On February 23rd, the numerous Armenian Students’ Associations of California’s universities gathered together in UC Irvine to participate in the Annual All-ASA Quiz Bowl. All-ASA’s Quizbowl, similar in format to ABC’s Jeopardy, tests Armenian students on various subjects including Armenian History, geography, culture, current events, as well as math and science. In addition to being a fun and engaging activity, the Quizbowl is yet another tool we employ as Diaspora to preserve and enhance our knowledge of Armenian history, tradition, culture and recent happenings in the motherland. The Quizbowl has been hosted since 2002, and although it has been regularly attended by Southern California’s ASAs, UC Berkeley has participated in the competition in the last two years as well.
My experience competing in the Quizbowl began last year when I participated as a member on UCLA’s team. Unfortunately for UCLA, we were defeated by UC Irvine that year following a four year winning streak. Set on redeeming our loss, I gathered a team early for this year’s Quizbowl. UCLA’s team included Levon Shant Tossonian, a history major and also a veteran member eager to take home the trophy this time around, Zara Hovasapyan, a math/econ major and art enthusiast, Mary Tsaturyan, a molecular biology, immunology, and genetics major also studying classics, Paytsar Topchyan, a biology major and literature fan, Razmig Sarkisian, an English major and politically active student, and me, an econ major and history aficionado. We all had our fortes and weaknesses, but we worked well as a team and managed to garner the most points prior to the final jeopardy question. In the Quizbowl, it is just as vital to not submit an answer if you are hesitant- teams lose points for incorrect answers- as it is to answer the questions correctly. As for the final question, it is tantalizing to decide what amount your team will wager. You want to bet the amount that will result in your victory if you answer the question correctly, but also put you in the lead if you, and perhaps the others teams, answer the question incorrectly. Needless to say, such an ideal wager figure is possible in only very rare circumstances. We calculated the minimum figure that would guarantee us victory if we answered correctly, and bet accordingly. Luckily, the final question was easier than expected, and almost all the teams, including us, answered correctly.
Above all, it was very pleasing to see so many Armenian students, all of whom are also devoted ASA members juggling other commitments as well, come out on a Saturday morning to participate in this All-ASA tradition. We all had our eyes set on the trophy, but paramount was the fact that we were all there to compete in a friendly manner and build and maintain friendships among ambitious, goal orientated students from a number of local universities. I had a great time, and would like to especially thank UC Irvine’s ASA for hosting the event this year. I sincerely recommend everyone to join and participate in all the All- ASA events as there is always a good atmosphere to them, and they are very enriching.
– Aram Hovasapyan