I have either observed or been a part of many competitive events in my lifetime. Watching the Olympics on television has been almost like being there.
Then there was that time I watched a dairy judge take 15 minutes to decide what two-year-old would end up with the blue ribbon. I’ve even attended OSU/Michigan games and witnessed that spirited game unravel.
However, all pale in comparison when I became involved in Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl. If you have never been to one, I strongly encourage you to put it on your “to do” list for 2010!
To say the least, Ohio Dairy Quiz Bowl is intense and I am the one in charge. However, that would be an understatement since it requires the input of Dr. Eastridge and many, many volunteers.
The first step is writing questions for the junior teams and the Senior Jeopardy contest. By the time I am done, I feel like my brains have been scrambled.
Questions come from resource guides, 4-H books, current magazines and news and also from coaches who have teams entered in the contest.
I attempt to combine all, simply and clearly phrase the information and make sure that none are repeated. Then there are extra questions and bonus ones that are also added to the mix. Everything is proofed and documented with a source.
Since we all have interruptions in our daily schedule, I did most of this in the early morning hours. You can imagine my sense of relief when this arduous task is complete.
It takes a staff
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a staff of personnel to run a quiz bowl contest. Each room requires a timekeeper who can concentrate. Moderators must clearly and audibly state each question and with the help of judges, they determine the accuracy of the answers. NBC, ABC and CBS sports could find new talent in these people.
Where would we be without scorekeepers? Even each team’s coach keeps a tally of points, and at the end of matches, the “referees” verify everyone’s score sheets.
Beyond all the action in the rooms, someone must also be at the door to insure that there are no interruptions during a round. They do not wear football pads, but they are a force to reckon with.
Posting the junior division brackets offers the opportunity for another volunteer (or a mathematical genius) to determine who plays next and what round of questions will be used. Since the contest is double elimination, it really livens up the competition.
As the years have gone by, two county teams have forged quite a rivalry. They play with all the spirit and passion of OSU and Michigan at a football game in November. This year, there was even a tie breaking round with these two. We even needed a “time out” to interpret the rules before these 4-Hers could begin.
It was exciting as cheering fans of each team quietly watched, waiting for the outcome. If there were any pompoms, they were carefully concealed. Seriously folks, Coach Tressel has an easier job. Maybe I can ask him to volunteer next year?
Senior Jeopardy is more individualized. Dr. Eastridge handles this better than Alex Trebek. Truly, our game show host does know all the answers, and he doesn’t need them in front of him.
For 4-Hers to compete in this, it takes some real intestinal fortitude to play the game and that final question strategy can be a dilemma. We even have the clever music playing in the background as they record their final answer.
Oh yes, then there is food for everyone. In the morning, it was brain food to summon up their intellect and then Dominoes Signature Series pizza (in collaboration with ADA) to fill their stomachs with energy to sustain the many rounds.
We were even served ice cream sandwiches provided by the American Dairy Association, Mid East.
Did I mention that it was a very warm day? Also, traffic was a challenge as the exit ramps from Route 315 to Lane Avenue were closed. Yet 4-Hers and coaches travel more than 150 miles to spend a long day in pursuit of this event.
Awards are given out to high teams and individuals at the end of both contests. Coaches are recognized for years of service, door prizes are given and everyone leaves wiser for their involvement.
Thankfully, you can read more about all of this on the pages of this very publication. With some humor, I have enjoyed sharing the “rest of the story” of Ohio 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl. Hopefully, you have been forced to smile once or twice at the comparisons.
The real story is about those who make it happen. From the 20 plus volunteers who assist in the management, to the parents and coaches who willingly give of their time and talents, to the 4-H competitors who make time to participate, it is definitely another opportunity that more should take advantage of. I applaud all of you!
As the day ended, I felt that we all traveled home feeling we had participated in something really good.
In just about 10 months, we will begin preparations for Ohio’s 2010 Dairy Quiz Bowl. I am going to read this column again, put on some “Buckeye” music and promise myself to recruit more counties for this experience.
Who knows, maybe you will be there too!
There are improvements to be made, as well as retaining the positives. Evaluation forms are made for this type of afterthought.
More information. As usual, if you have more questions about this event and other 4-H dairy programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a dairy camp coming up July 17!