On the other hand, I do agree that the axiom “there are exceptions to the rule” has merit in a few situations. For example, “i” comes before “e” unless you leisurely deceive eight overweight heirs to forfeit their sovereign conceits. Weird, I know. Some rules established for the common good do not apply in unanticipated or rare situations. In those instances mercy, compassion, or common sense must prevail until the rule is revised.
And then there are rules that we just don’t know about. On my first trip through New Jersey, for example, I discovered that I am not allowed to pump my own gas. And who would have thought that it is illegal to sell home-baked goods in Wisconsin? But it is true.
In Youth Bible Quizzing we follow the official “Rules & Guidelines”. It is important to note that even the title of that document wisely includes the word “guidelines”. The authors and stewards of that document fully understand that not every situation can be anticipated. But they also use the word “rules” to emphasize that some items are not negotiable. Rules alone do not prevent unfair tactics or bad attitudes. However, as stated in the Bible Quizzing Ministry Code, “the pursuit of competitive success must never dominate the commitment to exhibit a Christ-like example.”
As I re-read these Rules & Guidelines in preparation for the upcoming season, I noticed 10 rules that are not always followed for one reason or another. Keep reading and count how many of these you have seen and if you agree with my interpretation of the rule:
3.2 – The competition director should make certain all officials have a good understanding of the quizzing rules and the competition methods. I guess “should” is the key word here. Sometimes competition directors are just happy to get a volunteer to be an official. But that begs the question: How should the competition director determine if the official has a good understanding of the quizzing rules and the biblical material being covered (as mentioned in 3.8 and 3.11)? I believe there is an opportunity here for someone to create an online training class that “certifies” Quizmasters or Content Judges who pass the test at the end. Similar to getting certified in First Aid and CPR, they must re-certify every few years to stay current. Hmmmm...
3.14.4 – At the quizmaster’s request, [Content Judges] assist in the ruling on the correctness of a question/answer combination. I do not know how I feel about this one. I have seen Content Judges provide unsolicited counsel to the Quizmaster on a difficult ruling. In one vivid recollection, the Quizmaster reversed their ruling after the Content Judge spoke to them. On the one hand, there is value in discussing ambiguity with someone else. On the other hand, it violates the rule if it was not requested.
5.2 – All quizzers will be seated facing the quizmaster. Coaches [and substitutes] may be seated behind the active quizzers or behind the officials depending on district or tournament rules and/or space. While this rule only specifies two seating options for Coaches and substitutes, they sometime sit to the left or right of the Quizmaster. No biggie, but this is an example of a rule where common sense prevails as long as the spirit of the rule is followed.
7.26.2 – On the “Book and chapter” question, a quizzer may form a multi-part question provided all question/answer combinations come from the same chapter. Uh-oh. I am just now catching the “from the same chapter” part. Even my own quizzers have successfully answered Book & Chapter questions as a ‘multiple’ by quoting verses from different chapters that each start with the same few words spoken at the time of the jump.
7.26.4 – Since the “Context” question may be based on multiple verses, chapters, or even books, question completions from more than one biblical passage shall always be accepted for consideration. This is one of those rules with exceptions. Normally each piece of a multiple-part question must come from the same biblical passage. Not so with Context questions answered as a “multiple”. Some Quizmasters are unaware of this distinction and have ruled quizzers incorrect who quote from various chapters in their multiple-part questions.
7.31 – The [According To] question/answer combination must convey the meaning of the material in the given verse; however, the answer need not be verbatim. Exception – If the answer is formal (person/place/event), the answer must be literal enough to distinguish it from all other references to the same. Notice this does not say the answer to an According To question must contain the Unique, Double, or Triple words present in the verse? I feel we sometimes hold According To questions closer to the same standard as Memory Verses rather than General questions. What we forget is that According To questions are special because without the chapter and verse in the preamble, the question itself is ambiguous. The intent is to direct the quizzer toward a certain verse of Scripture that may be similar to other verses being studied. So, my take is that According To answers should be evaluated by the same criteria as answers to General questions.
8.3.1 [Quick Rule] – As soon as the quizzer has provided (to the satisfaction of the quizmaster) all necessary information for the question and answer and has paused, the quizmaster may rule the answer correct. Not a major issue here, but the “and has paused” portion of this rule is often ignored. This happens a lot when a quizzer is providing multiple questions and answers at the speed of light to an According To prejump. Once the quizzer completes the desired question/answer combination, the Quizmaster usually interrupts the rapid non-stop verbal waterfall to rule the quizzer correct.
9.27 – …Appeals made on the basis of a question’s ambiguity will not be considered when a quizzer has answered the question correctly. Huh. I have actually seen this happen and the appeal was accepted. A question was read and no one jumped until the last second. The wording of the question seemed strange, but the quizzer who jumped answered it correctly. The opposing team’s captain appealed the question as being confusing and the Quizmaster agreed. Turns out that same quizzer answered the replacement question correctly, so it all worked out anyway.
10.5 – Starting to answer the question without being recognized by the quizmaster [is a foul]. I have never seen this foul issued and as a Quizmaster I either ignore it or gently remind them after the points have been awarded to wait until they are recognized before giving their answer. I think we all agree that quizzers – especially new quizzers – can get excited and just cannot wait to spurt out the answer.