students of quizbowl
January 25, 2019
4 mins read

Club Spotlight: UBC Quizbowl

Club Spotlight

2 games, 2 hours, 2 helpings of snacks. Conversations radiated with passion, swinging between quiz question and quirky quip, content-based answer and tangent-based aside.

When it comes to finding passions, everyone’s story is unique.

My trivia narrative originated in high school. I used to bombard the TV screen with answers (or questions, now that I think about it) while watching Jeopardy!, call in to radio shows to play trivia, and summon facts at quiz competitions e.g. Reach for the Top.

High school may have receded into the pluperfect past, but my path of playing trivia travels on—last September, I went to my first UBC Quizbowl practice. That was where I began scribbling a sequel to my trivia-playing narrative.

Carlos Doebeli, the President of UBC Quizbowl, has a similar perspective. Sharing his trivia-playing experience, he said, “It was really fun in high school. I wanted to keep doing the same thing...I found it really fun to compete in trivia and find other people who shared the same interests.”

During the practice, I felt connected, listening to questions, to buzzing-ins, to rhythms of fingers tapping with anticipation. There was, I noted, something unique about UBC Quizbowl’s trivia scene—the diversity of the club members. Representations of faculties, domains of knowledge, and, curiously, spectra of ages (I met students as young as 15).

Although we had among us many differences, within reach were many similarities, too.

“We also have people who come from the same experience, like Reach and trivia in high school, or Quizbowl,” said Jeffrey Zhang, the VP External. “It’s nice to have a community for us all to come together.”

Maybe, after all, this is why we attend clubs—to rekindle past connections, to befriend strangers, to revel in the thrill of knowing that surrounding us are individuals who may be more like us than we imagined.

Trivia Fact from Carlos: Tennys Sandgren is a tennis player from Tennessee.

UBC Quizbowl was first established in 2003, was disbanded in 2007, and was re-established 10 years later in 2017.

Before coming into first year, Carlos and Jeffrey—friends on the same Reach team—had researched UBC’s trivia scene and found, to their disappointment, the club and its social media pages inactive.

Motivated by their passion for playing trivia, however, Carlos and Jeffrey decided to take action—they would bring back UBC Quizbowl as an official club. Along with Ryan Miller, this year’s VP Admin, they pursued this vision in their first term in 2017—and succeeded.

Jeffrey ascribes their initiative to their collective goal of community-building: “We were all going to be friends anyway, and we all wanted a space where people could go and show their knowledge.”

Trivia Fact from Ryan: The candy M&M stands for Mars & Murrie, the brand’s creators.

As creators of this young and new generation of UBC Quizbowl, Carlos, Jeffrey, and Ryan are always looking to meet new players.

“We welcome newcomers all the time,” Ryan encouraged. “If you haven’t been to Quizbowl before, make this your first meeting. We get into the games pretty quickly.”

I learned that many of the club members who are now regular attendees had thought, before they came for their first practice, that they weren’t good enough at trivia or wouldn’t find it fun.

So, if you're interested in dropping by but aren’t sure if you do like trivia, come by for a practice game before you plant a seal on any conclusions.

During practice, the club executives ask quiz questions from 2 categories of game packs: competition packs (used at tournaments) and non-academic packs (batches of pop culture knowledge compiled in the so-called “trash packs”).

“If some more experienced players know the answer right away,” Ryan said, explaining the group dynamics, “they’ll actively hold back to let the newer players get a chance at answering.”

“We’re pretty casual,” Jeffrey said, alluding to the atmosphere. “We’re not going to go full competitive and enforce mandatory attendance. People can just drop in, answer some questions, nerd out a bit.”

“You get to learn all the time,” Ryan added. “Even if the questions might not be something you find conventionally intriguing, most of us find it still interesting to learn.”

As Jeffrey quipped, you may even “get a question and go ‘Hey, my midterm was on that!’”

Trivia Fact from Jeffrey: Wyoming has 2 escalators in the entire state.

UBC Quizbowl members and executives have, a couple of times, competed in the States.

In their first year of running the club, they attended 2 tournaments at the University of Washington. In the first tournament, their two teams came in 5th and 6th out of 8, respectively; in the other, they placed 3rd out of 4. Now in their second year, they secured 5th out of 8 in their third UWashington tournament back in December.

More locally, UBC Quizbowl members occasionally attend and, to quote Jeffrey, “crush” Tuesday trivia nights at Mahony & Sons (on campus!).

Try it out!

Newcomers get 2 free try-outs, and then pay a $10 membership fee for subsequent practices and participation in tournaments. This fee will go towards the club’s funding for this year’s goals—attending future tournaments (maybe in Eastern Canada), hosting a UBC-based tournament, and getting buzzers.

“You’ll thank yourself later because you’ll get that satisfying sensation of pushing the buzzer,” Jeffrey joked.

Club meetings (a.k.a. practice games)

When: Until the end of Term 2, the meetings will be every Friday (6:00 to 8:00 pm)

Where: ANGU 296 (in the Sauder building)

Learn more about UBC Quizbowl and how YOU can attend tournaments by visiting their Facebook page or sending them a quick e-mail!

Come by for a game (and bring a friend) on your first available Friday quiz—it will be an exhilarating evening!