PQB Interview: William Golden

William Golden is a high school quiz bowl player, who currently plays for James E. Taylor High School in Katy, Texas. After beginning his career in middle school, he has since found success on multiple stages. In 2014, his middle school team won NAQT’s Middle School National Championship Tournament, at which he was also the highest scoring player. William also appeared in the 2014 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament and, in his first appearance at NAQT’s high school national tournament, finished with a 10th-place scoring performance. In 2016, he joined the writing staff for Play Quiz Bowl’s upcoming ACRONYM X pop culture tournament. Play Quiz Bowl spoke with William about his experiences with the game thus far and what he still hopes to accomplish.

Play Quiz Bowl – How did you get involved in quiz bowl?

William Golden – I first discovered quiz bowl through the National History Bee (which I found out about from an advertisement of Pawn Stars during the Bee’s brief stint as an Al Roker-hosted primetime special.) In 7th grade, I convinced my parents and a teacher at my middle school to start a weekly after-school club. I got some of my friends and a few other of my classmates to start coming to practices, culminating in us winning MSNCT at the end of the year.

PQB – You’ve already had a pretty impressive career, including a scoring prize at the 2016 HSNCT. What are some of the contributing factors to your success thus far?

WG – My teammates, my parents, and my coach Mr. Harris have all inspired me to work hard and improve. I have never really had a certain studying technique, unlike some players I know who have a giant stack of flashcards filled with thousands of clues. If that’s how you study, that’s great. I’m just naturally curious and enjoy reading about a variety of topics.

PQB – You also had an impressive run in the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament a couple of years ago. What are your best memories of your experiences on the show?

– My brief time on the show, while incredibly nerve-racking, was a lot of fun. All of the other contestants were awesome, and we kept in touch long after we taped the show. Having been on Jeopardy! helps me relax during high-pressure situations, such as in last year’s playoffs of HSNCT, because I know that nothing would be as high-stakes as when I was filming.

PQB – How does being a quiz bowl player help you as a student?

WG – Quiz bowl has helped me learn how to study effectively. Learning clues by scrolling through a packet is very similar to reading through a textbook and picking up important information. A lot of times, when I begin a new unit in class, I’ll realize I’ve already learned much of the information through quiz bowl.

PQB – You have a good amount of time left in your career. What else would you like to accomplish?

WG – I would like to give back to the quiz bowl community after all the enjoyment it has given me. I currently hold a few various quiz bowl writing jobs, and help moderate at middle school tournaments in my region. I definitely plan to continue my career and improve in college. As far as high school goes, raising enough money to able to go to both HSNCT and PACE is my priority, along with hopefully landing a top 5 finish in either nationals sometime in the next few years.

PQB – How has quiz bowl affected your life outside of the game? What skills has it given you that you’ve applied to other situations?

WG – I’ve made lots of great friends and people with common interests through quiz bowl. It’s also introduced me to great artworks, classical compositions, and books. Quiz bowl has made me a more culturally aware person, meaning I can take to many different people about a wide variety of subjects.

PQB – What advice would you give to a student who is interested in joining or forming a quiz bowl team?

WG – For forming a team, I’d Ask teachers who you think might be interested in quiz bowl to sponsor your club or become a coach. (A lot of people might say no at first. That’s okay! Someone will eventually take interest.) Then, find kids that seem intellectually curious, especially ones who like to learn outside of school.

For joining a team, At first, quiz bowl can seem overwhelming, with the rapid-fire speed at which questions are read and the answers, some of which may seem obscure at first, but keep attending practices and find a subject you are interested in learning. With dedication and a thirst for knowledge, you will contribute to your team more and more.

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