A few years ago I would probably have said, yes, in all probability an average quizzer in their 50’s is probably going to be better than an average quizzer in their 30s. Now, well, I just don’t know.
The only quizzer I can discuss with any real degree of authority is me, so let’s do that. I began as a quizzer in early 1988. I wasn’t a bad player, and I was lucky to be part of a good team, in local terms, until it broke up about 3 years later. Then I hardly quizzed for 2 or 3 years. So in 1995, when I started to go to the quiz in Aberavon Rugby Club, and to play in the Neath Quiz League, I was 31, and a decent player who hadn’t played in a few years. Am I a better player now than I was in 1995? I would say yes, without doubt I am. I’ve had 22 years’ experience since then. But I would argue that I’m not that much better now than I was by 1997/8. Those first few years in the League and in the Rugby Club were hugely important to my development as a quizzer. I can’t tell you the value of those early years of preparing quizzes for the club every 2 – 4 weeks. By this time I was attending at least 3 quizzes every week as well. Physically I was only 2 years older by 1997 – 33. In terms of quizzing, though, there was no comparison between the 31 year old me and the 33 year old me. In fact I’d say there was far less of a difference between the 33 year old me and the 43 year old me. And probably the 53 year old me, for that matter.
I’ve never really worked at my quizzing as such. However, for a few years between about 2010 and 2014/15 I was doing the papers every day, writing down things I felt would possibly come up as quiz questions. So I’d say that if I had a ‘peak’ as a quizzer it would be about this time when I was just about turning 50. I’ve probably been gently rolling downhill ever since. We have a more healthy roster of regular setters for the club now, and I doubt that I set a quiz more than once in a couple of months. I’ve stopped playing in the Bridgend league, and the rugby club quiz is the only quiz I do regularly, although I still have a go at Brain of Mensa. I’ve written about this before, so I won’t go overboard, but basically, going to different pub quizzes on a Sunday evening was only bringing me grief and aggravation, and I stopped enjoying the League.
I’m straying a little from my original brief. In all honesty, I don’t know if people in their 20s/30s are naturally going to be weaker quizzers than people in their 40s/50s. I mean, you’d think so purely in terms of life experience. But then when I do the rugby club quiz, when I played in the league and various Sunday night quizzes, I was often struck by – a) How much people don’t know, regardless of their age – and – b) how the same people could keep getting the same questions wrong, year after year. And I suppose it comes down to this – there is a wide gulf separating those who want to work at their quiz, who take it very seriously – and those who don’t, and that’s regardless of age.
I’d be interested in your opinions on this.