Article by Kody Tinga

A week ago, the ISM Academic Bowl team participated in their first of two competitions throughout the entire year at Faith Academy. Academic Bowl is an event that requires quick thinking as well as a wide array of knowledge as it can concern topics from history to pop culture.

At an Academic Bowl competition, each school can have up to 10 total team members, but only 5 members participate in the competition at one time and players cannot be substituted. Each round is divided into three additional sub-rounds: the Toss-Up Round, the Envelope Round, and the Penalty Toss-Up Round. In both the Penalty and the Toss-Up Round, the electronic buzzer is used to determine which team actually answers the question. “[A] delay by a second can cost you the buzzer and the other team would end up getting the answer,” sophomore Kirtana D., a first-time member of the Academic Bowl team, said.

However, because Academic Bowl competitions tend to cover so many areas of knowledge, it is often better for the team as a whole to be well-rounded, with specialists in specific areas. Calvin Z., the captain of the Academic Bowl team stated “Because Academic Bowl covers such a wide range of topics…the competition is often more about what the team knows collectively.” In order to do this all, however, the team was required to undergo multiple training sessions, in order to ensure that everything went smoothly.

“We had 8 practice sessions to prepare for the competition,” Kirtana stated, talking about the training regimen of the academic bowl team. “During the practices, we usually split into two teams and practiced against each other.” As the team extensively practiced using the buzzer, they had to split up into two teams in order to run mock competitions of sorts, competing against each other to help one another improve their knowledge base.

With all of this practice, however, how did the team end up doing? They ended up placing a very  respectable third place in the competition, while the Middle School ISM Academic Bowl team ended up taking home the gold. “The most stressful part [was] trying to figure out the answer before the other teams do,” stated Kirtana.

But, it isn’t the competition that is the most important part. When asked about what was the most exciting part of Academic Bowl, Calvin stated “…that in every competition, I have the privilege to compete against people who are much smarter than me. It’s a really humbling and informative learning experience.” Perhaps it isn’t the final results at the end of the day which matter the most, but instead the knowledge that can be gained through participating in Academic Bowl itself.

Academic Bowl challenges students to always be learning and to be passionate about the things that they are most knowledgeable about. In fact, “Once you do Academic Bowl, you will find that you know more than you thought you knew,” according to Calvin. It may seem like an unconventional choice, but if you want an event that challenges your ability to think quickly and learn a lot of information, try Academic Bowl. You never know how it will be like unless you attempt it.

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