Between sick (not swine flu) and NaNoWriMo, I almost feel like I should have just declared this a bye week for the blog.
Actually, I know a guy whose Scholar's Bowl team once lost to a bye. For those not in the know, Scholar's Bowl is where your four-person team goes up against another four-person team and answers questions. The rounds are twelve questions each (and they're divided into categories, i.e. two math, two science, two literature, and so on) and each correct question is worth ten points. If someone on your team buzzes in early and you get the question wrong, your team loses five points.
Seeding from the round-robin to the elimination round goes first by wins and losses, second by total points. (Or point differential. I don't remember) Because of this, when a team doesn't show up, rather than just letting the other team win by forfeit, they have the team play against four chairs in an attempt to rack up points for seeding.
See where this is going?
A friend of mine from highs school (I believe it was Louisburg, KS, not that anybody's keeping track) told me he competed in one SB tournament in his entire career. He was actually team captain for that day, and they got a match against the chairs. "All right, everybody," he told his team, "DON'T buzz in early, because there's absolutely no point to it."
First question? Someone buzzed early. And got it wrong. Minus five.
And then the team didn't get the next question right. Or the next. Or the next. In fact, after twelve rounds, they'd accumulated a grand total of minus-five points. Advantage: chairs.
My friend said that after that experience, he knew that Scholar's Bowl was simply not a part of his destiny.