Scholastic Bowl

4 Mar

I love Scholastic Bowl!  I don’t think we had a team when I was in junior high.  If we did, I didn’t know about it and probably would not have joined or tried out.  Here are some random thoughts about scholastic bowl (or quiz bowl or academic team – it goes by various names).

  1. It’s not all about academics.  There are a large number of questions on sports, TV shows, current events, home ec, etc.  My husband thinks it should be all academics.  I like that there’s a variety so that it involves more kids.  A winning team can have a very eclectic mix.
  2. This year, our team really has fun in the matches.  They laugh and joke around a lot.  Unfortunately, I found out by eavesdropping (in the bathroom – it wasn’t like I was trying to eavesdrop) that some of the other teams thought that our team wasn’t “taking it seriously”.  I hope that joking doesn’t translate as poor sportsmanship.  Last year, our team was too serious. They turned on each other when losing.  My son spent one whole match crying in the bathroom because he let his team down.  I’d rather see them lighthearted than crying.
  3. The answer to one question in Saturday’s match was “Downton Abbey”.  My son got it right because he’s watched (and made fun of) a few episodes with me.  LOL
  4. Another answer was “Ray Bradbury”.  The question described the book “Fahrenheit 451″.  After I recently read that book, I tried to convince DJ to give it a try.  He did, but couldn’t get into it and switched to an Isaac Asminov book instead.  However, he read enough that he recognized the main character’s name and the plot from the description.  That made me smile!  We are always trying to push the “classics” on him.  Currently he’s reading “Catch-22″.  That’s another oldie but goodie.
  5. You must know the periodic table of elements!  There are at least 2-3 questions per match in Chemstry.

Finally, a weird thing happened a couple of weeks ago.  I was working and didn’t attend this match.  During a regular match, my son was on fire.  He answered a number of questions in a row – including a math question that he didn’t write down but did in his head.  The opposing coach was moderating and said (with a straight face), “You are a freak.”  Our coach thought it was poor form and stopped the match.  The opposing coach said it was meant as a compliment.  However, according to our coach, DJ didn’t answer as many questions after that.  Now, I don’t know if he was just burned out or if that comment got to him.  But evidently our coach talked to our superintendent the next day.  He called the opposing school.  DJ received a hand written apology Friday in the mail from the opposing coach.  I’m not sure what to make of the situation.  Was that necessary?  On the one hand, I think the coach’s comment was meant as a compliment.  I can’t imagine a teacher  calling ANY student a name – let alone an opposing player.  However, we all know that smart, geeky, “different” kids get called names and get bullied by their classmates quite often.  DJ has had his share.  Should he have to endure that from an adult as well?

Most importantly:  How did HE take it?

We spoke to him after the incident and he was hard to read.  He shrugged and said she probably was joking.  He didn’t want to cause any controversy and felt BAD FOR HER because she had to write this letter to him. Which is classic victimization – you feel it’s your fault.

The only way that I think it could have gotten out of hand is if, let’s say, a team mate saw DJ in the hall and said some thing like “Hey Freak!” in a joking manner – mimicking what was said in the match.  If another student didn’t know about the incident and then picked that up…. that would be bad for him.  But I do think that after the match was stopped and our coach said something directly to the other coach and she said it was a compliment, that he took it in that context.  I think.  It’s so hard to read a teenager’s mind!

On that note, I await the next match that I can attend!  :-)

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