Friday, May 11, 2018

Jump Quiz: The Nazarene Sport of Bibles and Butts

Rock Island, October 1978

When I was growing up in the Church of the Nazarene, most of the high school boys and a few girls competed in the jump quiz.

They announced the book of the Bible every year during summer camp, and we started preparing immediately, memorizing verses, quizzing each other, and doing set after set of lunges, squats, kickbacks, and leg-lifts.

This was a strenuous sport!

The local eliminations were held in October.  The quizmaster began a question, and the moment you though you could answer, you jumped up out of your seat.  No hands -- leg and butt movement only.

With 20 questions per round, and 4 or more rounds per tournament, you needed really strong quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

If more than one contestant jumped up, the coach decided whose butt cleared the chair first.

That's right -- an adult man  had the job of staring intently at the butts of high school boys (and a few girls).

The top five players became our church's Jump Quiz Team, and went on to the District tournament in January. 

The Regionals were in March, the Nationals in June, and Internationals in July. Plus there were invitationals along the way  And trophies, prizes, pictures in church magazines, fawning invitations to parties, and even requests for autographs.

I had bad luck with the jump quiz.  In 9th grade, District interfered with a wrestling tournament, and I picked wrestling.

In 10th grade, my grandmother died, and we had to be in Indiana during the locals.  

In 11th grade, I got sick, and missed District.

In 12th grade, my jerk of a boss at the Carousel Snack Bar forced me to mop out the store room, thus missing District again!

But I was becoming disillusioned with the Nazarene Church anyway.  The Preacher had discovered homa-sekshuls, and was blaming them for everything from droughts to divorce.  And I was tired of the long list of nos: NO movies NO dancing NO cards NO comic books NO eating out on Sunday NO theater...

I couldn't drop out all at once, with my parents still going, and the church police knocking on your door after every absence.  So I started out skipping the evening services, then occasional Sunday morning services.  During my freshman year at Augustana, I was skipping most services, and usually Sunday school, too.

So I was surprised when the Preacher called one evening and asked me to coach the jump quiz.

"Um...why me?  I have a pretty poor jump quiz record."

"But you were on the team four years in a row, and you have lots of valuable skills. NYPS President, International Institute, wrestling team, athletic trainer..." He was apparently reading from a list.  "And I heard you're taking Biblical Greek at that Lutheran college, so you'll really be able to get into the Scripture with the kids."

"But...I haven't been coming to church much lately."

"Maybe this is just what you need to bring you back to the Lord."

So that was his game -- conversion through coaching!

"Besides, won't you feel good knowing that you're making a difference in a boy's life?  Why, your influence might be the only thing that protects him from turning into a homa-sekshul."

My face began to burn. "Well, when you put it that way, how can I refuse?"

So during my freshman year at Augustana, I returned to the Nazarene Church once a week to drill high school boys on the Book of Luke, and lead them in set after set of lunges, squats, kickbacks, and leg-lifts.

Sometimes we met at the YMCA swimming pool, for water resistance training, so I was forced to check out the athletes in swimsuits (don't worry, they were only two or three years younger than me).

During the local elimination, I had to keep my eye on their butts, of course.

We didn't make it to State.

The next year, I was in Germany during the fall semester, but I was back in time for the District tournament in January.  I was dating Fred, so my boyfriend was in the audience while I kept my eye on the butts of high school boys to ensure that they didn't turn into homa-sekshuls.

We didn't make it to State.

See also: The Preacher Discovers Homa-Sekshuls and Sleeping with Baptist Boys


  1. Man, I thought rez boys were naïve (You'd be surprised how many think the cum emoji means water.)

    Did the Preacher ever realize the irony?

    1. No Nazarene preacher ever noticed irony in anything.



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