ACF is pleased to announce that the 2020 Carper Award winners are Alex Damisch and Mike Sorice!
The ACF membership recognizes Alex for her irreplaceable contributions both within ACF and in the broader quizbowl world. Alex is remarkable because she doesn’t just have great ideas; she takes those ideas and wills them into being. She’s been central to bringing the major quizbowl organizations together to address misconduct, which is, as far as I know, the single largest step that we’ve taken as a community toward addressing the game’s persistent issues around issues of misbehavior, inclusiveness, and creating a welcoming environment for all participants. She has also done as much work as anyone over the last several years to ensure the continuing operation of ACF. She’s been instrumental to efforts to increase active membership, reincorporate the organization as a nonprofit, survey team experiences at tournaments, create new resources for hosts, coordinate sites and mirrors, and sort out the organization’s finances. And when I say instrumental, I mean that she has taken all these initiatives from the phase of “good ideas” to “things that ACF regularly does,” often by laying out exactly what changes need to be made and doing the hard work herself. Her willingness to step into whatever role is needed, in just about every organization that keeps this game going, has been extremely important, and she has brought energy and new ideas to all those positions. Very few people in this community have the vision to make quizbowl a better place or the drive and work ethic to lead the charge. Alex has both, and it’s hard to imagine a more deserving winner of the Carper Award.
Starting last year, ACF has empowered a committee of former Carper winners who are also ACF members to select a second winner each year.
This year, the committee recognizes Mike Sorice. In thinking about all that Mike has meant to college quizbowl, I keep coming back to a very basic fact: he’s Mike Sorice, and anyone who’s been around for more than a couple tournaments knows what that means. If he can play a tournament, chances are he’s there playing, and showing a broad, idiosyncratic knowledge base and unmatched competitive will that stand the test of time. If he can’t play, chances are he’s there reading in his distinctive style, entertaining everyone with his stories of quizbowl past. Regardless, he’s hosting parties at his house and tolerating everyone’s antics until well into the morning; he’s offering his wisdom and guidance and still taking on responsibilities in quizbowl nearly two decades since playing his first college tournament. One of the things I most appreciate about college quizbowl is the continuity between generations, which is only possible if legendary players like Mike stick around to pass along their stories and hard-earned knowledge. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single quizbowler in Illinois who hasn’t benefited from Mike’s experience, and his influence goes well beyond the borders of that state. Mike is one of the most colorful, quotable, and accomplished people in this game, and I’m so happy that ACF has decided to recognize him now.
There will be a short ceremony honoring the winners at ACF Nationals in April. Congrats to Alex and Mike!