Pages To Turn


A History - Part One

::blows dust off of post::

I started this archiving adventure quite a long time ago, in a sudden burst of desire to set the quiz record painfully and firmly in stone. More than anything, I wanted to catalog exactly what actually happened all those years... and the year to come. Not what I felt. Not what I saw at the time. What happened. Who I really was. Not a frightening, angered "expose", like the one I wrote in my Sophomore year, full of tears and frustration, verbally ripping my teammates to shreds. That will never see the light of day.
This is something else. This is a History. As unbiased as I can manage.

Part One
Introduction, and Early Days Up Until Locals 2008

I've Bible Quizzed for 3 years now. 
My love-hate relationship with it was apparent from the very beginning, though unrecognized by myself and everyone who looked on. 

[In the following story, names are changed to protect... well, mostly myself.]

In 2008, I was a Freshman who didn't know who she was, what she was, or why she was. I wasn't a Christian yet, not really. I was struggling in the friendship arena, due to my inability to balance my reserved, introverted nature with my misconception that "you have to be loud and assertive to have friends," and dabbling with a lot of new things, trying to figure out who I was. Different sub-cultures, internet haunts, newer "friends", new hobbies. In a wild, spur-of-the-moment attempt to shove myself out into the world, I tried out for an MCT production of Cinderella - much to my surprise, I was cast as the First Lady of the Ball. Granted, that meant I only had two lines and one dance, but it was my first audition. Little did I know, Cinderella would spur a whole herd of Theatre experiences into my life - but that's another story.

Later in the year, the annual Awana Conference rolled around. I'd never been before, so running around the large church with no real friends required a lot of my faux bravado to be pulled out. As I made my way up a flight of wide stairs, being jostled on each side by passing people, I saw a familiar silhouette. I ran up the stairs a little faster, trying to remember this girl's name, and where I knew her from. They both came to me when it was nearly too late - she was turning into a classroom - but as soon as they did, I ran forward and touched her on the shoulder, calling out "Bee!" She looked around, surprised and a little confused. "Yes?"
"Um. Hi, weren't you in Cinderella a few months ago?" 
She looked a little closer at my face, a glimmer of recognition finally dancing across her own. "Oh! Yeah, I was. You were the First Lady?"
There was a bit of an awkward pause, until I blurted out, "Do you have someone to have lunch with?"
Beey looked at me oddly for a second, then slowly shook her head, "No... but now I do! Come on," and led me in the direction of the food. 
Over lunch, which was awkwardly quiet at first, she asked me point-blank, "Do you like to Bible Quiz?"
Now, I'd only Quizzed twice in my 15 years of existence. And when I had quizzed, I was no good at it. The year before, in 8th grade, I had been Captain of my team, and knew the most of my team... "the most" being "very little" as opposed to my teammates, who knew exactly "nothing".
But something urged me to answer, "Yes! I love Bible Quizzing!" I didn't think the question actually had a purpose, and went back to my ham-and-cheese sandwich, trying to come up with a conversation starter in preparation for the next awkward pause. 
I needn't have. Bee's eyes lit up at my answer. "Really?" she asked, putting down her bag of Doritos. 
"Um. Yeah, yeah. Sure. Of course!" 
"Cool, wow... hey, how would you like to be on a team with me?"
I stared, dumbfounded, at this girl I'd only "known" for 15 minutes. 

Now, Awana Quiz teams are normally organized by church. If you go to, say, Trinity Baptist, you quiz with other clubbers from Trinity Baptist. You don't go off, find someone from Christ Church, another from Boulevard Park, another from Olympic Bible Fellowship, and call it a team. Most people look on this as cheating - like you're taking the "best" quizzers from each church and making the Ultimate Team. It's frowned upon by the people who don't understand it, and even some of the people who do understand it get a little antsy because they know the people who don't are frowning upon them. 

So this proposal of Bee's was not only straight out of Left Field, it was scandalous. I was attending Trinity Baptist - I didn't know if they were going to quiz, but I had an inkling they might not completely approve of my up and joining a rival church's team.
"Um, well... don't you have your own church team?" I asked hesitantly. 
"Not really. But see, my big sister, Morwen went to Nationals last year and her team WON and I really want to go to Nationals too because I think we can win -"
Bee went on to explain all the reasons she wanted to have "her own" quiz team, and how "we" (whoever "we" were) would obviously be a good team too. By the time she ran out of words, my head was spinning and my heart was beating irregularly. 
I had a big chance laid out in front of me. A chance to try to do something. A chance to belong somewhere. I'd never belonged anywhere. I'd never been on a team. The first organized "event" I'd ever participated in was Cinderella a few months ago, and that was only a week-long production. 
So what did I say?
I said, "Yes!"
As if shot from a cannon, Bee bounced to her feet, grabbing me by the shoulder and hauling me up with her. "Come on! Let's go find my mom!"

This statement reminded me of another little part of the works - my own mother. Hmm. Would she approve? I shoved the question aside, figuring that I could always back out of the quickly developing "deal" if my parents disapproved. 

