To Handicap Or Not To Handicap ?
Let me pose you a hypothetical question.
Here’s the hypothetical situation. You run a quiz on a Monday Night. The main purpose of your quiz is to get people through the doors of the club on what would otherwise be a slack night for the club. Also, you love your quiz. Over a period of time word gets out that you do a quality quiz, with a weekly cash prize and the chance of a jackpot. Some very good teams start attending, and on occasions you have probably 5 or 6 of the best quizzers in South Wales playing in 3 or 4 different teams in your quiz.
Ok. With me so far ? Now, here’s the problem. At least half of the teams you get every Monday have no realistic chance of ever winning. They staunchly support the quiz, turning up week in week out, each member chipping in their £2. You’re worried that they will lose interest and maybe stop coming if this continues.
So this is the question. What can you do to give the also-rans a realistic chance of winning one in a while ?
You introduce handicaps – so that the weak and average teams get a head start every week !
That’s the answer that the quiz I frequent in Newport on a Monday night came up with some time back. I did consider not going any more. On the negative side, it’s a 90 minute round trip to Newport and back, and that’s a chunk of time it can be difficult to justify on a school night. Also its very discouraging when you hear that you’re 15 points behind before the first question is asked, and end up losing to a team who you could probably beat on your own in a fair fight.
On the positive side, its usually a great quiz, and the quality of opposition is better than you get in any of the other weekly quizzes I go to.
Last night we were undone in Newport by a 16 point handicap. We pulled back 14 of the points, but couldn’t manage the other 2. Part of what gripes me so much is that the handicap system is so arbitrary. No two quizzes are the same, and so a good handicap one week, will not be a fair handicap the next week when the quiz is easier, and so on. Also it doesn’t help when you handicap changes because a member of your team is away – for how on earth can a handicapper say how many points that individual is likely to be worth to his team ?
It all comes down to money and prizes, I suppose. The only quiz I go to where nobody minds that the same two teams win all the time is the Thursday night quiz in the Aberavon Rugby Club, and that’s the only one which never gives a prize.
Deep down a secret devil within me longs to say to all the teams who receive a head start– If winning is so important to you , why don’t you do some work to get better at it, rather than whinge for the good teams to be penalised ?