BALD KNOB, ARK. — Quiz Bowl, similar to the show "Jeopardy!", is a complicated game of questions that would give pause to even top Trivial Pursuit players.
In a tournament, four participants on a team of eight answer questions in topics ranging from vice presidents to space exploration to rock stars. Sometimes, the moderator requires Quiz Bowlers to recite chemical formulas or figure math equations.
Each match consists of four rounds, with a set number of questions in each quarter. The first and fourth rounds have toss-up questions only. The second round has both toss-up and bonus questions. The third quarter is the lightning, or 60-second round, in which a category of questions is posed to each team. Success hinges on who can think the fastest and hit the buzzer the quickest. The bonus questions encourage collaboration among team members.
A Quiz Bowl match usually takes 35 minutes. On a tournament day, students play six games and concentrate nonstop for five hours. Some participants wear lucky hats. Some get the jitters. Sponsors often tell them to go for a walk and relax.
"It's high stress," says Bill Davis, sponsor for the Bald Knob (Ark.) High School team. "But it teaches these kids how to deal with and manage stress while thinking rationally. It's just like dealing with life."