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Scholastic Bowl meet #1

February 13, 2012

Okay, so in Ian’s continuing domination of the 6th grade, he made the school Scholastic Bowl team. For those unfamiliar, Scholastic Bowl is sort of like Jeopardy for kids, but as a team rather than individually.

A team of five kids compete against a team of five from another school and answer questions about math, science, history, current events, and language arts, twelve questions (and four-part bonus questions) per “half”.

The team’s first meet was this past Thursday at Taylorville Junior High School, about 40 minutes away.

There are 15 kids on Ian’s team, so the coach divides the kids into the “A” team and the “B” team. The “A” team is mainly (though not limited to) the older kids, while the “B” team is mainly (but not limited to) the younger kids. The coach tries to balance it out, but that is basically where [it appears] the distinction lies. Ian was on the “B” team, and sat out the first half of the first match, against a school from Jacksonville. He sat out because the “B” team had seven kids, and only five can play at any given time. The kids are able to substitute in, which they did at the half, although I think substitutions can be made at the discretion of the coach (or the team captain) at any time, within reason.

As the half progressed, I watched Ian, and it was clear he knew many of the answers. I could tell from his body language when he knew an answer and was wanting so badly to answer. There was a four-part question about pianos, and he was just about pooping himself because he knew all four parts. Then halftime came, and it was his turn to join the match.

I’m sure this will sound like fatherly bias, but the questions for the second half were brutal compared to those in the first half. Ian was clearly frustrated that he didn’t know many of the answers, but was doing the best he could. He played the first half of the second match (against Taylorville, the host school) and sat out the second half, and it seemed as though the questions were harder for the first half of that match than the second, as well. I told Ian afterward that that is just kind of the luck of the draw, that there are going to be times where he will know most of the questions while he is at the table and won’t know many when he isn’t, and vice versa. That seemed of little comfort to him at the time, but I know he understood what I was saying.

His team wound up winning both matches, both by a reasonably close margin. The first match, they were down by about 15-20 points at the half but came back to win by roughly the same margin. The second match, they were down big at the half (something like 90-5) and dominated the second half to win by maybe 10. Ian found out the next day that the “A” team split their two matches, so his school team wound up winning 3 out of 4.

Watching as a parent was rather stressful for me. Not just watching the scores leap-frog each other, not just seeing my son’s team down by so much in the second match only to come back and win, but also in wanting to tell Ian, “You know this one, buddy!”. And as a frequent trivia night participant, I found myself really, REALLY having to fight the urge to shout out the answers myself. (They probably frown on that.) I mean, obviously you don’t yell out answers out trivia nights (at least, you’re not supposed to), but I had to remember that I was not participating. I’d have felt like complete crap if I would have disqualified Ian’s school because I shouted out answers.

The whole thing was really kind of cool. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was really something watching these kids exercise their minds and seeing the satisfaction on their faces when they pulled a correct answer from who knows where, and also seeing the exasperation and the “Aaawwww, I KNEW that!” looks on their faces on questions they didn’t get. They take it seriously.

Who knows- one day Ian might take a seat with Team Stearns at a trivia night one day in the future. Hell, he’ll probably wind up claiming my spot, and likely sooner than later.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. marilyn permalink
    February 13, 2012 2:55 pm

    Ian sounds like a great kid, with supportive folks, too.

  2. Johann permalink*
    February 14, 2012 10:21 pm

    Yeah, we’re pretty damned proud of him.

  3. grandma k permalink
    February 23, 2012 7:44 am

    yeah for Ian. and good job for the home team

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