain wrote: My team got second, behind Hume Fogg, who won on a points earned tiebreaker. I could get salty about that tournament in particular, but that would be really beside the point of this thread. [...] This year, I think in part due to a severe drought of tournaments in the Middle Tennessee area, we also never won one.
The issues in TN's quizbowl scene present an excellent opportunity for any enterprising quizbowler who stays in the area for college to make a real impact on the future of academic competition in the state. I strongly encourage more players who may have burned out a bit of playing or are just looking for something more rewarding than tackling that list of peasant rebellions in Germany [still pretty rewarding!] to try their hand at getting new players and teams involved by running good tournaments and focusing on outreach.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by Nice hockey Cote d'Azur »

wherewasmybrain wrote:I would definitely check it out, but I don't know where I'm even going to college yet, but that's another topic entirely. The other thing is that, although I'm good at HS level quizbowl, whenever I look at college packets they are so hard that I'm lucky to get it by the giveaway, so I'm not sure how much success I'll have if I do compete in college.
This is definitely a common feeling to everyone who's played in college, the important thing to remember is that you will get rewarded the more you study and that it's certainly possible to become good at harder questions. It won't happen right away, but if you put a reasonable amount of time into it those same questions won't look so hard.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by The Stately Rhododendron »

Competition is unhealthy. It sounds like you're stressed out and see parts of your life as meaningless. I don't blame you, waiting to hear back from colleges is stressful. Still, you should focus on the good quizbowl has done for you. Why don't you make a cup of tea and draw something? I was bummed after sct so I drank oolong and drew the "message in a bottle" from the police song. I woke up refreshed, as if 100 million bottles had washed up on the shore, each telling me "Columbia is full of nice people and it's no problem that they won"
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by The Ununtiable Twine »

wherewasmybrain wrote: So, how should I deal with this? It just sucks that after all this time I've spent studying for Quizbowl, going to practices even after it stopped being fun, going to tournaments and giving up weekends to continually come up short, going to summer camps and giving weeks of my life to this, that I still just could never win. I know people are going to point out that there are people who didn't do as good as I did, it just really feels bad to consistently come up short and to fail at having success in Quizbowl.
Success in quizbowl is defined in many ways - see the previous posts for a list of examples. Finishing second isn't always a bad thing, in fact that's a pretty above-average result in terms of quizbowl tournaments. Remember, you finished ahead of pretty much every team in the tournament if you finished second. That's not a failure. Personally, the best college team I've been on didn't win a single tournament during the 2012-13 season. Why didn't it win a regional tournament? Well, there was another team that performed slightly better than our team in head-to-head matchups. It happens. If that team didn't exist and we had won a lot of tournaments, would that have made us more successful? I don't think so. That team pushed us to be the best we could be. Both teams benefited from the other's presence. Just because you didn't win a quizbowl tournament doesn't mean you are a failure. I wasn't part of a winning team during my high school career. We barely even had good quizbowl in our state back then. If you enjoy quizbowl, you should keep playing. I kept playing despite having not won a tournament and went on to be part of many winning teams in my career. College quizbowl is tough, but you can surely succeed on that level with enough hard work. Don't feel discouraged if wins don't come right away.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by Rococo A Go Go »

I dealt with my failed high school quizbowl career by embarking upon a failed college quizbowl career. It was pretty fun! But my fun only goes so far as I'm able to compartmentalize constant failure and see the positives of being involved with quizbowl. I like going places, meeting people, and learning things. Playing and staffing quizbowl tournaments has allowed me to do all of those things in droves, and I'm happy to have done it.
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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

Post by jdpasspawn »

Aidan, I think it depends on how you look at failure. I know for a fact that you were one of my favorite players on the circuit and you were always really fun to play against. I have a lot of memories of the matches we played. I'll remember the time Rohan got so exasperated with Youssef that he dropped the f-bomb in our match at WKU, I'll remember the antics at our all-star Quizbusters match (and probably so will everyone who watches it.) Ultimately, I think success is not defined by how much we win, but by the experiences we have, and I know I have had a lot of great experiences on the circuit and with you.

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Re: How to deal with a failed HS QB career?

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