I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions that I play for the Llangewydd Arms in the Bridgend Quiz League. I don’t often write about the league in anything more than general terms. This is partly because I don’t want to upset anyone. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing in the league this year, and for the past two seasons, and I don’t want to spoil things by writing anything which might possibly be seen as critical of anyone else in any other team, or anyone involved in the league in any way. I’ve thought long and hard before writing this, and I’ve slept on it for two nights, but it’s still nagging away at me, and so here goes. Please accept that I’m not writing this to criticise any individual, or the league itself.
Most Thursdays a League round up report is published in the Bridgend Gem newspaper. I try to read it every week. I won’t lie, I like to see the scores in the other matches and compare them with the score in our matches, and yes, I am egotistical/arrogant/smug ( delete where applicable, or leave them all there if you wish ) enough to be curious about what is being said about our performances, good, bad or indifferent as they may be. This Thursday just gone the report opened with a mention of our match on Monday 4th March, when we scored our biggest win of the season. There’s no need for me to mention who we were playing against, because what concerned me really isn’t about that particular match as such. The report said that our opponents
“ were the unfortunate recipients of a mauling. The score was incidental, 63 to 32. Defeats like this can be very demoralizing.”
Now, it may well be that no criticism of our team was intended, which is fair enough, and maybe I’m being hyper-sensitive, but I can’t help feeling that we’re being got at here. Still, leaving aside the question about whether a potentially critical comment like this should actually be included in a match report in a local newspaper to which we have little right of reply, it does highlight an issue. Both John and I have always said that we love quizzes, we want to play in quizzes, and not destroy them. So if people are saying that players and teams are really being put off by some of our performances ( and I stress some, not all of them – we lost on Monday, for example ) then I can’t just ignore it and dismiss it as being a result of whatever.
When I joined the league in September 2010, I believed that the previous few seasons had been dominated by the Nomads. Again, I may be wrong, but I believe that they won the double of League and Cup several years in a row – apologies if I have this wrong. Now, I don’t know whether their average scores were as high as ours have been this season, but nonetheless, if they did win the double for several years in succession it does reflect a period of domination. So when I was asked to join the LA team, I went in happily, thinking – a) that we’d have a big challenge ahead of us, trying to get close to their level ( which was true ) and – b) that if we did manage to win it would hopefully not put too many people’s backs up because we’d have, if nothing else, at least a certain novelty value.
I would hate any team to be thinking that there’s no point in the League any more, especially if it’s our fault. I do accept that a large defeat like the one quoted in the above article can be demoralizing. So I ask myself – could we perhaps ‘soft pedal’ in such a match? And I’m afraid, the answer I find within myself is, no, I’m afraid I can’t. I’m not answering for my team mates, of course. But for me, I can’t deliberately lose, and I can’t deliberately answer a question wrong. If we lose ( and I do lose on a regular basis in many places ) it’s because another team have played better. I get questions wrong all the time, but not for want of trying. I don’t know, for me it would just seem as if I was patronizing another team if I didn’t try to play my best against them, which to me would be far more of an insult than beating them by a large margin.
There’s no easy answers, of course, and I’m not going to do anything stupid like say here and now – well, that’s it, I’ll just bow out now, despite the fact that this is just one comment, and I love the Monday evenings. The AGM is a week tomorrow, straight after this year’s cup final, and we’ll see what’s said then and there. But if it is the case that we are demoralizing other teams, and if it is the case, then, that this is a threat to the league, then maybe it’s time for someone to fall on his sword . . .