Club Life: Quiz Bowl

Haverford’s academic competition team has been keeping up its activity and engagement despite the difficulties presented by the pandemic.

Though the pandemic has greatly impacted all aspects of campus life, Haverford’s commitment to a breadth of extracurricular activities has remained a source of consistency and stability. One such activity, Haverford’s Quiz Bowl team, founded last academic year, has continued meeting and has adapted to the changes that this semester has necessitated.

Quiz Bowl, a fast-paced, buzzer-based academic competition, pits teams of competitors against each other to answer questions on broad subjects such as science, literature, history, fine arts, mythology, philosophy, and more. A standard Quiz Bowl game begins with an individual pyramidal toss-up question, meaning it begins with more obscure and trivial knowledge first, then progresses to more well-known clues towards the end. Whichever team is able to get the toss-up question is rewarded with a three-part bonus question, on which collaboration is encouraged.

Haverford’s Quiz Bowl team meets to practice twice a week, on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. During practice, the club plays structured games of Quiz Bowl, but also informally reads trivia questions and discusses the question of the day, the challenge put out by one of the club’s co-heads before each meeting. Unfortunately, the team has had to cease use of the buzzer to ensure distancing and prevent touching of shared surfaces.

In the past, Haverford’s Quiz Bowl team has competed at multiple regional tournaments, attended tournaments at the University of Pennsylvania and other schools in the surrounding area, and hosted its own tournament. This year, that hasn’t been possible, but that hasn’t kept the team members strong–from commiting to practice. 

Augustus Helson ‘23, one of Quiz Bowl’s three co-heads, along with Gilad Avrahami ‘22 and Trevor Stern ‘22, was proud of what the club has done to reorient itself given the lack of tournaments to attend.

“For a club that’s typically involved in off campus tournaments, it has been difficult for us to adjust to this new reality,” said Helson. “With nothing to ‘work towards,’ it’s easy to understand why people may not want to go to practice, but we as a club have really tried to orient ourselves towards building a community of friends on campus. In addition to in-person practice twice a week, we eat dinner together as a club every Wednesday. I suppose we could have scaled down our meeting frequency during the pandemic, but we decided that it’s important for our peers to have structure in their lives, especially now. Overall, we’re just trying to generate a friendly, welcoming, and low-key environment to do trivia. That’s what Haverford Quiz Bowl is all about.”

Anyone interested in joining Haverford Quiz Bowl can visit the team’s page on Engage, or you can contact Gilad Avrahami ‘22, Trevor Stern ‘22, or Augustus Helson ‘23.