Why quizzing?

I often wonder how and why I got into quizzing; it certainly seems to predominantly be a pastime for the middle-aged - going by attendances at pub quizzes and quiz leagues up and down the country, anyway. I don't particularly mind that - I enjoy the competition, the learning, the fact-hoarding, the reading, the travelling. It all adds up to something that never seems to get old for me - well, it hasn't yet, and I'm one of those people who tends to go through obsessive phases of things, in that I'll watch a certain TV show and read as much about it as I can, or a particular film series, or a book, or something else. Anyway, here's how it all started, for anyone who's interested...

Around a year or two ago, I was watching TV one day, bored, when I stumbled across a new quiz show - The Chase. New to me, anyway, though I think it must have been in its second or third, perhaps fourth, series. It was different to anything I'd watched in terms of quiz TV - fast-paced, exciting, loads of questions, but the thing that interested me most was the chaser in the chair. I was mesmerised by their question-answering prowess, reeling out answer after answer in the final chase. I wondered who these people were. How do they become so knowledgeable, I thought to myself? Truth be told, I didn't know, but I sure was going to find out. And from there it started and spiralled...

I've always had a fairly decent general knowledge for my age, I think - I remember having a pack of world capitals snap cards when I was younger, and I'd always had encyclopaedias and an interest in reading from a young age, but The Chase had awoken a desire to learn far more than I'd ever done before. I started reading about the chasers themselves, saw that one of them was described as a Grand Master, and decided to look it up. It was from there that I found the Quizzing UK website, and thus the Grand Prix circuit that I've recently started playing on. I'd never known that something like that existed, and the names that I saw read like a who's who of quizzing - Kevin Ashman, Pat Gibson, Anne Hegerty, Mark Labbett, among others. 

That's when I decided to improve - there wasn't much of a pattern to it, as I recall. Generally I read a lot online, answered questions, picked up as many facts as I could, and tried to cement the chestnuts. It was then that I discovered just how much there is to learn, and just how good the top players are. The standards at the top really are incredible. Fast forward a year or so, and I was in need of more. That was when, as a random search, I googled "Lancaster quiz league", not expecting to find anything. I was surprised. I discovered the Lancaster City Quiz League in November 2013, read the questions, looked at the teams and the stats and had a desire to join. I only plucked up the courage to join in January, when I sent off an email to the league's secretary, who put me straight into The Pub's (yes, that is the very original name of the pub) team. I played a few matches and found I really enjoyed the competition - light-hearted socially, but fierce once the questions were being asked. Had I not sent that email, this blog would probably never have been started, and I probably would have confined quizzing to the back of my mind like everything else.

From there, I started attending the Quizzing GPs, and taking part in more quiz events. On Saturday, I'll be attending the Stockport Grand Prix, my third Quizzing UK event so far, a culmination of all the knowledge I've accumulated so far. As quizzers know, there's always more to learn...

1 comment:

  1. I think my first pub quiz was some sort of music quiz in Spain when I was on hols with my family…but I can’t count that! I have always been a fan of TV quiz shows but never really thought about testing myself in a quiz until I spontaneously decided to go to a quiz with my girlfriend one night. We lost by 2 points but had a whale of a time and from that point forward it was a weekly affair, turning into twice-weekly etc etc until I got to the point last year where I was quizzing five times a week, a member of a league and went through a run of constant improvements in the National GP’s culminating in my 28th placing at the British Quiz Championships last year. Throw into the mix Brain of Britain, Only Connect and Eggheads appearances, the blog, the books and the constant desire to learn….I think Im hooked for life.

    Discovering new things is my favourite part of the whole process….for instance if you check out Mastermind on Friday Jm Barrie is a subject and this spurned me to learn more about him and reading some of his plays has been a very enjoyable experience. Probably would never had read these without quizzing.

    In addition I have met some wonderful people and made friends for life from quizzing.