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The Blue Pen



The Blue Pen

9th Annual CI Tournament
February 19th, 2005

By Paul Gipson

The day began with a welcome and instructions from host pastor Andrew Scott. Each team is eager to capture a high finish in the standings if not the highest and the 1st Place trophy.  Today each participant will demonstrate his or her knowledge of the assigned scripture passage, I and II Corinthians, as well as quickness and agility in jumping, for the opportunity to answer the question.  The facilities are beautifully prepared with six separate quiz rooms, and an excellent hospitality area.  The Quizmasters get set to do their best in conducting fair, precise quizzing desiring to judge correctly each answer given.
The butterflies are busy in the quizzers’ stomachs but after a few questions, their focus is intent on the match.  Hundreds of hours of studying God's word will be tested and nerves tried as the preliminary rounds begin. The time between rounds is relaxing for some and cramming time for others.  For some, old acquaintances are renewed. Some of the quizzers and coaches have competed in the past, but all will make new friends with fellow believers.
Pastor Andrew has assembled a very qualified team of capable assistants and helpers to conduct the events of the day.  Teens help with snacks, take photos, run the sound equipment and a crack crew of computer gurus compile the statistics in order to track and place each individual and team.  Important information is transmitted between rooms and then put on display for all attending to view.   That same information is even visible to anyone on the WEB via the CI Tournament website (http://www.citournament.org)


Preliminary Round 1


The spirit of the teams and spectators captures my attention.  Anticipation of the matches is now over and nervous quizzers have settled down.  I just experienced the most thrilling moment in a quiz that I have ever seen.  Tim Keenan, a quizzer from Old Paths has just correctly answered six questions in a row and thus “quizzed out”.  WOW! The Quizmaster hardly gets out the question and the lights on the display module flash on.  Coaches closely track their team’s progress and pray intently for each young person.  As Pastor Craig Scott has often mentioned, it is not all about the competition but how God’s Holy Word is driven deeper into the heart and life of the quizzer through this learning medium. The entire team is involved in the victory through encouragement, participation and prayer.  After the quiz, Tim Keenan responded that he, “just loves to get on a roll.”
The nerves are not completely settled down as another match comes down to the final question of the round.  The quizzers, coaches and the entire audience are drawn into the competition and the atmosphere is electric. As a reporter getting a sense of the activities, my emotions run high.


Preliminary Round 4

During matches, the quizzers call a “time out” for brief team meetings with the coaches. Some quizzers have concerned expressions on their faces while others remain focused on the task as hand.  This round has a Jr. High team against two Sr. High teams. However, the age of the competitors does not seem to matter, everyone is equally intense and competitive.

The quizzers recall the answers in various ways.  Some rub their chin with their hands while others bend over at the waist and place their hands on their faces praying the correct information is brought to mind. Others take a deep breath and strive to make their answer count correctly for the team.  A slight pause follows the response while the Quizmaster determines if the answer given is acceptable.  When he utters “Correct”, joy and glee are the expressions of the onlookers.



Preliminary Round 5

Some rooms are set up so that the quizzers face away from the audience, but the main auditorium arrangement allows the audience to look into the quizzers face up on the platform.  Each stares at the Quizmaster looking for the slightest bit of lip movement to gain an advantage in predicting the question that will come from his lips.
The coaches do a fabulous job of guiding their teams.  Coach Kevin Lorch from the Woodside Baptist Jr. High Team leads the quizzers through prayer, praise, exhortation, deep breathing and other method to relax them and take the edge off the intense competition.  Another quality seen is the teamwork – each member of the team is included and has the opportunity to quiz.  Great work Coaches!
The preliminary rounds set the stage for the ranking in which the teams will begin the afternoon rounds of double elimination.  There was tremendous quizzing from each young person involved.
Another exciting element is watching the parents of the quizzers. They seem almost as intense as the teams. How difficult it must be for some parents as in this quiz that matches the Woodside Sr. High and Jr. High teams against each other.  Three families have young people facing each other on the quiz platform.  For whom do you cheer?  While Shari Grinnell, Anna Borkert, and Christy Lorch battle on the Sr. High team, Shane Grinnell, Caroline Borkert and Jason Lorch oppose them on the Jr. High team. This is a real Family Feud. 
Each round as teams are eliminated, most remain engrossed in the remaining matches.  They root for favorites – some for the strong, well-established teams and others for the underdogs scraping for each point.  The applause seems to get louder after each correct answer and the remaining opportunities for catching the leader in the quiz dwindle.  Time-outs are called at strategic moments during the quiz and provide relief for the audience, Quizmaster and especially the quizzers.
The moments between matches are opportunities to communicate reports to loved ones and interested friends back at the home churches across the country.  Some in the audience are brand new to Bible Quizzing and are asking questions concerning the rules and regulations.  A comment I heard several times today is “how do the young people know what the question will be before it is asked?”  The response is simply that they have to, as a veteran Bible Quiz Coach Marie Cline stated, “KNOW YOUR STUFF!”  It is clear that many here today have followed that advice because the speed of response and accuracy of the answers prove it.

The Finals


The final two teams in the final quiz of the 2005 Colorado Invitational are Old Paths from Downingtown, PA with one loss and Pleasant View Baptist from McQuady, KY without any.
The quizzers are weary after 10 hours of quizzing, but the adrenaline flows, giving body and brain the energy to keep going. The quizzers take their places on the platform following a short break.  The audience settles in anticipating great quizzing. The Quizmaster begins the match.
Was this day scripted or what?  - It just does not get any better than this.  With the score tied and just one question remaining, the team that jumps first has the advantage and the opportunity to win.  Old Paths jumps and can win the championship, but misses the question that then goes to Pleasant View. The “free” question is then answered correctly.  WOW! Great competition.

Congratulations to all the teams as well as each individual quizzer, including those memorizing but not on the team rosters.  May God bless each one of you as His word is hidden in your hearts to keep you from sin.



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