When we finally found Bee's mom (we'll call her Mrs. Y), I was a little out of breath. Bee was a tightly wound, high-strung bundle of energy who flew around corners like a NASCAR driver, making me feel like a Coke can tied with twine to an exhaust pipe. 
Mrs. Y looked me over critically, from the ever-expanding lion's-mane of curly hair flying about my face, to the ripped jeans, all the way down to my black-and-neon, star-studded Vans. I didn't look like the mature, put-together person I wasn't. I looked like the Wild Child I truthfully was. 
While Bee motor-mouthed her way through an introduction and explanation, I tried my best to look like a respectful, quiet member of society who never made trouble or talked back to her elders and betters. I'm sure I wasn't successful, but in the end, Mrs. Y permitted Bee and I to exchange emails and phone numbers. 

I don't remember how the planning went after that - but I do know that about 3 weeks after meeting Bee, I was sitting at her kitchen table, looking awkwardly around at my three new teammates. Across from me was a boy I've dubbed Pup (hard to explain). He had red hair and complicated eyes, his actions shy and hesitant, his words nonexistent. To my left was a very short girl with brown hair and green statement glasses, wearing one of those strange knitted hats that have brims. I don't have a nic for her... so I'll just call her Tee, in honor of her name's Initial and in keeping with the Bee tradition. On my right was Bee, energetic as ever, and breathing rather heavily with excitement. Mrs. Y hovered between Bee and Pup, trying to introduce us all to each other and organize some sort of practice-start. 

Our first month of study was stunted by our weak grasp of how to quiz. Pup was our only "natural", and he was often too quiet or too polite to answer all the questions he knew the answers to. Bee could learn long chunks of text or scripture rapidly, but the longer she knew it, the more her performance broke down. Tee was simply "too busy" to know anything but the Definitions, and even those she needed prompting on. I was a strange mix of all these things - I knew just about all the Definitions, one verse, and a few random bits of text, but I was horrible at remembering anything on the spot. 
We were really a sad excuse for a quiz team. Mrs. Y wasn't completely sure how to coach us, and energy was starting to get buried under fear of defeat. 

But a month and a half into our team's life, along came Morwen. 
When she first showed up, I didn't like her. She was bossy. I didn't like the way she dressed. She used too many big words. I thought she had a superiority complex. But over the first few weeks of her presence, I couldn't help but grudgingly admit that she knew what she was doing. Our team grew in leaps and bounds - not yet superb, but undeniably above average. 
Pup was deemed Captain. When Morwen arrived on the scene, marshaling us into a cooperating, functioning team, his skills kicked into gear in very real way. He possessed a killer trigger hand and excellent knowledge of the book. 

Together, we learned to confer and dance the complex steps of the Huddle Polka. We were clumsy, but by February we were no longer stepping on each other's feet at every transition. 
I had a half-friendship forged with Tee. We would play around, giggle a lot, and steal each others' socks. I hoped that it would keep on going even after we quizzed... but, as was usual with my plans, this was not to be. 
Locals rolled around, and we were feeling confident. Pup constantly reminded us not to get cocky - but things were feeling good, and the future was bright. 

I should mention here that joining this team was a very, very bad moral call. I left my own church's team. It was one of the worst decisions I have made in my life. It didn't damage me in too many ways, but it robbed one of my old friends of a chance to quiz, and it destroyed my reputation amongst the Leaders. I made myself a traitor. I should have stuck with Trinity for Locals and rejoined the Taylor Creek Team afterward, for the higher competitions. It's taken me two years to drop my pride and admit that. I was very, very wrong. 

Locals 2008 is still very vivid in my mind. I remember exactly all the steps I took to get ready for the competition. I remember how I did my hair, what shoes I wore, what necklace I chose... I remember how, after I'd gotten all ready, I had to go down to the basement and mop up a lake of water that had leaked from a pipe in the ceiling. 
I remember getting to Boulevard Park Presbyterian Church, going up all those steps and standing in the back just watching people, waiting for my team to show up. I remember spotting one of the boys who was on the National Champion team of 2007, and being slightly starstruck. I remember laughing at someone wearing all black as he made faces at a little girl across the room. 

When Pup, Bee, Tee, and Morwen finally showed up, I was a little bit green at the gills. Nerves were making me weak at the knees. Bee had me wrapped in a half-bear-hug (half because, as I was in heels, she was about half as tall as me), which she seemed to think would somehow banish all butterflies. She barely untangled herself in time for us to march up onto the stage when Taylor Creek Church of Maple Valley was called for. We were team number one, and there were only two opposing teams. One was Christ Church, comprised of two Junior guys and a Senior girl, and the other Boulevard Park Presbyterian, comprised of two boys in black shoes, pants, shirts, and ties... be continued...

Comments appreciated. 



  1. I'm looking forward to part 2. :)

  2. Wow- I just realized how profound, how INTERESTING my last comment was. *rolls eyes at self* Not that this one is any better...


Brenna is taking another call, or cannot come to the phone right now. Leave a message at the beep.