It is here. In case you don’t know what a Deadspin or a Drew Magary post is, I’ll note that NSFW language is in there.
Obviously, I have competition-related opinions. I think that some competition is healthy. I enjoyed playing quiz bowl in high school, I enjoyed winning. Losing was awful, but never “I am going to sob for hours straight” awful. It was just a thing that happened.
I was never really pushed to achieve anything academically, other than “get As and Bs.” There was never any “you should get into college” speeches. I was never told to join any clubs until I was a senior in high school and told “hey, maybe you should do something other than quiz bowl because of your college applications.” I never took the PSAT because I didn’t know what the PSAT was or why I should take it or waste my parents’ money. Nobody bothered to explain the importance of any of this to me.
The story Magary mention of the kid at Woodson High School is, honestly, horrifying to me. An obviously talented student is pushed so hard that he takes his own life is just too much for me to fathom. And it made me start thinking about what I’m doing here.
I have no idea if I’m actually doing any good here, with this blog and ranking system. My original intention was to try to provide a way to measure how difficult quiz bowl sets, with the side effect of ranking quiz bowl teams. It’s kind of fun to compare teams but honestly, it’s not a big deal. The importance of which quiz bowl team is actually 22nd or 23rd in these rankings is pretty minimal, if not zero. It’s more interesting to put these comparisons in the context of “which team is better,” and being able to say to a media outlet, “hey, we’re 22nd nationally in quiz bowl” is definitely going to get more interest than “this website says we’re really good at quiz bowl but there’s no ordered list or anything.”
But I worry that people take these rankings the wrong way and put way too much value into them. Certain coaches being unable to handle them at different points or people asking me “do you regret putting Maggie Walker into your preseason top ten” a month into the season back in, I think, 2012-13 are things that I always found off-putting. I appreciate the kind words people have said to me about the rankings. I love hearing about the positive impact it’s had on teams that have been ranked. But the other side of things, though rarer, do concern me some.