Aegis was a good time, and I am glad to have gotten to work with all of the people who were involved, especially Nick and Carlo.
In a way I feel like Aegis was ahead of its time. We were a group of current and very recently graduated players who felt like more needed to be done for question quality in Illinois. Some coaches felt that it was inappropriate that players were writing the questions, and others heralded it. The power of players and former players is going to tell where the future of quizbowl in Illinois is going to go.
So much of quiz bowl is “student centered” in other parts of the country, but the idea that players should have any say in how Scholastic Bowl is run is still quite a revolutionary concept in some parts of the state. I use the words “student centered” not only because it is true, but also because it is one of the biggest educational buzz-words of the past few years. I think that if we want quizbowl to become something more than what it is (though I guess some of us don’t want that), then I think it is paramount that students get more of a say.
Just this past weekend, I attended the PACE NSC (arguably the nations premiere quizbowl tournament) for the first time. The amount of autonomy among the best teams was astonishing. Most went without a coach, and even when a coach was present, it didn’t seem like they bothered to do anything. The players knew where they were and what they had to do. There are only a few teams in Illinois that can operate that way, and most do it out of necessity. There is, however, no reason why this could not be more of an accepted practice for teams in Illinois. I think it is largely a case of coaches who think they know what is best for students, even when they are painfully out of touch.
Illinois still has a long way to go to, but I think that if the right people get involved, and they stay involved, it can rise up out of the murky swamp of Scholastic Bowl that we’re currently bogged down in. Either quizbowl is going to have to integrate with Scholastic Bowl, or the two will become further separated. Integration would have to involve most teams recognizing that pyramidal questions (and maybe ACF-style bonuses) are for the better, and separation would involve a diaspora of quizbowl oriented teams creating a completely different circuit. It’s a big task, and I think that big changes are going to happen one way or another.